Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

By Lachkar, Joan | The Journal of Psychohistory, Fall 2007 | Go to article overview

Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict


Lachkar, Joan, The Journal of Psychohistory


Avner Falk, Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. 250 pp.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most intractable international struggle in the world today. With great mastery and scholarship, integrating vast knowledge from many disciplines, Falk delves into the most baffling and relentless conflict of our time. Falk's psychoanalytic theory flows with great ease throughout the text as he skillfully parallels it with historical evidence and documentation. His book is useful for psychotherapists and historians alike and for those attempting to go beyond ordinary historical and political explanations by applying in-depth psychoanalytic/psychodynamic theory. While most political analysts and historians base their arguments upon the rationality of the parties/ Falk explores their actions and behaviors based on the irrationality of their hidden or covert "internal events."

Falk opens his discussion with a dramatic quote from Anwar Sadat: "..... seventy percent of the problem between Arabs and Israelis is psychological." His analysis follows this theme throughout, providing much persuasion as to the importance of the role unconscious motivation plays in the conflict. He frames his discussion with the same kind of objectivity and technical neutrality an analyst would with a patient.

Falk reminds us that the Arab-Israeli conflict extends far beyond two ethnic groups fighting over a small slice of land each considers rightfully theirs. The bitter tragedy is that both parties have missed innumerable opportunities for rational agreement in the service of peace and prosperity beneficial for sides rather than perennial bloodshed and killings. He also continuously points out the absurdity of the conflict, how two traumatized groups of people on a tiny sliver of territory can be locked in a tragic endless conflict that they can never win, one that goes on interminably without ever reaching any resolution.

Even though Falk recognizes few psychoanalysts have shied away from psychoanalytic study of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in spite of all the efforts toward peace agreements (Oslo Peace Accord, Camp David, etc). Unlike other scholars, Falk refers to these blocks as "irrational obstacles and resistances" on both sides to the extent of calling the extreme opposite side of peace a holy Jihad.

Falk sees two ways at looking at the conflict; the rationalistic/conscious and the psychoanalytic. The unconscious motivations are played out as group-fantasies or "group narcissism," having their underpinnings in nationalism and nationalist pride, in the attachment to the motherland as an early mother figure or perhaps as an object loss and the entitlement fantasies to regain or recapture her. Falk continues along a psychohistorical path covering such themes as the unconscious need for enemies as a repository for the group's projections as it dove tails, along with such primitive defense mechanisms as splitting, projection, externalization and denial. Falk alerts us to the concept of naqba (loss) in a most catastrophic event in 1948 when the Israelis defeated the Palestinian Arabs causing them to lose their homes. In order to save face from the shame and humiliation they resorted to revenge.

A major contribution to Falk's thesis is the subject of mourning as outlined by Kobrin who wrote extensively on the inability to mourn as a major force beyond the conflict. For some reason this concept has been virtually omitted in most works of this nature. Falk is one of the few who brings up the importance of mourning. He implies that if one cannot "mourn "one's losses, one is then subject to revenge and retaliation. An explanation for the theme of narcissism would be Falk's views of it as a drama played out as symbolized in the battle of two texts-the Bible and the Koran. This recurrent theme is in response to an old archaic belief that both Jews and Arabs are descended from two biblical half brothers, Isaac and Ishmael battling for holy land symbolic to a "mother as a nation who holds us in her arms and protects us. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fratricide in the Holy Land: A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.