Zizek on ‘The Palestinian Question’

by tobybee

For those fans of Slavoj Zizek out there, I came across (thanks to my thesis supervisor), these two excellent pieces by him
entitled “The Palestinian Question”, where Part I looks at “Ideological Mystification – the couple Symptom / Fetish” and Part II examines “Islamo-Fascism, Christo-Fascism, Zionism- mieux vaut un désastre qu’un désêtre”

He explores the intersections of marxism, the radical left, liberalism, fascism, antisemitism, revolution, Israel and Palestine, bringing together philosophy, psychoanalysis, history and politics. There are numerous aspects of his critique which I appreciated, and I haven’t had a chance yet to think through his argument properly, but there’s probably much in there worth critiquing too. His argument, like most complex arguments, is hard to summarise – it’s like one long thread, and you need to read it all for it to fit together.

But there were two comments which stood out for me, both from Part II:

“one should insist that the Middle East conflict between the State of Israel and the Arabs is an emphatically false conflict: even if we will all die because of it, it is a conflict which mystifies the true issues.”

and

“No wonder, then, that, with the establishment of the Jewish Nation-State, a new figure of the Jew emerged: a Jew resisting identification with the State of Israel, refusing to accept the State of Israel as his true home, a Jew who “subtracts” himself from this State, and who includes the State of Israel among the states towards which he insists on maintaining a distance, to live in their interstices – and it is this uncanny Jew who is the object of what one cannot but designate as “Zionist anti-Semitism,” the foreign excess disturbing the Nation-State community. These Jews, the “Jews of the Jews themselves,” worthy successors of Spinoza, are today the only Jews who continue to insist on the “public use of reason,” refusing to submit their reasoning to the “private” domain of Nation-State.”

I do think his analysis of Jewish interactions with modernity, as well as his descriptions of antisemitism, are compelling even if they are a bit too all-encompassing marxist for my taste… I highly recommend taking the time to read these pieces…

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