Friday, March 04, 2011

Neverending painful shitzek

I wish Johann Hari could be cured of his bigotry and imperialist ideology; some of his critics I know insist that bigotry and racism is just lack of education, just ignorance, and that all you have to do is explain to people like Hari that we're all the same deep down, and it goes away. Would it were so, because he's done some valuable reporting, and he wrote one of my favourite antizizek lines ever:

Zizek is fond of riffing on objects from everyday life, and talks in the film about a "chocolate laxative" he recently bought in a chemist. It's an apt image, because Zizek himself is like a chocolate laxative - sweet at first taste, but ultimately leaves only a torrent of painful shit.

And it keeps flowing, as today in the New Statesman on Israeli expansionism and apartheid:

A. There is no seige of Gaza, there have been no bombardments.... The "main form terror takes" in the region is anonymous "pressure" on the West Bank, described so vaguely as even to confuse an uninformed reader about who is poisoned and who poisoning: "Now that the attacks have fallen greatly in number, the main form that terror takes is continuous, low-level pressure on the West Bank (water poisonings, crop burnings and arson attacks on mosques). Shall we conclude that, though violence doesn't work, renouncing it works even less well?"

B. "Although neither side wants it (Israel would probably prefer the areas of the West Bank that it is ready to cede to become a part of Jordan, while the Palestinians consider the land that has fallen to Israel since 1967 to be theirs), the establishment of two states is somehow accepted as the only feasible solution" What can one say? There were folks who were sceptical when I pointed out how weasly and propagandistic that "Israel Can't Win" letter was, with its abbreviated demands, not even adequate to satisfy international law, posing as radical extremism on "the Palestinian side" and hostile to Israel, its insinuation that humanitarian aid was a kind of despicably soft issue, no urgent concern, and its seeking to frame the issue in such a way as to suggest a view that should Israel "win" - succeed in imposing its will - then this would have to be accepted as legitimate, the outcome of a political struggle between rivals and enemies, and not a crime. This paragraph should put doubts about the justice of my reading of those ambiguities, omissions and implications to rest.

C. And of course we have the usual smattering of creepy, icky old imagery: right from the start, "Arab men" and "Jewish girls" (the difference expressed as racial not confessional). It's women who are the objects of raids to retrieve them from "hostile" villages (what is he quoting "hostile" - that "Wild West" word - from?), but in the next sentence it's girls again, confirmed "seduced" by adults:

The guardians of Jewish purity are bothered that Jewish girls are being seduced by Palestinian men. The head of Kiryat Gat's welfare unit said: "The girls, in their innocence, go with the exploitative Arab."

d. Finally the scourge of "identity politics", the chammpion of an (aryanism in disguise as) universalism requiring, so he says, the "elimination" of "the Jews" who are the particularist, multiculturalist, tribalists par excellence laments: "What is saddening is that many Israelis seem to be doing all they can to transform the unique Jewish nation into just another nation..... As for the Israeli defenders of Jewish purity: they want to protect it so much that they are ready to forsake the very core of Jewish identity."


  1. Weird about Zizek liking Lenin, considering he misinterpreted him two years later:
    Granted, I'd also apply Hairi's blasting of Lenin to Stalin more, really.
    There's his denuciation of Castro too.

    But anyway, here, I kinda think Zizek naively has the right idea. He's not painting Arabs as monsters, rather he's simply addressing how right wing Judaism followers portray them in their propaganda films.

  2. why does an editorial purportedly advocating the single state in all of historic Palestine begin with this highly visual, evocative story of "interracial" "mixing" between "Arab men" and "local Jewish girls"?

    what has this to do with the supposed topic?

    the piece is completely impressionistic and incoherent. it's a kind of photo essay in words. a parade of highly charged terms embedded in vagueness, arranged in relations...

    Arab men
    local Jewish girls
    mixed couples
    Arab men
    Jewish girls
    "the binational state is already a reality"
    Arab exploiter
    hostile Arab villages
    terror attacks
    Jewish purity
    "Palestinians consider the land that has fallen to Israel since 1967 to be theirs"
    Jewish suffering
    Jewish purity
    Jewish nation
    Jewish identity