Saturday, 15 December 2007

ground rules

It is noticeable how often adversaries actually share the same underlying assumptions. Perhaps this is what makes them true adversaries. So it is that certain anti-Semites and certain supporters of Israel both make the equation Israel = The Jews. For one, criticisms of Israel become examples of anti-Semitism; for the other, the aggression of the Israeli state is somehow ‘Jewish’. In both cases, we are dealing with mythical thinking. A modern nation state, whose nationalism is not unlike other modern nationalisms, is understood in mythical terms. Similarly, the Islamophobes and the Islamists are alike in making no distinction between contemporary Islamism and Islam itself. Ideology critique must always go beyond the superficial antagonisms to expose the assumptions which the stock antagonism works to reinforce. Not to take sides in the spectacular appearance of opposition but to oppose its very ground.