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Journal Article

“I Was in a War, and in a War Things Like That Happen”: On Judgments and Ethical Investigations in Israeli Law and Literature

Renana Keydar
Jewish Social Studies
Vol. 18, No. 3, History and Responsibility: Hebrew Literature Facing 1948 (Spring/Summer 2012), pp. 212-224
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/jewisocistud.18.3.212
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jewisocistud.18.3.212
Page Count: 13
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“I Was in a War, and in a War Things Like That Happen”: On Judgments and Ethical Investigations in Israeli Law and Literature
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Abstract

Abstract Focusing on two key events in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—the Deir Yassin affair (1948) and the Kefar Kassem massacre (1956)—the article explores how Israeli narratives of different genres engage with conflict-related atrocities. Juxtaposing the literary reimagination of the Deir Yassin affair in Nurith Gertz's ‘Al da‘at ‘atsmo (Unrepentant, 2008) and the seminal court ruling in the Kefar Kassem massacre trial (1958), this article examines the ethical considerations and effects of the different formal strategies employed in each of the texts. I argue that the encounter with conflict-related atrocities leads to a break in the generic form of both the literary and the legal texts and a resort to extrageneric rhetoric. This formal disruption engages the reader and, possibly, her community in an ethical inquiry that emphasizes the process of investigation rather than final judgments.

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