What else was paraded in Paris?

While unity was on parade in Paris, Netanyahu brought with him discord and old rifts.

    What else was paraded in Paris?
    Netanyahu takes part with dozens of foreign leaders in a solidarity march in the streets of Paris [Reuters]

    Israel is recruiting. With the individual and collective trauma of the Paris attacks still fresh, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not lose any time and appealed to the French Jews to leave their home country behind and to emigrate to Israel.

    Using the Grande Synagogue of Paris as his stage, he remarked: "Any Jew who chooses to come to Israel will be greeted with open arms and an open heart, it is not a foreign nation, and hopefully they and you will one day come to Israel."

    While unity was on parade in Paris, Netanyahu brought with him discord and old rifts. The brazenness of his suggestion, uttered in front of French President Francois Hollande, is unrivalled. As is the political opportunism, exploiting a recent tragedy for the purpose of boosting European emigration to a country built on the expulsion and discrimination of the Palestinian population.

    Zionist ideology

    Such cunning, moreover, falls in line with the staple self-legitimation of Israel through mentions of a less recent disaster, namely the shoah. Zionist ideology dismisses diplomatic protocol and brushes aside any considerations for the human rights of the Palestinian people, all in light of the absolute right that the Israelis purportedly derive from deadly massacres.

    Perversely, Israel depends upon, lives off, and grows stronger thanks to these tragedies; both past and present. In this sense, it repeats and amplifies the brutalities of these events.

    Perversely, Israel depends upon, lives off, and grows stronger thanks to these tragedies; both past and present. In this sense, it repeats and amplifies the brutalities of these events.  

    The disturbing conclusion, to which we are led by the persistent behaviour of Israeli politicians and by the country's official discourse, is that the State of Israel is symbiotically tied to the atrocities that preceded its establishment and that continue to this day.

    I doubt that either Netanyahu, or members of his inner circle even realise the full extent of the cynicism in using the murder of French Jews in a kosher supermarket for furthering ideological aims.

    To them, the tactic does not appear extraordinary at all, because it has been honed, in one form or another, for decades. So much so that Israel may be said to have styled itself as a political phoenix.

    The phoenix is a mythical bird that, upon burning up, regenerates from the ashes. In my book, Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze, I discussed the dangers inherent in the political version of the phoenix myth;

    "Having materialised from ash and having reawakened past ideals, the phoenix bears a lethal force in the midst of its newly gained life; it spreads the seeds of death whence it has issued all around itself, while affirming that it is eternal, or, at a minimum, eternally recurrent. Every return to a metaphysical unity from the dispersed plurality of the ashes must contend with this quandary, as does every project of a gathering and return from the diaspora - for example, Israel's self-representation as a polity resurrected from the ashes of Auschwitz. The triumphalist renaissance of this Middle Eastern phoenix betrays the memory of past suffering, at best paraded before the rest of the world in a perverse spectacle of victimhood. At its worst, the incessantly replayed spectacle serves to legitimate the death-bearing politics unleashed by the State of Israel against the Palestinians." (pp. 155-6)

    March for freedom

    On January 11, 2015, we saw the spectacle replayed in Paris, albeit not in reference to Auschwitz, but with regard to the latest outbursts of anti-Jewish violence. The manipulation of fear and insecurity, experienced by French Jews, reached a high pitch not only in Netanyahu's words but also in a workshop on how to immigrate to Israel, held in Paris on the day of the unity march.

    Millions march in France unity rallies

    Attended by no more than 500 people in a country that is home to half-a-million Jews, the "aliyah fair" represented yet another effort to put terrorist actions to political use in favour of Israel.

    If, as conservatives claim, fascism and "Islamic extremism" have something in common, it is how they are utilised by Israel to augment its Jewish population at the expense of the diaspora. 

    At the same time, it does not occur to the Israeli political elite that, absent a comprehensive peace with the neighbouring Palestinian state, European Jews will not find the security they are promised in the eastern corner of the Mediterranean.

    Perpetually at war and on edge, Israel does not come out favourably in comparison with France - even with a France rattled by a series of terrorist attacks; and no alternative parades, like Netanyahu's one-man reverse crusades, will change that.

    Michael Marder is a Ikerbasque research professor of philosophy at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz. His most recent books include: Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (2013) and Phenomena-Critique-Logos: The Project of Critical Phenomenology (2014).

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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