Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sara Roy: The Impossible Union of Arab and Jew: Reflections on Dissent, Remembrance and redemption

An amazing lecture by Sara Roy. To my mind, a good piece to read (or re-read) during the week when the occupation began, 44 years ago. This is the Edward Said memorial talk, which was given in Adelaide, Australia, roughly 3 years ago. I'll also be thinking about Said a lot this week. He had such a huge influence on me, and is missed, constantly.

Here are a couple of quotes from the lecture:
"Why is it so difficult, even impossible to incorporate Palestinians and other Arab peoples into the Jewish understanding of history? Why is there so little perceived need to question our own narrative (for want of a better word) and the one we have given others, preferring instead to cherish beliefs and sentiments that remain impenetrable? Within the organized Jewish community especially, it has always been unacceptable to claim that Arabs, Palestinians especially, are like us, that they, too, possess an essential humanity
and must be included within our moral boundaries, ceasing to be "a kind of solution," a useful, hostile "other" to borrow from Edward [Said]. That any attempt at separation is artificial, an abstraction. We withhold mutuality and codify difference. Why is it virtually mandatory among Jewish intellectuals to oppose racism, repression and injustice almost anywhere in the world and unacceptable—indeed, for some, an act of heresy—to oppose it when Israel is the oppressor, choosing concealment over exposure? For many
among us history and memory adhere to preclude reflection and tolerance."

And another:

"I have come to accept that Jewish power and sovereignty and Jewish ethics and
spiritual integrity are, in the absence of reform, incompatible, unable to coexist or be reconciled. For if speaking out against the wanton murder of children is considered an act of disloyalty and betrayal rather than a legitimate and needed act of dissent, and where dissent is so ineffective and reviled, a choice is ultimately forced upon us between Zionism and Judaism."

Racheli Gai.



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Racheli Gai
Rela Mazali
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Lincoln Z. Shlensky
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