14 April 2010

"You Will Not Be Alone" ~ Judith Butler

"To struggle against fear in the name of social justice is part of a long and venerable Jewish tradition; it is non-nationalist, that is true, and it is committed not just to my freedom, but to all of our freedoms. So let us remember that there is no one Jew, not even one Israel, and that those who say that there are seek to intimidate or contain your powers of criticism. . . . I understand that it is not easy to speak out in this way. But if you struggle against voicelessness to speak out for what is right, then you are in the middle of that struggle against oppression and for freedom, a struggle that knows that there is no freedom for one until there is freedom for all. There are those who will surely accuse you of hatred, but perhaps those accusations are the enactment of hatred. The point is not to enter that cycle of threat and fear and hatred--that is the hellish cycle of war itself. The point is to leave the discourse of war and to affirm what is right. You will not be alone."
~ Judith Butler, speaking in favor of a resolution calling for the University of California to selectively divest from investments in companies that contribute to war crimes in Israel and elsewhere.
I have, in the past, posted in opposition to the call for a cultural boycott of Israel in response to its ongoing, condemnable treatment of the Palestinians. (Click on the 'boycotts' label below.) In the remarks from which I've lifted this passage, Butler offers what I take to be a sensible and sensitive gesture toward a more nuanced way to address Israel and its policies. It is about learning and relearning how to speak publicly about injustice.

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