Workshop Part 8:
Ideology and Betrayal
WORKSHOP VIDEO PART 8: Loss of an Ideology
In Video Part 8 Itamar tells us about his deep pain that he was ‘lied’ to by his humanist anti-occupation Zionist parents, the education system and the Zionist narrative. He says his sense of betrayal by the Zionist, State, education and army ideologies was more painful to him than killing someone.
As a youth Itamar couldn’t wait to join his pilot father and brother in the army only to become, once he joined increasingly uncomfortable with some army activities in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Itamar confronts his father with regard to his part in the 1948 War of Independence which his father’s generation believed was essential to protect family and country. Itamar reflectively shares with us his internal and external process of stepping out of denial and the Israeli collective narrative, and slowly constructing a new ideology of personal responsibility where he makes his own decisions about whether violence is necessary. CLICK - Glossary Kafr Qasim Ruling 1956
- To be aware of the pain, confusion, and sense of betrayal when relinquishing a previously trusted belief system or collective narrative.
- To understand that discovering truths behind a collective narrative of denial is not only traumatic but also shameful for those left to confront perpetrator images of their loved family members, and by implication themselves. The Creative Process of Stepping out of Denial
- To understand that individuals who have stepped out of denial may find themselves isolated and in danger. It is important for those individuals to identify a support system before attempting to share their enlightenment with others.
- To explore the role of protest groups, peace groups and the Ethical Mindset in supporting those who reject a collective narrative which promotes a cycle of violence, death and any unethical behaviour (see Video Part 9).
- Different narratives may be constructed to make sense of the same conflict or situation:
- Understanding the role of the Ethical Mindset when stepping out of a collective narrative of denial, and replacing it with an integrated ethical collective narrative that can recognise and hold opposing positions.
Issues to Explore:
- Can we make a connection between Itamar’s secure attachment with his parents, his collective narrative, and his subsequent discomfort as a soldier?
- Itamar says “the lies” he was told by his parents, the system, and the Zionist narrative were “more painful to me than the fact that I killed”. How do we understand the experience of secure attachment and trust in this context?
- What does Itamar mean that he will only do ‘what is good for him’ after his army experience and his pain at ‘the lies’ that were told him? Consider Itamar’s process of Rupture and Repair, his bravery and sense of agency
- How do we understand Itamar’s father’s different self-states – the soldier father’s pride and duty as an IDF airforce pilot, and his support of his ‘refusenik’ sons (see Video Part 3)?
Facilitating the Workshop:
- Reflect on your own attitude to ‘whistle-blowing’ (making known an unethical situation) and the relationship with betrayal. Who has betrayed whom?
The group might be invited to think about the different views held by the ‘whistle-blower’ and the wider protest group or organisation, as a safe way into looking at the dilemma of being the betrayer versus betrayed.
- Consider the part betrayal may play in Itamar and his father’s relationship. Itamar (who felt lied to) and his father who felt betrayed by his sons’ disloyalty to the Israeli collective narrative, but nevertheless recognised them, (Video Part 3) by supporting their decision.
The group can be invited to compare and contrast the twin felt betrayals of Itamar and his father as an exercise in empathy in the Ethical Mindset.
- Consider the value of ‘holding contradictions’ as intrinsic to an ethical self-state and the Ethical Mindset.
Ask for examples from the group where they are able to suspend judgement of right/wrong and instead can hold contradictions, at least most of the time.
- Despite laws to the opposite, ‘blowing the whistle’ in most Western societies is dangerous for the individual, as may be stepping out of denial of a collective narrative. How can ordinary citizens and soldiers be supported and empowered when they feel something is wrong?
- Looking at the diagram The Ethical Mindset can you describe the development of Itamar’s father’s warrior self and support of his refuser sons?
KEYWORDS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Agency is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general) to act in a world. The capacity to act does not at first imply a specific moral dimension to the ability to make the choice to act, and moral agency is therefore a distinct concept.
As with individuals, groups small and large reconstruct their group experience through stories that may become the official collective narrative of the group. Confronting or changing a collective narrative may be difficult simply because so many are invested in it, emotionally or through the power hierarchy. Individuals attempting to create a new version of the collective narrative may induce anxiety in the group and find themselves the objects of group aggression.
Denial is probably one of the best known defence mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth (i.e. "He's in denial."). Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Drug addicts or alcoholics often deny that they have a problem, while victims of traumatic events may deny that the event ever occurred.
Denial functions to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defences are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness. In many cases, there might be overwhelming evidence that something is true, yet the person will continue to deny its existence or truth because it is too uncomfortable to face. Denial can involve a flat out rejection of the existence of a fact or reality. In other cases, it might involve admitting that something is true, but minimizing its importance. Sometimes people will accept reality and the seriousness of the fact, but they will deny their own responsibility and instead blame other people or other outside forces.
A term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their subjectivity within a given social milieu. Contemporary relational theory understands social categories such as race, gender, nationality, culture and class to be core constituents of identity. These are considered to be mandated by the dominant culture. Nevertheless, identity is inevitably personal. It is the emotional self formed within a familial and interpersonal context which gives meaning and significance to.
Rupture and repair
Recreation of a relationship after a misunderstanding or breakdown -( Jessica Benjamin)
Nascent self-states become part of an emerging self that will be comprised of a compliment of dissociated self-states that in healthy development become integrated, harmonious, flexible, and continuous. In children, developing this harmonious compliment of self-states depends on a number of things including a secure base and attuned interaction with caregivers. In adulthood, secure, validating relationships afford the opportunity to find, in Robert Stolorow's words, a "relational home" for our feelings, especially the painful and disturbing ones.