As clearly said as I have seen...

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. The alliance between the Christian fundamentalists in the United States and Israeli Zionists would suggest a mutation in the present geo-political configuration from the discursive terrain that you explore in your book.

    My comment on this issue would be the following: there has been absolutely no change on that front. I mean by this that there is nothing new at all. The simplest way, and probably the more provocative way of putting it, is that Israel, as a theologico-political project, is the clear continuation of Western Christendom's relation to Islam.

    I believe I am, as one says in French, weighing my words, je pèse mes mots. The argument I want to make is that it is absolutely essential to continue to insist on the colonial dimension of Zionism, and colonial in the strict sense, absolutely. The claim that there was no colonial basis for Israel is ludicrous. People were citizens of countries and were acting on behalf of Western powers, and Western powers understood this very well. As did Herzl, of course, and others.

    So Israel is absolutely a colonial enterprise, a colonial settler state, to be precise. But Israel is also something other than that. This is not to say that it is therefore better or that the state of Israel should be exonerated for what it has done and is doing more than ever to the Palestinians. Rather I wish to underscore that there are sources and reasons for the phenomenon which modern Zionism is, sources and reasons that precede colonialism and that continue to affect and possibly govern, if subterraneously, events and processes in Israel/Palestine as well as in Europe and the US. The claim that Western Christendom or that the West, Europe, even the US were solving their Jewish question by exporting it to the Middle East is, of course, quite accurate, but not to consider that they were also exporting their Arab problem is, it seems to me, misleading and quite dangerous. It is not just because a group of Jewish or Zionist organizations insisted on going to Palestine (after some struggle as to which "empty land" could be considered as well) that the state of Israel was founded. This was not a peaceful project, as we know, since some people wanted to go elsewhere, and the colonial project was such that they were, in fact, considering Uganda, or Argentina, or Palestine. So it was not just that the Zionist movement simply made the decision. It certainly did not have that kind of power at the time.

    What is more or at least equally important is that Europe has also been dealing with a Muslim question (which is to say as well, an Arab question, with the slides between names, and because the slide is also between religion and ethnicity, between religion and race), and to ignore this is in fact to reinscribe the enforced vanishing of the Arab and of the Muslim in and from Europe. It is to repeat what Giscard d'Estaing [who said that Turkey's entry into the EU would be "the end of Europe"] and the Pope appear to want to do historically. It is false, and it is wrong. Forget medieval influences and the role of Arabic culture in "transmitting" Greek culture. What I am talking about is a constant, if changing, mode of presence and a lengthy series of imaginary effects, and much more than imaginary, in and on Europe, on a continuous basis, from the 7th century all the way to the 21st. There is no moment when Europe is not concerned, occupied, at war, propagandizing, writing, thinking, worrying, admiring, loving, hating the Arab, the Muslim, the Turk, the Saracen, the Agarene, the Moor. There is no single moment in history since the 7th century when someone can tell me that in Western Europe there is not a concern which is, in one way or another, determining of Western culture, music, art, politics, religion, everything. Would someone want to tell me that it is just a Jewish matter that is being exported to the Middle East? Absolutely not. Why, then, specifically, to Palestine? Why did the Western powers want and agree with the destruction of Palestine for the benefit of Israel? Why to the "Holy Land"?

    The question must be asked and the answer must engage "the Muslim question." For to ignore this question is to renew and increase the invisibility of the Christian role in the pre-history and the history of colonialism and post-colonialism. The Pope, to take a random example, has not exactly been a peaceful mediator of anything here. No pope has been and no Western power has been. There is no mediation. There is rather an extreme investment in the continuation of the war of Israel against Palestine, that is to say, in maintaining the conditions that make this war possible. I say this, and I include Europe, even though Europe is to some extent more progressive in this respect, certainly more than the US (mind you, that is not hard) but I do think there is an investment, economic and psychic, in maintaining the enmity. It is after all perfect from a Christian perspective: the Jews and the Muslims are fighting each other and God knows what it is about. Who can understand these people anyway? That would be the more "tolerant" and relentlessly symmetric statement: well, they are all crazy. I am absolutely against any such symmetry, but I am also more and more against any assertion that Christian, Western powers are just like big brothers trying to manage irreconcilable enemies.

    On a related matter, somewhat anecdotally, I did consider another cover for the book, which I had shown in some lectures. I was not sure I would like the cover as it now appears, but Janet Wood did a wonderful job, which I was extremely happy with. I was surprised I liked it because I did not want to provide a face, to unsettle and confirm all kinds of expectations. In the end, it is precisely the vanishing of the face and its indeterminability as it appears on the cover that appeals to me so much.

    But the image that I had which would have run the risk of turning the book into some kind of comic book was a photograph of the Pope visiting the Holy Land a few years ago. It was in Time magazine (so it probably would have been too much trouble to get anyway in terms of copyright and so forth). On the photograph, the Pope appears wearing his full regalia, all white, shiny-white, and on either side, he has one of the chief rabbis and a Muslim cleric who was nominated by Arafat (the actual Mufti of Jerusalem declined attending). And the rabbi and the cleric look exactly the same: they are both wearing European dark suits, ties, white shirts, and they both have a salt-and-pepper beard. The only thing that is slightly different is the headdress; the rabbi has a more European hat, whereas the Muslim has a kind of turban, but you can scarcely see that in the picture. What is fantastic about this is that you could more or less substitute one for the other without too much trouble. I am not sure how observant, in both senses of the term, people have been of the distinction. What is particularly striking, however, is the Pope, who sits all in white in the middle, holding his head as if in great suffering (the elderly John Paul II has been quite sick for a number of years). On the photograph, at any rate, he is surrounded by the Jew and the Arab, and he simply cannot take it. And such is the theological predicament of Christianity: the Jew, and the Muslim, and what of the Christian then? A hyphen in between? How is that possible? And there are 1 billion Muslims? They succeeded the Christians? That is why Christianity had to maintain for so long that Islam was not a religion, not even a theological aberration. How could a religion come about and succeed after Jesus? That makes no sense, even if you think of a Second Coming. But another religion?

    Of course the Pope is not really holding his head because of any theological predicament. The structure of the image does perfectly replicate the well-known pictures of a big, white brother in between the two dark people who cannot get along. As if the big, white brother was not also separating, and keeping apart: it is Carter between Begin and Sadat, and it is Clinton between Rabin and Arafat. I cannot endorse those moments. Nor am I saying that if you let everybody just talk everything will be all right.

    So to return to the question, there is nothing new about the alliance between Zionism and Christian fundamentalism. It is somewhat new only in terms of the way in which Israel has been more blatant about it. I was reading an article recently that described the last visit of the Israeli Minister of Tourism to the US. During this visit, the Minister of Tourism - one of many outspoken fascists in the Israeli government, but one who is particularly blatant from one of the extreme right-wing parties - for the first time never even contacted any Jewish organization but went straight and only for Christian evangelists.

    So in terms of policy subtleties (or lack thereof), this may be new, but at a fundamental, structural level, there is nothing new. Of course there is an alliance. And I am not just talking about eschatological issues, I am talking about a fundamental congruence of understanding concerning Islam in the world, on the need to fight it, and to establish dissymmetries, and with Jews and Jewish Israelis willingly taking up that fight. It is beautifully choreographed, though I do not think there is one choreographer, not even one team. Things are much more disseminated.

    http://www.asiasource.org/news/special_reports/anidjar5.cfm
     
  2. It's no surprise that this piece of writing would appeal to you, of all people. It's so badly written that it's difficult to extract any meaning from it at all.

    'Subterraneously', indeed. What a joke.

    Fuzzy thinking leads to this kind of writing. Just like it does for you, Mr. 'Magistrates were Materialized out of Pure Potentiality'.
     
  3. So to return to the question, there is nothing new about the alliance between Zionism and Christian fundamentalism. It is somewhat new only in terms of the way in which Israel has been more blatant about it. I was reading an article recently that described the last visit of the Israeli Minister of Tourism to the US. During this visit, the Minister of Tourism - one of many outspoken fascists in the Israeli government, but one who is particularly blatant from one of the extreme right-wing parties - for the first time never even contacted any Jewish organization but went straight and only for Christian evangelists.
     
  4. So a right-wing Israeli politician visited with right-wing Americans? Wow, that is evidence of a huge Zionist cover-up and worldwide Jewish Banking Conspiracy to Dominate the World. Anyone who doesn't see that is an ass-clown, clearly.

    Meanwhile...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080312/wl_mcclatchy/2877385