Knowledge and Silence

On Mechanisms of Denial and Repression in Israeli Society

Edited by
Kinneret Lahad, Hanna Herzog
Publisher Van Leer Institute Press and Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2006
Series Theory in Context Series

How is a family secret kept for years? Why do people remain silent and cover up corruption in the workplace? Why do we put up with discrimination in the workplace based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, or class? Why was the world silent during the Holocaust in Europe, the Armenian genocide in Turkey, or the Biafra catastrophe? Why do news reports of the killing of Palestinians or of civil war in Africa have such a marginal place in the consciousness of Israelis? On the face of it, the claim about silence is paradoxical. We live in an age of ceaseless public talk, in which many platforms are available from which to respond and to make oneself heard: television, radio, the press, and the Internet. The accessibility of information has come to be taken for granted: Old archives are being opened to the public, the demand for transparency of information is increasingly being met, and television and Internet satellites offer hundreds of channels of information and communication. Why, then, is there still so much silence and silencing?

Knowledge and Silence: On Mechanisms of Denial and Repression in Israeli Society seeks to answer these questions and to clarify what the social processes are that silence and suppress important issues, shunting them to the margins of public consciousness. The authors—researchers, journalists, professionals, and social activists—reveal the layers of the mechanisms of repression and silencing in the Israeli public and try to decipher the relation between silence, knowledge, and action.

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