The Suppression of Guilt

The Suppression of Guilt : The Israeli Media and the Reoccupation of the West Bank

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'Daniel Dor analyses how Israeli press and television cover the conflict with the Palestinians. He argues that investigative reporting and dissent are routinely marginalised. Although the media are certainly not uniform, he finds that the stories they tell reflect their emotional identification with their readers and viewers.' Philip Schlesinger, Professor of Film and Media Studies, University of Stirling 'Dor's book gives ample evidence of how the Israeli free press easily turned into an instrument of propaganda...Personally, the book helped me get over the frustration of seeing the reality I described totally marginalised in print.' Amira Hass, journalist for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz 'Daniel Dor is a brave and non-conventional Israeli reader of his country's media in wartime. He is neither misled by state propaganda nor affected psychologically by Palestinian terrorism. He critically reviews Israeli media reports, exploring the way that they often adopt a siege mentality that combines victimhood with a collective demonisation of the Palestinians.' Dr.
Menachem Klein, author of The Jerusalem Problem: The Struggle for Permanent Status In the three years that have passed since Operation Defensive Shield - three years marked by denial, deceit, rage and resentment - one fact remains uncontroversial: never, until the operation, had there been such a wide breach between the Israeli collective consciousness and international public opinion. Israeli scholar Daniel Dor measures this gap and concludes that Israeli society has withdrawn into an unprecedented sense of isolation and victimization - largely because of the role played by the Israeli media. Different media outlets provided their readers and viewers with significantly different perspectives on the operation, but they all shared a certain emotional attitude, not vis-a-vis the operation itself, but in relations to the global discourse of blame against Israel: they all projected an urgent, desperate, almost obsessive urge to suppress, to dismiss, to fend off guilt. Dor shows how analysing this type of reporting as an attempt to manufacture consent with the government and the military fails to capture its essential nature.
He argues that, at its core, the coverage proposed alternatives for the construction of an Israeli identity. During the operation, all the different media converged around one assertion: being Israeli at this point in time feels like being accused by the entire world of something we are not guilty of. Basing his arguments on detailed analyses of media reports, Dor explores how the Israeli media work within the context of the global media and world opinion, rather than within the classic context of the nation-state -- and what it means for the future of the country.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 15.24mm | 408.23g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745322956
  • 9780745322957

Table of contents

1. "Between the Hague and Jerusalem": An Introduction 2. Objective Reality and Intertextual Analysis: The Definition of Bias 3. Commitment, Despair and Confusion: The Newspapers 4. "Live from the Jenin Area": The Television News Broadcasts 5. "The Problem with Sharon's Plans": The Suppression of Intention 6. Manufacturing Identity: Remarks Towards A Conclusion Notes Index
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Review quote

Daniel Dor is a brave and non- conventional Israeli reader of his country's media at a war time. D. Dor was not misled by his state propaganda nor affected psychologically by Palestinian terrorism. His sober mind and free intellect led him to critically review Israeli mobilized media reports, including its self righteous attitude and siege mentality that combines a victimhood approach with demonising the Palestinians collectively. He calls the media to serve democracy, to be part of the solution rather then reflecting the problem of an ill society corrupted by occupation and brutal army operations. -- Dr. Menachem Klein, author of The Jerusalem Problem: The Struggle for Permanent Status Dor's book, in its early Hebrew and urgent version, is giving ample evidence of how Israeli free press easily turned into an instrument of propaganda, geared at backing, justifying and encouraging the escalating military policies of the Israeli governments against the Palestinians. This research should not be seen as an internal israeli concern: it raises a universal question, about the limitations of any media and its journalists in disengaging themselves of their society\class\gender interests and be agents of doubt, if not change. -- Amira Hass, journalist for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz and author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land under Siege (2000). This fascinating book shows how and why Israel's media supported the Israeli state's 2002 assault on the West Bank. The author, a teacher at Tel Aviv University, previously worked as a senior news editor at two of Israel's leading newspapers. Dor's account shows how the media reflects and maintains people's sense of themselves, presenting the news in a way that supports existing opinions. -- Will Podmore, Voice of Unions The Suppression of Guilt shares an interest in the ideological deformation of the Israeli state, but focuses on the operation of the media, in particular its representation of the military occupation of the West Bank in 2002 - the systematic state violence that went under the Orwellian name of Operation Defensive Shield. Israeli Press and television coverage of the occupation included a variety of political perspectives, some of which were bitterly critical of Sharon and of the IDF. Emerging out of Dor's survey is a consistent picture, a homogeneity of treatment across apparently very different newspapers and television channels. Even when the Israeli media are, in effect, forced to acknowledge the terrible deeds being perpetrated in the Occupied Territories, these actions are presented as exceptions, as accidents, as acts without agency. By these means, Dor argues, Israeli society is able to suppress its guilt. -- John Yandell, Palestine News Dor takes a particular period in 2002 (Operation Defensive Shield, the largest israeli incursion into the Palestinian territories since the second Intifada) and analyses the five media outlets in depth. He adopts an approach which 'does not pre-suppose an objective description of reality as a standard but develops an intertextual method of critical analysis which, in turn, allows for a better understanding of what the essence of bias consists of. In this way, Dor goes beyond offering a conventional interpretation of reporting to a new paradigm of how the analysis of the media can be conducted. This is a most innovative approach and one that deserves close study in this country. Aside from the political value of the analysis itself, readers who are themselves reporters and others interested in how the media work will find much of intellectual as well as practical value in this study. -- Jon Taylor, Chartist Daniel Dor, who currently teaches in the Department of Communication at Tel Aviv University, used to be a journalist. He was senior editor at Yediot Aharonato and the right-leaning Ma'riv. But he claims his book, is decidedly non-partisan. Rather, it is a critical study of Israel's leading newspapers and news channels during the previous intifada. Far from being reactionary, the book walks a razor thin middle ground that is fraught with complexity: an acknowledgement of Jewish victimhood as well as of Israeli atrocities. In only 106 pages, Dor accomplishes a nearly impossible task. With a sober, academic approach, he cuts through the emotional fuzz that distorts the news, and lays bare the collective fears at the root of the Israeli media's biases and self-censorship. Specifically, he deals with the issue of guilt. The crux of this book is in the title itself: the suppression of guilt in the Israeli media. Dor doesn't judge this form of collective denial. He doesn't excuse it either. These are not media obsessed with propaganda. But they do reflect a society ravaged by the complexities of war. Reading this book is like a good session on a therapist's couch, with Dor patiently exposing the media's - and the news consumers' defense mechanisms. -- Ann Keehn, The Jerusalem Post
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About Daniel Dor

A former journalist, Daniel Dor teaches at the Department of Communication,Tel Aviv University, and is a graduate of Stanford University. A revised translation of an earlier book, Intifada Hits the Headlines, was published by Indiana University Press in 2003. He has worked as a senior news editor in two of Israel's leading newspapers.
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