- "Spirit does not toss itself about in the external
play of chance occurrences; on the contrary, it is that which determines
history absolutely, and it stands firm against the chance occurrences which
it dominates and exploits for its own purpose". (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
Hegel 1770 1831)
- PM Netanyahu was quoted by the Israeli Ynet last week
saying that the "whole of Israel would be surrounded by a fence eventually".
According to another report he said "there will be no choice but to
fence Israel in on all directions". What Netanyahu means by 'fence'
and 'all directions' may be left open for the time being. However, PM Netanyahu
has managed to bring to light an Hegelian interpretation of the notion
of 'Jewish spirit' as a relentless inclination towards segregation and
isolation. It is the tendency to keep oneself apart that determines and
shapes Jewish collectivism. Whether it is the Zionists and their walls,
the Orthodox and their Kosher universe or even Jewish anti Zionists and
their racially segregated miniature activist cells, somehow every form
of Jewish political engagement is there to set the Jews apart.
- "For Hegel" says Francis Fukuyama, "the
contradictions that drive history exist first of all in the realm of human
consciousness, i.e. on the level of ideas". It is reasonable to argue
that from an Hegelian perspective, all human behaviour and human history
is rooted in a prior state of consciousness. For Hegelian thinkers such
as Alexandre Kojève, understanding the underlying processes of history
requires understanding the realm of consciousness for it is consciousness
that will ultimately remake the material world into a mirror image of its
own spirit. In short it is the spirit that would eventually shape the material
reality as a mirror of itself. Accordingly, the Jewish state, could be
realised as a reflection of the Jewish spirit for it is the Jewish spirit
that shapes the reality of the Jewish state.
- For Hegel history ended in 1806. For him mankind reached
its end with the French and American Revolutions. Whether Hegel was correct
or completely deluded in his reading of human history and mankind's evolution
is a matter for an ongoing philosophical debate. The Jewish state, however,
can be easily interpreted in Hegelian terms as the 'end of Jewish history'.
Zionism presented a dream, it set itself a serious challenge: it promised
to transform the Jew into a 'civilised and authentic human being'. It vowed
to make the Jews people like all other people. Zionism was in fact a call
of defiance against the hitherto Jewish spirit. Yet, the current state
of Israel proves beyond doubt that the spirit has defeated the Zionist
proclaimed fantasy. The will to be 'fenced from every possible direction'
prevailed. The aspiration to be 'people amongst people' is a matter for
historical enquiry, it has no support on the ground whatsoever. The spirit
won over the rational ideological fantasy.
- As tragic as it may sound, it would be almost impossible
to reflect on Jewish history without Israel. It would be impossible to
understand how one people managed to bring so much hate on themselves.
Israel is, no doubt, a unique social experiment in Jewish history. It is
in the Jewish State where the people of the book have managed to liberate
themselves of any inhibitions. It is in the Jewish state where "kosher"
bus lines feature "separate seating for men and women". It
is in Israel where Jews live their spirit to the max. It is where Jews
celebrate their cultural, material, spiritual and ideological symptoms.
But it is also a place where Jews live happily on stolen land while oppressing
and starving the indigenous population. As it happens, in the Jewish state
Israelis celebrate their national 'home coming', and they do it all behind
fences and at the expense of the Palestinians.
- In Hegelian terms Israel is a product of Jewish spirit.
Yet, Israel is NOT a representation of Judaism as Israel is not a Halachic
State*. It is not the state of the Jews as the majority of Jews prefer
to live amongst the Goyim. However, Israel defines itself as the 'Jewish
state'. It is the place where Jews freely explore the meaning and pride
of being Jewish. Hence, the reality of the Israeli state and its categorical
ethical failure leads us towards an Hegelian critical confrontation with
the notions of Jewish consciousness, ideology (Jewishness) and spirit.
- The failure of Zionism to erect a civilised humanist
Jew is an accepted fact. It instead managed to raise an extremely brutal
version of the 'Diaspora' tribal subject it aimed to amend. Needless to
say that Israeli war crimes are not an isolated rare event, they are actually
institutional and committed by a popular army (IDF) that is following orders
given by a democratically elected government. As if this is not enough,
the Israeli crimes are supported by the vast majority of the Israelis.
The fact that at the time of the Gaza war 94% of the Israeli Jewish population
supported the genocidal crime is more than enough to incriminate the entire
Israeli society as a collective. But it goes further, the Israeli crime
is supported institutionally by world Jewry. It would be intelligible to
argue that from an Hegelian perspective Israel is the end of Jewish history
as much as the French revolution was the Hegelian end of history of mankind.
Israel is the materialisation of the Jewish consciousness.
- Netanyahu's recent admission that Israel will be fenced
from every possible direction is far more than mere symbolism. It is there
to expose the solid kernel at the heart of the Jewish collective tribal
desire. As Hegel suggests, it is "spirit that determines history"
or to be precise and concrete, it is the Jewish spirit i.e. the inclination
towards isolationism that determines Jewish history and the reality of
- Listening to Netanyahu and looking at the reality of
Israel makes it obviously clear that rather than the Goyim, it is actually
the Jewish spirit that imposed the Ghetto on the Jew. Emancipation of
- European Jewry provided Jews with an opportunity to leave
tribalism behind. Needless to say that many Jews bought into the idea and
found their way into the crowd. Many Jews had become voices for humanist
causes and thoughts. However, many others decided to maintain a spiritual
partition. In order to do so they invented a phantasmic cultural ethos.
They may have even invented 'victimhood' and 'anti Semitism' just to justify
their state of self imposed alienation. Observing Israel and any other
form of Jewish politics makes it too easy to grasp how and where it all
- As things stand there is no easy remedy for the secular
Jew for there is no safe haven for Jewish secular collectivism or identity
that fits into the notion of humanism or universalism. If Jews insist upon
being secular and humanist they may have to drop their 'J' prefix and to
operate as ordinary people. This is the only alternative to Zionism and
it can also be a beginning of a wonderful friendship (with others as well
- * The concept of a Halachic state refers to a theocratic
state based upon Jewish Law.