From ‘True Peace’ to ‘the Vision of the New Middle East’: Rival Images of Peace in Israel

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Yadgar, Yaacov (2003) From ‘True Peace’ to ‘the Vision of the New Middle East’: Rival Images of Peace in Israel , Journal of Peace Research 40(2): .

This article deals with developments in rival images of peace as they appear in Israeli political journalism, vis-a-vis seven critical events that took place between 1967 and 2001. Peace has become one of the dominant symbols of the Jewish-Israeli national narrative. Investigation of its image as a value reveals two rival symbolic representations: one, 'true peace', presents peace as a means to an end within a particularistic nationalist agenda, based upon ethnocentric values; the second, 'humanistic peace', which is embodied in the 'vision of the new Middle East', unfolds an eschatological narrative in which peace takes pride of place as the supreme value. The development of these rival representations is described as the product of a continuous reciprocal process between the symbolic images and the collective narratives on the one hand, and political events on the other. Both 'true peace' and the 'vision of the new Middle East' were forced to come to grips with political realities that were perceived as contradicting the symbolic system inherent in each of these representations, and in the meta-narrative that gave birth to them. The article concludes with a discussion on the influence of the current violent conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the developments of the images of peace.

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