Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The enduring necessity of human rights 

This post in Huffingtonpost indicates how even key voices on the left are failing to face up to the implications of events in Israel. Amazingly, this author manages to somehow paint the massacre as yet another sign of Obama's preordained success.

It is simple blackmail for those on the left who are Jewish or "sympathetic to Judaism": do you want to face the truth or not? As speakingcorpse and Scats are pointing out, the key outrage here is that almost no one can even bring him or herself to describe what is going on in plain sight. For Israel has put the stakes at the heart of Jewish identity. To sympathize with Israel is to be Jewish and to condemn it is, in a sense, to renounce one's Jewishness. The stakes are that high-- and this is precisely why the media is failing so terribly to create a unified protest.

It is here that only human rights can guide us to clarity. Human rights are exposed for the scandal to identity and nation that they secretly are: it is only by seeing Palestinians as equal to the Jews in every way that Israel's actions are clearly nothing other than state terror. It is only by undoing and creating common nationhood, based around rights, that any resolution will ever be possible.

And thus human rights, as admittedly negative a freedom as they proffer, are essential and will continue to be so as the century progresses. As Zizek has noted, the philosophy is as religious and based in a leap of faith as theological doctrines; there is no immanent proof that everyone is deserving of the same rights. Yet it is precisely the destructive character of even the possibility of universality-- which would finish nationalism, racism, etc.-- that has Israel lashing out in this way and thereby revealing its own death throes as a concept. Human rights appears from without as the only tool to comprehend and lambast the tragedy, and from within as the innate power to which Israel will someday succumb.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?