The Israeli National Information Center and Collective Memory of the Israeli-Arab Conflict
The Middle East Journal, 62 (4), 653-670, 2008
18 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2013 Last revised: 11 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2008
From the 1960s to 2003 the Israeli Information Center, the main Israeli institution for disseminating information to the Israeli public, released publications which dealt with the Palestinian refugees of 1948 and the infiltrators of 1949-1956 and disseminated them to the Israeli public. Using content analysis of these publications (consisting of books and booklets) and interviews with the Center’s directors and senior staff from 1961 to 2003, this article explores for the first time the way the Center operated, the way its publications described those two issues over the years, and the processes and reasons that generated this description. By and large, the publications consistently adopted the Zionist narrative, including when contradictory scholarly findings were published towards the end of the last century. That is, the responsibility for the refugees’ exodus was put exclusively on the Arabs/Palestinians, and the infiltrators were almost always portrayed as motivated by political reasons (e.g., harming Israeli Jews or damaging their property). The findings have general implications for the study of state activity in shaping the collective memory of its citizens, in addition to specific implications for the study of Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict.
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Keywords: Official memory, collective memory, 1948 War, Palestinian refugee, Nakba, memory
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