Loss of an Ideology: Secrets and Lies
Itamar begins by telling us how the realisation that his parents and the Israel collective narrative "lied" to him was the cause of his crisis. He tells us about the values of his humanistic Zionist parents from whom he learnt that violence is used only to defend the family and the State of Israel; that it should be controlled and specific against acts of terror. Itamar is faced with behaviours challenging this belief while serving in the Occupied Territories in the Israel Defence Force. Part of his painful journey led him to the conclusion that “I had to be sure violence was justified for defence; later I decided that I would decide when to use violence... at what stage I would say no to destroying someone’s house as collective punishment but yes to killing a terrorist”. Itamar is shocked at how easily violence results in killing. He later refuses to serve in the Occupied Territories with the post army Reserve forces .
Itamar's father and his friends told stories about the War of Independence. Itamar says of that time, “They didn’t see anything bad about what had happened.” Only later he began to question the gap between their stories and the actual events. “I began to understand denial, and realised that was also true about myself.” This realisation shocked him into challenging the whole defence narrative. “My anger is about the lies I was told by the system...and how the lies had made me into who I was; that was the cause of my crisis, more than the killings”. Jessica Benjamin talks us through Itamar's process of acquiring a perpetrator identity and eventually being able to love himself again through, "reconnecting to the chain of humanity" (as a member of Combatants for Peace) alongside others who had also undergone the confusion and pain of stepping out of denial and the loss of their collective narrative beliefs.