We don’t want salvation, we want the messiah! Or do you? If given a million dollars or the messiah arriving? Well, maybe the million, and the messiah a little later. Clearly, the the poor sufferers in the Death Camps of the holocaust wanted the messiah more than the socially upwardly mobile jewish professional in New York. Somehow, comfort seems to negate the necessity, or at least makes procrastination a viable option. And to those who said the establishment of Israel was a prelude, a divine signal of the redemption being at hand, or a divine hand preparing the redemption, the exact opposite may have been true, in that it delayed the arrival of the end day, the process of moving inexorably towards its final act of revelation. At least according to orthodox judaism.
The Yad Vashem holocaust museum descecration in Israel several weeks ago, although not to be condoned, does articulate the problematical role the holocaust played, and Zionism’s complicity, both passive and more active in using it to further aspirations for statehood, secularism, and more perniciously, posited the long standing and deeply felt antipathy towards religious jews and more specifically, to Judaism as a religious and torah based way of life as opposed to a cultural judaism in which the jewish is viewed more as a birth defect and that religious jews are relegated to the role of tolerated guests in what is ostensibly a religious homeland. Not that the religious in Israel should be exalted; they are responsible for much of the ire directed at them with their bohemian lifestyle, sexism, and general disengagement from society in search of the spiritual high they are not that different from Timothy Leary’s tune in and drop out crowd, willing to parasitically leech off the land.
Slavoj Zizek, for all his failings, does capture at least part of this dynamic, though he knows little of Judaism per se, his Marxism as secular religion contains enough firm footing in the socialist marsh to grasp certain key elements. In a sense his own messianism seen through the prism of clinical atheism is able to arrive at the idea that jewsih nationalism promotes anti-semitism, despite the lengthly detours through his own narcissistic labyrinth and search for the spotlight. The red carpet, red of course, treatment.
( see link at end) …“(Zizek) has freed himself from the chains of anti-anti-Semitism,” Plocker wrote, indulging, however temporarily, Zizek’s penchant for irony. “In his book we can find the following declarations: Modern-day Zionism, as manifested by the State of Israel’s policy, is already anti-Semitic; that is, premised on anti-Semitic ideological fundamentals.”
Clearly Zizek had touched a nerve. This influential European philosopher was arguing a line that is now an integral feature of his writings on Israel. Oddly enough, he seemed to have assimilated the conservative theological position on Jewish statehood—that Judaism and Zionism are incompatible—and given it a secular, newly-leftist makeover….Zizek attacks Irving’s imprisonment on the grounds that criminalizing his doubt of the Shoah is “the most refined and perverted version of Holocaust denial.”
Logic like this cannot fail to confound the uninitiated reader. What is “anti-anti-Semitism,” anyway? And how could the punishment of Holocaust deniers possibly be a form of denial? Rather than dismissing him outright, or submitting to the vague feeling that Zizek might be somehow kidding, the frustrated reader would do well to sit down and try to untangle the philosopher’s arguments.
For example, legislation that criminalizes Holocaust denial has the unintended consequence of rendering the tragedy, to use the author’s words, “untouchable.” It chills discussion. This makes it difficult to do such basic things as conceptualize the Shoah’s meaning and debate why genocide ought to be forbidden. Banishing deniers unfortunately buries the original event, leaving denial, sadly, the only way to talk about it. Read More:http://www.religiondispatches.org/books/775/rdbook%3A_is_zionism_anti-semitic%3A_zizek%27s_violence/
He traced antisemitism through history, from when Jews were expected to convert, to the era of Enlightenment and French Revolution, when it became clear that no conversion or amount of assimilation could do anything to change their eternal Jewishness. Jews went from being too distinct and particular to being too universal and cosmopolitan, which paved the way for the Holocaust.
After establishing the deep-rooted vitality of antisemitism, he mentioned that he has no patience for those who excuse Arab antisemitism; that even the most oppressed and poor Palestinian should not be tolerated for being antisemitic. He also spoke about his well-known argument regarding Zionist antisemitism, whereby Zionists use antisemitic language towards fellows Jews in accusing them of not being Zionist enough. This was his main critique of Israel – its witch hunt against those Jews it finds not “Zionist enough.”…
What he doesn’t mention is that Zionism and Judaism are fundamentally incompatible, and that dealing with this enigma requires more work than leftist bromides or applying a Marxist/Lacan template to something requiring a more profound understanding of the dynamic between Judaism and democracy and the basics of halachic law as it pertains to the role of statehood. What is going on in Israel is an appropriation of Zionism by a new, non secular demographic and the first attempts to liberate it, emancipate it into what may be more fundamentally revolutionary than its crude and vulgar beginnings.
( see link at end) …He proceeded to say that Zionism is not the worst evil in the world. He mentioned the strangling of the West Bank by Israel as a colonization project and said that there should be maps everywhere hanging of what belongs to whom in the West Bank so people who can really see Israel’s domination. But he also stated that someone from the Democratic Republic of Congo would sell his mother into slavery in a heartbeat for the chance to move to the West Bank.
By coming to Tel Aviv and speaking to a group of Israelis, not about the ills of Israel, but rather the deep and perverse ways in which antisemitism persists in Europe and America today and pervades Zionism and Israel as well, Zizek expressed for me the very real frustration with a certain trend of radical leftwing activism today, in which Israel’s wrongdoings seem to completely overlook, discount or negate very real issues pertaining to Jewish existence and identity, as it plays out in global politics.
I believe Zizek’s point is that antisemitism not only continues to exist, but is reincarnating itself in different forms that Israelis need to pay more attention to – and that this is highly detrimental, not just to Israel — but in the larger scope of racism and violence, and how we deal with global problems — is something that is detrimental to everyone. Read More:http://972mag.com/slavoj-zizek-in-tel-aviv-antisemitism-is-alive-and-kicking-in-europe/
Zizek sees this as ‘paradoxical’, but—unfortunately—he’s wrong. In fact, from very early on in the development of the Zionist movement, opponents of Zionism were characterised using antisemitic stereotypes. In his 1897 essay ‘Mauschel’, the founder of political Zionism, Theodore Herzl, angered by anti-Zionists, painted the weak ghetto Jew that Zionism was supposed to banish forever as the bad Jew who speaks with a Yiddish accent, a ‘scamp’, ‘a distortion of the human character, unspeakably mean and repellent’, interested only in ‘mean profit’—attributes of an unmistakably antisemitic kind. To a great degree the use of demonising language to describe Jewish opponents of Zionism largely disappeared from mainstream intra-Jewish discourse because Zionism appeared to achieve such hegemonic dominance among Jews everywhere. But as dissenting views became more prominent in the last 20-30 years, so the language used to attack dissidents became ever more strident, once again appropriating antisemitic phraseology, as in, for example, Melanie Phillips’s description of the founding signatories of Independent Jewish Voices as ‘Jews for genocide’.
Zionists were not only content to make direct use of antisemitic stereotypes, they also understood full well that antisemitism helped advance the cause, even as they promoted Zionism as the solution to the scourge of antisemitism. Herzl said that ‘the antisemites are Zionism’s staunchest allies’. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, said in the 1930s that ‘le malheur of the Jews was the chance of Zionism’, and he and his followers knew all too well how to mobilize antisemitism for the achievement of their vision.
And there is another very contemporary example of how Israel and the Zionist movement are not beyond making common cause with antisemites. Millions of fundamentalist Christian Zionists in America are now among Israel’s staunchest supporters. Since 9/11 they have made funding pro-Israel propaganda groups, right-wing Zionist organizations and settlement activity, and providing political backing to the Israeli government’s hard line policies, a central plank of their foreign policy. But they do this because they believe that Christ’s Second Coming will only occur once the land of Israel is fully united. All believers will be transported to meet the Lord, while everybody else, including the Jews, will perish in the battle of Armageddon. So for Christian Zionists, Jews are merely a means to an end. However, it’s no secret that this ideology is suffused with antisemitism. But right-wing Zionists are quite happy to ignore such an awkward fact on the grounds that the support of Christian Zionists for Israel trumps their Jew-hatred.Read More:http://antonylerman.com/tag/slavoj-zizek/