Lynette Nusbacher argues in her recent blog post on this website: A thousand words: pictures and narratives in Gaza that it doesn’t matter whether the (false) allegations affixed to the photo posted by Khulood Badawi represent the truth. The truth, says Nusbacher, is irrelevant. What’s important here, says she, is the narrative. And the narrative of the Gazans makes for better reading than that of the Israelis.
Maybe that sounded very intelligent to some readers. I don’t know. But to my mind, Nusbacher’s piece is filled with semantic double-speak or, to put it in better words than I could ever generate, the author is, “Full of sound and fury [albeit very intellectual sound and fury] signifying nothing.”
Yes, she sounds reasonable, logical. But her proposed idea doesn’t really make any logical sense.
I’ll give her this: It is true that everyone needs a narrative. However, the truth is NEVER irrelevant because we have a choice. We have a choice between writing an honest narrative that reflects the realities on the ground or a complete fiction.
The “Palestinian” narrative is a fiction filled with maudlin prose that reflects nothing so much as a wish to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. This narrative insults the intelligence by not even caring whether it stands up to scrutiny, because it has no need to do so: the world embraces this sordid narrative no matter what. This narrative generates ratings in the mainstream media.
The Israeli narrative, on the other hand, is one of honest soul-searching, a non-fiction narrative of perseverance in the face of world condemnation and a refusal to resort to lies and hyperbole. The Israeli narrative represents the wish for peace illustrated by facts on the ground. By throwing 8,000 of our own people out of their homes, unilaterally, for the sake of peace, only to be met with 8,000 rockets in 7 years.
And all during this time, as usual, we are condemned by the UN and the world at large. Even the leader of our supposedly greatest ally puts his feet up on the desk when receiving our Prime Minister, denies us of photo opps, and serves non-Kosher food to our dignitaries. We heeled to an imposed building freeze, though there were supposed to be no preconditions to negotiations, and then when the other side refused to meet with us, we were told that we “better come to the damn table.”
But throughout this time we kept our side of things clean. We avoided the ugliness of telling an untrue narrative. I am quite happy to stick with my Israeli narrative and proud not to resort to dishonesty and distortions just to drive home a point. Israel will stick to the truth whether or not she persuades the public of the justness of her cause, whether or not her narrative succeeds in winning hearts and minds.
It is crucial that the success or failure of Israel’s narrative not be viewed through the lens of its reception by the public but by its integrity. Otherwise we imperil the collective soul of our nation. We must not sell our soul for a good storyline or we lose our reason for being.