I am very depressed because of what is happening in the Middle East. I had decided to respect my hopes and wait until the end of this inhuman craziness before expressing my feelings and comments. Now, I have to admit that the craziness will probably go on for a long while yet.
So, I have decided to take refuge from all these illogical and brutal military actions by hiding and sheltering within my scholarly armour. I shall leave to others, more expert than myself, the condemnations, the scream of supports, the sharp indignations, the terrorist labelling, and the human rights mysterious and magical spells. I am an anthropologist, an academic. My only defence to all this mindless madness is to try to make sense of it; of course, in a flood of useless words, fragile quotations, and gothic cathedral constructions of the intellect, which, however, cannot save even half of one life. So, here my shelter from the bombing of unwished contemporary realities.
First, it is important to deconstruct one point. “Israel is not ‘the Jew’”, my very religious Rabbi friend repeated again and again to me. I have no problem to believe him: a state cannot be a person or represent what today is a very heterogenic faith: Judaism. A person is a human being. To be Jewish means to be a person born within (or rarely convert to) a certain religion and holding certain beliefs, or ‘feeling to be’ a Jew (i.e. identity). I have not the space (actually time) to expand further this reductionist discourse, so let me pass to the second logical point. Zionism is not Israel; leave aside ‘the Jew’. An ideology can help to build a state, but a state cannot be an ideology, leave aside the personification of a person, ‘the Jew’. Continue reading