The Devil to pay

Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira les aristocrates à la lanterne! Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira les aristocrates on les pendra!

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If Israel is to be considered a democracy, the non-Jewish population deserves equal rights under the law, as do the Mizrachim (Arab Jews) who represent over 30 percent of the population. Presently, there are at least twenty laws that privilege Jews over Arabs within the Israeli legal system. The 1950 Law of Return grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians who were forcibly dispossessed of their homes in 1948 or subsequently as the result of illegal settlements and redrawn borders. Human Rights Watch has compiled an extensive study of Israel’s policy of “separate, not equal” schools for Palestinian children. Moreover, as many as 100 Palestinian villages in Israel are still not recognized by the Israeli government, lacking basic services (water, electricity, sanitation, roads, etc.) from the government. Palestinians are barred from military service, and yet access to housing and education still largely depends on military status. Families are divided by the separation wall between the West Bank and Israel, with few forms of legal recourse to rights of visitation and reunification. The Knesset debates the “transfer” of the Palestinian population to the West Bank, and the new loyalty oath requires that anyone who wishes to become a citizen pledge allegiance to Israel as Jewish and democratic, thus eliding once again the non-Jewish population and binding the full population to a specific and controversial, if not contradictory, version of democracy.

Judith Butler, speaking at Brooklyn College, Feb. 7, 2013.  Butler, in addition to her rather impressive academic credentials, is a Jewish woman who has been criticized for supporting the BDS movement.  She made the following response to her critics back in August:

I am a scholar who gained an introduction to philosophy through Jewish thought, and I understand myself as defending and continuing a Jewish ethical tradition that includes figures such as Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt. I received a Jewish education in Cleveland, Ohio at The Temple under the tutelage of Rabbi Daniel Silver where I developed strong ethical views on the basis of Jewish philosophical thought. I learned, and came to accept, that we are called upon by others, and by ourselves, to respond to suffering and to call for its alleviation. But to do this, we have to hear the call, find the resources by which to respond, and sometimes suffer the consequences for speaking out as we do. I was taught at every step in my Jewish education that it is not acceptable to stay silent in the face of injustice. Such an injunction is a difficult one, since it does not tell us exactly when and how to speak, or how to speak in a way that does not produce a new injustice, or how to speak in a way that will be heard and registered in the right way. My actual position is not heard by these detractors, and … [i]t is untrue, absurd, and painful for anyone to argue that those who formulate a criticism of the State of Israel is anti-Semitic or, if Jewish, self-hating.

The Nation has a transcript of the rest of Butler’s Brooklyn College speech on the BDS movement here.  Butler’s August statement is here.

(via letterstomycountry)

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7,071 notes


“She said ‘I love you and I want to spend my life with you.’ Then ten days later, we sat in a diner, and she said ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore.”“What was your happiest moment with her?”“The happiest times were just little moments of exuberance. Like when she jumped on my back because something swam up against her in the ocean. Or when we danced in the kitchen when the pizza arrived”


“She said ‘I love you and I want to spend my life with you.’ Then ten days later, we sat in a diner, and she said ‘I don’t want to be with you anymore.”
“What was your happiest moment with her?”
“The happiest times were just little moments of exuberance. Like when she jumped on my back because something swam up against her in the ocean. Or when we danced in the kitchen when the pizza arrived”

7 notes

wallenstone asked: Once you get this, describe your political position (if you are unsure: political compass etc.) if you are comfortable doing so in public. Which political party in your country do you support? If you were in power, what would be your first political act? After you answered, send this meme to 5 other users.

This is a fairly good question. To be quite honest, I have come to the conclusion that it is rather pointless to cast oneself into these political spectrums, I don’t think it’s very useful. I think you end up trying to fit on this spectrum and you end up adapting your opinions what the spectrum thinks.

I’ve definitely became more liberal - in the non-economical sense of the word - lately. I’ve become more aware of my social surrondings and understanding towards certain situations and groups  - which I was not so much before, mainly for lack of thinking. I am not anti-capitalist - or rather, I’m not opposed to the idea of profit and business and personal or joint entreprises, I’m not opposed to the idea of private property- but I am also very aware that the system we have today is extremely damaging and a change is needed, towards a certain kind of socialism that allows both private investement but also wellfare, especially in the fields of health, education, employment etc - and of course, a state that does not let the markets do everything they wish for the benefit of few. It is my view that the final goal of a state, any state, should be the well being and freedom of their citizens.

On the other hand, I am inclined to believe in the superiority of societies and political systems that respect basic human rights. I have also diverging views on immigration. On one hand, I think it is important to adapt when you come to a foreign country, especially to adapt to its political and core societal reality. Only through adaptation can real multicultaralism arise because if there is no adaptation then you’re just creating groups of outsiders. Unless, someone is coming to another country in an expcetional situation like political or religious exile, I think that the main effort should always come from the person who arrives. The state should help but the effort from the newcomers is vital especially when it comes to the most basic things, like learning the language. On the other hand, it is vital that the rights (Freedom, privacy, dignity etc) of the immigrants are not violated because of that need. I also think that people who are concerned with the impact of immigration in European Societies (I’m not talking about the US that’s a different hole that I won’t get into) have a right to be concerned and I am quite frankly a bit tired of hearing people dismissing these concerns. Instead of fighting the prejudices that can and do arise from these concerns, the reaction of some intelligensia - and not so intelligensia too - is to just mock them, instead of fighting them with rational arguments. So when we all attack the Le Pens and the Farages of this world, we must realise that these people appeared as a direct consequence of the inability of main political parties to deal with an economical crisis that was provoked by a system they endorse. They appeared because of that and they prospered because while everyone who had a brain was too busy mocking and dismissing them, no one was actually trying to fight their arguments with rational arguments. 

I also believe that Education and Culture are vital for a good understanding of the world and for the improvement of Society. From Maths to Philosophy, from Biology to Literature, from Physics to Sculpture everything that feeds critical thinking and elevation of spirit can only benefit society and must in fact be, one of the pillars and priorities of any democratic State or confederation.

So to be quite honest, I am not sure what you would call me. I like to think that I stand with an ethical and philosophical field, namely, Humanism (I would say Secular Humanism, but I can’t ignore the contribute and the importance of Christianity to Humanism itself) and not so much with a political spectrum.

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