Challenging Holocaust ideology : Jewish women call for peace / by Sandra Jean Berkowitz.
As tensions between Israelis and Palestinians increase, erupting into violence on both sides, many U.S. Jews find themselves in a very difficult situation. On the one hand, they want to assure the safety and security of Israel, while on the other, they witness through the media the brutal Israeli military reaction to the Palestinian uprising, or intifada. This study is a critical rhetorical analysis of the ideological challenges faced by, and the strategies used by a U.S. Jewish women's peace group, the New York-based Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (JWCEO), who advocate a negotiated, two-state settlement of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Gaining support for negotiation and a two-state settlement is more difficult than merely explaining the nature of the intifada. Holocaust ideology creates obstacles to the acceptance of a new view, including the belief that negotiating with the "demon" Palestinians is traitorous behavior, advocated only by "self-hating Jews." The impact on U.S. Jews of the Holocaust and the development of Israel cannot be underestimated. The events have created an ideology that underscores the need for Jews and the Jewish state to become empowered, but does not acknowledge that they may wield and even abuse power. Rather than equating negotiated settlement with disloyalty, the JWCEO, through silent vigils and the pamphlet, Jewish Women Call for Peace, argues that a negotiated, two-state settlement is most humane, most rational, and most consistent with Jewish beliefs. The arguments of the JWCEO embrace and embody the concept of tikkun olam, a progressive, historically based belief in the need to heal and repair the world. The discourse of the JWCEO offers a glimpse into how the obstacles created by Holocaust ideology can be overcome through a revised vision of liberalism embodied in the process of tikkun olam. For students of discourse, this analysis illustrates a useful approach to the study of Jewish rhetoric. Additionally, this study advances our understanding of the rhetorical dimensions of ideology.
Record last modified: 2018-05-29 16:28:00
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