Ammiel Alcalay

It is remarkable to what extent almost anything having to do with the Middle East in this country--be it political, cultural, historical or even personal--is permeated by the triumphalist vision of Zionism that followed the 1967 war. Even people not holding to prevailing assumptions feel compelled to position themselves in relation to them, if only to make themselves intelligible. As someone with long experience on these issues, I remain astonished by the still-reigning imbalances. What appears in the eyes of a Palestinian as simply a gesture of acknowledgment (e.g., the right of return) is already in the subconscious and even conscious social makeup of the Israeli Jew--and often those considered liberal--an admission of guilt and, in fact, a reversal of the entire value system and hierarchy of assumptions that he or she has been raised to believe or accept. This phenomenon...

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