Inflammatory rhetoric and the volcano of occupation

Israel/Palestine
on 29 Comments

Visiting the scene of Tuesday’s attack on a Jerusalem bus, the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, attributed this and similar incidents to “inflammatory incitement” coming from “mosques and Palestinian leaders.” Such superficial explanations are common in today’s Israel: just two days ago, Netanyahu himself filed for an investigation of Arab-Israeli lawmaker, Hanin Zoabi, for alleged incitement.

The double reference to fire in the mayor’s tautological expression falls squarely within what I call the field of pyropolitics. When a sense of instability supplants the politics of normalcy, I argue, we experience a shift from the politics of the earth, or geopolitics proper, to the politics of fire. The new intifada in Israel/Palestine is, undoubtedly, a pyropolitical irruption on the scene of security for the privileged few, protected by concrete fences and by the ideological façades of the Israeli occupation.

Barkat’s words are, nonetheless, highly misleading. Operating under the presumption of geopolitics, in which violent, “fiery” outbursts are an exception rather than a rule, he put the stress on discourse and ideology, rather than the unbearable situation on the ground (another geopolitical metaphor!) experienced by a vast majority of Palestinian people. From his point of view, the problem is incitement in speech, the use of language capable of fanning the flames of revolt. Such a standpoint denies the victims of occupation their own agency, not to mention the exercise of thinking, or, at least, assessing whether or not the mode of existence inflicted upon them is tolerable or endurable. “Inflammatory incitement” twice overwrites the culpability of the Israeli authorities and the idea that the material conditions in the West Bank and Gaza have become incompatible with life itself.

Insofar as the protracted occupation of Palestine is instituted in a permanent state of exception the geopolitics in the region are a priori pyropolitical. The normalcy of the Israeli enclave has been predicated upon the prevailing and intensifying upheaval and daily disruptions in the lives of the occupied population.

As Jewish pacifist-anarchist Nathan Chofshi noted already in 1946, the Zionist movement was building its projected state on a “volcano” of violence, demanding “endless suffering and bloodshed.” The long trail of carnage it unleashed is with us to this day, and it shows no signs of abating. Building on a volcano, in turn, is a very precise image interrelating geo- and pyropolitics in Israel/Palestine. Ostensibly stable political structures are constructed on a shaky foundation of land grabs, disregard for the basic human rights of others, and flouting of international law.

I have noted in a previous contribution to Mondoweiss that the mute force of violence breaks forth when speech and, in particular, a dialogue are powerless to shape the real. Violence is not an effect of fiery speeches—the “inflammatory incitement” blamed by Barkat—but an eruption of the volcano that is the Israeli politics-as-usual. For once, it is crucial to understand that the construction of the world in words has its limit, which is the unutterable, unspeakable, and intolerable theft of everything that makes life possible (land, water, movement, livelihoods). And that no fiery words can compete with the volcanic politics of occupation.

About Michael Marder

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His most recent monographs include The Philosopher’s Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium (2014), Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze (2015), and Dust (2016). He is now completing a book, co-authored with Luce Irigaray and titled Through Vegetal Being.

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29 Responses

  1. Palikari
    October 13, 2015, 12:22 pm

    This is inflamatory rethoric by Mahmoud Abbas:

    “We bless you, we bless the Murabitin, we bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah. Al-Aqsa is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours, and they [Jews] have no right to defile them with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

    Do you condemn it as well?

    • eljay
      October 13, 2015, 1:10 pm

      || Palikari: … they [Jews] … ||

      jon s has taught you well.

    • oldgeezer
      October 13, 2015, 1:50 pm

      You first. Do you condemn both?

      • MaxNarr
        October 13, 2015, 5:54 pm

        I condemn both!

    • JLewisDickerson
      October 13, 2015, 2:51 pm

      SPEAKING OF “INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC”, SEE THIS: Israeli Advocates Palestinian Holocaust (Nati Mor’s Facebook post) *

      * SOURCE: “Israeli Advocates Palestinian Holocaust” | by Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam | September 29, 2015

      [EXCERPT] Among the latest oddities and outrages in the Israeli media (including social and news media) are these:

      An Israeli Facebook user, Nati Mor, posted this “panegyric” to the Palestinian people (translation by Ronnie Barkan, who found this gem). Though it’s one of the most extreme statements I’ve read in some time, it’s important because it represents the views of so many more Israelis, including many who would never be so bold as to express themselves like this publicly:
      [Nati Mor’s Facebook post]
      I have sought the original post in his Facebook page but cannot find it. Likely, either his friends warned him to remove it or, as is often the case, the Israeli military censor monitors such social media sites and contacts users to remove such incendiary posts. . .

      ENTIRE POST – http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2015/09/29/israeli-advocates-palestinian-holocaust/

      • JLewisDickerson
        October 13, 2015, 3:01 pm

        P.S. “THE OCCUPATION IS THE PROVOCATION!”* The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! The occupation is the provocation! [continued ad nauseam]

        * SEE: “Israeli Occupation for Dummies” | by Yoav Litvin | Counterpunch.org | Oct. 8, 2015
        LINK – http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/08/israeli-occupation-for-dummies/

      • kalithea
        October 14, 2015, 5:17 am

        @ MaxNarr

        Wrong!

        If you were the oppressed and occupied by military force for decades while your land is being stolen by elements from Moldova you wouldn’t have the luxury of being so diplomatic.

    • talknic
      October 13, 2015, 4:25 pm

      Palikari “and they [Jews] have no right to defile them with their filthy feet.”

      WOW Abbas talks with little bracket [things] on his words … AMAZING!

      • Kay24
        October 14, 2015, 10:39 am

        Heh. :))

    • Kris
      October 13, 2015, 4:32 pm

      @Palikari: “Do you condemn it as well?”

      Seriously? We had this discussion long ago, when you or your colleagues were posting under “Mayhem,” and it is still boring. Jews in the Zionist entity don’t behave nicely when entering Muslim places of worship, since they are there only to rub in the powerlessness of the Palestinians and to provoke them into violence.

      Did you know that Muslims expect people to take off their shoes before entering mosques? And to be quiet and respectful. link to bbc.com Wearing shoes into the mosque would be very offensive. Just guessing that the Jewish Al-Aqsa mosque-crashers keep their shoes on. And are arrogant and aggressive.

      I’m guessing that people who are being oppressed and ethnically cleansed quickly come to hate their tormentors, not because they are Germans, say, but because of what they are doing. And so might be upset when they violate their places of worship.

      Abbas would be angry at anyone who behaved the way Israeli Jews are behaving, and would feel that their “filthy feet” defiled Muslim holy spaces, too. Most things really aren’t about “antisemitism.”

      – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/hashlamoun-extrajudicial-execution#comment-799435

      • amigo
        October 13, 2015, 5:06 pm

        “I’m guessing that people who are being oppressed and ethnically cleansed quickly come to hate their tormentors, not because they are Germans, say, but because of what they are doing. And so might be upset when they violate their places of worship. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/inflammatory-rhetoric-occupation#sthash.kCSeGRay.dpuf“Kris.

        Kris , zionist racists and bigots like palikari (ziokari would be more apt) think Palestinians have no feelings .Only Jews are allowed to have emotions or a sense of rage or displeasure.This is what makes these bums stick out , like a sore thumb wherever they go.

        Someday , Palikari will regret using that name when zionism is in the bin of history as a result of the actions of those , like him, who subscribe to this criminal enterprise.Hopefully it,s demise will drag these wannabe humans with it and out of the lives of peace loving , law abiding decent human beings.

      • Mayhem
        October 15, 2015, 7:59 am

        @Kris, lots of guessing from you …

        Just guessing that the Jewish Al-Aqsa mosque-crashers

        I’m guessing that people who are being oppressed

        Plainly you have no damn idea.
        PA President Abbas intentionally lied about the boy Ahmed Manasrah who is one of two Palestinians who stabbed two Israelis, one of them also a 13-year-old boy last Monday.
        Abbas said “We will not give up to the logic of brute force, policies of occupation and aggression practiced by the Israeli government and the herd of settlers who are engaged in terrorism against our people, our holy places, our homes, our trees and the shooting of our children in cold blood as they did with the child Ahmed Manasrah and other children from Jerusalem,” Abbas said in an address which aired on Palestine TV.
        Clearly Abbas said this because he wants a symbol to incite Palestinians to perpetrate more terrorists attacks. Abbas intentionally lied claiming that this boy, who stabbed two Israelis, was murdered by the Israelis, except that he’s alive.

      • talknic
        October 15, 2015, 9:44 am

        @ Mayhem “PA President Abbas intentionally lied about the boy Ahmed Manasrah who is one of two Palestinians who stabbed two Israelis, one of them also a 13-year-old boy last Monday. …. Abbas intentionally lied claiming that this boy, who stabbed two Israelis, was murdered by the Israelis, except that he’s alive.”

        Let’s see now …

        Abbas said “We will not give up to the logic of brute force, policies of occupation and aggression practiced by the Israeli government and the herd of settlers who are engaged in terrorism against our people, our holy places, our homes, our trees and the shooting of our children in cold blood as they did with the child Ahmed Manasrah and other children from Jerusalem,”

        Abbas didn’t say he was killed.

      • oldgeezer
        October 15, 2015, 9:55 am

        @talknic

        Supposedly the original Arabic version said executed. I can’t verify that.

        Although it does show that mayhem is merely regurgitating propaganda as he clearly doesn’t comprehend what he is reposting

    • kalithea
      October 14, 2015, 5:07 am

      That’s easy! Should I condemn incitement to resist a brutal, oppressive regime that occupies others with military force or should I condemn genocide by quota with weapons of mass destruction?

      So what’s your unbiased answer?

    • Misterioso
      October 14, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Palikari

      Sigh. A classic example of blaming the victims.

      As any reasonably informed person knows full well, Palestinians are the occupied, Israel is their occupier; Palestinians are the oppressed, Israel is their oppressor; Palestinians are the dispossessed, Israel is the ethnic cleanser; Palestinians have hard won international humanitarian law on their side, Israel is a thoroughly documented serial violator of international law

      For your edification:
      Bradley Burston, esteemed Jewish Israeli journalist:
      “In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will. They can be denied the right to vote, to own property, to meet or speak to family and friends. They can be hounded or even shot dead by their masters, who claim their position by biblical right, and also use them to build and work on the plantations the toilers cannot themselves ever hope to own. The masters dehumanize them, call them by the names of beasts.” (Haaretz, Feb. 26/13)

      Regarding the Gaza Strip:
      Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all [….] The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

      The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now
      1, 800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015 correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University. Hass, an Israeli who has won numerous awards for her reporting, has been covering the region since the early 90s.

  2. MHughes976
    October 13, 2015, 12:39 pm

    I was grateful – admittedly in a rather limited way – to Lord Ashdown, former Liberal Democrat leader, when he remarked that the Occupation was ‘the burning coal’ at the heart of all ME problems. You volcano metaphor is more apt.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      October 13, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Shame he never said such things when he actually had some power.

      Let’s add ‘Lord’ Ashdown to the list of those who suddenly grow a conscience about Palestine once they are safely out of power.

  3. eljay
    October 13, 2015, 12:59 pm

    … Visiting the scene of Tuesday’s attack on a Jerusalem bus, the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, attributed this and similar incidents to “inflammatory incitement” coming from “mosques and Palestinian leaders.” …

    Mr. Barkat – the Zio-supremacist mayor of the Israeli-occupied Free City of Jerusalem – chooses to gloss over the “inflammatory incitement” coming from Jewish (and non-Jewish) Zio-supremacists in Israel and elsewhere in the world.

    He also ignores the fact that Israel:
    – is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist, belligerent, intransigent and religion-supremacist state;
    – remains engaged in a decades-long and on-going campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
    – refuses to honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees);
    – refuses to accept any responsibility or accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
    – refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

    • Mayhem
      October 15, 2015, 7:48 am

      @eljay, you have fired your same old anti-Israel tirade maybe a hundred times now on MW. Why don’t you just give us a link back to the original and save yourself some time? You don’t respond to the true words from Nir Barkat; you just replay that same monotonous recording of your agenda. It’s commonly referred to as “talking at cross purposes”.

      • eljay
        October 15, 2015, 9:17 am

        || Mayhem: @eljay, you have fired your same old anti-Israel tirade maybe a hundred times now on MW. Why don’t you just give us a link back to the original and save yourself some time? … ||

        I enjoy typing.

        || … You don’t respond to the true words from Nir Barkat; you just replay that same monotonous recording of your agenda. It’s commonly referred to as “talking at cross purposes”. ||

        The “true words” of hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists intentionally ignore the past and on-going (war) criminal activities of Israel and of hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists. Feel free to admonish him – and yourself – for “talking at cross purposes”.

  4. Les
    October 13, 2015, 5:41 pm

    Correction. occupied East Jerusalem’s mayor is not Nir Barkat, the Israeli who is the mayor of West Jerusalem.

    • eljay
      October 13, 2015, 9:13 pm

      || Les: Correction. occupied East Jerusalem’s mayor is not Nir Barkat, the Israeli who is the mayor of West Jerusalem. ||

      Okay, I’ll rephrase: Mr. Barkat – the Zio-supremacist mayor of the Western part of the Israeli-occupied Free City of Jerusalem …

  5. RoHa
    October 13, 2015, 7:49 pm

    That’s quite a sling!

    • eljay
      October 13, 2015, 9:07 pm

      || RoHa: That’s quite a sling! ||

      Yup. Israel’s high-tech WMDs don’t stand a chance…

  6. diasp0ra
    October 13, 2015, 8:08 pm

    You don’t need mosques to incite you. You don’t need rhetoric to incite you. You don’t need leaders to incite you.

    All it takes is interacting with the occupation in any way, and trust me, you’ll be burning with rage for years to come.

    I don’t understand how Israelis think people need to be brainwashed/incited to hate their oppressors.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Occupation and quiet are not a pair that go together.

    • just
      October 13, 2015, 8:27 pm

      Well said, diasp0ra!

      Thanks for this, Prof. Marder.

      “We Warned You,’ Say Israeli Arab Leaders at Large Rally
      20,000 people gather in Sakhnin in solidarity with the Palestinians.

      “… Some 20,000 demonstrators demonstrated in the northern Arab city of Sakhnin on Tuesday, the largest such gathering since the current wave of violence began. All the political movements and parties in Arab society were represented at the demonstration, which was held in the Sakhnin Municipality square.

      Police, who were stationed at the entrance to the city in large numbers reported that a few dozen protesters, some masked, were heading toward the nearby industrial area “with the intent of clashing with the force.” However, the rally ended without incident.

      Sakhnin’s mayor, Mazen Ghnaim, who is also the acting head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, said at the rally: “We warned ahead of time and we said ‘stop the extremists,’ but no one listened. The Palestinian people went out to protect its rights and for independence and liberation from the occupation. There is no surrender of the basic right to independence and to the freedom of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership must act for unity and to attain independence. We call on the international community to act immediately to attain the rights of the Palestinian people.”

      Hadash chairman Mohammed Barakeh said: “Our struggle is hard. To attain the rights and the independence of the Palestinian people, we say to Netanyahu – escalation is your policy, you are leading to escalation and you bear responsibility for every drop of blood… an army can defeat an army but it cannot defeat a people.”

      MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) said: “Al-Aqsa Mosque is a mosque for Muslims, period, and anyone whom that doesn’t suit should knock his head in the wall…You lie, you harmed the mosque and now you’re trying to change the status quo with a change of opening hours and entrance through the gates.”

      In answer to claims that Arab MKs were using incitement, Tibi said: “Netanyahu’s policy is incitement.”

      The leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, said: We will not surrender – we will win or die. It is not the Islamic Movement that should be outlawed, but the occupation of Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories. We are not afraid of the threats and incitement or of the possibility that we will go to jail for Al-Aqsa…The occupation of Al-Aqsa will soon be lifted.”

      Balad chairman and former MK Wasel Taha said: “We do not call for violence. On the contrary, it is the government and its head calling for violence. We call on them to stop this incitement. Our sons and daughters feel threatened today.”

      The Sakhnin municipality said municipal ushers accompanied the march to prevent friction with the police. …

      … The chairman of the Joint Arab List, MK Ayman Odeh on Tuesday called on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to put Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on trial for incitement and slander, because of Netanyahu’s speech at the opening of the Knesset winter session Monday. In it, Netanyahu attacked “the inciting leadership of the communist Balad people, behind whom are a train of ISIS flags.”

      “Instead of spreading lies, the prime minister should support the MKs from the Joint Arab List, who thoroughly condemn the ISIS terrorist organization and oppose from every stage the killing of innocents and bloodshed,” Odeh wrote Weinstein. Odeh said that considering the tense situation, Netanyahu’s statements were incitement to racism.”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.680287?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      • diasp0ra
        October 13, 2015, 8:46 pm

        “In it, Netanyahu attacked “the inciting leadership of the communist Balad people, behind whom are a train of ISIS flags.”

        If this weren’t so serious I’d be laughing.

        Netanyahu: “Hrmmm, who would inspire hatred and fear most in my audience, calling my enemies communists or ISIS? I know! Why don’t I combine the two! It’s the best of both worlds! Balad are communists who march in front of ISIS! Netanyahu you beautiful magnificent genius, you did it again.”

  7. markjohnconley
    October 14, 2015, 2:41 am

    The accompanying photograph; David versus Goliath, but in reverse this time; very effective at getting the one-sided colonialist settler status situation to the general public; if I was a Palestinian I too would be throwing (slinging even better) stones, lots of stones, at the terrorist Israeli ‘immoral’ offence force

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