TITLE

Reading Mirrors: Reception of the Israeli Wall in the German Media, 2003-2004

AUTHOR(S)
Bikard, Arielle Fridson
PUB. DATE
April 2011
SOURCE
German Politics & Society;4/1/2011, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p25
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In what way does national history shape the interpretation of international events in that country's media? Germany has always had a particularly sensitive and complex relationship with Israel. The Holocaust left such a scar on German identity that the country cannot consider Israel without confronting its own history. In Israel, Germany sees a 'reflection' of its own historical and symbolic space. In this article, I draw together a close reading of major German newspapers with more interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives in order to illuminate the mechanism of what I call 'mirror reading,' and especially to reveal its workings during what I consider a key shift in the discourse on German identity. The German print media, which I treat as the activating agent in German narration of national identity, plays a central role in this reflection by projecting national symbols onto Israel. In particular, I identify the initial reception of the Israeli wall (2003-2004) as a turning point in the debate on German self-understanding after the Holocaust. I establish that there are two extremes in a continuum of how German national history can frame the Israeli wall, one making Germany an active agent and the other a passive one. Employing national symbols in the media distorts the domestic perception of foreign events. My study casts a first light on this little understood-but nonetheless crucial-phenomenon.
ACCESSION #
61875118

 

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