by Irwin J. Mansdorf
2nd part of 2
The Process of
A look at a map of the
In addition to the formation of the various Arab states noted above, Jewish national self-determination was obtained in
The fact of the matter was that in 1948, during its war of independence,
Indeed, at the United Nations in 1949, when
Language and Perception: "Settler-Colonialism"
Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely
This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "settlers" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another use of language to shape perceptions and another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. Unlike any other "settler-colonial" state in history,
The notion of Israeli colonialism, however, is so established in certain academic and political circles that its colonial identity is never questioned, and "settlers" are automatically considered agents of a colonial effort.32
Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, despite the impression of some that the term applies only to those Israelis who have established communities in disputed territory after 1967, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948.33 In fact, many contemporary Palestinian activists blithely and routinely assume, in their writing, that all Israelis are colonialists and all of "historic" Palestine has been occupied (e.g., Qumsiyeh,34 Abunimah35).
Reestablishing Accuracy: Cognitive Dissonance and Confirmation Bias
Cognitive dissonance is the phenomenon whereby established beliefs are challenged by new, conflicting information that arouses a challenge to those core beliefs. Confirmation bias, on the other hand, is the term applied to seeking evidence that validates prior attitudes and beliefs. When confronted with dissonance, some may alter their beliefs to conform to the new information, but many, especially those that are ideologically invested with and committed to a particular view, continue in their established attitudes by adding justifications or interpretations that support or "confirm" the original cognition.
Just as committed Zionists would not accept a colonial narrative, presenting facts and arguments in response to accusations against
The mechanism of dissonance reduction that is most central to the "settler-colonialist" argument is the notion that Jews do not constitute a national entity and thus cannot possibly have legitimate rights to what was known as
Ideology, when unyielding and unbending, will be resistant to any cognitive dissonance.40 That is why, despite the historical record, the core notion of Israel as a "settler-colonialist" nation will continue to resonate in circles where nationalism is frowned upon, where religious history is irrelevant, where post-modern ideologies are entrenched and philosophically embraced, and where the notion of Jews as a people is not recognized.
1. I.J. Mansdorf, "The Political Psychology of Postcolonial Ideology in the Arab World: An Analysis of ‘Occupation' and the ‘Right of Return',"
4. R. Lapidoth, "Legal Aspects of the Palestinian Refugee Question,
6. Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples -
8. R. Aharonson, "Settlement in Eretz
10. http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/Cmd5479.pdf (ch. II, para. 19, p. 24).
11. Op. cit., para. 23, p. 2.5
12. Op. cit., para. 25-28, pp. 26-28.
19. P. Cidor, "Obliterated in Translation,"
20. PA TV (Fatah), November 13, 2009.
22. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).
23. Y. Tareq, J.S. Ismael, and K.A.J. Ismael, Politics and Government in the Middle East and North Africa (University Press of Florida, 1991), p. 453.
24. "British Imperial Connexions to the Arab National Movement," in G.P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds., The Last Years of Peace - British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, Vol. X, Part II (1938), pp. 824-838.
25. W.I. Saadeh, "The Three Phases of Arab History, Excerpt from ‘History of Arab Thought'," Arab-American Affairs, vol. 32, no. 211 (June-July 2004), http://www.arab-american-affairs.net/archives/arab-history.htm
26. T.N. Dupuy, Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974 (New York: Harper Collins, 1978), p. 121.
27. N. Aridan,
28. Z. Tzahor, "The 1949 Air Clash between the Israeli Air Force and the RAF," Journal of Contemporary History, 28 (1)(1993):75-101.
29. Zach Levey, "Arms and Armaments in the Middle East," Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and
30. Gideon Rafael, Destination Peace: Three Decades of Israeli Foreign Policy (New York: Stein and Day, 1981), pp. 21-22.
31. M. Rodinson,
33. Op. cit., 20, 21.
37. S. Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso, 2009).
38. C.S. Taber and M. Lodge, "Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs," American Journal of Political Science, 50(3) (2006):755-769.
39. F.M. Perko, "Contemporary American Christian Attitudes to Israel Based on the Scriptures," Israel Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, (Summer 2003):1-17, http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/israel_studies/v008/8.2perko.html
40. B. Nyhan and J. Reifler, "When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions, in Political Behavior, in press. J. Bullock, "The Enduring Importance of False Political Beliefs," paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association,
Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD, is an Israeli psychologist who has published widely on the subject of political psychology as it relates to the Israel-Arab conflict.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.