The Ideology of Hatred: The Psychic Power of Discourse

By Niza Yanay | Go to book overview
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Introduction

Years before 9/11, living and working in Israel, I was perplexed by the diverse and mostly invisible workings of the word “hatred” and its place in national rhetoric and politics. When in 1989 I accidentally came upon about 400 letters of hate mail written by Jewish fundamentalists and sent to members of the Jewish political Knesset (the Israeli parliament) from Ratz (the party for citizens’ rights), I began asking questions about the meaning and operation of hatred as a political force.1 Much of my earlier research was based on empirical studies in Israel, which focused on the analysis of hate relations among Jews (secular and religious) and between Jews and Palestinians.2 As a result of these studies I came to the conclusion that the concept of hatred is always an ambivalent mode of knowledge that holds at least two contradictory and opposite aims at once: the need for contact, dependency, inclusion, and proximity and the need for separation, differentiation, exclusion, and distance.3

However, after 9/11 my inquiry changed. It became clear that the production of the word “hatred” can no longer be viewed as a mere by-product

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