April 18, 2019, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Fake News! The View from Israel’s Military Occupation

Event Information

Rebecca L. Stein
Duke University Department of Anthropology

This paper studies the impact of new photographic technologies and image-sharing
platforms on the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories. Taking its cue
from Trumpian political discourse, I focus on the right-wing Jewish Israeli reckoning with
the growing visual archive of Palestinian injury at Israeli state or settler hands – a
reckoning that occurs through the discourse of “fake news,” or the charge that such images
are fraudulent or manipulated in some regard to produce the damning portrait of Israel. I
will trace the long colonial history of repudiation in the Israeli context, its modification in
the digital age, and consider the ways it has become an increasingly standard right-wing
response to images of state violence believed to damage Israel’s global standing. I will
argue that the fraudulence charge is marshalled as a solution to the viral visibility of Israeli
state violence — a charge that works to bring these damning images back in line with
dominant Israeli ideology by shifting the narrative from Palestinian injury to Israeli
victimhood. The story of the “fake” image of Palestinian injury endeavors strip the visual
field of its Israeli perpetrators and Palestinian victims, thereby exonerating the state. Or
such is the fantasy.

Location: Olin102