Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Zizek on Iraeli Expansionism

Read Zizek's article on the "quite slicing of the West Bank" in the Guardian, here.

Here's an excerpt:
When peace-loving Israeli liberals present their conflict with Palestinians in neutral, symmetrical terms – admitting that there are extremists on both sides who reject peace – one should ask a simple question: what goes on in the Middle East when nothing is happening there at the direct politico-military level (ie, when there are no tensions, attacks or negotiations)? What goes on is the slow work of taking the land from the Palestinians on the West Bank: the gradual strangling of the Palestinian economy, the parcelling up of their land, the building of new settlements, the pressure on Palestinian farmers to make them abandon their land (which goes from crop-burning and religious desecration to targeted killings) – all this supported by a Kafkaesque network of legal regulations.
When you're the one with power, it's easy to make any resistance by a marginalized group appear as acts of desperate 'hatred' or 'terrorism'. I'm not denying that there is a precise definition of terrorism, nor that terrorism should be condemned. It absolutely should be condemned, and it should be called for what it is, especially when it is the Israeli state that inflicts it. But it is by portraying the status quo legal structure and arrangements of power in Israel as neutral, or mere background, that any resistance whatsoever from the Palestinians can be portrayed as 'extremism'. And what Zizek makes very clear is that many Israelis are not even content with simply maintaining an oppressive status quo; many are intent on entirely cleansing all Palestinian presence altogether. It makes little difference whether their preferred method is a slow, strangling strategy of displacement or a violent barrage of air attacks on a captive population.

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