Judith Butler is a major critic of the state of Israel. Like many in left, far left academia, they occupy a higher moral ground than the common and mortal, the unwashed who may actually have to do some real work to meet their burden. Somehow, they don’t have the gist, the hang, of walking on water. Butler’s winning of the Theodor Adorno prize was no shocker, standard procedure actually designed to provoke; but criticize she does, and what’s not to criticize: Israel is a racist, violent and excessive nation but while she is railing on for sanctions on Israel academics,maybe she should throw in the Cairo club, the Damascus faculty lounge, and the the Tehran alumni stoning academy as well.
In a sense, Butler stakes out these well meaning but calculated positions that, in a Veblen sense, will confer social capital on herself, status and distinction and then cry unfair and fowl, or is it foul when the pitchers throw high and inside with a little chin music. As a jew, it has to be supposed she has an engagement with her heritage that approaches what one has with yoga, or cross country skiing; been there, done it . Its post-Jewish, post-post Zionism. True, attacks against her are unfair; her reference points are highly idiosyncratic and arcane, albeit perfectly coherent within her framework, even if the sum is less than the hole. Or is it whole?
Her response on Mondoweiss was pretty wimpy though; she could have given them the finger and a bit of punk and swagger instead of falling back on her own jewish pedigree which seems irrelevant. In fact her response, her whole argument based on bi-national Buberism is a minor chink in the Zionist rhetoric, totally under the radar. Or maybe its just a personal preference for the nihilistic side of anarchism or some kind of divine Yahweh induced violence to make itself assert its credentials in an unrequited fashion.Or maybe unlike Hannah Arendt she hasn’t found the right strain of dialogical ecology to hump every night. Funny how the atheistic, humanistic anti-Zionists are so similar to the pioneers like Weizmann and Herzl et al. who hated the religious yids perhaps more than the Arabs. In the end, the people who get foamy at the mouth about Israel will end up hating her too. Just sayin’.
(see link at end)…German prize award committees seem to have a weak spot for outspoken Jewish critics of Israel: writer and activist Uri Avnery has accumulated multiple German awards over the years, and the staunchly pro-Palestinian attorney and activist Felicia Langer was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit, First class, in 2009. Now it is the turn of Judith Butler, an American philosopher and professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley, who will receive the prestigious Theodor Adorno Prize on September 11 in Frankfurt.
To be sure, the Adorno Prize is awarded to “acknowledge outstanding performances in the fields of philosophy, music, theatre and film” – which is to say that it is Butler’s academic work, and not her political activism that are being honored with the prize. However, it is obviously Butler’s academic fame and her status as the “reigning queen” of Queer Studies that make her activism very valuable to her political allies in the BDS-movement that targets Israel. Critics who argue that it is therefore disingenuous to pretend that Butler’s contribution to philosophy can be honored irrespective of her political activism obviously have a point….Read More:http://blogs.jpost.com/content/judith-butler-and-politics-hypocrisy
Judith Butler:“For those of us who are descendants of European Jews who were destroyed in the Nazi genocide (my grandmother’s family was destroyed in a small village south of Budapest), it is the most painful insult and injury to be called complicitous with the hatred of Jews or to be called self-hating.”
…I am a scholar who gained an introduction to philosophy through Jewish thought, and I understand myself as defending and continuing a Jewish ethical tradition that includes figures such as Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt….So the allegation of anti-Semitism is actually a cover for an intra-Jewish quarrel….there are strong Jewish traditions, even early Zionist traditions, that value co-habitation and that offer ways to oppose violence of all kinds, including state violence. It is most important that these traditions be valued and animated for our time – they represent diasporic values, struggles for social justice, and the exceedingly important Jewish value of “repairing the world” (Tikkun)….
…It makes me into someone who wishes to affirm a Judaism that is not identified with state violence, and that is identified with a broad-based struggle for social justice….Like so many others, I long for a truly democratic polity on those lands and I affirm the principles of self-determination and co-habitation for both peoples, indeed, for all peoples. And my wish, as is the wish of an increasing number of Jews and non-Jews, is that the occupation come to an end, that violence of all kinds cease, and that the substantial political rights of all people in that land be secured through a new political structure….Read More:http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/judith-butler-responds-to-attack-i-affirm-a-judaism-that-is-not-associated-with-state-violence.html