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Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 44, No.

1, 2010

Racial palestinianization and the Janus-faced nature of the Israeli state


Abu El-Haj focuses on David Theo Goldbergs analysis of racial palestinianization in The Threat of Race. Most broadly, she argues that the specific contours of the Israeli states racial rule over its Palestinian subjects and citizens do not fit easily into Goldbergs characterization of neoliberal racism. She thinks with and further elaborates Goldbergs many insights, especially his use of Michel Foucaults concept of race wars and counter-history to think about Zionism and the Israeli state, and then demonstrates the ways in which, at moments, Goldberg fails to exit fully the counter-historical narrative he sets out to critique and considers why that is so. Finally, she questions Goldbergs naming of racial palestinianization a born again racism, and complicates his characterization of Israel as a neoliberal state, insisting on recognizing and highlighting its dual nature: Israel is a neoliberal and a colonial state, overlapping, and yet each operating according to distinct tactics and modalities of rule.

David Theo Goldberg, Israel, Palestine, racial palestinianization, racism, The Threat of Race, Zionism

ince Israels latest war on Gaza, the Israeli government has not let in any reconstruction materials. People are living in tents amid the ruins of their homes, the economy is at a virtual standstill (as has been the case for years), and everything except medicine and food has to be smuggled in from Egypt. As reported in the New York Times:

That leaves Gaza suspended in a state of misery that defies easy categorization. It is, of course, crowded and poor, but it is better off than nearly all of Africa as well as parts of Asia. There is no acute malnutrition, and infant mortality rates compare with those in Egypt and Jordan . . . This is because although Israel and Egypt have shut the borders for the past three years in an effort to squeeze

I would like to thank Barbara Rosenbaum and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. I would also like to thank Bashir Abu-Manneh and John Comaroff for their insights on earlier drafts of the article. Finally, I thank Elizabeth Povinelli who gave this a last minute, urgently needed final read, no doubt when she had better things to be doing with her time.
ISSN 0031-322X print/ISSN 1461-7331 online/10/010027-15 # 2010 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/00313220903507610

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Hamas, Israel rations aid daily, allowing in about 100 trucks of food and medicine. Military officers in Tel Aviv count the calories to avoid a disaster.1

Counting calories in order to avoid a disaster, the calculus of Israels necropolitical regime.2 If Gaza and the West Bank are postcolonies*those withering, debilitating, and abandoned spaces that stand in contrast to the postcolonial dream of economic independence, demographic upliftment, and the promise of human flourishing3*they are postcolonies by colonial design: creating zones of abandonment is the conscious, willed policy of the Israeli state.4 But The Threat of Race is not just about racial palestinianization. Its ambitions are greater: first, to provide a conceptual mapping of race-making and racist structures and, second, to produce a cartography of racial fabrication and racist exclusion across five broad regional terrains (327, emphasis in original). Goldberg calls for a political and an analytic shift away from antiracialism, which dominates the contemporary politics of race. The end of racism lies not in being against race*as a concept, a name, a category, a categorizing (10)*but in attending to the lived conditions of race, to its forms of discrimination, exclusion and violence. After sketching a broad history of anticolonial and antiracist struggles (anti-slavery movements in Haiti and Cuba, the anticolonial and civil rights movements of the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the anti-apartheid movement and the twinned rise of multicultural politics), Goldberg explores the consequences of the fact that antiracism has given way to the dominant trend of antiracialism (19). In an era in which counter-commitment regarding race in social arrangements came to be expressed as colorblindness, or more generally as racelessness (330), the ongoing effects of economic, political and legal racisms have been increasingly ignored, sidelined and denied. Antiracialism is whiteness by another name, by other means (22). It is born again racism (emphasis in original): racism without race, racism gone private, racism without the categories to name it as such
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1 Ethan Bronner, Misery hangs over Gaza despite pledges of help, New York Times, 28 May 2009. 2 Achille Mbembe, Necropolitics, Public Culture, vol. 15, no. 1, 2003, 11/40. In the aftermath of Hamass electoral win in January 2006, an Israeli government spokesperson referred to official policy towards Gaza as putting the Palestinians on a diet, but not making them die of hunger: quoted in Honaida Ghanim, Thanatopolitics: the case of the colonial occupation of Palestine, in Ronit Lentin (ed.), Thinking Palestine (London: Zed Books 2007), 65/81 (76). 3 David Theo Goldberg, The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism (Oxford and Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell 2009), 16 (subsequent page references will appear parenthetically in the text). 4 Joa o Biehl, Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment (Berkeley and London: University of California Press 2005).



(23). Invisible man, Goldberg writes, has deepened into invisible racial arrangements of social conditions (356). This is the racism of the neoliberal age. In engaging this broad, rich and passionate text, I focus on racial palestinianization, a regional terrain that does not fit easily into the historical narrative sketched above.5 In reading Zionism through Foucaults notion of race wars, Goldberg provides a novel and fruitful lens through which to look at the history of the Israeli state. I use that as my starting point in order to think with and to further elaborate Goldbergs many insights. I also point to moments in the text where I disagree with Goldbergs analysis, demonstrating the ways in which certain arguments fail to exit fully the counter-historical narrative Goldberg sets out to critique, and highlighting the reasons and consequences for such failures. Most broadly, I question his naming racial palestinianization a born again racism. The term places racial palestinianization within a historical trajectory that never happened in the Israeli state, thereby subsuming Israeli rule over its Palestinian subjects and citizens too seamlessly under the rubric of neoliberalism. The Israeli state is a neoliberal state. It is, simultaneously, a colonial state. Political and economic orders do not shift in block periodizations any more than do scientific paradigms or epistemic virtues.6 The Israeli state is Janus-faced.7 It is a regime that manoeuvres between and speaks in the name of different modalities in relation to shifting forms of capital, shifting global political imaginaries and shifting oppositional struggles*threats*on the ground. Keeping its Janus-faced nature in focus, I argue, better enables us to specify the distinctive character of this racial state and to appreciate the particular political challenges that the Palestinian struggle*and its supporters*face.
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5 I have nominated it racial palestinianization rather than israelification (which would be more consistent with the other modes of racial regionalization I have identified) in order both to connect it to the representational and political histories of orientalism and to indicate its occupational singularities in the order of contemporary racial expressions and repressions, Goldberg explains (130). I find Goldbergs reasoning for the inconsistency convincing, especially in terms of the latter justification. Analytically and politically it is important to distinguish the Israeli racial regime from those of Europe, post-apartheid South Africa, the United States and Latin America. Israel is a colonial state whose most fundamental terms of racial rule are structured by a distinction between citizenship and nationality, by the law of return and its implications for equalities and rights for Jews v. non-Jews within the state and to the land, and by its continued occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. As I argue in what follows, in certain respects I would draw the distinctions even more starkly than does Goldberg. 6 Peter Galison, Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1997); Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (New York: Zone Books 2007). 7 Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1987).

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An exceptional racism and the struggle for Palestine

Why, asks Goldberg, was the fight against antisemitism not one of the principal expressions of anti-racist social movements? In so far as antisemitism certainly since the Shoah [has been declared] as the constitutive extreme, always the exceptional case, the struggle against antisemitism has characterized itself in the singular, as exemplary, as unlike any other struggle (19). That has generated problems for point[ing] to the racial dimensions of Israels very definition (20). Principally, one always risks the accusation of antisemite or self-hating Jew. Goldberg eloquently argues for the distinction between criticism of the state of Israel and antisemitism, and he makes a much needed and impassioned plea for the responsibility of Jews to be critical of a state that speaks in their name (112). I want to highlight and further elaborate a slightly different aspect of the political consequences of antisemitism as an exceptional racism, however. What has it meant for what Edward Said called the Palestinian permission to narrate?8 In the aftermath of the Second World War and more specifically since the 1960s, the Holocaust was fashioned in US and Israeli political consciousness as the singular event of genocide: the archetypal event of victimization and suffering.9 In the rhetorical call of never again the spectre of European antisemitism haunts the Palestinian cause, most especially the struggle against the Israeli state in the aftermath of the 1967 war. How can a Palestinian nationalist narrative of disenfranchisement and suffering be heard by Israeli and US (and European) publics when the Holocaust is the yardstick against which other conflicts are measured and the Jew the ur-victim of modern state violence?10 (Many of the legal parameters of the international human rights regime were developed in response to Nazi policies, as is well known. Specifically, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the `-vis civilians, POWs and other universal standard for rules of war vis-a captive or injured people, were a direct response to the Nazi state.) The racist character of the Israeli state*the organization of the state around the distinction between Jew and non-Jew, military and civilian legal systems, enclosure and movement and, since the 1967 war, the additional distinction between citizen and subject*becomes unintelligible, perhaps even unspeakable, for much of the Euro-American world for the better part of the twentieth and now the early twenty-first centuries. As evidenced in Goldbergs text, this political legacy haunts even those who do choose to speak critically. Goldberg is explicit in his criticism of the
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8 Edward Said, Permission to narrate, London Review of Books, 16 February 1984, 13/17. 9 See Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1999), and Idith Zertal, Israels Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood, trans. from the Hebrew by Chaya Galai (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press 2005). 10 See Novick, The Holocaust in American Life.



Israeli state. Israel is a racist state: Palestinians are treated not as if a racial group, not simply in the manner of a racial group, but as a despised and demonic racial group (139). Racial palestinianization is premised on land clearance justified in a language of biblical return, an ideology that distinguishes racial palestinianization from classic modes of settler colonialism (130, emphasis added), but a settler colony it remains nevertheless. Amid these critical reflections, however, Goldberg feels compelled to repeat that his is not a challenge to Israels right to exist:
This critique of palestinianization is not to advocate for nor self-loathingly to desire Israels destruction . . . I am concerned here insistently to question not Israels being, its right to exist, but rather its forms of expression and its modes of self-insistence and enforcement (142, emphasis in original).

The compulsion to make clear that one is not questioning Israels being is not Goldbergs alone: to speak critically and yet felicitously about Israel requires that one first recognize Israels right to exist. And yet, in the late twentieth century, recognition emerged as a demand*a politics*of the disenfranchised.11 In this case, however, recognition must go the other way: if I am going to criticize you (Israel, a state not a people, a culture or an indigenous group), I must first speak your right to exist. The state of racist exception permeates this structure of command: as scholars, as critics, even as Palestinians who have paid a dear price for Israels existence, we must reassure you, one of the most militarily powerful states on earth, of your right to exist. Goldberg brings Michel Foucaults discussion of race wars to bear on Zionisms self-understanding and self-representation. Drawing productively on the lectures in Society Must Be Defended,12 Goldberg writes:
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Israel came to be seen as an exemplary instance of what Michel Foucault, though in a different context, memorably has called counter-history, as a historical narrative of insurrection against the grain, establishing itself in the face of formidable and threatening power directed against it (108).

A rebellion against European antisemitism on the one hand, and, subsequently, a state facing the formidable threat of being surrounded by hostile

11 See Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1995); Elizabeth Povinelli, The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press 2002); and Patchen Markell, Bound by Recognition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 2003). `ge de France, 1975/76, 12 Michel Foucault, Society Must Be Defended. Lectures at the Colle ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana, trans. from the French by David Macey (New York: Picador 2003).

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Arab countries on the other, Israel fashioned itself as victim, not perpetrator. And yet, as Goldberg points out, Zionism was a self-determining drive with a twist:
The war of races in which the Jew is the hounded, the perennial foe and fugitive, becomes in Israels founding a protracted conflict in which the Jewish State, Herzls dream, is turned into oppressor, victimizer, and sovereign. . . . The State is transformed, as Foucault says, into protector of the integrity, superiority, and more or less purity of the homogenizing group, what Foucault marks as the race (109).

Goldbergs own evidence clarifies that this is not a temporal transition or structural transformation that occurs with the establishment of the state in 1948. From the get-go, Zionist leaders represented their movement as a counter-historical struggle and as an outpost of European civilization, of whiteness itself. Goldberg quotes Moses Hess and Theodore Herzl on Jews as the bearers of civilization, of Jewish immigration as an unhoped-for accession of strength for the land which is now so poor (108). He demonstrates through their words that, since the late nineteenth century, Israel (in potentia) has been thought*has thought of itself in part . . . as racially configured, as racially representative. And those insistent racial traces persist despite the post-Holocaust European repression of the use of race as social self-reference or -representation (1089). The success of Zionisms counter-historical narrative is two-fold as I understand it. First, it rests on an understanding of Israel as but another (modern, besieged) nationstate in a world of nationstates, a point to which I return below. Second, it rests on the repression in Israel, and not just in post-Holocaust Europe, of race as social self-reference. Historically, racial thought was not anathema to Jewish nationalism (113). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, European and American Jewish scientists drew upon the reigning paradigms of race science to generate their own scientific accounts of the (racial) character of the Jews. In response to antisemitic science and rhetoric, and integral to the effort to articulate and give credence to Jewish nationalism (Jews are not merely a religious group), Jewish scholars constructed scientific analyses of the Jewish question. They did so by reconfiguring the relationship between nature and nurture along Lamarckian lines, recognizing the fact of Jewish degeneration while reinterpreting its cause.13 In the aftermath of the Holocaust, however, racial self-definition could not be maintained explicitly. It could not be named, even as Israeli population
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13 For extended discussions, see John M. Efron, Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and `cle Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press 1994) and, Race Science in Fin-de-Sie especially, Mitchell B. Hart, Social Science and the Politics of Modern Jewish Identity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 2000).



geneticists searched for evidence of biological unity among the diverse Jewish populations now citizens of the Jewish state.14 Racial reference was evaporated (1512). Jews are not a race. Palestinians are not a race. This is not a racist state. For where no race, no racial harm. So no racism (344). As Goldberg argues, Israel becomes not so much the state form of apartheid as a distinct modality of the racial state in denial about its racial predication (131, emphasis added).15 Comparisons between the Israeli state and apartheid South Africa are made frequently. Despite differences there are characteristics of the Israeli state that are similar to*and in potentia foreboded a similarity with*apartheid rule (107). Rather than focusing on the empirical facts and debates regarding similar or divergent structures, policies and tactics, however, I want to highlight the political difference that the distinctive self-representations of the Jewish and apartheid South African states have made. What have been the political consequences of Zionisms successful self-fashioning as counter-history, as a movement that reproduced (mimicked, as Goldberg puts it) the logics of independence fueled by decolonizing movements (107, emphasis added)? If the spectre of antisemitism and the Holocaust haunts the Palestinian cause, so too does the related success of Zionisms self-presentation as but another nationalist, anti-colonial movement in search of an independent state of its own. In contrast to apartheid South Africa, which, by the mid- to late twentieth century, spoke an anachronistic language of biological-racial difference in its justification of white rule*even when that ideology morphed into a language of cultural difference, which functioned at best as a rather thin disguise for the biological-racial*Israel has successfully
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14 Nadia Abu El-Haj, The Molecular Archive: Phylogenetics, the Origins of the Jews, and the Politics of Epistemology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press forthcoming). 15 In explicating the differences between apartheid and the Israeli state, Goldberg points to some specific elements: Israel is a state that tolerates really small Islamic, Christian and Druze communities and a shadow state for Palestinians [that] largely lacks self-determination, freedom, a viable economic foundation, and any sort of security for its inhabitants (131). I want to make a few critical comments regarding the above description. First, to refer to Israels Palestinian citizens by their religious denominations is to partake in the Israeli states classificatory practices that were developed to deny the Arab population any claim to national rights. Second, they are not a small minority: Israeli Palestinians are about 18 per cent of the population. Moreover, Goldbergs narrative regarding the Israeli states achievements over the past sixty years (139) underestimates the extent to which a racial logic has grounded the state since its very beginning. Following the establishment of the state in 1948, Israels non-Jewish citizens were subjected to military rule, which was formally lifted only in 1966. Economic, social and political inequalities between Jews and non-Jewish citizens of the state continue to be stark and the political pressures on Palestinian citizens as disloyal citizens of the state are increasing as evidenced, for example, by a recent proposal to subject all Palestinians applying for admission to Israeli universities to submit to military security clearance first.

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represented itself as but another nationstate in the national-order of things,16 all of which began in violence.17 The success of that narrative is evident in Goldbergs text. Amid his mostly clear critique of Israel as a project of colonial settlement, albeit one born of particular historical circumstances and configured in distinctive ways,18 todays political common sense slips through: that this (IsraeliPalestinian) conflict*as it is named*is of a different sort, one between two sides, albeit differentially powerful, each of which asserts a competing national claim. In short, a dominant faction of the Israeli political establishment has been committed since earliest Zionist settlement, intensifying with the declaration of Israeli independence in 1948, not simply to deny Palestinian existence but to make the claim true, to act in its name and on its terms (110). Goldberg establishes a symmetry of form between this denial of Palestinians and Palestinian denial of Israels right to exist: Under Arafat, of course, Palestinians not only asserted a coherent identity, but also sought to reciprocate that denial: the state of Israel does not, should not, exist (110). Goldberg points to the crucial distinction between rhetoric and acts. He argues power does not make right. Power manufactures the conditions and parameters, the terms, of political, and by extension historical and representational, possibility (110): a power Israel holds and the Palestinians do not. No matter how rhetorically insistent concerning Israels denial and demise (110), Palestinian statements are not equivalent to Israeli acts. But are those claims structurally symmetrical even if not politically equivalent? Why is denying Israels right to exist objectionable in the first place? Did not anticolonial movements (seek to) dismantle colonial states? Did they not uproot European settlers from their lands? It is important to remember that when the PLO first drafted its charter Israel was but twenty years old. In living memory Israel did not exist. The experience of exile for 750,000 refugees was not just new. It was raw and passionately suffered and felt. At that historical moment it was unimaginable that Israel was here to stay. It was inconceivable that, in contrast to all the successful anticolonial independence movements of the past few decades, Palestine would* could*be lost. For Palestinians, recognizing Israel meant*and, for many,
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16 Liisa H. Malkki, Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1995). 17 See, for example, Benny Morris interviewed by Ari Shavit, On ethnic cleansing, New Left Review, vol. 26, March/April 2004, 37/51. 18 First, and perhaps most basically, racial palestinianization is committed to land clearance underpinned by an accompanying, if not pre-dating, moral eviction. Territorial clearance in Israels case has been prompted historically in terms of redemption of land. This heart-felt historico-moral claim to land redemption, to retrieving territory always already biblically ours, distinguishes racial palestinianization from classic modes of settler colonialism. Reclamation through settlement is extended by renomination, the shrinkage of Palestinian proprietorship materialized in the disappearance of recognizable title (130).



still means*ratifying their own dispossession. The refusal to recognize Israel was a refusal of Israels self-representation as a counter-history. It was a demand to recognize Israel as a colonial state. It was a commitment that history could and must be otherwise. Let me be clear. I am not arguing that Israelis should be uprooted. (Note: I too am interpolated by the command to recognize Israel.) Nor am I making this argument with a view towards a particular political solution: I refrain from making such an argument as an academic dwelling in the luxury of an elite New York academic institution and not in a position to dictate to Palestinians on the ground what their political desires should be. I am making an analytical point. To produce a symmetry of logic here*even if not a symmetry of power*is to fail to understand the ways in which for Palestinians and as a historical fact (dare I venture), this was and is a project of colonial settlement, even if one born as part of a long history of European antisemitism and realized in the wake of Nazi genocide. As I argued in Facts on the Ground, archaeological practice converged with and fashioned not just the national interest (123) but the settler-nationalist interest.19 Zionist settlement was made possible in the context of an imperial common sense in which Europeans could and should settle elsewhere,20 bringing European civilization to the global periphery, as Goldberg points out. All the while its grammar was a distinctly national one, a belief in and a commitment to return. This was settler-nationhood of a distinct variety: temporally, geographically, ideologically and, from a European perspective in the aftermath of the Holocaust, ethically. But a project of colonial settlement it was.21 Why do I point to these moments of inconsistency in Goldbergs generally powerfully critical text? Am I just splitting analytic hairs? Perhaps. But I see no way to move forward*for Europe and the United States to understand `-vis Israel, for the passion of Palestinian and Arab publics and politics vis-a them to absorb the symbolic and political importance of the right of return*without fully exiting Israels counter-historical narrative of being a movement for national independence, as today but one nation (however
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19 Nadia Abu El-Haj, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial SelfFashioning in Israeli Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2001). Many thanks to Goldberg (123) for clarifying what I was decidedly not arguing in the book, my critics claims notwithstanding. 20 See Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books 1978), and Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books 1994). 21 Goldbergs ambivalence about the Zionist project*/although not about what Israel has become*/is evident in other moments in the text as well. For example: The postwar moment was one of intense anti-colonialism. The Pan-African Congress of 1945 . . . significantly brought together almost every future leader of major postcolonial liberations. India and Pakistan attained independence and statehood. Israel came into being. China quickly followed . . . (340).

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problematic its origins and policies, however undefined its borders) in the national order of things.

Racial palestinianization
What is racial palestinianization? It is not a single, unified regime of racial `-vis Israels Palestinian citizens*subjected to rule: it operates differently vis-a `-vis those in the territories who are ethnoracial purging (119)*than vis-a cordoned off behind the Wall in the lock-up facility that is Palestine today (131), who are subjected to physical and social death (26) and to politicide (122).22 Moreover, racial palestinianization has developed and shifted over time. I want to elaborate a few historical details not spelled out in Goldbergs text. Many of the ways in which the territories have been governed since 1967 were developed in the early decades of Israeli statehood to control its untrustworthy Palestinian citizens: until 1966, Palestinians citizens of the state lived in zones under the jurisdiction of military administration and law, areas they could not leave without a permit. These explicitly repressive measures were accompanied by an array of civilizing projects (education, party politics and electoral participation, for example). By way of contrast, occupation in the post-1967 era was less of a civilizing mission: administration, yes, but one intended to be civilizing for some imagined if partial integration, no. Moreover I sense that over the past decade or so, racial rule in the Occupied Territories is moving away from the historicist version: a belief that Others can be civilized, that they can be prepared for democratic participation and self-rule. Racism in a naturalist form is rearing its ugly head: a belief in the permanent inferiority and incommensurability of racial Others, albeit one no longer (necessarily) grounded in appeals to biological difference.23 All Muslims are murderers, one Israeli cabinet minister declared in 2004 (115). Framed increasingly in the language of religious dispositions*as a clash of religious civilizations*violence is read into the very fabric of Palestinian (and/as Muslim) personhood. It is no longer clear that there is anyone to negotiate with, as the now standard Israeli mantra goes. If not recuperable, if not civilizable (after all, Israeli troops and settlers left Gaza and look what it has become), Palestinians can be excluded legitimately from the Kingdom of Moral Ends (118). Within the logic of a naturalist racism, racelessly conceived, the necropolitics of these sealed and
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22 See also Baruch Kimmerling, Politicide: Ariel Sharons War against the Palestinians (London: Verso 2006). 23 For further elaboration of Goldbergs distinction between historicist and naturalist forms of racial thought, see David Theo Goldberg, The Racial State (Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell 2002).



encircled zones of abandonment risks becoming an end*a solution*in its own right, or so I fear. If Israeli rule has produced a fate worse than apartheid (130), Goldberg is not surprised that it has brought forth suicidal impulses (126). Suicidal nihilism is the Palestinian default mode in response to the Israeli default of racial branding and group area acts. . . . Encircling imprisonment produces a desperation born of nothing left to lose (1267). Goldberg makes a much needed political move here: suicide bombings are not emblematic of a distinctly Islamic culture of death, as a wide array of scholars, journalists and pundits contend, and not just with reference to Palestine.24 Goldberg argues that suicide bombings are a direct response to the brutality of Israeli rule, even if an ultimately nihilistic and unproductive one. If one has nothing left to lose, why not become a shaheed?25 If one belongs to the generation of lost hope, why not find solace for that hopelessness . . . [in] an investment in the afterlife (127)? In the face of the Wall and its structure of death, is the emergence of a seething disposition so difficult to comprehend (128)? Placing causality squarely in daily life under Israeli control is an important critique of widespread assumptions. It is a much needed step in the right direction. But it does not go far enough. Are suicide attacks necessarily the result of seething anger or hopelessness? Do we really know that individuals who engage in such acts are looking for solace in the afterlife? For obvious reasons, we cannot know the motivations of suicide bombers after the fact. More important, as Talal Asad argues, gaining insight into the phenomenon of suicide bombing might not be served best by the search for motivations.26 But there are a few things we do know: many Palestinian suicide bombers were not particularly religious; secular parties took up the mantle of suicide attacks following in the footsteps of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We also know that suicide bombing takes a lot of planning and preparation. It certainly cannot be reduced simply to an act of anger or despair. Citizens have long been asked to sacrifice for the nation and countless generations of men*and women*have done so. I may consider that a rather suicidal desire or choice but, within the national order of things, it is certainly not taken to be so. We do not presume anger to be the motivating force: perhaps it is a commitment to the nation, perhaps it is born of economic necessity (as in todays US economic draft). In other contexts, dying for a cause might be born of idealism (socialist idealism in the case of the brigades who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War). Motivations can never truly be known. Nevertheless, we need to recognize the possibility of multiple reasons why civilians join a cause, even a cause that involves committing oneself to a certain death.
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24 See Talal Asad, On Suicide Bombing (New York: Columbia University Press 2007). 25 For an interesting discussion of the shaheed in the Islamic discursive tradition and in the Palestinian political imaginary, see Asad, On Suicide Bombing. 26 Asad, On Suicide Bombing.

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My point is not to defend suicide bombing. I do not support attacks on civilian populations, whether carried out by suicide bombers, planes or any other technology of delivery. Moreover, on pragmatic political grounds, I agree with Goldberg. These attacks have had disastrous consequences for the Palestinian struggle. Nevertheless, I sense that for Goldberg this violence is of a different sort: an act of passion and anger rather than of calculation and design. But there is as much of a rationality to the suicide bombing campaigns in Israel and the Occupied Territories as there is a rationality [to the] domination at the heart of racial palestinianization (128). As Robert Pape has argued, on the basis of a quantitative study, suicide bombings, most of which had not been carried out by religious movements,27 might best be thought of as a tactic, as a weapon of the weak, to borrow James Scotts term.28 When the military prowess of an occupying power cannot be met directly, suicide bombing is the most effective response. Following Papes analysis, one that accounts well for the political logic of suicide bombings targeting Israeli citizens, it is a tactic that has sought to bring the conflict home to Israelis, to make them see that the cost for them of a continued occupation will be too high. It has utterly failed in its aim. It has solidified public support*in Israel and abroad*for the brutality of Israeli colonial rule. Nevertheless, a rationality drives the campaign, perhaps for individuals as much as for the organizations that orchestrate it.29 Suicide bombing remains a military tactic, not an act of anger or revenge. In sketching the brutality of racial palestinianization, Goldberg refers to the Israeli regime as engaging in an aggressive, militarized neoliberalism (129). But what makes Israeli rule over its Palestinian subjects neoliberal? The neoliberal state, according to Goldberg, involves the retrenchment of the welfare state and the reorganization of its priorities: neoliberalism seeks to elevate privatization of property, revenue generation, utilities, services, and social support systems, including health care, aid, and disaster response and relief (332). And, as Goldberg demonstrates in his discussion of Iraq*and its blowback in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina*so too is policing, and security more generally, increasingly outsourced to private hands (89).
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27 Robert A. Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Random House 2005). It is worth noting that Mohammad Atta, a key actor in the 9/11 attacks, is reported to have spent the previous night drinking alcohol and hanging out with strippers. Such accounts do not square with the reigning understanding of him as a devout Muslim*/a Muslim extremist*/the presumed motivation for his involvement in the attacks. 28 James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press 1985). 29 There is a tension in Goldbergs analysis of suicide bombing. Hamas*/and Hizbullah*/are represented as rational, well-oiled machines. And yet the act of suicide bombing is explained by recourse to notions of despair and anger.



There are important ways in which Israel is a neoliberal state, the state more so than the shadow state (131). The retrenchment of Labor Zionism in favour both of reduced labour protections and social services, and of capital with an increasingly global reach, and the importation of cheap Thai and Filipino labour to replace Palestinian workers: all policies in keeping with a neoliberal regime that maintains a colony on the side. As Gadi Algazi has shown, Israeli companies have devised outsourcing techniques that manage to keep labour at home: they have established development centres in Jewish settlements in order to hire cheap ultra-orthodox Jewish labour. (They live simply, the explanation goes.)30 Nevertheless, to refer to Israels rule over the territories as an aggressive, militarized neoliberalism*or the neo-neoliberalism that is Gazas permanent nightmare (364)*is misleading. As Algazi argues, in offering housing and social services unobtainable in Israel proper, [settlements have become] a powerful magnet for those struggling to subsist. Shifting the settler movement away from a primary reliance on the messianic fervour of hard-line settlers, government policies have successfully broadened the power base of the colonization movement, forging a powerful alliance of state, political and capitalist interests, well-off home-buyers and those suffering real hardship: large families looking for cheap housing or new immigrants dependent on government subsidies and seeking social acceptance.31 Neoliberal capital is being harnessed to the colonial cause, but it is a colonial cause fully dependent on the Israeli state without which settlement would not*could not*exist: The settlers took control of these lands, but it was the state that had confiscated them and enabled the settlement of its citizens in contravention of international law, of some government decisions and in many cases of court orders.32 The state of Israeli rule over the West Bank is not neoliberal, even if the colonial project is being restructured by*even as the colonial project itself redirects*the logic of (Israeli) neoliberal capital. The Israeli state is ever present in building, funding and protecting Jewish settlements and settlers (1312). Ultra-orthodox Jewish labour is cheap due to the heavy state subsidization of their lives. The state invests in roads, telephone towers, electricity grids and water systems. It subsidizes housing, schools and health care. And it provides the formidable military forces that move around in the territory. It provides all the elixir[s] of life for the settlements, the secret of their power.33 Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) control and enclose
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30 Gadi Algazi, Offshore Zionism, New Left Review, vol. 40, July/August 2006, 27/37 (27). 31 Ibid., 30. 32 Idith Zertal and Akiva Eldar, Lords of the Land: The War over Israels Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967/2007, trans. from the Hebrew by Vivian Eden (New York: Nation Books 2007), xiii. 33 Ibid., xv.

40 Patterns of Prejudice

Palestinian populations: the state invests in the destruction of the infrastructures, the livelihoods, the lives of Palestinian under its control. This is the necropolitical disciplining (134) of an ever active and interventionist colonial state.34 If the Israeli state cannot be characterized simply as neoliberal, neither can racial palestinianization meaningfully be labelled born again racism. Prior to racism being born again, according to Goldbergs own definition, it was named, it was fought, and racial segregation and racist exclusions were legally dismantled. Only then was race disappeared in the name of antiracialism, whiteness by other means: conservationist segregation . . . proceeds by undoing the laws, rules, and norms of expectation the Civil Rights Movement was able to effect (78, emphasis in the original). Israel is not a state and society that, in the aftermath of a successful civil rights or anticolonial struggle that named race and dismantled the legal structures of racial segregation, proceeded to un-name it, to privatize racism and analytically to render segregation*in housing, in education*a matter of
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34 A recent body of scholarship discusses and debates the applicability of Carl Schmitts concept of sovereignty and the state of exception, and Georgio Agambens notion of bare life, to the question of Palestine; see, e.g., Ronit Lentin (ed.), Thinking Palestine (London: Zed Books 2007). This is not the place for me to engage those discussions at any length, although I would like to note that more sustained and critical readings of Agamben and Schmitt might be useful prior to asking whether or not their arguments are applicable to the Palestinian case. Achille Mbembe provides just such a critical reading. In Necropolitics (2003), Mbembe develops a theoretically and historically nuanced discussion of the state of exception, racism and bare life, and then elaborates his argument by analysing the contemporary colonial occupation of Palestine as the most accomplished form of necropower (27). Mbembe makes three crucial interventions that I want to highlight. First, he re-reads the state of exception through the history of slavery and the colonies and the particular forms of law (or suspensions of law) and violence that colonialism involved. Second, Mbembe integrates his discussion of the state of exception with Foucaults analysis of the function of racism*/as the death function*/in the modern state. (Foucaults writings on racism may be more fruitful to analyses of Palestine than is Agambens concept of bare life; see Foucault, Society Must Be Defended.) Finally, it is worth remembering, as Mbembe insists, that late modern colonial occupation differs in many ways from early modern occupation, particularly in its combining of the disciplinary, the biopolitical and the necropolitical (27). We dont have to choose between analysing the Israeli state as a typical (if extreme version of the) liberal state (Raef Zreik, The persistence of the exception: some remarks on the story of Israeli constitutionalism, in Lentin (ed.), Thinking Palestine, 131/47) or as just another, Middle Eastern mukhabarat (security/police) state (Ilan Pappe, The mukhabarat state of Israel: a state of oppression is not a state of exception, in Lentin (ed.), Thinking Palestine, 148/70), or any other kind of regime. It has both liberal and distinctly illiberal dimensions: it is a colonial state and, for its Jewish citizens, a liberal democracy; it is governed by the rule of law and it operates with a sustained suspension of that law, under the rubric of military rule and the guise of security requirements. The Israeli state is that complex multifaceted matrix of forms and tactics of rule.



personal preference. The Israeli racial regime and the legal structures that sustain it*the distinction between citizen and subject, between military and civil law, between Jewish and Arab citizens, between settler roads and Palestinian zones*remain intact. This is not racist domination now in the name of racial denial (151, emphasis added). Racial palestinianization has always been racist domination in the name of racial denial.35 This is an instance of racial evaporation (152) avant la lettre: before race, before ones own racism, was ever named. The Israeli state is simultaneously colonial and neoliberal. The national necropolitics of Israel is not some limit case of a racism obsessed with security in the neoliberal age. If, in the aftermath of 9/11, the United States government sought to emulate Israel in circumstances deemed similar, to act like them (137), that may tell us less about the convergence of neoliberalisms than about the multiple political modalities of the US state: a neoliberal state with an imperial ambition whose project, reach and techniques were reimagined, recalibrated and redesigned in the wake of the 9/11 attack.
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Nadia Abu El-Haj is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, New York. She is the author of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (University of Chicago Press 2001) and The Molecular Archive (forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press).

35 Goldberg recognizes the different trajectory and yet uses the label born again racism, which, given that different history, I dont think can be applied. Although with a very `-vis its nondifferent political dynamic, so too was Israeli racism un-named vis-a Ashkenazi citizens. The trajectory from denial to a born again racism may be a more appropriate description of the struggle of Mizrahi Jews for their rights than of racial palestinianization. For an extended discussions of the Mizrahi question, see Yehouda A. Shenhav, The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press 2006), and Ella Shohat, Israeli Cinema: East/ West and the Politics of Representation (Austin: University of Texas Press 1989).

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