The “I don’t hate Jews, only Zionists” Chronicles continue at CiF: The vile logic of Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek

The writings of Slavoj Žižek have all the markings of a communist revolutionary intellectual trying desperately to stay relevant in an age which has rejected such historically lethal, secular millenarian ideologies. That is, the style he employs seems intent on at least trying to hide his explicit message  – one which is viciously hostile to Jews and Israel.

First, here’s a little background which will allow those vexed by his rhetorical obfuscations understand precisely the ideological territory he claims.

Žižek is a philosopher, Leninist, and foe of liberal democracy who who has attributed the attacks of 9/11 to the “antagonisms of global capitalism”, and has argued that Hitler’s greatest sin was that he was “not radical enough” in that he didn’t “dare to disturb the basic structure of the modern capitalist social space”, adding that the Nazi dictator “was not violent enough…not ‘essential’ enough.”

He also can be included in the growing list of CiF columnists who have opined that the Jewish state should not exist.

Writing for British political magazine, The New Statesman, in an essay titled “Israel’s best hope lies in a single state, Žižek opines that the only solution to Israel is not a two-state solution but rather, to ”abolish the apartheid [state] that exists” and replace it with one majority Arab state.

He also characterized the wish of Jews to marry within the faith as a sinister, intolerant, and irrational hatred towards “the other”, meant to maintain racial purityconjuring “[Jewish Israeli] vigilantes [on the] prowl, hunting for Jewish girls who consort with Arab men.”

So, it’s not at all surprising that Žižek, in his CiF commentary ostensibly about the Norwegian terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, focuses so heavily upon the seemingly unrelated issues of Jews and Israel. Indeed,  Žižek’s “The vile logic to Anders Breivik choice of target“, CiF, Aug. 8, uses the words “Israel”, “Zionism”, or “Jew” thirty-five times.

It’s in  Žižek’s characterization of Breivik as anti-Semitic, but pro-Israel – he asks, “He [Breivik] realises the ultimate paradox of a Zionist Nazi: how is this possible? – where the polemical transition to a vicious anti-Zionist screed takes place.

Žižek explains Breivik’s “perverse Zionist-rightist pact” as consistent with the logic of modern Israel – which, he adds, can only survive as an “Apartheid” state:

Zionism itself has paradoxically come to adopt some antisemitic logic in its hatred of Jews who do not fully identify with the politics of the state of Israel. Their target, the figure of the Jew who doubts the Zionist project, is constructed in the same way as the European antisemites constructed the figures of the Jew – he is dangerous because he lives among us, but is not really one of us.” [emphasis mine]

In case Žižek’s line of reasoning, that Zionists represent the new anti-Semites – the new racists, contemporary fascism with merely a philosemitic veneer – is unclear, his concluding paragraph notes:

 [the] implicit line of argument [of Zionists and their supporters] is illustrated by a wonderful cartoon published in July 2008 in the Viennese daily Die Presse: it shows two stocky, Nazi-looking Austrians, one of them holding in his hands a newspaper and commenting to his friend: “Here you can see again how a totally justified antisemitism is being misused for a cheap critique of Israel!” These are today’s allies of the state of Israel. [emphasis mine]

These “Nazi-looking Austriansembody, for Žižek, the modern Zionist ethos.

In The Deadly Jester, Adam Kirsch, in a lengthy review of Žižek’s book, In Defense of Lost Causes, for The New Republic, concludes:

“What makes Nazism repulsive,” [Žižek’ writes], “is not the rhetoric of a final solution as such, but the concrete twist it gives to it.” Perhaps there is supposed to be some reassurance for Jews in that sentence; but perhaps not. For in In Defense of Lost Causes,…paraphrasing Badiou, Žižek writes: “To put it succinctly, the only true solution to the ‘Jewish question’ is the ‘final solution’ (their annihilation), because Jews … are the ultimate obstacle to the ‘final solution’ of History itself, to the overcoming of divisions in all-encompassing unity and flexibility.” I hasten to add that Žižek dissents from Badiou’s vision to this extent: he believes that Jews “resisting identification with the State of Israel,” “the Jews of the Jews themselves,” the “worthy successors to Spinoza,” deserve to be exempted on account of their “fidelity to the Messianic impulse.” [emphasis mine]

When you unpack Žižek’s prose, that’s all your left with: Another CiF commentator who insists it’s not Jews he hates as the enemy of all that is progressive, just and decent.  It’s only Zionists.

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