Constructing Self, Constructing Others: Jewish-Israeli Perceptions of Palestinians and Germans

in Israel Studies Review
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This article explores issues of identity and "otherness" by looking at the construction of Jewish-Israeli identity among Jewish-Israeli young adults in relation to two main external others, Germans and Palestinians. Our main thesis is that the construction of Jewish-Israeli identity is connected to their perceptions of these two different external "others." This argument is discussed from both a theoretical and an empirical point of view. We suggest two modes of discourse that represent the ways in which German and Palestinian "others" are perceived in Jewish-Israeli society, and then demonstrate the interrelationship through examples from interviews conducted with Jewish-Israeli university students who participated in a seminar that touched on topics connected to the Holocaust past and the present Palestinian-Israeli conflict.