'I Was in a War, and in a War Things Like that Happen': On Judgments and Ethical Investigations in Israeli Law and Literature
Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society n.s. 18, no. 3 (Spring/Summer 2012): 212-24
14 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2012
Focusing on two key events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the Deir Yassin affair (1948) and the Kefar Kassem massacre (1956) — the article explores how Israeli narratives of different genres engage with conflict-related atrocities. Juxtaposing the literary reimagination of the Deir Yassin affair in Nurith Gertz’s ‘Al da‘at ‘atsmo (Unrepentant, 2008) and the seminal court ruling in the Kefar Kassem massacre trial (1958), this article examines the ethical considerations and effects of the different formal strategies employed in each of the texts. I argue that the encounter with conflict-related atrocities leads to a break in the generic form of both the literary and the legal texts and a resort to extra-generic rhetoric. This formal disruption engages the reader and, possibly, her community in an ethical inquiry that emphasizes the process of investigation rather than final judgments.
Keywords: Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Deir Yassin, Kefar Kassem, atrocity, ethics, memory
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