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Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

A forum from Israeli Apartheid Week with Jasbir Puar, Judith Butler, and John Greyson.

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To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it ‘the way it really was’ (Ranke). It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger. Historical materialism wishes to retain that image of the past which unexpectedly appears to man singled out by history at a moment of danger. The danger affects both the content of the tradition and its receivers. The same threat hangs over both: that of becoming a tool of the ruling classes. In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it. The Messiah comes not only as the redeemer, he comes as the subduer of Antichrist. Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious.” – Walter Benjamin


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Nothing so salves the wounded conscience of American imperialism as evidence of our enemies’ irrationalities.  Thus, the New York Times goes out of its way to remind us of the bizarre cogitations emanating from that perpetually unruly region known in DoD-speak as “Af-Pak.”  As Obama jokes about the Predator drones that regularly kill Pakistani civilians, at least the repository of liberal opinion in the US is there to remind us that the victims probably believed weird shit.

A friend of mine pointed out that plenty of Americans believe conspiracies which are a great deal less grounded than the idea that the US conspired to paint Muslims as terrorists.  About a third of Americans buy the ‘9/11 was an inside job line’ when asked about it in interviews, and large numbers believe that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya.

Currently, an equally bizarre conspiracy theory is making the rounds: that the Free Gaza flotilla opened fire on the IDF.  While being presented in the solemn tones of journalistic fact, the only way this scenario is plausible is if some kind of conspiracy is assumed.  The Free Gaza activists, after all, were perfectly aware of the Israel’s murderous response to any resistance it encounters.  The idea that they opened fire on IDF troops, with this knowledge, suggests that these activists were little more than suicide bombers, who consciously invited IDF commandos to open fire on them in order to bloody Israel’s nose.  This is the narrative the IDF is currently asking us to believe, that they were the victims of a cunning conspiracy by peace activists who tricked the peace loving soldiers into shooting them.  I eagerly await the Times article on the irrational fantasies of the IDF.

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