New Clear Vision

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Living Side by Side with Dignity

June 23, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Julia Chaitin, Politics

Distinguishing Facts and Narratives in the Pursuit of Common Ground

by Julia Chaitin

(Editor’s Note: This week on NCV, as part of a thematic series, we are featuring articles focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict and attendant issues, hoping to stimulate a dialogue and suggest potential ways forward.)

Recently in Haaretz, Shlomo Avineri wrote an op-ed piece on historical truths and narratives, which I quote here at some length:

“On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. That is truth, not narrative. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked and destroyed the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. That is truth, not narrative…. In recent debates about the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ the claim has been made that there are two ‘narratives,’ an Israeli one and a Palestinian one, and we should pay attention to both of them. That, of course, is true: Alongside the Israeli-Zionist claims regarding the Jewish people’s connection to its historic homeland and the Jews’ miserable situation, there are Palestinian claims that regard the Jews as a religious group only and Zionism as an imperialist movement.  But above and beyond these claims is the simple fact … not a ‘narrative’ — that in 1947, the Zionist movement accepted the United Nations partition plan, whereas the Arab side rejected it and went to war against it.” (more…)