The Illouzian Illusion

In HaAretz, or rather Ha-Ha-Haretz, this has been published:

Rabin’s assassination was the deed of a lone individual who was by every standard a highly functional and competent member of a community dubbed the “settlers’ movement.” (Although he did not live in a settlement, he supported them and the desire to scuttle the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords was the motivation for the murder he committed.)

The writer of that tripe, which, through redefining terms and fudging facts allows anyone to accuse everyone of anything with no regard to truth, is Eva Illouz, a Hebrew University sociologist.  Her fields of interest include popular culture and the history of emotional life. Since 2012, she is the President (or not) of the Bezalel National Academy of Arts and Design.  Could her new art project by the rewriting definitions?

She was, justifiably, upset at incidents of

“calls for anti-Arab measures or even violence”.

Assuming her academic guise, she posits

these events signal what we may call a shift in the normative center of a society. Elites – people who set the tone for politics, economics, culture, media and law – are responsible for signaling to the rest of society the boundaries that divide permitted and prohibited speech and behavior.

But for her, there must be a right-wing reason for this negative societal development.  In order to depreciate Israeli society, she sought a parallel and found it in France where Manuel Valls, the French prime minister who is married to a Jewish woman, concerned about anti-Jewish events this past year, declared that “To attack a Jew because he is a Jew is to attack France («S’en prendre à un juif c’est s’attaquer à la France».)”

Of couse, as per her post-modernity, the obvious difficulty with that attempted parallel is that the Arabs of Israel would have to be equal to the loyalty, commitment and respect displayed by French Jews to France, that Arab citizens of Israel, would desirous of being Israeli and even serve in this country’s armed forces as the Jews of France did and do, despite that country’s anti-Semitism. Not only is that display of loyalty non-existent here in Israel but there is anti-Jewish violence done by Arabs to Jews in Israel and our institutions – state, religious and cultural – and, in my opinion, it is more lethal than that done, regrettedbly, by Jews towards Arabs.  Moreover, the Jews in France suffer violence from Arabs far worse than the situation for Arabs here in Israel.

It is my supposition that something else Valls added was attractive to Illouz:

“The dishonor of France is to have been an accomplice of the occupier…”

For her, the Arabs are only a side-show.  She is after the Gush Emunim legacy, and as she see it, there are “bizarre, radical and anachronistic ideas” in society and she questioins how

the same ideological and political forces that 20 years ago were marginal and even perceived as deviant have come now to define the terms of Israeli public discourse and have successfully managed to pose as Zionism?

Her answer, besides the Marxism she includes, is expressed so

the settler movement offered…a new patriotism, muscular, sunny, principled. It used, abused and subsumed the main vocation of Zionism – creating a democratic homeland for the Jews recognized by the world – to justify an explicitly colonialist policy…[t]his highjacking of Zionism…

Illouz seeks out, what is for her, ‘evil’ not in the thinking and actions of those who activiely engage in promoting the killing Jews and the undermining of the state of Israel, but through her illusions, also in that element of the nation’s spirit which seeks to shore up Zionism and Jewish peoplehood and sovereignty and those positive values are harmed by her irrationalizations.

She bemoans the weakness of Leftists in Israel as a counterpoint to the danger she has identified. Weakness?  She calls it ‘the collapse of the Left’ and finally points an accusing finger at Arabs:

The recent discovery of tunnels inside Gaza, for example, can only further weaken the left camp.

Another Illouzian illusion – those tunnels weren’t so much a threat to lives as they harmed the Left.

My imagination seems to be telling me that Ms. Illouz has become detached from logic’s moorings as her disdain for values of nationhood, Judaism and the intrinsic meaning of the Land of Israel grows.  She seems to wish for another canvas to work out her creative talents.


About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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