Contentious Origins: Psychoanalytic Comments on the Debate over Israel’s Creation

  • José Brunner


The concepts of patriotism, identity, identification, narcissism, and chauvinism are the center of numerous discussions about the nature of nationalism and national ideologies. Is each and any kind of nationalism potentially pernicious and destructive? Can there be cases of “healthy”, positive, and productive national self-regard? This chapter is part of the discussion which has been going on the in West for generations. Earlier chapters in this book, especially those by Moses and Suleiman, set the stage for this case study by Brunner. The phenomenon under investigation is the appearance of public stocktaking and soul-searching within the Israeli elite vis-à-vis the obvious injustice done to the Palestinians by the Zionist project. Actually, this phenomenon goes back a hundred years, but the critical voices have become stronger in recent years, as Palestinian resistance and doubts about Zionism have grown. Brunner uses this case study to apply Kohut’s idea of “good” narcissism, which shook up the world of psychoanalysis when it was first introduced. His conclusion is that a “mature”, well-balanced kind of national identity is not only desirable, but possible, and may even be within reach.


Jewish Community Critical Scholar Jewish State History Textbook Critical Essay 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Brunner
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel-Aviv UniversityIsrael

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