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Moses, R. (1982). The Group Self and the Arab–Israeli Conflict. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:55-64.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:55-64

The Group Self and the Arab–Israeli Conflict

Rafael Moses


An attempt is made to apply the knowledge gained from the study of individual narcissistic disorders or self pathology to groups, to nations and to conflict between nations. The methodological problem inherent in such an application is discussed.

The Arab–Israeli conflict can be seen to be replete with narcissistic hurts and narcissistic counter-blows. The political weapon of nonrecognition, so much in use in this conflict, is only one of many instances.

The grandiose and omnipotent feelings secretly harboured by schizophrenic individuals and their family members can be seen also in normal individuals and families, and even in psychoanalysts. Such grandiosity has both a positive—outstandingly good—and a negative

side, of devaluation and worthlessness, against which grandiose feelings serve to defend. Such positive and negative aspects of the group self are described in some detail for the Israeli side of the Arab–Israeli conflict. The border between normality and pathology of the group self is discussed.

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