Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 20, 2011

Israel Shamir and Slavoj Žižek

Filed under: anti-Semitism — louisproyect @ 7:22 pm

Despite my general aversion to Slavoj Žižek, I want to defend him against the misrepresentations found in Israel Shamir’s Counterpunch article from July 14th titled “Doing a Full Monty for Tel Aviv: Žižek and the Gaza Flotilla“. As I will point out, Žižek is not above criticism but Shamir’s article is nothing but a hatchet job.

As is customary with Shamir, there is a tendency to make an amalgam between Israelis and Jews:

Without Europeans, passage of a pro-Palestinian resolution is unlikely – this as Europe agonizes over even the thought of upsetting Jews.

Never has Jewish stock climbed to such dizzy heights; it has surpassed its historical limits, ascending to loony peaks that bespeak the Dotcom madness of 2000.

This blurring of categories is typical of those who have not mastered a class analysis, a fault that regrettably is far too common with many Counterpunch contributors.

In order to answer Shamir, I forced myself to watch the entire Youtube video of Žižek’s talk to a small group of Israeli leftists. For the life of me, I can’t understand how he has become a celebrity on the left. Leaving aside the merits of his ideas, I find his “style” impossibly strained and irony-sodden to the point of capsizing.

Now, it is possible that a couple of the quotes Shamir attributed to Žižek that I could not find in the Youtube video were either made after the camera stopped rolling or were simply words put in his mouth. But leaving that aside, the more overarching question was one of reportorial accuracy. I simply could not recognize Žižek’s talk as an exercise in convincing his audience “that fighting anti-Semitism is more important than defending Palestinians.”

It is true that the talk was mostly about anti-Semitism but you cannot deduce from that any kind of hostility to the Palestinian cause. If Shamir were more of a serious student of Žižek’s views and willing to put in 10 minutes of background research he would realize that the talk was simply a recapitulation of an analysis that Žižek has been making for years. As the New Republic, an arch-Zionist publication, put it, “the form that Žižek’s remarks on Jews take is that of an exposition of the mentality of the anti-Semite.”

In other words, Žižek was interested in examining the difference between the anti-Semitism of a displaced Palestinian and that of an emerging right-populist/neo-fascist movement in Europe. He came down foursquare on the greater danger of the latter, while stressing the need for Arabs to eliminate anti-Semitism from their ranks. Shamir quoted Žižek as stating that “even the most oppressed and poor Palestinian should not be tolerated for being anti-Semitic.” Well, of course. This should be obvious. Not only is hatred of Jews as a people reactionary, it is also a weapon that the Zionists use against the Palestinian struggle. It would have been better for groups like Hamas and Hizbollah never to have made the kinds of verbal or written gaffes that allow Israeli leaders to demagogically liken them to the Nazis.

According to Shamir, Žižek said that “The real suffering, and the real problem, is European and American anti-Semitism”. He added, “Does the professor know something we don’t? Are European and American Jews being tortured in dark dungeons while their houses are confiscated by blue-eyed Aryans?” Now this is one of those quotes I could not pin down while watching the video, but it was clear to me that the real point was the one I alluded to above. For Žižek, there was much more of a history of genuine racial violence and oppression in Europe and America than there ever was in the Arab world. Furthermore, Žižek did not claim that there is any immediate threat of houses being confiscated but he was completely right to point out the growth of far-right movements in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that hearken back to traditional anti-Semitism.

There’s another quote I could not locate: “The Slovenian philosopher spoke kindly of the swindler Bernie Madoff, who was ‘a scapegoat who was easy to blame, when in fact the real problem is the system that allowed and even pushed Madoff to commit his crimes‘”.

Now, I don’t know how “kindly” it is to characterize Madoff as a scapegoat, but Žižek is completely correct. By focusing so much on his Ponzi scheme, the media was able to portray the financial crisis as the work of “evil people” rather than the capitalist system itself. Shamir, who knows as much about Marxism based on the evidence of his writings as I do about the origins of the universe, would naturally be hostile to such an interpretation. As a crude conspiracy theorist who sees the Zionist lobby as a pulling the strings of the US government, he would naturally be disposed to seeing the economic system being run in the same fashion.

There is one quote that is disturbing and that I was able to pinpoint:

Žižek said that “someone from the Democratic Republic of Congo would sell his mother into slavery in a heartbeat for the chance to move to the West Bank”.

The problem is that Shamir omitted the words that immediately prefaced this, in which Žižek warned the audience that he was about to make a “provocative” statement. Žižek was talking about the tendency of some on the left to overstate the evil of Zionism, equating it with Nazism, etc. Clearly, a more precise characterization of Israeli society is required, especially in light of the left’s tendency to see fascism at all times and everywhere. Whenever I have run into such an equation, I tend to say, “No, Israel is not like Nazi Germany. It is much more like apartheid South Africa.”

This, however, points to a flaw in Žižek’s style, which is one of searching for attention—almost to the point of narcissism. The poor chap seems to hope for people to say something like “Did you hear what Žižek said?”, as if he were aspiring to be Marxism’s counterpart of Howard Stern. Clearly, a more grounded and measured approach is required.

Turning now to Shamir, the question of his anti-Semitism must be examined. Perhaps the most glaring example for most of his critics is an article titled “Bloodcurdling Libel” that is filled with weird theological free associations and essentialist humbug like this:

However, it is the belief in Jewish (not Palestinian) ritual child murders that was widespread and persistent. The old Jewish Encyclopaedia, Vol. III, 266, lists the following cases, beginning with William of Norwich: 5 other cases given for the twelfth century, 15 for the thirteenth, 10 for the fourteenth, 16 for the fifteenth, 13 for the sixteenth, 8 for the seventeenth, 15 for the eighteenth, and 39 for the nineteenth, going right up to the year 1900 (total 113). There have been more cases in the [6] 20th century. What is the reason for this belief? Was there a world-wide and centuries-spanning conspiracy to implicate innocent Jews in heinous crime or is there a crime behind accusations?

Normally, my instinct would lead me to get to the bottom of such a bizarre train of thought, but I realized that it would not be worth it. Clearly, you are dealing with a crank.

Most of Shamir’s articles that are written along these lines are not stereotypical racist attacks on Jews but rather attempts to give undue weight to those who make them. While such a distinction might be not worth making, I am simply trying to point out that the author is clever enough to have fooled the editors of Counterpunch who are a bit challenged when it comes to this sort of toxic waste.

Finally, let me differentiate myself a bit from Žižek on the question of “threats” to the Jews. While I agree that the Arabs are not the Nazis of today, I am less inclined than he is to fret about anti-Semitism as a serious looming “existential” menace to the Jews. Perhaps his lack of interest in social and economic history (i.e., historical materialism) explains his dwelling over “superstructure” but there is a world of difference between traditional anti-Semitism and the speech or writings of a Hamas leader or Ahmadinejad. The persecution of the Jews in Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany was intimately linked to the terminal decay of capitalism that could only resolved through war and the use of scapegoats.

We are decidedly moving into a deadly constellation of events that might precipitate new outbreaks of pogroms and even extermination but the targets will not be the Jews who are not easily identifiable through their isolation in ghettos or their economic role as pawnbrokers, shopkeepers, etc. Instead, it will be the Roma, the undocumented worker from Northern Africa, the Mexican, or the Arab.

The left has to be vigilant against any form of racialist stupidity, whether it comes from a disturbed individual lacking a social base like Israel Shamir or someone like Ahmadinejad who lacked the common sense to not invite David Duke to a symposium on the holocaust in Tehran. We do so primarily because their words weaken our movement by leaving it open to the charge of racism. This is especially a problem given the ability of the mass media to control the discourse and make the criminal into the victim and the victim into the criminal, as Malcolm X once put it.

89 Comments »

  1. Wasn’t there a dust up recently over Zizek’s remarks about the Roma?

    Zizek often claims that he ought to be writing “that 700 page book on Hegel” rather than all those speaking engagements. There are times I agree with him. Over the past couple years, I’ve seen him drop almost all talk of Lacan/psychoanalysis from his public appearances and concentrate on “growing his brand”.

    Comment by Brian Gallagher — July 20, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

  2. It’s amazing that another fraud like Shamir’s swipe could make traditional racist apology for apartheid suddenly acceptable (lower races under white supremacist rule – apartheid, or jim crow, or Israeli military occupation – are better off than self-governing lower races, as we know, always), as well as redeem “Nietzsche’s wonderful idea” that “Germans and Jews” (“your race” as Zizek puts it to his Tel Aviv audience) should “fuse” to breed a superior race with all their/our racial virtues, so long as those participating in the super-race breeding scheme refuse “the logic” of somebody who says “we should understand” the antisemitism of “poor arabs and blecks”.

    Zizek is fortunate in his critics…Shamir, the neoconnish Kirsch, Eustonite Johnson, and of course those of his own invention like “Arthur Feldman, Viennese-Jewish writer”.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

  3. “The left has to be vigilant against any form of racialist stupidity, whether it comes from a disturbed individual lacking a social base like Israel Shamir or someone like Ahmadinejad…”.

    Louis, overall, this is a decent critique, but fairness demands that you also check on the sources you criticise. Shamir is *against* racialist thinking: http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Poverty.htm “The Poverty of Racialist Thought”

    He is also against knee-jerk anti-Jewish prejudice, as you can see in his rebuttal to Serge Thion: http://www.israelshamir.net/English/Thion-Speaks.htm

    Comment by david montoute — July 20, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  4. And the Congo remark, traditional apartheid apology, is now a standard routine of his –
    http://www.observer.com/2010/slavoj-zizek-bourgeois-snob

    And what about this business of accusing Chavez of anti-Semitism (“Chavez made a couple of (very limited but still he did) remarks that could be read as potentially antiSemitic”) and then arguing that anti-Semitism it is the inevitable fate of the whole “what’s it called- Bolivarian Revolution” because, he says, Chavez wants to keep capitalism and so needs a scapegoat and that scapegoat will be “your race”, “typical latinoamerican populism…you want to keep capitalism you have to blame someone.” The whole talk was propagandistic crap, almost every sentence infused with racist imagery, vocabulary, assumptions.

    In Palestine:

    “If you gather all the terrorists, you don’t get even near to southern Bronx”

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  5. Instead of singling out sentences from Zizek’s talk, I urge people to watch the whole thing and judge for themselves. He is rather suspect on a number of fronts, but he is not some kind of crypto-Zionist.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 20, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  6. “Žižek was talking about the tendency of some on the left to overstate the evil of Zionism, equating it with Nazism, etc.”

    This is absurd. Nobody claims Nazis are running DRCongo. He is simply repeating an age-old justification for white supremacy – African Americans better off than had their ancestors been “left behind” in Africa, Michael Medved said, Yosef Lapide: “The lowliest of Negroes in South Africa has more civil rights than the greatest Soviet author. The most oppressed negro in South Africa has more to eat than millions of Africans in “Liberated” countries.”

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  7. It’s not a question of “singling out sentences” – his whole talk is a coherent piece of propaganda, purveying racist ideas, establishing Jews as a race threatened by the anti-Semitism of “poor Arabs and blacks”, poo-pooing Palestinian rights and wrongs (the right of return is referred to dismissively as the idea that “you Jews should invite every Arab to move here”), focussing on the threat of anti-Semitism not just in Eastern Europe but in Iran and in “latinoamerican populism”, and telling the assembled company they are the most persecuted people in the world, the only people the Israeli state is really bad to – the dissident Jews. He consistently apologises for Israeli aggression – his piece on the bombing of Lebanon portrayed Israel as the victim “bombarded” by images of dead, the bbiungling impotent paternal authority irreperably damaged by Lebanese propaganda; he consistently denies daily violence in the West Bank and instead describes only annoyances and injustices (like water inequality); he consistently apologises for US empire and its clients, even recently celebrating the Iraqi invasion as allowing the Iraqi CP to participate in government, championing prolonged occupation of Afghanistan, etc.. This is not nitpicking at a remark here and there. It’s taking note of his consistent propagandistic programme.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

  8. telling the assembled company they are the most persecuted people in the world

    Well, this is just bullshit worthy of Shamir. He said nothing like this at all.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 20, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

  9. Oh come on! He stresses that Israel is pretty good to the undermen (better off than Congolese) but is persecuting it’s Jewish dissident. The whole talk is about anti-semitism – even the Venezuelan left. “…your race will eventually be there” – in the scapegoat’s position. Your race is destined for its familiar fate.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

  10. (But instead of singling out a sentence, I urge you to try to grasp my comment as a judgement on his output in general – its repeated motifs, themes and consistent slant and their effects – and how this talk fits the whole, for which I have already offered plenty of specific support.)

    Here, the bombing of Lebanon is an occasion to discuss Israel’s misfortunes:

    http://www.lacan.com/zizimp.htm

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 20, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

  11. I see that you do not chose to defend your statement that Zizek told the Israelis that they were “the most persecuted people in the world”. That was wise of you. Zizek is bad enough in his own right without putting words in his mouth. Zizek is not much worse than Chomsky who has also said things about Israel that do not pass muster. Here’s what a hard-core Zionist says about Zizek as a reality check:

    http://cifwatch.com/2011/03/11/guardian-commentator-slavo-zizek-muses-on-jewish-supremacism-poisoned-wells-and-a-final-solution-to-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict/

    Guardian commentator Slavo Zizek muses on Jewish supremacism, poisoned wells, and a final solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    by Adam Levick

    Slavoj Žižek is a Guardian commentator, philosopher and unreformed communist who has attributed the attacks of 9/11 to the “antagonisms of global capitalism”, and has argued that Hitler’s greatest sin was that he was “not radical enough” in that he didn’t “dare to disturb the basic structure of the modern capitalist social space”, adding that the Nazi dictator ”was not violent enough…not ‘essential’ enough.”

    He has also recently joined a growing list of Guardian and CiF columnists who have opined that the Jewish state should not exist.

    Writing for British left-wing political magazine The New Statesman, in an essay titled “Israel’s best hope lies in a single state“, Žižek begins by characterizing the wish of Jews in Israel to marry within the faith as a sinister, intolerant, and irrational hatred towards “the other”, meant to maintain racial purity – a fantastical tale which mocks Israeli “Guardians of Jewish purity” and manages to conjure “vigilante-style patrols work[ing] to stop Arab men from mixing with local Jewish girls.” [emphasis mine]

    In Žižek’s imaginary Middle East, Israelis (and certainly not Hamas, PFLP, and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade) are the only real terrorists in the region: sinister political actors who – as anyone schooled in the dark history of Jewish malevolence in the world surely would not be surprised to know – are not above literally “poisoning” [Palestinian] water” wells.

    The only just and final solution, according to Žižek, to this wretched nightmare named Israel is not a two-state solution but rather, to ”abolish the apartheid [state] that exists” and replace it with one majority Arab state.

    Žižek’s advocacy for the political destruction of the first sovereign Jewish polity in 2000 years should not be judged too harshly as, not unlike Mya Guarnieri, he’s clearly only trying to save Jews from themselves, to save – as Guarnieri so subtly put it – “Judaism’s very soul“, and indeed closes by sagely moralizing to Zionists, these “Israeli defenders of Jewish purity”, that “they want to protect [Israel] so much that they are ready to forsake the very core of Jewish identity.”

    Adam Kirsch, reviewing Žižek’s book, In Defense of Lost Causes, for The New Republic, observed that to Žižek:

    “Jews are a mere abstraction, objects of fantasy and speculation, that can be forced to play any number of roles in his psychic economy.”

    Thus, it’s indeed very likely that his philosophical musings on the moral failings of Jews, and the moral necessity of the Jewish state’s demise, will continue to be welcomed at the Guardian.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 20, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

  12. I really don’t care what hard core Zionists say and can’t be bothered to read it – I know what they say about me so I know they’re not reliable, nor are they “reverse barometers” like the “muleskinner” is imagined by Custer in Little Big Man.

    Here’s what Zizek says about Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution in the video you posted:

    “Anti-semitism is for me always a sign that something is wrong in the very position – politically, ethically. For example, in the case of Chavez, Venezuela. He made a couple of – very limited, but nonethless he did – remarks which could be read as potentially anti-Semitic, and I claim it’s a clear case, one can locate it exactly, of the crisis, critical point of his whatever you call it Bolivarian Revolution, where it became clear to him that he will not succeed in really building a new socialist economy. He will have to make compromises with capitalism. So he is more and more unfortunately withdrawing into typical latinoamerican charismatic populism, which precisely is characterised by this logic of I put it in English to have your cake and eat it. To have socialism but to keep capitalism. To have it both ways you absolutely need…to have capitalism which is not antagonistic, but because capitalism is antagonistic somebody is to be blamed because its not the system, and so on and so on. So what am I saying here, my critical point? One should first make things clear about anti-Semitism.”

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 21, 2011 @ 12:03 am

  13. Two things. Chavez did say some wrongheaded things about Jews. That does not mean he is an anti-Semite, but only that he is fallible. For that matter, he has said far worse things–like calling the movement against al-Assad “fascist” and blaming the CIA for 9/11.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  14. I see that you do not chose to defend your statement that Zizek told the Israelis that they were “the most persecuted people in the world”. That was wise of you. Zizek is bad enough in his own right without putting words in his mouth. Z

    I didn’t attribute a quote to him. Why should I defend a statement I didn’t make? Don’t you know the difference between a quotation and an interpretation?

    Why do you have to resort to such dishonesty? Clearly I’m interpreting the entirety of his talk as convincing the company present that they are the most persecuted, stressing the dangers to them and the wrongs they suffer, as he does with largely white male audiences in the US and UK. That’s why in the UK and US he kvetches about political correct multiculturalism, reverse racism and whatnot, but in Tel Aviv, all these anti-Semites are discussed – Hitler, Chavez, latin american populists in general, poor Arabs and Blacks, the scapegoaters of Madoff, the European far right, the lesser antisemites feared by BHL and JCM, Ahmadinejad – the blockade of Gaza goes unmentioned, the worries about extended BDS to Europe because of anti-Semitism, and almost the only thing said about Palestinians is it would be ridiculous for you Jews to invite every Arab to move here and of course that Congolese men would sell their mothers into slavery to be as well off as Palestinians in the West Bank.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 21, 2011 @ 12:22 am

  15. “Two things. Chavez did say some wrongheaded things about Jews”

    Well but this is what Zizek said in the video you posted:

    “Anti-semitism is for me always a sign that something is wrong in the very position – politically, ethically. For example, in the case of Chavez, Venezuela. He made a couple of – very limited, but nonethless he did – remarks which could be read as potentially anti-Semitic, and I claim it’s a clear case, one can locate it exactly, of the crisis, critical point of his whatever you call it Bolivarian Revolution, where it became clear to him that he will not succeed in really building a new socialist economy. He will have to make compromises with capitalism. So he is more and more unfortunately withdrawing into typical latinoamerican charismatic populism, which precisely is characterised by this logic of I put it in English to have your cake and eat it. To have socialism but to keep capitalism. To have it both ways you absolutely need…to have capitalism which is not antagonistic, but because capitalism is antagonistic somebody is to be blamed because its not the system, and so on and so on. So what am I saying here, my critical point? One should first make things clear about anti-Semitism.”

    I don’t see how your claim – if true (doubtful) – supports Zizek’s contentions or undermines my point which is that making this case in Tel Aviv – a case he didn’t make in Ramallah or London, but there in a room full of Jooz after discussing his sylpathy for the Joo Madoff and claiming Hitler was effeminate and therefore not as admirable as these bookstire Jooz assume he was – is encouraging the audience to consider themselves the biggest victims in history, Victimhood Personified, which after all is the contention he makes repeatedly about Jews in his books.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 21, 2011 @ 12:36 am

  16. I didn’t attribute a quote to him.

    I see I am wasting my time arguing with you. In #8, you said he told the audience that the Jews were the most persecuted people in the world. Don’t you fucking read what you write, you moron? Why don’t you go away.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 21, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  17. Are you kidding? Those were my words, I didn’t put them in his mouth – that is my assessment of the implication of the talk.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 21, 2011 @ 12:58 am

  18. Look people. This is just some more righteous investigative journalism from Louis Proyect.

    Here’s the facts as I see it from the vantage point of an 8 hour a day mechanic under filthy trucks & automobiles dripping untold carcinogens onto our streets, avenues, boulevards & roadways which trickle down ultimately into all our drinking water.

    I only learned of this character Zizek from this blog. Yes I’m glad he’s a relatively famous Marxist professor stirring the interests of young people. Moreover, he seems to big fan of Lenin, who I consider to be the most significant individual to impact the political outcomes of the last 100 years. But I’ll never forget what Lenin said about professors, steeped in the University Milieu as they are, never really seeing the world from that underside vantage point of toilers like me, that 50 of them are worth one Jack Reed.

    History still bears out Lenin’s crude dictum that one Jack Reed is worth 50 Zizeck’s.

    In my position I don’t have time to research the veracity of news. So I emailed this article from Shamir on CP to Proyect with the comment: “what a scumbag” as if Zizeks’s Zionism was a given.

    I’m just glad he exposed the holes in the story which now leaks like a sieve because I grew up in a household that taught what Lenin & Trotsky would say about the State of Israel today is this simple slogan: Jewish people Yes! — Zionism No!

    Today, in the age of Israel & its enabler, US Imperialism armed to the teeth, anti-semitism is largely a Red Herring. According to a quick Google search, a Red Herring is defined as a “diversionary tactic” designed to throw one’s attention off of the real problem, just as the original notion of the “scapegoat” was utilized.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 21, 2011 @ 3:19 am

  19. Yikes, chabert.

    Comment by skip — July 21, 2011 @ 5:24 am

  20. I did not say and I do not think that Slavoj Zizek is a “zionist”. In my view, fully expressed in the text, he is fawning to Jews because he thinks it is good for his position in the world. I find it reprehensible and dangerous.

    Comment by Israel Shamir — July 21, 2011 @ 6:39 am

  21. IS you and SZ share this belief in Jewish Power, Jewish Plot and the Jewish race – did you discuss this piece with him? Because look at the favour you do him, his former critics will now thanks to you be deeply concerned with the anti-Semitic premature anti-fascist overreaction of Gaza siege breakers and think they should instead be raising money to buy Congolese women from their sons as slaves. Bravo.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 21, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  22. Slavoj Zizek has some pretty consistent diarrhea of the mouth, and I don’t really take him all that seriously. He has some good insights on ideology, and I even like his Lacan stuff at times. But I am going to resist watching the video since I have watched God knows how many hours of Zizek and read a handful of his major works. In his talks in particular, he seems to recycle the same things over and over again, but I have never heard him say anything overtly pro-Zionist.

    I think Zizek fulfils the role of providing a meatier rhetoric for liberals unfulfilled by postmodern scholarship. He is sort of like the drunk uncle who at family gatherings scratches himself and curses at the dinner table. The claims of Stalinism on his part go hand in hand with that reputation. There is so much of a titillation factor in what he does that one is a dupe if one takes him too seriously. Personally, I want to read his book on Hegel, just because I like Hegel. But after that, if I never read another Zizek book, it will be too soon.

    Comment by El pelón — July 21, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  23. You people are really off on Zizek. Yes, he has a tendency to blurt out certain things from time to time that are not very well thought out, but these really minor things. For instance his reference to the communists in the Iraqi government, most likely a reference to Jalal Talebani, is suspect considering Talebani’s record etc, but in principle he is correct that one should not knee jerk react to foreign interventions. In the case of Libya for instance he has decried the bankruptcy of the European Left to even discuss if NATO action may be humanitarian. To even debate this shows the degree of the Left’s poverty; but the point is whether such an intervention can in any way benefit the cause of the Left, and in this he is a Leninist. Concrete analysis, not silly moralizing is the one true legacy of Leninist theory of politics. Also, he has been consistently a defender of Palestinian rights, and an unrelenting critique of anti-Semitism (many lectures on YouTube), and he has also been a relentless critique of those like Jean-Alain Milner who are hyper anti anti-semitism, so to speak. Milner for instance has theorizes that the whole European Union idea is anti-Semitic, etc. His critique of Milner and others like him (mostly rightwing French Jews) is in The Parallax View. Look, the guy puts himself out on the line, he is trying to get his ideas to a very wide audience, world-wide in fact, and he does make gaffes from time to time, how the hell could he not? But show me another progressive intellectual with the exception of Chomsky that has such an audience. To call that asking for attention is frankly silly. As to his style, there is a book by Paul Taylor of Leeds University that goes into this and there is a video on YouTube with Zizek and Taylor that talks about it. He has his reasons as to his style (inspired to some extent by Lacan I think), but right or wrong it seems to have worked for him. Now if even 10 percent of his audience goes and reads his books (and there is nothing silly about them) then he has accomplished his job. Btw, if you think he was pandering to a Jewish audience in his the first five minutes of this video, he delivers exactly the same talk in his discussion with Paul Taylor.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 21, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  24. My impresssion of Zizek, who I have mercifully encountered infrequently, is that his intellectual perspective is too Eurocentric, which goes a long way towards explaining the gaffes acknowledged by Louis, lecolonelchabert and others, even as they argueabout him. I have seen very little from Zizek that suggests that has much knowledge about the Americas, rendering his remarks about Chavez laughable. That’s one of his big problems, talking about things based upon superficial knowledge. As for the Palestinians, based upon what I have seen here, it looks like Zizek has embraced them as a persecuted “other” primarily for the purpose of expressing his disappointment with Zionism. In other words, they don’t really exist an independent people with their own historical agency.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 21, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  25. Question to anyone: If I was to read only a couple of books to get a good feel for Zizek’s politics, what would they be?

    Comment by soz — July 21, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  26. First, I don’t even accept the appropriateness of talking about European anti-semitism. The problem of Hess’s remains not withstanding, the anti-semites are now Arab haters.

    Second, I don’t know how anyone can read Shamir’s column on today’s (7/21) Counterpunch and take this man seriously.

    I haven’t taken much time to try to get or not get Zizek. It doesn’t sound like it’s worth much time. I don’t know what’s behind him being a force.

    Comment by David Green — July 21, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

  27. Read Zizek’s books before judging him. His critique of ideology is very powerful. In terms of what books to read to “get his politics”, not sure what you mean. His main sources are Marx, Lacan, Hegel, Christian theology; of course he is an atheist. He is not an orthodox Marxist so if that’s what you’re thinking about, forget it. There is a Zizek reader edited by Rex Butler that gives you a general flavour of what he is all about before wading into deep waters of books such as The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Plague of Fantasies and The Parallax View. In Defense of Lost Causes and First as Tragedy, Then as Comedy are two recent titles that are more political but nevertheless build on his theoretical framework. Criticism of Euro centrism comes I think mostly comes from post-colonial types, of course not always unjustified, but a big bone seems to be Zizek’s attack on say what he calls Western Buddhism, or his Hegelian attack on say Morales’s “mother nature” approach. I’m simplifying here of course, he is not an anti-environment pro-corporate type!! Anyway, I stop. This site and people who post here I don’t think have any intention to take him seriously.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 21, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  28. umm, chabert takes zizek ridiculously seriously, and has waded through an absurd amount of the guy’s writings. Search qlipoth + zizek at google and see for yourself. Though it is nice to see Louis exercise his always formidable powers of dismissal.

    Comment by herrnaphta — July 22, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  29. Richard E. With all due respect — post WWII history in general and post Yugoslavia break up history in particular prove decisively that the phrase: “NATO Humanitarianism” is an oxymoron.

    The fact is that NATO is now (and has been since it’s inception) a creature of US Imperialism, born from its polluted womb, and as always armed to the teeth with the most sinister & sophisticated weaponry. It’s de facto an arm of the Pentagon. It was a truly evil & hideous creature while the Soviets existed. Now after the 2 decades of fanfare & glee of triumphant imperialism’s crushing of the Soviets the Pentagon blots itself over the planet like a stinking hair shirt golem gorging itself on blood sausage ground exclusively from the entrails of brown people abroad & workers of all races at home.

    When Trotsky spoke of foolish leftists confusing minus signs with plus signs he would certainly, if he were alive in the post WWII epoch that he predicted US global dominance, would have never deviated from the axiom that the Pentagon (meaning US Imperialism) could never, ever, play a positive, meaning, progressive, role in human history.

    I therefore defy anybody, anywhere, to provide an example that can withstand scrutiny of a single case where the Pentagon (or its surrogates like NATO) have EVER played a progressive role in human history. The fact is they never have and I predict based on their organic chemistry they NEVER WILL, that is to say, to make it crystal fucking clear, the Pentagon is organically incapable of playing a positive role in human affairs.

    Without this irrefragable fact acknowledged as a starting point of political departure the future of civilization is irrevocably doomed.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 22, 2011 @ 2:14 am

  30. Karl: I’d agree with all that but the trouble is the Stalinist ideologues do not approach the question politically and they are by nature counter-revolutionaries. NATO’s opportunist intervention in Libya for instance should not have turned socialists against the Libyan Rebellion. To oppose the UN resolution which anybody could and should agree with was wrong but it was necessary then to encourage the rebels to consolidate their position but beware false friends and that inevitably NATO would either negotiate with Gadaffi or his regime to consolidate his rule over the Libyan masses, seek partition of the nation or seek regime change at the cost of a humanitarian crisis in Tripoli far greater than the one they were claiming to be trying to prevent in Benghazi. We should have emphasised that it was the task of the Tripoli masses to deal with the disgusting Gadaffi regime and nobody elses, not NATOs and not even the Rebels. Unfortunately NATO’s intervention was the excuse the Stalinists were looking for to turn against not only the Libyan uprising but the Arab Spring in general under the guise that many of the regimes the masses were fighting were `anti-imperialist’.

    As for Zizek I do hope that he has not become a `decent’ in regard of Zionism but I have not watched the film yet. I know he became a little bit that way over withdrawal of imperialist troops from Afghanistan saying they should stay as they owed Afghanistan whilst in reality they are the problem.

    Comment by David Ellis — July 22, 2011 @ 11:14 am

  31. Fair enough David but I think perhaps you give to much credit to the actual political influence of Stalinist ideologues on socialists.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 22, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  32. Hmmm, I wish Karl. But most of the Trot sects in UK are Gramscian Stalinists since they became bureaucratic centrist. Left academia in the universities is dominated by Gramsci with his theoretical justification for opportunist Popular Front politics as `war of position’ and the systematised theorisation of class collaboration in the semi-colonial world, in opposition to the theory of Permanent Revolution, which makes anti-imperialist vanguardists of the most wretched feudal and stunted bourgeois and Stalinist elements.

    No doubt when a new generalised popular opposition to the Chinese bureaucracy emerges half of them will denounce it as an imperialist plot, and no doubt imperialism will try to take advantage, whilst the other half cheers the `democratic’ restorationists all the way to the dismemberment of China and the working class itself. Real socialists will have to stick with the revolt whilst trying to give it a programme for political revolution that builds on the gains of 1949 which saw the fedualists and the Kuomintang thrown out.

    Comment by David Ellis — July 22, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  33. I really don’t see how you don’t get what Zizek’s playing at in that video. He’s a born salesman, flattering and/or manipulating his audience in all kinds of underhand ways. When talking to a room of white English people, he’ll tell them that they should shed their ‘guilt’ over imperialism and be proud of the ‘Christian legacy’. When talking to a Tel Aviv audience, he offers the salve that the situation in Gaza could be worse – and that anti-semitism is the big racist threat in Europe (that’ll be news to its increasingly vilified Muslims). When in New York, he’ll babble on about white westerners being the “real victims” of the war on Terror. When in Slovenia, he’ll tell audiences that they’re they were always the most civilized and progressive people in the former Yugoslavia. It’s all snake-oil. His racial fixations are particularly creepy – as crass and divisive as a newspaper columnist, hiding it behind Lacanian psychobabble and easily-identified pop-cult references. That Israel talk was largely greeted with disappointment and confusion BTW. It seems those activists may have more integrity than he ever could.

    He’s not a sophisticated philosopher by any measure. His little tricks and citations would be an easy schtick for a reasonably smart undergrad. His main ‘mission’ is to sell himself, flatter a respective audience, while undermining Left-wing focus and commitment all the way. His dismissal of ‘mere facts’ a la Chomsky or Naomi Klein says it all. Zizek is all about self-promotion and Janus-faced propaganda under the guise of entertainment. The shock-jock clown persona masks it well for most, but not everyone.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 22, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  34. When talking to a Tel Aviv audience, he offers the salve that the situation in Gaza could be worse – and that anti-semitism is the big racist threat in Europe (that’ll be news to its increasingly vilified Muslims).

    I didn’t think that I’ve ever be cast as a Zizek apologist since everything I’ve ever written about him in the past has been critical. But it is wrong to think that Zizek was tailoring his remarks to an Israeli audience. These are ideas that he has been advancing for some time, independent of the make-up of the audience. You can read a version on p. 139 of “Living in End Times”, a link to which will come up when you google/books “Zizek” and “anti-Semitism”.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 22, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  35. I understand Zizek why he talks in Israel like this.I’m from Germany and a worker since 30 years and Marxist a little longer. this Easter I was in the west bank for political reasons and to me it is clear that the Palestinians have every right to fight against the Israeli state oppression.(when I talk to my colleges about about Israels oppression- they call it oppression by the Jews ) But how to talk to talk to Jews as a German whose grand father was Nazi and father is antisemit.In Germany and in Central Europe too antisemitism is well alive.Especially in the working class and the poor.In my factory department with 25 workers from 8 nationalities (majority is 1. and 2. generation immigrants) nothing unites more than a antisemitic joke.(very seldom because everybody knows my reaction).so if we live in a economic crisis for the working class and poor antisemitism seems too rise again, because Jews are the traditional scape goats and it’s easy now because they are already nearly all murdered or driven out here in Europe.We have statistics-I think they are right- that antisemitism is especially present in the organized working class, the union membership. and this are the only organizations where immigrants are organized more than they are present in the German society.
    If You come from Germany and talk to Jewish Israeli or Jews from other parts of the world you should know the history and ” bow your head “. For us it should not forgotten,-my father still lives and he tells about his father and the great times of fascism.

    Zizek comes from Slovenia, so I think he is right with his look on antisemitism regarding Europe . I think that racism of a oppressed people versus the oppressor is a ideological construct by the oppressor, because there is no material power behind it.thoughts are no facts in reality.they may have consequences but we as Marxists have to change the facts first.I know for the Palestinians and Israelis that is the most complicated.and this is too complicated from Europe.

    Zizek for me is funny,interesting but no prophet.at least he starts intellectual arguments in the radical left.why do some comrades make a fuss about every word he says somewhere?

    Comment by Theo Voelkl — July 22, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  36. lecolonelchabert, thanks for providing the link to Zizek’s excellent ethical discussion of Israel vs Hezbullah bombing. I encourage all to read that piece. It confirmed that lecolonelchabert is either dyslexic or perhaps has serious problem with following a logical argument or incapable of reading past Zizek’s rehtorical first paragraph. It reminds me of debating Stalinists in the streets of Tehran in the early 80’s. Those debates reduced my life expectancy by a few years.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 22, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  37. Yes, anti-semitism is alive and well in Europe, but anti-Islam organisation and media rhetoric is far more pervasive and directly related to government policy at home and abroad. We’ve had three Prime Ministers in row play it up. Sarkozy uses it (along with anti-Gypsy policies). The Pope uses it. And so – all kinds of very prominent people are using it. I suggest you read Z’s ‘Violence’ and his hogwash about ‘toxic neighbours’ and their dark oriental customs that “we white leftists” should be vigilant about. Couple that with his ‘defending the Christian legacy’ crap and its just EDL/BNP rhetoric dressed in academic hipster talk. His views on homosexuality are positively Victorian, and he also seems to find rape jokes hilarious – as trendy as they are on the live circuit these days.

    Few of you have addressed his apologia for an appalling anti-Gypsy pogrom, or his treatment of Abu Gharib as some porno psychodrama as if it was some crisis of American whiteness – as though he was reviewing a David Lynch film. Yes, debate about him is welcome, but he warrants far too much attention as the “Elvis of Theory” or whatever his tagline is. He also has vigorous defenders – some quite influential – who conveniently shut down talk of his racism, misogyny, imperial apologia and – yes! – anti-semitism. They simply pretend it isn’t there. They’re more concerned with condemning his critics. They’ always demand ‘engagement with his philosophical ideas” but fail to assess them anyway, outside the usual fortune-cookie hogwash he throws out for the comfort of “we white Leftists”. I have one question: What exactly are these searing insights in to ideology I keep hearing about? Cribbed reviews of Kung-Fu Panda? The virtues of fascist movies like 300? The ‘Jewish question’ that obsesses him so much, as though the past 70 years never happened?

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 22, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  38. Nonsense. I’ve read Violence. The problem with your type of reading is that you just don’t get past the surface of the argument. His argument is not that you have to hate your neighbour and that it’s ok to kill the gypsies. He says that the injunction “love thy neighbour” is an impossible injunction forced upon you by liberal capitalism. The capital moves across the globe, turns over communities, makes refugees of us all and then the liberal tells you, don’t challenge the capital, love your neighbour. Same with the fate of the gypsies. Of course there are gypsies who steal, who pimp (as to all other groups) but the solution is not to keep telling some working class stiff in wherever “love thy neighbour” but to challenge the system. Zizek’s beef is with the ideological toxicity of love thy neighbour. come on people, stop acting like fundamentalists of all variety, read the guy. Now, you can put a counter argument, that starting from the injunction itself is Eurocentric but that is another question altogether but accusing him of advocating hatred against gypsies… for god’s sake, what is up with that???

    Comment by Mazdak — July 22, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

  39. “He says that the injunction “love thy neighbour” is an impossible injunction forced upon you by liberal capitalism.”
    – A standard critique of multiculturalism, civil rights and/or immigration, used quite effectively by the Right now. “It’s all going wrong! Blame the darkies! Let’s get tough, white men! Run with that hate! You know it’s only honest!” Yeah, we’ve heard that story before, haven’t we?

    “Of course there are gypsies who steal, who pimp (as to all other groups) but the solution is not to keep telling some working class stiff in wherever “love thy neighbour” but to challenge the system.”
    – So I take it that the job of a ‘Left thinker’ is to highlight the (imagined, and in this specific case, violently libellous) moral shortcomings of a brutally oppressed minority? He LIED that those people were involved with a murder. It’s utter bullshit. The ‘white’ (middle-class) community took it upon themselves to drive them out of their homes after the ‘failure’ of the police to position blame ie. find any evidence (and we all know how tewwibly P.C. the Slovenian police must be, eh? Too busy handing out flowers to Muslim immigrants, perhaps? Or campaigning to get black men out of jail?). ‘Liberal capitalism’ doesn’t tell anyone to “love thy neighbour”. It may just prefer we didn’t murder them or burn down their home – unless of course it’s enacted by the police or military (what fucking “liberalism” in capitalism? Does it even exist in western societies any more? Especially countries with a long record of ethnic cleansing and collusion in bombing the countries next to them?)

    You must be his ideal audience of ‘subtle readers’. Or as ‘fundamentalists’ like myself know them: racist idiots. He’s pandered to your petty resentment at some imaginary ‘toxic’ P.C. police denying you the ‘right’ to despise and bully darker-skinned neighbours, to the extent of attacking their families in violent mobs. The real problem must be equality laws and civil rights, which to him – and you – are capitalism’s biggest crimes in need of instant remedy. Now you can feel good about your gullible, bigoted white self – and buy his next shitty book.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 23, 2011 @ 1:47 am

  40. I think Kasper is onto something re: Zizek insofar as I get this foul odor of a white male reaction to today’s so-called “identity politics”. I mean it’s true that liberalism, allowing all sorts of cultural changes so long as not a hair on capitalism’s head is touched, has rottenly co-opted multiculturalism for its own ends, and it’s quite annoying, even disgusting sometimes, and is most pronounced in University circles.

    On the other hand these identity politicians are from the historically oppressed.

    My moral & political compass flows from trying hard to imagine what Lenin would say about a given situation and IMHO I’m convinced that Lenin would argue Zizek’s philosophy is completely alien to the working class in general and the historically oppressed in particular.

    Imagine if civil war and imperialist turpitude hadn’t prevented Lenin from developing the self determination of 100 languages historically oppressed by Czarism. Imagine if all those diverse illiterate peasant women, like during the Cultural Revolution, were given priority in the Soviet universities, and affirmative action held sway — imagine how Lenin would have to smack down the propensity for Great Russian Male Chauvinism to rear it’s ugly head.

    Zizek strikes me as one of those figures, were he alive during the Russian Revolution in the scenario of relative intellectual freedom described above, that Lenin would have to constantly set straight as his philosophy smacks of something born not out of class struggle but rather the priviledge inherent in the academic milieu where lucrative careers are made selling proposals for grants that study coital frequencies or the thicknesses of blades of grass. Moreover, as D. Ellis points out, there’s something completely vacant about Zizek’s sense of what’s going on in the Americas, particularly in Cuba & Venezuela which has no European parrallell.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 23, 2011 @ 3:20 am

  41. Zizek’s fixated on ‘Europeaness’ and yeah, I’d say a lot of his appeal does come from a backlash against identity politics. By which I mean feminism, queer politics, anti-racism, anti-globalisation and solidarity with foreign struggles. ‘The subject’ is the new buzzword to replace ‘alienation’ or ‘the oppressed’. That this backlash has infected pockets of the Left hasn’t offered greater ‘universalism’. Far from it. Class is quite absent throughout his work, and that of his followers – apart from their own personal grumbles (professional/intellectual/sexual status etc.). He shows relatively little interest in class forces overcoming oppression or poverty. However, he does have a lot of time for ‘revolutionary terror’. That is, the mega-violence of righteous ‘fanatical’ power and its ‘cleansing’ appeal to the white Christian imperial continuum he vigorously defends as a “lost (?) cause”. The reoccurring subtext throughout his many op-eds and books is: “Those crazy Arabs have fanatical bloodlust – why can’t we?” A redemption myth built upon fraudulent propaganda. He’s very much a figure who emerged from the neocon age.

    The above may have been ‘co-opted’ – or rather mutuated and commercialised – by those in power, but it doesn’t invalidate them as important struggles ‘on the ground’. Despite what’s trendy in an increasingly marketized academia. Capitalism appropriates everything, and tries extra-hard with regards to anything posing even a minor threat. The point is telling the difference between meaningful struggle and watered-down policy/marketing shuck. Or indeed between Marxism and con-men offering violent fantasies to fans of summer blockbusters.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 23, 2011 @ 5:28 am

  42. That’s right. My gut senses the ideology flows ultimately from the intellectual expression of the priviledged white male myth of reverse racism; the backlash against affirmative action, and the abject fear of an angry brown planet full of radical feminists, militant queers and billions of ignorant toilers grinding out squalid lives — human tinder needing only a spark to organize some good old Jacobin terror wherein the lopped off skulls of the neocon aristocracy get kicked down the crumbling pot-holed boulevards by street urchin children like soccer balls.

    Makes me want to re-read the novel: The Red & The Black

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 23, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  43. You’re on the money with regards to his appeal. He’s quite blatant about it when he’s writing for mainstream journals or appearing on film or TV (ie. with limited space to waffle and cloud his ‘stance’). It’s violent ‘vanguardism’ without any solidarity, really – just proposing a world where rich white guys (and their relatively comfortable fans) get what they want if they’re ‘intellectual’ enough (all those whining post-grads and academics!). Killing the ‘top’ while degrading ‘the bottom’ in the name of ‘universalism’.

    Very petit bourgeois really – ambitious, frustrated middle class whites motivated by resentment and entitlement are hardly a pleasant spectacle to behold. His bloodthirsty Robespierre or Lenin (or even Hegel and Lacan) rebranded as Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Anymore. Loathing the flowers while erecting scaffolds.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 23, 2011 @ 7:02 am

  44. The “Mad As Hell And Can’t Take It Anymore” analogy is excellent, like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down.”

    I remember watching Peter Finch in “Network” as a youth and wondering where the hell was the class analysis of all this “Mad As Hell” anger? There was none. Instead it was the proto-fascist backlash of the stampeding petty bourgeoisie’s living standards crushed by the inflation & bureaucratization of perpetual militarism on the one hand — and the fear of losing priviliges & immiseration into the toiling & historically oppressed classes on the other.

    What Freud could never admit was that the true fecundity of psychoanalysis rests ultimately on a materialst conception of history.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 23, 2011 @ 7:23 am

  45. “I, Machiavelli, love Napoleon III.”
    “I, Satan, love the dictator Aristide, the caudillo clown Chavez, and most of all, the Jew Madoff.”
    “I, radical Marxist, don’t think Hitler was violent enough. I look at a lot of Ukranian child pornography.”

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 23, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  46. SZ: “If there is a lesson to be learned from the protracted negotiations, it is that the greatest obstacle to peace is what is offered as the realistic solution – the creation of two separate states. Although neither side wants it (Israel would probably prefer the areas of the West Bank that it is ready to cede to become a part of Jordan, while the Palestinians consider the land that has fallen to Israel since 1967 to be theirs), the establishment of two states is somehow accepted as the only feasible solution, a position backed up by the embarrassing leak of Palestinian negotiation documents in January.”

    It fell and it can’t get up.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 23, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  47. Mazdak, what about the piece on Lebanon could possibly be considered ‘excellent’? Chabert’s point that Zizek uses the opportunity of Israel’s imperial violence in Lebanon to ramble on for a while about the ironies of Israeli history is simply inarguable. Your labeling of the first paragraph as rhetorical is correct, though you seem to think this means we can simply ignore what’s written in it. Zizek claims that ‘One of the most repulsive moments’ in the conflict was Nasrallah’s apology for killing Israeli Arabs. He then says this establishes a clear ethical difference between the IDF and Hizbullah, but then says waitaminuteguys, I’m gonna do something fancy and show it isn’t so clear. Beneath the overwrought rhetoric here about paradoxes of power, Zizek makes unexceptionable, if rather banal, points about the racism of the IDF. However, his first sentence is emphatically not part of the ethical dichotomy he is claiming to complicate. In a war which saw the all of Southern Lebanon treated as a free-fire zone, and civilian areas of Beirut reduced to dust, Zizek claims that ‘one of the most repulsive moments’ is Nasrallah not apologizing for killing Israeli civilians. This is not the standpoint of a leftist.

    It gets worse. He validates the IDF propaganda claim that Hizbullah locates its headquarters and arms amidst civilian populations, a point decisively refuted by the Human Rights Watch report on the war (also, where does Israel put its generals? In the middle of the Negev? Of course not). He gratuitously throws in Ahmadinejad’s holocaust denial, as an excuse to do his old broken kettle routine. He relies on the old Israeli liberal schtick that Israel just had the bad luck to be founded in the modern era, so its crimes won’t be ignored like those of the US, et al. Poor Israel, not able to get away with exterminating the redskins like the Americans did.

    Finally, his ultimate ‘argument’ is complete garbage. A two state solution won’t work because both parties are neurotic? What appears as a total non-sequitar is actually deeply consonant with the whole logic of his piece, which revolves around the excision of Israeli imperial violence from any real explanatory role in the argument. Leftists argue that a two state solution is impossible because Israel is fundamentally a colonial regime that will dominate, politically and militarily, a Palestinian rump state, because it doesn’t solve the question of equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel, because it doesn’t address the right of return, etc. Zizek rejects it because of vague nonsense about pragmatism and utopianism. Oh, and also because of the problem that ‘Arabs refuse to accept the existence of Israel.’ (note the transmutation: suddenly we are talking about Arabs, not Palestinians.)

    What is there in here that could possibly be considered ‘excellent’? I mean, leaving aside all of the ways that Zizek draws on canons of colonialist reason to make his point, it’s not like there’s anything in here that’s actually interesting or helpful for people trying to end Israel’s apartheid regime.

    Comment by herrnaphta — July 23, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  48. His attitudes (not ‘ideas’ – he doesn’t really have any) have always been based on colonial arrogance. From Yugoslavia to his hogwash about Palestine. His terms of debate and reference venture no further than prime-time TV and Hollywood movies, for all his academic name-dropping. The ‘challenges’ he throws up are familiar from any number of screenplays, or newspaper columns. For him, ‘Muslim’ or ‘Jew’ or ‘Israeli’ are the caricatures presented on TV or Spielberg movies. His appeal is to more pretentious TV viewers, who base their thoughts on similar grounds.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 23, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  49. My moral & political compass flows from trying hard to imagine what Lenin would say about a given situation

    awwwww, hasn’t anybody else noticed just how cute Karl Friedrich’s leninist take on “What would Jesus do” is?

    Comment by PfromGermany — July 23, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

  50. First off W.Kasper, you’re the racist idiot. I live in the West as a ‘darkie immigrant’, so keep you’re condecending bullshit to yourself. Final word, you, lecolonelchabert and the other dude, you’re just plain stupid. With ‘progressives’ like, who needs Tea Party facists? And Louis, I think this lecolonelchabert moron is the poster you kicked off your site, you know the one I’m talking about.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 23, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

  51. I don’t think lecolonelchabert has ever posted here. The ones I generally boot are those who accuse me of being a Zionazi or something like that. Actually, that won’t get you booted but doing it ceaselessly will. There is only one thing that offends me more than slander. It is boring people.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 23, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

  52. Well, maybe I’m wrong but his/her poisoning style reminds me of the poster who used to post as ‘againstzionism’, and kept cutting and pasting so much that you booted him out. I’m pretty sure that I came across him/her on the MRzine.org too before Yushi decided to pretty much stop printing any comments that didn’t fawn over her.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 23, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  53. PfromGermany is still upset about having to apologize for all the stupid drunken American soldiers still running around Germany 70 years after WWII pinching women’s asses and filling up military base sidewalks with the puke of snorted heroin every time they get paid.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — July 23, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  54. Madzak –

    I would suggest that you re-read Zizek’s attitudes to immigrants (or “toxic neighbours” that “liberal multiculturalism” threatens to detoxify of their dangerous ‘essence’) and consider his constant addressing of “we white Leftists”. Or his hypothetical “big black guy” happy for Zizek to call him “n*gg*r” and laugh at his penis jokes.

    I didn’t accuse you of being a “racist idiot”, but that certainly seems to be Zizek’s ideal audience. If you choose to play his exclusive marketing game, then that’s your prerogative.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 24, 2011 @ 12:58 am

  55. Karl, actually the Brits are much more annoying

    Comment by PfromGermany — July 24, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  56. oh, and those dastardly cheese eating surrender monkey-frog eating French. and those vile Russians!

    Comment by PfromGermany — July 24, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  57. ” I live in the West as a ‘darkie immigrant’,”

    How much did Dyncorp give you for your mother, by the way?

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 24, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  58. PfromGermany –

    Say what you like about us ‘Brits’, but at least our fascists haven’t carried out any massacres this year (or as many as Germany, if you’re capable of viewing the ‘bigger picture’). I’m sure Zizek will give London a pat on the back for that at his next lucrative conference. Then he’ll go on to deride our remaining scraps of racial co-existence – to loud applause. Ask grandpa if you need a historical comparison to get what that implies.

    Apologies for my lapse into smug xenophobia. Douchebag.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 24, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  59. It is a mark of Zizek’s greatness as a philosopher that he inspires such rigorous argumentation on his behalf.

    Comment by herrnaphta — July 24, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  60. lecolonelchabert, you can suck my dick. Sorry, Louis, but this trash deserves this.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 24, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  61. Just watched the film. Not easy given the quality of the recording but it looks like most of the criticisms of Zizek on this thread are inspired by an alliance of Stalinist types who don’t like his criticism of the populist demagogue Chavez, Zionists, Tea Partyers and Islamaphobes. He makes good points about anti-capitalism being a form of unstated anti-semitism in some hands because it does not deal with the system as a whole, for Jews to beware the friends of zionism in the West (Fox News, Tea Party, this Islamaphobe who just blew away 84 young socialists) as they stand on the oldest anti-semitic trope of the lot `the wandering jew’ and how Zionism has taken that trope to heart. That the zionists who accuse non-zionist jews of self hating are the real self-haters and that they have abandoned public reason for hatred of the other. He rightly points out that the crook Madoff was singled out whilst Wall Street was bailed out and exonerated. Storm in a tea cup.

    Comment by David Ellis — July 24, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  62. Regarding comments made by Zizek’s defenders above:

    Q.E.D.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 24, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  63. Please watch the following video to see HOW STUPID ZIZEK IS. He perhaps trying to compete against another imposter Bernard Heri Levy, a zionist Jew and an islamophobic, where both are using hoax ‘anti-semitism’ industry to expand the interest of zionist tribe.

    http://pulsemedia.org/2011/07/17/assange-zizek-and-goodman-in-london/

    Joseph Massad has this to say about zionist idiot, Zizek:

    {While he seems to note Israeli discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Israeli daily terror visited upon the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, the conflict, for Zizek, seems like one of competing nationalisms and can be solved by possible NATO intervention. It is not Zionist Jewish colonialism and its commitment to European white supremacy in Jewish guise that the Arabs are reacting to and resisting; rather, it is Islam’s rejection of “modernity” triggered by a Jewish “cosmopolitanism” that characterises this conflict. “Israel’s stand for the principle of Western liberal tolerance” is attenuated in his essay by noting its neocolonial role, but this clearly does not prevent Zizek from visiting the racist Jewish state where he was a week ago delivering four lectures in which, according to Ha’aretz he never mentioned the Palestinians or Israeli racism and terror once. Such is the legacy of Jean-Paul Sartre on many European leftist intellectuals.}

    Comment by Armani — July 25, 2011 @ 12:06 am

  64. Bernard Heri Levy, a zionist Jew

    These kinds of formulations remind me of how backward some leftists can be.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 25, 2011 @ 12:13 am

  65. Warning: anybody who writes things like “zionist jews” or “israeli jews” will not be allowed to post here. Those kinds of formulations are strictly verboten. I need not explain why. It is almost like having to tell people to flush the toilet after taking a dump or not to pick their nose and eat the boogers at dinner

    Comment by louisproyect — July 25, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  66. Zizek on zionism:

    Comment by matthew — July 25, 2011 @ 6:41 am

  67. @W.Kasper : I’m sorry I offended you, I was poking fun at Karl Friedrichs incredibly nutty rant about American soldiers’ “puke of snorted heroin”.

    @louis: I think it should be made more clear here what kind of person Shamir is. he is a holocaust denier and antisemite, who writes stuff like

    Thus we should say: David Irving was sentenced for denial of Jewish superiority. His doom seals the reign of (albeit limited) freedom that began with the fall of Bastille. European history went full circle: from rejecting the rule of Church and embracing free thought, to the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale. Not only is Western Christian civilisation dead, but even its successor, secular European civilisation, has met its demise only a few days after its proud and last celebration by the Danish scribes. It was short-lived: about two hundred years from beginning to the end, the Europeans may once have had the illusion that they can live without an ideological supremacy. Now this illusion is over; and the Jews came in the stead of the old and tired See of St Peter to rule over the minds and souls of Europeans.

    http://www.israelshamir.net/English/ForWhom.htm

    I think it speaks volumes of Assange and Cockburn to continue to work with him

    Comment by PfromGermany — July 25, 2011 @ 7:26 am

  68. Mazdak, my goodness, forgive me, I seem to have addressed you as if you were no better than a…I mean to remark on your prehensile penis. I’m sure it’s far too large for any orifice of mine!

    Louis “anybody who writes things like “zionist jews” or “israeli jews” will not be allowed to post here.”

    except Zizek of course:

    from the video you post:

    20 years ago these bible fundamentalists all of a sudden started to fully support Zionism and the state of Israel. Now this worries me because I am sorry to tell you if there is a political religious movement which in its very nature is anti-Semitic…my God, its not even a social choice, it’s in their nature to be anti-Semitic. What game are they playing there? And I warn my American friends because Fox News is always pro-Zionist. You know who was their most popular commentator? That total lunatic Glenn Beck. You read they had to fire him about two month ago. Because he went ballistic and became openly anti-Semitic. So I claim that no matter how they strategically support you now, this is dangerous for your own identity. I did use the expression and let me explain when I spoke about Zionist anti-Semitism. It was not a cheap dialectical paradox. In the United States I often participated in political debates. And I noticed how Zionist Jews attacked Jews who were a little bit critical towards the politics of state of Israel, and that was like this: you pretend to be one of us, you are not really organically one of us, you are free floating cosmopolite, okay I will not go too far but you got the point.

    And “your race” is okay too. And this stuff:

    “I’m not flattering you, but I was tempted a year ago when it happened to write a piece celebrating, redeeming Bernard Madoff.”

    Then there’s Mel Gibson persecution by the King of The Jews: The treatment [at the Serbsky Inst] involved intravenous injections of psychotropic drugs that were so painfully administered patients became unconscious. The overriding belief was that a person had to be insane to be against Communism. Is this psychiatric approach to politically problematic positions a thing of the past? Unfortunately, no: not only is the Serbsky Institute today happily thriving in Putin’s Russia, but, as the recent incident with Mel Gibson indicates, it will soon open a branch in Malibu!… It is reported that Gibson said, “F—— Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” and asked a deputy, “Are you a Jew?” Gibson apologized, but his apology was rejected by the Anti-Defamation League …Later, Gibson offered a more substantial apology, announcing through a spokesman that he would undergo rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. …This time, Foxman accepted his apology as sincere: “Two years ago, I was told by his publicist that he wants to meet with me and have an understanding. I’m still waiting. There is no course, there is no curriculum. We need in-depth conversation. It’s therapy – and the most important step in any therapy is to admit that you have a problem, which is a step he’s already taken.”… The Jewish people will pay dearly for such pacts with the devil – can one imagine what a boost to anti-Semitism will get from Foxman’s offer? “So if I now say something critical about Jews, I will be forced to submit to psychiatric therapy…”

    And of course the winky for Nazi insiders riff on Nietzsche’s ‘frog perspectives’ (slave morality, vulgar lower race perspective, Judaism) which he starts in Tel Aviv (celebrating Nietzsche’s wonderful idea for breeding a ruling race by fusion of the German and Jewish races) but doesn’t finish the routine (gets nervous evidently):

    It is none other than Nietzsche who proposed the correct materialist intervention destined to “traverse the /anti-Semitic/ fantasy”: in No. 251 ofBeyond Good and Evil, he proposed, as a way to “breed a new caste that would rule over Europe,” the mixing of the German and the Jewish race, which would combine the German ability of “giving orders and obeying” with the Jewish genius of “money and patience.” [3] The ingenuity of this solution is that if combines two fantasies which are a priori incompatible, which cannot meet each other in the same symbolic space, as in the English publicity spot for a beer from a couple of years ago. Its first part stages the well-known fairy-tale anecdote: a girl walks along a stream, sees a frog, takes it gently into her lap, kisses it, and, of course, the ugly frog miraculously turns into a beautiful young man. However, the story isn’t over yet: the young man casts a covetous glance at the girl, draws her towards himself, kisses her – and she turns into a bottle of beer which the man holds triumphantly in his hand… We have either a woman with a frog or a man with a bottle of beer – what we can never obtain is the “natural” couple of the beautiful woman and man – why not? Because the fantasmatic support of this “ideal couple” would have been the inconsistent figure of a frog embracing a bottle of beer. This, then, opens up the possibility of undermining the hold a fantasy exerts over us through the very over-identification with it, i.e. by way of embracing simultaneously, within the same space, the multitude of inconsistent fantasmatic elements. That is to say, each of the two subjects is involved in his or her own subjective fantasizing – the girl fantasizes about the frog who is really a young man, the man about the girl who is really a bottle of beer. What modern art and writing oppose to this is not objective reality but the “objectively subjective” underlying fantasy which the two subjects are never able to assume, something similar to a Magrittesque painting of a frog embracing a bottle of beer, with a title “A man and a woman” or “The ideal couple”. And is this not exactly what Nietzsche does in his proposal? Is his formula of the new race mixed from Germans and Jews not his “frog with a bottle of beer”?

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  69. But then regarding these “free floating cosmopolites”, he goes on to say what was so nice about you/us Jews is how you/we “stood for the public use of reason. You embodied that.” Similarly, in the Lebanon piece, he’s got (some, typical) “Jews” somehow as the prime agents delegitimising Nationalism (it’s for some reason the “-ultimate irony-it was the intellectual influence of Jews that contributed to the rise of this unacceptability!” Where’s the irony? Joo here, Joo there.).

    He is constantly refurbishing race ideology, race discourse – most damagingly in his Slovene ethnic nationalism, his deploring in the Slovene press the “liberal multiculturalist” concern for “the rights of non-Slovenes in Slovenia” (meaning people he considers racially not Slovene, like the Strojans whom he called “immigrants”). But it is a constant aspect of his product – whether it is his ten years of repeating his story of “taming “the big black guy” (originally an ethnic Albanian in the Yugo army) who eventually is made to say “now you can call me a n–…” (Zizek explains “When blacks say you can call me a n— that means they really accept you”) to the evocation of the myth of “mulatto=mule” sterility regarding the President whose mother is a white American and whose father was a black African (“there was something sterile in Obama’s appearance, with his diluted black skin, slender appearance and big ears.”) It’s constant: here
    http://www.newstatesman.com/middle-east/2011/03/jewish-girls-israel-arab-state he opens a piece supposedly about one state in historic Palestine with visions of adult male “Arabs” and “local Bedouin” “mixing” with and making off with “Jewish girls”. His typical clunky rhetorical tactic is “declaring he’s not saying in order to say” – He boldly declares he rejects the vision of “half- ape blacks our grandparents jumped in trees in Africa…” He courageously rejects the vision of the Jew – “not to flatter you” – Madoff like Soros “a lie embodied” stealing twenty millions and giving ten back to be a great humanitarian. He thinks it’s a wonderful idea. He rejects the idea that Mel Gibson was persecuted by Jewish power for speaking forbidden truths about Jews but just mentions it because, well, it’s true isn’t it? – And in the NS piece on one state he frames the question in this issue of “mixing” of “Arab men” and “Jewish girls”, excusing the digression as an expression of concern regarding the Jewish supremacist opposition to this “mixing”. Yet what could these anecdotes contribute to the purported topic of this text (one democratic state in all of historic Palestine)? The piece is purportedly advocating “one state” but in his Iago-like manner, SZ is insinuating, with vivid images, that “one state” (argued for persuasively by Abunimah in his recent book, for which this piece seems to be another cukoo) threatens a racial/sexual “mixing” he portrays in vocabulary designed to evoke 19th century colonialist visions and race theory of the sort he evokes regarding the “Darwinian” struggle between progressives (favouring the weak and sickly human species) and conservatives (favouring the strong and healthy)* Obama’s “diluted” blackness and Nietzsche’s wonderful idea for Aryan maidens to be objectified by ugly frogs they generously agree to treat as if they were beautiful Aryan men. He throws some key phrases to provoke Louis’ chosen Zionist extremist (poisoning wells), so that for a certain reader the piece reads as an anti-Semite tainting one-state with his approval (of course the anti-semite wants one state, to abolish Jews by “mixing” with “Arabs”) but these hot button phrases for that reader are offered in such a way as to be, for a different reader, obfuscating the situation and seeming to suggest it is Palestinians terrorising settlements. He opens his pieces with vivid scenes that call up Hollywood – “our” women carried off by the indigenous barbarian men to their “hostile” villages. (the baby hegelian dialectics is the excuse here – it looks like some kind of misrecognition which needs correction through…well, forget it.)

    *Is effectively not the ultimate horizon of the postmodern “identity politics” Darwinian – defending the right of some particular species of the humankind within the panoply of their proliferating multitude (gays with AIDS, black single mothers…)? The very opposition between “conservative” and “progressive” politics can be conceived of in the terms of Darwinism: ultimately, conservatives defend the right of those with might (their very success proves that they won in the struggle for survival), while progressives advocate the protection of endangered human species, i.e., of those losing the struggle for survival.http://www.lacan.com/thesymptom/?page_id=952

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  70. The King of the Islamix is no better than the King of the Jooz though. From Violence: For the Western Liberal there is also the problem of the brutal and vulgar anti-Semitic and anti-Christian caricatures that abound in the press and schoolbooks of Muslim countries. There is no respect here for other people and their religion – a respect that is demanded from the West. But there is little respect for their own people, either, as the case of a particular cleric exemplifies. In the autumn of 2006, Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, caused a furore when, after a group of Muslim men had been jailed for gang rape, he said; “If you take uncovered meat and place it outside on the street…and the cats come and eat it…whose fault is it – the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meatis the problem.” The explosively provocative nature of this comparison between a woman who is not veiled and raw, uncovered meat distracted attention from another, much more surprising premise underlying al-Hilali’s argument: if women are held responsible for the sexual conduct of men, does this not imply that men are totally helpless when faced with what they perceive as sexual temptation, that they are simply unable to resist it, that they are utterly in thrall to their sexual hunger, precisely like a cat when it sees raw meat? In contrast to this presumption of a complete lack of male responsibility for their own sexual conduct, the emphasis on public female eroticism in the West relies on the premise than men are capable of sexual restraint, that they are not blind slaves of their sexual drives.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  71. Chill out #64 Zizek is no Zionist. Did he not point out in the piece that Western Imperialist support for Zionism was motivated by anti-semitism? Watch it again.

    Comment by David Ellis — July 25, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  72. Whether he is or isn’t a Zionist isn’t the important point. The point is that he regularly recycles the talking points of Zionist (and more broadly colonialist) ideology in his writing, from the lies about Hizbullah using human shields to garbage about Muslim intolerance and backwardness to fantasies about Israel as some enlightened cosmopolitan outpost among the barbarians.

    Comment by herrnaphta — July 25, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  73. #67 – watch that whole event and ask why is Zizek frantically at the end denying he said everything all those sincere leftists there understood him to be saying. They call him on his nonsense, they’ve lost patience with his act, and he tries to wriggle out in this utterly substanceless way, moaning about his victimhood at the hands of The New Republic which broke a long tradition of ignoring Verso to promote his books with real fanfare and viral provocation. He’s endlessly self-pitying about the cruel cruel reviewer, but Verso uses the TNR piece as his most prominent blurb, although they have naturally changed it to suit them (from “the most despicable philospher in the West” to “the most dangerous philosopher in the West”)

    It’s no help to Palestinians to have openly Golovinsky style anti-Semites like Shamir and Zizek posing as their advocates.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  74. Pfromgermany –

    Apologies for my overreaction – been having a ‘shit on the internet’ weekend (even more than usual).

    Going by the lengthy, appalling statements quoted above, where are the ‘intellectuals’ vigorously defending Zizek?

    Is “suck my dick” as deep as they can get? Maybe that’s Zizek’s three-word ‘theory’ in a nutshell – it’s not like he’s short of willing ‘Johns’ to take up that proposition…

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 25, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  75. When criticising the UK education cuts, or apologising for the Ambrus pogrom, Zizek did not note that “any man in Congo would sell his mother into slavery” to be a farming landower half a mile from the Strojan property in Slovenia or a London student capable of borrowing £9K yearly for a British Uni education. He constantly reaffirms the colonial mythology and hierarchies while simply declaring his racist clichés to be “radical critique”. Very often he disavows and states exactly the same thing in a single phrase, relying like a sharp doing a card trick on the mark’s own expectations to confuse them:

    “if you don’t have a basic patriotic identification—not nationalism, but in the sense of “we are all members of the same nation and so on”—then democracy doesn’t function. You cannot have a living democracy in this pure multiculturalist liberal dream…”

    His chosen comparison between Congo and the West Bank is all about re-enforcing white supremacist schemes regarding who are the entitled Herren, who are We, who have every right to demand whatever we/they want, and who are the undermen who should be grateful to be treated as well as the civilised Israelis treat them. Who should we tolerate? What should be do about the “blacks, Chinese, gays, Arabs”? (Evidently none of us are gay, black, Arab, Chinese…and “your race”, not ours, are “Juice”). Should we (you) persecute gays because homosexuality is indispensible to Nazism? Should you/we, out of political correctness, refrain from talking about the violent crimes blacks commit?

    When talking to Israelis he always includes them in the subject people, and the Palestinians are their objects:

    “We should summon our courage and ask the fundamental question – `what is democracy today?’ What are we really deciding? You in Israel, perhaps you are lucky in that on some level you still have a real choice to make. Perhaps a more radical version of a solution for the Palestinian problem would have meaning. But in Europe?”

    He’s very concerned that the left is exaggerating the suffering of the victims of Israeli imperialism. He brings up Congo but doesn’t take the opportunity to explore Israeli imperialist policy in Africa. The way the Congolese – slave-traders, selling their own mothers, for whom Mazdak is so insulted to be mistaken – serve rhetorically involves an imposition of topoi that operate irrationally. The “Europeanized” Israelis are in their context the civilisers; there would be no point in replying to Zizek’s complaints about anti-semitism in Europe with a reminder than any man in Congo would sell his mother into slavery to be Jewish in Europe. The Palestinians are treated here as semi-évolués (better off than the Congolese, thanks to the civilised Israelis, Zizek says in Tel Aviv, and in Ramallah he congratulates his hosts on a less violent city, even with “all the terrorists”, than “Southern Bronx”).

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

  76. put together golovinski (unknown name here)zizek leading to unlicenced metastasis of zizz http://qlipoth.blogspot.com/2010/09/unlicensed-metastasis-of-zizz.html even alphonse van worden on the blogroll good for one page plus special appearance of patrick j mullins name haven’t icited since earlier this century

    Comment by ricorocha — July 25, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

  77. “golovinski (unknown name here)”

    Unknown name for the experts on anti-Semitism here. Indeed.

    Mazdak’s argument for Zizek is he sells so well. But he sells so well because he’s copying Golovinksi’s best-seller. That’s why Schmitt is so popular too – mimicking the same extremely popular book, which is a vitiated version of a very canny satire and critique of the techniques of social control used by a bourgeois ruling class in formal liberal democracy.

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  78. Dogwhistles and dogs:

    This, perhaps, explains why there is so much anti-Semitism in Islam: because of the extreme proximity of the two religions. In Hegelese, what Islam encounters in Judaism is ITSELF in its “oppositional determination,” in the mode of particularity. The difference between Judaism and Islam is thus ultimately not substantial, but purely formal: they are the SAME religion in a different formal mode (in the sense in which Spinoza claims that the real dog and the idea of a dog are substantially one and the same thing, just in a different mode).

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  79. Check this out, you attention-deficit-disorder victims:
    http://www.usacbi.org/2011/06/slavoj-zizek-honors-bds-guidelines-in-visit-to-palestine/

    I don’t think you know better than Palestinians.

    Comment by Mazdak — July 25, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  80. So he schmoozed BDS…. and? What then? Surely it would be bad press for his target market if he opposed their guidelines?

    I take it your the kind of subliterate buffoon who’s happy as long as the right badges are worn. Good for you. Branding is everything for the dim-witted. Do you you wear feminist t-shirts to get laid too? Or just a groovy pair of Nikes? Does it depend on what bar you’re lurking around?

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 25, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

  81. His compliance was only a news item for BDS circles because he had to be badgered for several years

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/open-letter-slavoj-zizek/544

    and had repeatedly fretted in public about the anti-Semitic character of BDS. And his text _Welcome to the Desert of the Real_ is still read often enough, and his views well know enough, that it could be considered evidence of BDS strength that he was compelled, for the sake of preserving his reputation as a leftist, to honour the request of the majority of Palestinians resisting occupation and their allies:

    In April 2002, in reaction to the Israeli military intervention in the Palestinian West Bank territory, a large group of Western European academics proposed a boycott of Israeli academic institutions (no invitations, no university exchanges, etc.); this proposal should be rejected, since the signifier ‘Boycott the Jews!’ carries a certain weight in Europe – there is no way we can eradicate, in a pseudo-Leninist way, the echo of the Nazi boycott of the Jews, claiming that, today, we are dealing with a ‘different concrete historical situation’. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, in the most radical sense of the term, a false conflict, a lure, an ideological displacement of the ‘true’ antagonism. Yes, the Arab ‘fundamentalists’ are ‘Islamo-fascists’ – in a repetition of the paradigmatic Fascist gesture, they want ‘capitalism without capitalism’ (without its excess of social disintegration, without its dynamics in which ‘everything solid melts into air’). Yes, the Israelis stand for the principle of Western liberal tolerance, while, in their singularity, they embody the exception to this principle (advocating a state based on ethnic-religious identity – and this in a country with the highest percentage of atheists in the world)….

    Comment by lecolonelchabert — July 25, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  82. Keep foaming at the mouth, you rabid dogs!!

    Comment by Mazdak — July 25, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  83. as forerunner to tel aviv bookstore flap flip over to mondoweiss for breakfast http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/my-breakfast-with-zizek.html

    Comment by ricorocha — July 25, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  84. C’mon Mazdak!

    Where’s your deep ‘intellectual engagement’? Can you offer anything in defence of your papa-substitute besides one-sentence insults or badge-slogans? Does your head hurt if you try? Have your traumas with “iranian Stalinists” impaired your reading skills? Will your drinking buddies in search of blow-jobs disapprove if you try harder?

    Or are you only capable of telling Louis how naughty we’ve been before – then asking him to ban anyone who disagrees with you?

    Better a “rabid dog” than neutered one, no? Or does master know best? If you think so, pay more attention to his orders will you? I’m sure he’d be happy to whip you if you don’t.

    Comment by W.Kasper — July 25, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  85. […] who has generated controversy over his articles on Zionism similar to those of Israel Shamir who I wrote about in July. While both men are of Jewish origin, they have been accused of anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. […]

    Pingback by The Gilad Atzmon controversy « Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — September 29, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  86. Do you suggest that if Hamas and Hizbollah will hide their kinds of verbal or written gaffes than Israeli leaders, or any sane European or American, will fail to liken them to the Nazis? When Hamas and Hizbollah don’t talk Anti Semitism they act Anti Semitism. You can’t change them.

    Comment by Bentzi Per — December 2, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  87. Gilad Atzmon; Israel Shamir is not from Jewish origin but disguises to be one of them. As far as I checked he is an Ukrainian living generally in Sweden and he have at least 4 different names. In that sense he is not as you, Atzmon. You’re just a rotten seed of Jewish sperm that was sprayed aside of the vagina.

    Comment by Bentzi Per — December 2, 2011 @ 12:25 pm


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