Judith Butler on her recent work, Parting Ways, a Jewish critique of Zionism that makes several claims, among which a) one can criticize the State violence and Zionism from a Jewish point of view (and whiteringly so) without being characterized as anti-Semitic, and b) that Judaism and Zionism cannot be reduced to one another. Critical reading.
What would Israel do without its subjugated and expelled populations, without its mechanisms of dispossession? In fact, Israel in its present form cannot do without its mechanisms of dispossession without destroying itself as Israel. In this sense, the threat to Israel is a consequence of its fundamental dependency on dispossession and expulsion for its existence. So it is not a question of cleaning up the act of present-day Israel or implementing reforms, but of overcoming a fundamental and ongoing structure of colonial subjugation that is essential to its existence. So in asking, what would Israel be without its subjugation of the Palestinians, we pose a question that underscores that Israel as we know it is unthinkable without that subjugation. Without that subjugation, something other than Israel emerges—but is that thinkable? Whatever it is, it is not the destruction of the Jewish people, but rather the dismantling of the structure of Jewish sovereignty and demographic advantage. (Another argument could clearly show that this would be better for the Jews and for all inhabitants of the land and so would lead neither to the destruction of the Jewish people nor the Palestinian people, nor any other people). What would Israel do or be without the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians? What happens when we pair this question with the one posed by the title of Mahmoud Darwish’s poem, “Who am I, without exile?” as well as the recurring refrain, “what shall we do without exile?” The questions seek to open up a future under the conditions in which the future has been foreclosed or in which the future can only be thought as repeated subjugation.Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, Judith Butler (via littleopticalmachine)
1. Philip van Dijk
Jacobus Ioannes Eliza Capitein
Portrait of Jacobus Capitein; a black man seated half-length, wearing gown and bands, pointing at a book in front of him; after Philip van Dijk.
Note: Lettered in lower margin with production details and two columns of five lines each, with Dutch verses by Swyghuizen: “P. van Dyk del.” and “P. Tanjé sculp.” and “Hoe heerlyk schetst de kunst hier CAPITEIN, den Moor? / … / …, die ‘t heil der heidnen is.”.
2. F. van Bleyswyck
Dutch (c. 1730)
The Hague. Stichting Iconographisch Bureau.
Jacobus Capitein was a Dutch celebrity in the mid-1700s.
At the age of 11, in 1728, Capitein was brought to Holland to live with van Goch in The Hague. Van Goch treated him as an adopted son and gave him the last name of Capitein (Dutch for “captain”). Jacobus was placed in school and found to excel in the study of painting, reading and writing, mathematics and the classical languages. Capitein, who was baptized by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1735, let it be known that he wished to return to Africa as a missionary. His adopted father therefore allowed him in 1737 to attend the venerable University of Leiden in order to study theology and become a minister.
This is the first dissertation written by an African slave. He was brought to Holland by his owner, freed, and educated at the University of Leiden with grants from wealthy burghers. Thereafter he returned to Guinea as a missionary. His analysis presents a sweeping intellectual genealogy of Western thought on the issue of slavery. It begins by discussing the authors of antiquity, using Seneca, Horace, and Justinian to show that slavery violated the principles of natural freedom and equality, and rebutting Aristotle’s doctrine of natural slavery. Capitein concluded from Genesis that slavery entered the world as injustice to all peoples, but argued that the freedom promised in the Gospels was spiritual, not corporeal, and therefore had no civic consequences. The book represents the first scholarly work by an African on slavery, connecting Western thought and African experience.
Gaza was bombarded with 273 airstrikes yesterday (8th July). That’s an average of 11 an hour. Gaza is about 25 miles long and 4 miles wide, with a population of 1.7 million crammed into that tiny space. It is under Israeli occupation and Israeli siege. Hospitals estimate they will run out of resources to treat the wounded in about two days. Electricity is intermittent. Gaza has no army, air force or navy. Israel is the fourth largest military power in the world. Resistance to occupation is allowed under international law. Israel’s occupation, siege and collective punishment of Gaza is not.
How the story of barbarism gets written.