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on. In effect, I am trying to derive a theoretical perspectives from certain texts that more or less belong to Jewish intellectual life or, more broadly, Jewish historical predicaments as they articulate principles of co-habitation, wage a critique against state violence, and articulate a way to think about convergent histories of exile and dispossession. The background for this larger project consists of certain debates about Israel and Palestine, the oft-repeated allegations that to criticize state violence is not a Jewish thing to do, anti-Semitic, or not good for the Jews. I want to respond only by saying that there surely ways, more or less Jewish, to establish the right to wage public criticism against violence, to articulate the values of co-habitation, and to make use of the resources of remembrance, in order to develop an alternative normative framework for thinking about Israel and Palestine. My project is not exactly religious, but it does argue that there are religious sources for certain values that are universalizable, and in this way can be seen as tracing certain religious contributions to secular ideals. Of primary concern to me in this presentation will be the importance of not effacing the active traces of past destruction. As a general principle, it can and must apply equally to the claim never to forget the Nazi genocide against the Jews and never to forget the dispossession of the Palestinians, both historically and currently. It is difficult to hold both instances together for several reasons. Sometimes (a) it is feared that the genocide and the dispossession are thereby rendered morally equivalent, or (b) it is feared that by acknowledging the one set of losses, the other set of losses must be effaced or (c) that if one mourns the losses associated with the Naqba, one is really anti-semitic, or (d) if one acknowledges the full destructiveness of the Nazi Genocide that one is really a Zionist. The point is not to establish a strict analogy; indeed, one could and must say that both losses are absolutely wrong without saying that both losses are exactly the same. I am holding out for the possibility of a framework that not only can and must acknowledge both sets of sufferings as historically specific, but will also consider the ways in which those separate histories of dispossession and loss converge at the site of the present conflict. Indeed, this project seeks to follow a set of suggestions made by Edward Said in his book, Freud and the Non-European: The first is that Moses, an Egyptian, is the founder of the Jewish people, which means that Judaism is not possible without this foreigner and, indeed, this Arab; this founding implies a diasporic origin for Judaism which suggests that a fundamental status is accorded the condition by which the Jew is wrought by the non-Jew, defined in relation to the non-Jew, and has this inevitable ethical task of co-habitation with the non-Jew as its original meaning. The second dimension of this text effectively follows from the first, since Said’s text is something of a petition, an incitation, an invitation to consider that “displacement” characterizes the histories of both the Palestinian and the Jewish peoples, and so, in his view, constitutes the basis of a possible, even desirable, alliance between them, even the foundation for a new polity. If we consider that Moses was a non-European, and that he is said to found the Jewish religion, this means that the non-European Jew, the Arab Jew, is at the origin of our understanding of
. a figure for co-habitation as a founding principle of Jewish life. living together. What he likes most in Freud's embrace of Moses as the non-European. rather than antagonists of each other's history and underlying reality? I would like to query further: is it precisely through a politics that affirms the irresolution of identity that binationalism becomes thinkable?ii Of interest to me here is the way that Said links up the possibility of convergent histories of exile with the prospect of a binationalism that might imply equality. and that what is needed is a framework in which a fierce denunciation and opposition to such oppression. I want to suggest that Hannah Arendt already made the suggestion by insisting that the history of the refugee become the normative point of departure for the critique of the nation-state. Although Levi erred when he claimed in La Repubblica that the “Palestinians are the new Jews. Arendt had two basic claims to make in this regard: the first was that any state founded on a homogenous idea of the nation is bound to expel those who do not . including the Mizrachim and Sephardim as central to its history. diasporic. “The strength of this thought [Freud’s thought]. On the contrary. “is that it can be articulated in and speak to other besieged identities as well. As you know.” he meant to say that any group could be in the position of the oppressed. becomes the basis for a certain binationalism.” he tells us.i In Freud. it would be one that refuses to be organized exclusively on principles of national.” (54) He asks whether we might continue to think this thought of two peoples. it was in no way intended to apply exclusively to Jewish suffering. religious. How does one move from that set of histories to a present normative framework for binationalism? Briefly. it quickens the need for a concept of justice that would protect any minority from race-based state violence. when Primo Levi objected to the bombings of southern Lebanon and the atrocities in Sabra and Shatilla in the early 1980s. it does not establish grounds for Jewish exceptionalism. however it happens. the positions of Levi and Benjamin might be tentatively linked with the historical memory of the refugee or the stateless as find that figure in Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. including the nation-state of Israel founded on principles of Jewish sovereignty. It would be one that accepts a certain impurity and mixedness as the conditions of social life. Similarly. as the founder of the Jews. but also for understanding that the “Arab Jew” constitutes a crucial conjuncture. where the diasporic.2 Judaism. One might look to the work of Walter Benjamin as well. hence. or ethnic identity. This fact has contemporary implications not only for rethinking the history of the Jewish people in ways that do not presume a European origin and. destabilizing secular wound. takes place. Even though the Nazi genocide against the Jews was historically singular and unprecedented. “never again” should any people be subject to brutal state violence on the basis of their religion or nationality. Although the messianic was clearly derived from Jewish theological resources. he made clear that the most important principle to be derived from the persecution of the Jews under Nazism is that.as a troubling. since he sought to identify the messianic with that moment in which the history of the oppressed makes its claim on the present. can it ever become the not-so-precarious foundation in the land of Jews and Palestinians of a bi-national state in which Israel and Palestine are parts.. is the challenge that the figure of Moses poses to a strictly identitarian politics. the Egyptian. If Moses is to stand for a contemporary political aspiration. disabling. Can [this thought] aspire to the condition of a politics of diasporic life? He asks. In this way. understood as a way of attaining identity only with and through the other. Said finds an inquiry into how the non-European is essential to the meaning of Judaism. perhaps.
what she called its plurality. and so reproduce the structural relation between nation-state and the production of stateless persons. and thought everyone should reject. and she has the stateless in mind again when she objects to that form of political Zionism heralded by Ben Gurion that defeated her co-authored proposal for a federated binational authority in Palestine in 1948. none of those modes of belonging can function as the ground for that right. one could not choose with whom to co-habit the earth. laws that protect rights of co-habitation among the heterogenous populations form the anti-genocidal basis of any international law that she would consider legitimate. At some points she seems to suggest that that heterogeneity belongs to all countries starting sometime in the 19th century. policy. she is actually saying that any choice of this kind is genocidal. She explicitly claims that he wrongly thought he could choose with whom to co-habit the earth. it becomes an explicit problem for the nation-state after Westphalia. . racial. and though one could choose with whom to share a bed or a neighborhood. As a result. The problem is not that the Israel state seized land illegally in 1948 and expelled an indigenous population. In other words. she puts herself in the position of the judge and offers her own indictment of Eichmann. and any political state.000 Palestinians. That co-habitation remains the unchosen condition of all political decisions. she articulates her clear opposition to any concept of citizenship based on national. to some extent. but rather than land confiscation and forms of simultaneous expulsion and containment continued to be the policy of the state. her second point is that for any state to have legitimacy it must accept and protect the heterogeneity of its population. or religious grounds. This anti-democratic consequence of the nation-state calls into question its legitimacy and viability as a state formation. in her terms. Everyone has the right to communitarian belonging. Arendt has the stateless in mind in On the Origins of Totalitarianism when she considers the massive deportations from Europe in World War II and the massive exodus of refugees. and assert Israeli rights to territory through fiat).iii Toward the end of Eichmann in Jerusalem. She predicted a new refugee problem. co-habitation was a precondition of political life. everyone has a right to belong to a group that may be defined by cultural and national parameters.3 belong to the nation. not merely one that would happen in the course of the Naqba of 1948 to over 750. if political decisions are not to be genocidal. or at least. but communitarian belonging gives no one that right. the “everyone” has to remain both abstract and differentiated. but one that would continue to happen as the state of Israel moved forward as a nation-state on the model that she rejected. if not explicitly genocidal. Though. as they do in the present (cf. In her view. It actively deprives targeted populations of legal protection and entitlements that they need in order to survive. or decision that seeks to eradicate or limit that plurality is racist. Indeed. the expansion of settlements and the building of the wall both contest Palestinian rights to land. Although Arendt accuses Eichmann in 1962 of thinking he can choose with whom to cohabit the world. she seems to establish an ontology of plurality: the plurality of any and all populations constitute the precondition of political life. This thought can clearly be found in the late 1940s when she pursues this thought of unchosen co-habitation in relation to the proposal for a federated Palestine and then again in her historical reflections on the American Revolution: in all these cases. But at other points.
4 In 1948. Similarly. and it was meant quite clearly to counter the genocidal politics of National Socialism and the recurrent production of the stateless by any and all nations that sought to homogenize the nation by purging it of its heterogeneity. she does not speak from the point of view of any nation. Although Arendt took a clear stand against genocide when she sought to establish the reasons for judging Eichmann. Syria. she combined this opposition with one that extended not only to the fate of those who lost their lives in the camps.” Nearly 4 million Palestinians live in Gaza and the West Bank combined. in part. Egypt and elsewhere. the United Nations Conciliation Commission put the number of displaced Palestinians at 726. Indeed. fascism. A million and a half Palestinians are now estimated to live in camps in these areas.000 in 1950.000. to Jordan (200. she makes clear that Eichmann may not stand for the entire nation of Nazi Germany. the newly-established United Nations Relief and Works Agency subsequently put the number at 957. approximately 180.000). including the Jews. Her call for co-habitation was an effort to assert an unchosen plurality on an egalitarian basis as the precondition for legitimate politics. it is not as a Jew or a German or as a US citizen that she judges him. So “never again” became a rallying cry for the situation of the refugee. “In 1967. to establish the state of Israel on the terms of 1948.000 Palestinians fled from the West Bank and Gaza. Estimates put the worldwide Palestinian population at over 8 million today. What she did predict was that the making of the refugee could not cease under the political conditions of the nationstate. Arendt could never have predicted these numbers in the late 1940s. racism. that slogan was divided between those who said “never again” would the Jewish people suffer in that way. Although the slogan “never again” came to signify the absolute refusal to allow such a genocide to take place. When she considers Eichmann’s crime. . then. and “never again” should any people have to suffer in that way. the crime of plotting and implementing genocide. but those who were rendered stateless by persecution. another 300. one produced in Europe by fascist and anti-semitic states. when she explains how he is to be judged. while the remainder were 1948 refugees uprooted for the second time. They claim. The question for Arendt. was how one could solve the problem of one set of refugees by establishing a state that would be committed to containing and ever-increasing population of refugees? The problem for her is the nation-state or. and nationalism. a condition that was invoked.000 were first-time refugees ("displaced persons"). the nationalism that supports the idea that the state ought to express a single nation. more precisely. Of these.
as she does simultaneously for any other minority who would be expelled from habitation on the earth by another group. is practical and performative. political rights . In this sense. she speaks neither as part of an established court of law nor in the name of the Jewish people. And this means that there is a universalizing and a differentiating that takes place at once and without contradiction. cannot be bound by nationality. a recognition of equality that rejects homogeneity in favor of difference. but it seems to be a tautology that is crucial to the idea of critical responsibility her words seem to embody. the commitment to equality is a commitment to the condition of differentiation that we cannot choose against. but on judgment itself. “not bound by standards and rules under which particular cases are subsumed. but on the contrary. the kind of judgement she makes. and calls for.5 The crime at issue is neither committed by an entire nation nor committed against an entire nation. and finally ought not to be. And yet a plurality is invoked in the name of which Arendt speaks. indeed. since she herself elaborates the right to belong and rights of belonging. Importantly. One can see why there can be a communitarian reading of Arendt. or is it a specific kind of norm. Arendt speaks in the name of a plurality that is co-extensive with human life in any and all its forms. In other words. it does not mean that she did not find ways to voice the complexity of her historical and political situation. Is there a universal principle or presumption in this plurality? And is this. she turns instead to a pre-legal understanding of responsibility or practical reason. Arendt faults Eichmann for following existing law. rather. cannot know nationality. The one implies the other. everyone has the right to co-habit the earth with equal degrees of protection. by definition.v But there is always a redoubling here: everyone has the right of belonging. Equal protection or. . equality is not a principle that homogenizes those to whom it applies. And though she herself claimed in an interview that she no longer spoke ‘as a Jew’ after 1948. but attacks and ruptures a plurality that. a Jewish thing to do? Arendt universalizes her claim in the following way: no one has the right to decide with whom to live. rather than questioning the legitimacy or patently racist law. This may seem tautological. Does this plurality exist. in some odd way. In other words. [as that which] produces its own principles by virtue of the judging activity itself: (27) Although one might expect Arendt to turn to natural law as a way to ground the legitimacy of positive law. for acting as an obedient positivist.one that I think might better be described as a recognition of equality that follows from her conception of human plurality.iv In Eichmann in Jerusalem. Importantly. she does not speak as a Jew. a basis she finds nowhere actually instantiated in the law of her time? She asks us to consider human judgment not as bound by existing law. she clearly speaks for the Jews. When Arendt judges Eichmann. as we shall see). grounded less in existing legal code than in the non-existence of an ideal of justice . and the “speaking for” universalizes the principle even as it does not override the plurality for which its speaks. She does not assume that “everyone” is the same – at least not in the context of her discussion of plurality (her Kantian strain will pose other problems here. Arendt refuses to separate the Jews from the other ‘nations’ persecuted by the Nazis on any communitarian grounds. similarly. one that instates a post-national framework for conceiving of complex and heterogeneous populations and would then also serve as the basis for legal decision-making about crimes against humanity. she bases her judgment against him on no existing law. or for the Jews alone. suggesting that this commitment to plurality offers the principle of legitimation that she finds nowhere explicitly articulated by the trial.
“perhaps we do have such a faculty and are lawgivers. Further. and a certain right to belonging and to place. has to break up into its non-universal conditions. especially the right of co-habitation on the earth. insist on the substitutability of one subject with another. She seems to say as much in “Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship”: “… the rather optimistic view of human nature. If we start with a communitarian presumption that this group is like another group. an operation of freedom that no external constraint could suppress. Again. political rights universalize. which speaks so clearly from the verdict not only of the judges in the Jerusalem trial but of all postwar trials. the universalizing right. we could only begin to understand this plurality by testing a set of analogies that will invariably fail. hoping that a common ground can be achieved in that way (“multicultural dialogue” with an aim of perfect consensus). that judges in full spontaneity every deed and intent anew whenever the occasion arises. we might reasonably ask whether the theory of judgment she provides is fully compatible with this version of social ontology. and the judgment she formulates against him. the judgment that Eichmann failed to make. On the other hand. the elaboration of rights.6 are separated from the social ontology upon which they depend. After all. unsupported by law and public opinion. under dictatorship. however. I can be said at all to obey the categorical imperative. she offers her norm through a conjecture: “If. emerges as a universal that governs a social ontology that cannot be reduced to a single or common denominator. and the one who convicts Eichmann in the right way does so on the basis of a judgment that finds no ready precedent in law. and becomes the condition for the process of pluralization. and the internally and externally differentiating action of plurality becomes clear. but they do this in the context of a differentiated (and continually differentiating) population. Hence. Arendt gives us a strong notion of social plurality that serves as the basis of a pre-legal obligation to accept plural co-habitation as an unchosen condition of sociality itself. she sought to find and establish a certain kind of judgment that would be free of all cultural and social constraints. but on the contrary as refusal to act my part as legislator of the world. The one who refuses to obey the law does so on the basis of his or her judgment. but that would be to miss the point that plurality implies differentiations that cannot be (and should not be) overcome through ever more robust epistemological experiments or ever more refined analogies. indeed. it would seem that precisely because there is no common denominator among the plural parts of this humanity. Through elaborating a series of such broken or exhausted analogies does the communitarian presumption meets its limit.” Arendt makes clear that at least this part of Kant has to be safeguarded and opposed to Nazi obedience. At the same time. On the one hand. otherwise. even sovereign decisions. seem to depend on individual minds.” In “Some Questions in Moral Philosophy. each single one of us. the obstruction that thwarts analogy makes that specificity plain. an action . The specificity or instability of the group in question defies analogy with another.” She goes on to speculate. presupposes an independent human faculty. we could pursue the analogy until it becomes clear that the specificity (or instability) of the group in question cannot be analogized. whenever we act. except perhaps the right to have that right to co-habitation. sin or crime can no longer be defined as disobedience to somebody else’s law.” It seemed to me that in trying to imagine how a person could exercise responsibility under social and political conditions of thorough constraint. it fails to be grounded in plurality. We might try to overcome such “failures” by devising more perfect analogies. it means that I am obeying my own reason…I am the legislator. to be concretely understood. except perhaps the right to have rights.
7 of freedom. There are those who might claim that plurality is a political desideratum. Although Goldstone seeks recourse to international legal precedent throughout this report. we might say. and which. indeed. and if that co-habitation commits us to plurality. Is this a sovereign decision on his part. At this point. for her the basis of politics. ranging from desire to hostility. in the recent Goldstone Report (“The United Nations Fact-Finding Commission on the Gaza Conflict”). and that certain obligations emerge from the fact that we do not. that we do not enter into it freely and deliberately. its faculty of judgment. Not only has the State of Israel called into question the fairness or. Indeed. even-handedness of this approach. But it seems to me that something more is at stake. whether civilians were used as human shields. is she not also laying out a social ontology? I think there could be differences of opinion on this point. there is still a tension between the way in which the report asserts or even makes law. This last notion provides a precedent for international law. She emphasizes time and again how freedom requires acting in concert. in her view. and that this proximity is a source of a great range of emotional consequences. framing the conflict in a one-sided way. Goldstone himself remarks that international law. but it claims that Goldstone has exercized inappropriate authority. At stake in one part of the report and its findings is whether civilians were targeted. which calls on both the State of Israel and the Hamas authority in Gaza to conduct criminal investigations into possible war crimes. even a kind of constitutive unfreedom that defines who we are and even normatively who we must be. If we have no choice about co-habiting the world. and justice requires that “no state or armed group should be above the law. but that it is the unchosen situation of social life. And yet. then there is a limit to choice. giving to an individual a moral and . But if we take seriously the inability to choose with whom we cohabit the earth. It is for this reason that I think that the recourse to the sovereign mind. or indeed some combination of the two. published in September of 2009. and it comes through precisely when we think about modes of co-habitation that we do not choose. he posits a law that overrides whatever laws and policies govern a particular state or an armed group. or indeed. or whether international law speaks when Goldstone speaks. So what does this mean? It means to begin with that we are up against others we never chose. then it would seem that co-habiting in plurality is prior to any social contract. I think in some ways this mirrors the tension between sovereignty and co-habitation in Arendt.” In saying so. but extends members of all populations. an action on the part of a plurality? I think we see something of this tension in the public reception and adjudication of the Goldstone Report. or that plurality is a normative measure. and the way that precedent constrains the judgments it makes. and how we think about that unfreedom in relation to the freedom which is. its individual exercise of freedom. and may not. regardless of their legal status. is in some quite strong tension with the idea of co-habitation that seems to follow both from her accusation against Eichmann and her own explicit reflections on plurality. we can see that there is a question of whether it is Goldstone who speaks. choose the inhabitants of the world. it is not our prerogative to choose. Does judgment presuppose a sovereign action. but what she seems not to consider at any great length is the unfreedom that conditions co-habitation. that would be neither conditioned nor determined by social norms. in laying out a conception of plurality. one that is not based exclusively on the rights of citizens. and Israel made clear that it will not to honor the legitimacy of the final recommendations of the reporto to inquire into war crimes and crimes against humanity. or is it the result of an historically forged consensus.
and have yet to result in convictions. is that the report is taken to be bad public relations. etc. the size and type of weapons used. but the judgment is formulated under his name). Thus far. in fact. I understand Goldstone to be continuing an Arendtian tradition within Jewish thought. the focus of these investigations is any "misconduct" by Israeli soldiers as individuals outside the scope of any official instructions and orders received. including refugees or colonized peoples whose citizenship is either non-existent or in the process of emerging. and to preclude deliberation of these crimes in international fora. and no moral claim. of course. and not the policies and strategies of the Israeli military operations. ethical thinking that takes co-habitation to be fundamental to social and political life. their implementation. it is interesting that Goldstone is himself a Jew and a Zionist. implicitly. a commission that judges. but more along the lines of Arendt. failed to support the report. fundamentally. one that can be countered by rival commissions and findings. or is he entitled by international law to make the judgments he does (it is. of course.8 legal authority that he ought not to have. In effect. and that Richard Falk. but have no other legal standing. persecution. antiSemitic. And the investigations that the Israelis have agreed to conduct are emphatically not independent criminal investigations. which is to say that it is a thought. and even pre-war. and understands international law to have the obligation to protect not only citizens of existing nation-states. Falk is also Jewish. the investigations taken up in response to the Goldstone injunction to investigate crimes of war and crimes against humanity have effectively decriminalized the charges.” In other words. As reported by Adalah. Of course. these investigations seem primarily intended to ease international pressure on the Israeli government and to relieve the army and its command of the charges leveled against them. especially Hamas which understands that the civilian population of Gaza was disproprortionately effected by the assault of December 2008 that ended in January 2009. It is on the basis of this last claim that both Goldstone and Falk have been called selfhating Jews within the Israeli press. but also. at which point the findings of tribunals are bad press. This ethical value of co-habitation is doubtless the result of a diasporic condition. a normative framework that binds the fate of the Jew with the non-Jew. “ According to the Israeli military. one that includes dispossession. whether the State of Israel must defend the Jewish populations against an internationalism that is suspected to be. but all populations. the special rapporteur for the United Nations on Palestinian Human Rights was detained in an Israeli cell prior to being given limited rights of mobility within the Occupied territories. In the Israeli context. they represent a different trajectory of post-war. the center for minority Arab rights in Israel. this devolves into a question of whether the nation-state of Israel not only has the right to defend its citizens against attack by so-called “terrorist” groups. and exile. Both sides of the conflict disputed the legitimacy of the demand. But can we understand it as well as a way of calling for international law that would apply to all refugees? And can we also think about binationalism in this regard as basing itself on an ethos of international law that does not . The Palestinian authority has. But could it be said that. The risk. incredibly. Can we say that an alternative memory prompts the moral embrace of international law over and against nationalism or the claims of the nation-state for both Goldstone and Falk? The division that we see between these two supporters of international law and the explicit claims made by Israeli authorities about the skewed and unreliable nature of international law reveal certain tensions between universalizing claims of justice and the sovereign claims of the nation-state.
or that they fail to be protected under those international laws that seek to protect the lives of civilians in war? Given that Hamas is also the organization that takes care of the infrastructure of Palestinian society in Gaza. and then. it becomes impossible to say. or whether the women and children killed are military shields. the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations wrote a strong letter opposing both the legitimacy and the findings of the Goldstone report. within such a framework. or from an aerial view. Even if we grant that point. and then end with a telling remark by Arendt. Although international law can and must distinguish between combatants and civilians.9 discriminate among the claims of the refugee. written over 60 years ago. to be regarded as instruments of war. including irrigation. It seems clear that the number we settle on depend upon how we understand the category of “civilian. The necessity of publicizing such views. and Israel has clearly sought to augment the numbers of military killed. I would like to just make a few points. At a certain point. Interestingly enough. schooling. claiming that it did not adequately take into account the rights of a sovereign state to defend its own civilian population against a terrorist group. whether it is finally knowable within Gaza. saying it can name more than 700 Hamas militants killed in the fighting.” It is interesting to note that part of the Goldstone report objected to the suppression of dissent within Israel during Operation Cast Lead. Under what rubric do we understand the rights of those populations that are in part refugees. is crucial. and even defending the rights to publicize them. You will note that “civilian” enters into this formulation of the socalled conflict on the side of Israel. Israel has sought to dispute these numbers. whether someone is or is not Hamas. belonging to no established or autonomous nation-state? Secondly. whether contained under conditions of occupation. that leaves between 500 and nearly 1000 Palestinian civilians dead. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights claimed that 1. but such a position has to defend against the claim that the findings of international commissions such as Goldstone’s are publicity stunts or simply bad press to be countered by “good press. is Hamas not effectively co-extensive with civilian life in Gaza? That can lead to a question about how best to distinguish civilian from military populations in Gaza. it seems to me that the very idea of a “civilian” still belongs to the discourse of the nation-state – we invariably imagine civilians as citizens. But if the civilian population of Gaza belongs to Hamas. does that mean that they are no longer civilians.” And to understand how that category works. Indeed. accusing Hamas of inflating the number of civilian casualties. international law has always suffered by virtue of the problem of having no binding authority on nation-states.285 Gazans were killed and 4. and that an inquiry into the rights of both has to be conducted. which included the arrest of both Palestinian and Jewish Israelis who publicly demonstrated against the assault. we have to ask whether anyone who is understood to belong to Hamas can still be considered a civilian.336 wounded. food distribution. and that the vast majority in both columns were civilians. The force and justice of international law has to be derived in part by the publicity it gains through the press – since an international consensus has to be formed in order to produce a consensus on the findings of commissions such as Goldstone’s. whether there are any civilians. or de-contained in exile. although the Goldstone report assumes that there are civilians on both sides. suggesting as well that children killed in open playgrounds were nothing more than human shields. In conclusion. . rather than as “civilians” whose rights are to be protected according to international law. secondly. and transport. in part civilians. we can see how that distinction can be manipulated by those who wish to recast civilians as combatants in order to justify violence against civilian populations.
10 The articulation of principles requires publicity. and the ‘gathering of them back from everywhere in order to ship them to extermination camps was an eloquent demonstration to the rest of the world how really to “liquidate” all problems concerning minorities and the stateless…After the war it turned out that the Jewish question. Finally. the Arabs. this living up against and with one another may well become the basis for a binationalism that seeks to undo nationalism.” The question of minorities and the stateless thus emerges from a particular history of the nation-state and its implication in racist politics. One question then is whether international law is linked with bi-nationalism. and who did not know whether there might still be legal protection from them in the midst of such loss and fear. not just for two peoples. was indeed solved – namely by means of a colonised and then conquered territory – but this solved neither the problems of the minorities nor the stateless. thereby increasing the number of stateless and rightless by another 700.000 people. hence. but if those principles are reduced to mere publicity. our modes of belonging are not basis of our rights or obligations. the solution of the Jewish question merely produced a new category of refugees. then. one that resonates I believe with the ethos articulated by Said in his small book on Freud. though everyone has a right to belong somewhere. And what happened in Palestine within the smallest territory and in terms of hundreds of thousands was then repeated in India on a large scale involving millions of people. let me return to the perspective of Arendt. In the last forties. This non-chosen adjaceny. but not the collective memory of the nation. the reduction of ‘German Jews to a non-recognised minority in Germany’. and forced containment. On the contrary. the principles are lost. the subsequent expulsions of the Jews as ‘stateless people across the borders’. as Arendt tells us. like virtually all other events of our century. the ones who do not belong. which was considered the only insoluble one. even relieve international law of its tacit commitments to the nation-state. and whether their combination might lead to a conception of rights that are not finally “national” – since. We might understand this as a collective memory. exile. . Arendt wrote the following: “What happened to the Jewish people under Hitler should not be seen as exceptional but as exemplary of a certain way of managing minority populations. This would be a cohabitation that is guided by the memory and the call to justice that emerges from dispossession. but for all peoples.000 to 800. On the contrary. it is the collective memory of the non-national. who had to flee.
Arab and Jew I cannot explore the vicissitudes of binationalism within this lecture. February 2010 iii Westphalia iv No longer speaking as a Jew after 1948 (see la magazine litteraire) v See Little Rock ii . Haaertz. and that the contemporary task is to think through newer models.i Gil Anidjar. but I would refer you to an important recent essay by Meron Benveniste in which he makes the claim that Israelis and Palestinians are already living in a wretched form of binationalism.Meron Benveniste. both those that could belong to a one state or a two state solution.
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