Israel-Palestine Refuse to be Enemies (Affect)


I don’t know why, but I was really struck the first time I saw this slogan, “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” because, probably, it’s so counter-factual. I’m sure my response  has something to do with “affect” and politics. Graphically, I like this particular stencil, anonymous, black on stone, without human bodies.

Proving once again that the  friend/enemy distinction does not do justice to long running blood-conflicts like the one between Israel-Palestine, the recent declaration  by the UN General Assembly of Palestine as a non-member observer state is a case in point.

A friend of mine, further to the left than me, made this  argument, with which I concur:

To be pro-Israel is to be pro-Palestine.

This got me to thinking. The remark is an incomplete truth,

It’s also true, and I’m not sure how many people to my left are willing to recognize the opposite  truth. Because once you start down this logical chain, it’s also true to say:

To be pro Palestine is to be pro Israel.

And that’s an even more counter-intuitive truth than the first claim.

And then again, these  are both only quarter truths, because:

To be anti-Palestine is to be anti-Israel.


To be anti-Israel is to be anti-Palestine.

The tricky thing is the sheer amount of time it takes to figure out how to come to terms this all works in real time. In the meantime, lots of blood goes under the bridge.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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4 Responses to Israel-Palestine Refuse to be Enemies (Affect)

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    Maybe it was meant to be vocative-imperative:

    “Jews and Arabs, refuse to be enemies!”

  2. chicagoja says:

    People are pretty much the same everywhere; there’s good and bad in every group. But most people have the same hopes and dreams, especially when it comes to their children. Unfortunately, peace was never the objective of peace talks – chaos was. Go ask the powers that be why they don’t want peace in the region.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Before treating these terms (“Israeli,” “”Palestinian”) as equal terms in logical propositions–to play around with, as like Zizek does and you don’t usually do–I would like to add:

    For many years, it was considered anti-semitic to acknowledge that Palestinians were a people. I think that this was a fairly mainstream line of thought among Conservative Jews not all that long ago. Maybe I’m wrong. When I was growing up, mere reference to Palestinians *as Palestinians* was out of line. I can’t be the only one who heard those old arguments, who still hears the echoes of them in comments about the Palestinian population rate, or who saw the Joan Peters book on the shelves of otherwise fairly liberal friends and family members.

    When we talk about partners for peace, don’t we need to first think out what it means, in many cases for the first time, to think of Palestinians as a people that has a legitimate (and, of course, not the only) claim to the land that Israel was built on? Try using the word “occupied” with a died-in-the-wool ADL supporter.

  4. Pingback: Masks of Fear: IDF and Hamas | Bulletin for the Study of Religion

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