Sunday, January 11, 2009

war is the friend of binarisms

One of the violences committed in the name of Jewishness, is the erasing of the multiplicity of Jewish identities, in order to promote the state of Israel's colonial expansionism in Palestine. This reducing of complex identities and histories into ideas favored and created through Eurocentricity is part of many colonizing missions, and hegemonic policing of borders.

Ella Habiba Shohat on being an Arab Jew:

"War, however, is the friend of binarisms, leaving little place for complex identities. The Gulf War, for example, intensified a pressure already familiar to the Arab Jewish diaspora in the wake of the Israeli-Arab conflict: a pressure to choose between being a Jew and being an Arab. For our families, who have lived in Mesopotamia since at least the Babylonian exile, who have been Arabized for millennia, and who were abruptly dislodged to Israel 45 years ago, to be suddenly forced to assume a homogenous European Jewish identity based on experiences in Russia, Poland and Germany, was an exercise in self devastation. To be a European or American Jew has hardly been perceived as a contradiction, but to be an Arab Jew has been seen as a kind of logical paradox, even an ontological subversion. This binarism has led many Oriental Jews (our name in Israel referring to our common Asian and African countries of origin is Mizrahi or Mizrachi) to a profound and visceral schizophrenia, since for the first time in our history Arabness and Jewishness have been imposed as antonyms."

No comments: