Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is Israel the actualization of the "Jewish spirit"?

Netanyahu, Hegel and the Jewish Spirit by Gilad Atzmon
(Gilad Atzmon Home Page) --

“Spirit does not toss itself about in the external play of chance occurrences; on the contrary, it is that which determines history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which it dominates and exploits for its own purpose”. (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770 – 1831)

PM Netanyahu was quoted by the Israeli Ynet last week saying that the “whole of Israel would be surrounded by a fence eventually”. According to another report he said “there will be no choice but to fence Israel in on all directions”. What Netanyahu means by ‘fence’ and ‘all directions’ may be left open for the time being. However, PM Netanyahu has managed to bring to light an Hegelian interpretation of the notion of ‘Jewish spirit’ as a relentless inclination towards segregation and isolation. It is the tendency to keep oneself apart that determines and shapes Jewish collectivism. Whether it is the Zionists and their walls, the Orthodox and their Kosher universe or even Jewish anti Zionists and their racially segregated miniature activist cells, somehow every form of Jewish political engagement is there to set the Jews apart.

“For Hegel” says Francis Fukuyama, “the contradictions that drive history exist first of all in the realm of human consciousness, i.e. on the level of ideas”. It is reasonable to argue that from an Hegelian perspective, all human behaviour and human history is rooted in a prior state of consciousness. For Hegelian thinkers such as Alexandre Kojève, understanding the underlying processes of history requires understanding the realm of consciousness for it is consciousness that will ultimately remake the material world into a mirror image of its own spirit. In short it is the spirit that would eventually shape the material reality as a mirror of itself. Accordingly, the Jewish state, could be realised as a reflection of the Jewish spirit for it is the Jewish spirit that shapes the reality of the Jewish state.

For Hegel history ended in 1806. For him mankind reached its end with the French and American Revolutions. Whether Hegel was correct or completely deluded in his reading of human history and mankind’s evolution is a matter for an ongoing philosophical debate. The Jewish state, however, can be easily interpreted in Hegelian terms as the ‘end of Jewish history’. Zionism presented a dream, it set itself a serious challenge: it promised to transform the Jew into a ‘civilised and authentic human being’. It vowed to make the Jews people like all other people. Zionism was in fact a call of defiance against the hitherto Jewish spirit. Yet, the current state of Israel proves beyond doubt that the spirit has defeated the Zionist proclaimed fantasy. The will to be ‘fenced from every possible direction’ prevailed. The aspiration to be ‘people amongst people’ is a matter for historical enquiry, it has no support on the ground whatsoever. The spirit won over the rational ideological fantasy...MORE...LINK

Chris Moore comments:

Whatever early Zionists, mostly anti-Christian left-wingers from the Soviet Union and Europe, might have professed, Zionism, like Jewish Bolshevism, always was intended as a political hammer for Jewish exceptionalism, insularity, and supremacy -- even though each was smuggled in under the p.r. guise of something higher.

As Atzmon notes, "Whether it is the Zionists and their walls, the Orthodox and their Kosher universe or even Jewish anti Zionists and their racially segregated miniature activist cells, somehow every form of Jewish political engagement is there to set the Jews apart."

This tendency can probably be traced to organized Jewish religious doctrine, dogma, and historiography. But because those are the forces that inevitably shape all organized manifestations of Jewry (because they are the forces that hold self-identifying Jewry together) such an insular and exclusive outcome is apparently inevitable.

Sure, individual Jews may reject components of those manifestations (for example, elitism or supremacy), but they are essentially "pissing against the river," because the current of Jewry's doctrinal river runs in the opposite direction.

This isn't to say that all Jews or Jewish groups are unsuitable for participation in Western liberalism, but rather that the gist of organized Jewish Zionism runs counter to Western values, and hence Jewish Zionists should concede, to themselves even, that their ideology doesn't fit well within the Western framework without the West undergoing a radical political transformation and subordination to the Zionist/institutionalized Jewish-supremacist vein -- which is exactly what most Western Zionists in general and American Zionists in particular (and those Gentiles under their influence) are attempting to accomplish.

And this is where the distinction needs to be made between Zionist Jewry and non-Zionist Jewry. For example, the Amish are highly insular, but don't aspire to politically overthrow or co-opt the U.S. government, hence they are not a threat to Western freedom. Similarly, insular Jewish groups who aren't crypto-Zionist Communists or open Zionists need not automatically be viewed as a threat, either.

But no question, due to Zionism's strong appeal, political manifestations of organized Jewry in the West should necessarily be viewed with a very jaundiced eye.

No comments: