How to be Jewish and critical of Israeli policies

November 24, 2016 22:54

The philosopher and feminist Judith Butler's recent interview published in Haaretz highlights once again the difficulty of being a prominent intellectual figure, being Jewish and critical of the Israeli state policies.

Butler argues in the post-Holocaust world she was taught that as a Jew it was 'ethically imperative to speak up' against state violence and racism. In this sense, Butler claims the 'idea of social justice emerged for me from the consideration of the Nazi genocide'. Yet, when Butler or any other Jewish figures are critical of Israel they are routinely labeled either 'self-hating Jews or anti-semitic'.

As Butler states:

'I would also say that what became really hard for me is that if one wanted to criticize Israeli state violence - precisely because that as a Jew one is under obligation to criticize excessive state violence and state racism - then one is in a bind, because one is told that one is either self-hating as a Jew or engaging anti-Semitism. And yet for me, it comes out of a certain Jewish value of social justice. So how can I fulfill my obligation as a Jew to speak out against an injustice when, in speaking out against Israeli state and military injustice, I am accused of not being a good enough Jew or of being a self-hating Jew? This is the bind of my current situation.'

November 24, 2016 22:54

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