S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 35 Number 1/2 (2012)
Actually Existing Israel
- Schalit, Joel
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.35 No.1, pp. 109-115
- “Israel is neither Europe, nor the Middle East,” the commenter wrote. “All of the moral categories you’ve been trained to apply to countries from those regions won’t work. They’re foreign, like you.” A self-identified American soldier, but currently enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces, he was making this point in criticizing a journalist for penning a favorable article about an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv. For those familiar with the Arab-Israeli conflict, such comments should not be surprising. Israel’s unknowability is one of the fundamental criticisms made against foreigners who choose to take the country to task for its policies towards the Palestinians. Nowhere is this criticism made more often, in recent years, than in the US, where public opinion on Israel has shifted drastically, and Israeli government PR efforts have increased. The ‘Israel’ referred to by such media strategies I refer to as “Actually Existing Israel”, all Cold War-era puns intended. It refers to both the ‘actually existing Israel’, as well as it’s intentional mystification. For my paper, I’ll be discussing how this Israel gets produced, and why it is as much an American event, as it is an Israeli one. The discusssion is derived from my most recent book, Israel vs Utopia (Akashic Books, 2009).