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Schneider, B. (2007). Letter to Editor. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(2):333-336.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(2):333-336

Letter to Editor Related Papers

Beverly Schneider, LCSW

I found the recent Special Issue: Politics and Psychoanalysis of the The Psychoanalytic Review (Vol. 92, No. 6) to be extremely compelling. And I want to thank both Sy Coopersmith, the guest editor, and Michael Eigen, the editor, for arranging it. However, I am pressed to write a response to two articles, the first by Barbara S. Kane, and the second Suzanne R. Hoover's discussion of that article.

I sympathize with Barbara Kane's efforts in dealing with traumatized Israelis and Jews and her deeply felt hope that something can be done to stop the bloodletting that has been going on in Israel and Palestine. However, I have a problem with framing this horrible situation as a story of trauma or pressing it into a formal tragedy. This does not mean that I discount the tragic nature of the problem, or the fact that both Israelis and Palestinians are suffering horribly, or even that both groups often operate under the cloak of victimhood. It means that while I agree that trauma is an awful effect and in its way may become a contributor to the apparent intransigency of the situation, I do not see it as the definitive attribute of the societies involved in this mess.

These are the issues that I think are pertinent:

1.   About trauma: One might want to make an argument for a trauma-based history of the Jewish people. Kane suggests this but slides down that slippery slope of seeing the Holocaust trauma to be almost coequal to contemporary Israeli society. So, I point out for emphasis:

ο    More than half of Israel's population comes from non-European countries, albeit, many of these non-Europeans also suffered discrimination and persecution in the countries where they are from.

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