By Shahzada Rahim – a postgraduate student with keen interest of writing on history, geopolitics, Current affairs, and International political economy. Moreover, I am a freelancer and an independent writer.
Netanyahu and the inauthentic Jew: A Sartrean discourse
Racism has been the worst episode of human history, when we talk about racism, we throw a flashback at white apartheid against blacks and Nazis genocide against Jews—the two worst events of recent history. Since our childhood, we have been taught in schools that racism is wrong and a taboo. Similarly, if we see it somewhere today, we must call it out.
When we talk about modern racism, it seems that people who have been the worst victims of anti-Semitism are proudly practicing it in the state of Israel. Let me make this clear, it is not about all Jews, rather it is about the Jewish leaders in Israel, who are suppressing indigenous Palestinians. Netanyahu the incumbent Prime Minister of Israel is a modern face of racism—what he recently declared Israel is a state of Jews only. With his racist policy, he lobbied in the Washington to move their embassy from Tala Viv to Jerusalem in order to declare Jerusalem as the future capital of Israel. He uses the best opportunity because a far-right white supremacist is currently the in charge of the White House, who openly defends Israel’s right to have a desired state in the land of Palestine. Perhaps, this is a historical phase in the United States history because the earlier presidents had always supported two-state solution but now under Donald Trump, it seems that policy has already gone in vain.
Since, Netanyahu became the prime minister of Israel in 2009, he pursued a racist policy towards Palestinians. His military offensive on Gaza in 2009 and 2014, have killed more than three thousand Palestinians that has become the worst-case scenario under his government. Moreover, when Hamas won the elections in Gaza, he imposed an economic embargo on Gaza that caused food and electricity shortages. The only purpose was to punish the Gazans for supporting anti-Zionist political party in the general elections. In addition, his Likhud party leaders are also supporting his far-right policy against Palestine, what Netanyahu said in his recent election campaign speech that “I want to make it clear, it will be a right-wing government”. Indeed, this is his open declaration claiming to be an ultra-nationalist which clearly indicates his forthcoming policy of Jewish settlements in the west bank and Golan heights, which he recently declared as the territory of Israel beside the international condemnation. Now, how Netanyahu’s Jewishness must be constructed!
Famous French existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre adumbrates four major protagonists involved in the drama of anti-Semitism: the anti-Semite, the democrat, the authentic Jew and the inauthentic Jew.
Firstly, the anti-Semite constructs a Jew through his own understanding. Secondly, the democrat loves Jew as a human being but annihilates the Jew in his/her specification as Jew. Thirdly, the authentic Jew either accepts his/her own situation as Jew and doesn’t seek the avenues of flight or attempts to overcome by constructing a Jew—the point to be noted that the creation of the state of Israel was the result of anti-Semitism. Finally, the inauthentic Jew either reproduces himself/herself through the lens of anti-Semite. Basically, the inauthenticity is the outcome of situation that perpetuates racism.
In contrast, there was a question the Jewish existence in the twentieth century and the plight was unbearable, that finally led all Jews towards authenticity by creating the state of Israel. Perhaps, it is a fact that Jewishness of Jews was constructed through anti-Semitism which Sartre has well explained through his dialectical model. For Sartre, it is the Zionism of Jews that gives birth to an inauthentic Jew and invokes Jew-phobia. Famous Algerian philosopher Albert Memmi in his famous book “the portrait of Jew” compares anti-Semite and Jew through the lens of white construction of Negroes. Today, the inauthentic Jewishness is giving birth to Jewish Phobia across the globe that is worse than anti-Semitism.
In the Sartrean context, whatever Netanyahu is doing is inauthenticity ranges from his neo-racism to his bromance with the far-right supremacist abroad in order to drag support for his resurgenist policy towards Palestinians. What Frantz Fanon said on European racism and colonialism that “nothing is more consistent among us than racist humanism, since European have been able to make themselves human being by creating slaves and monsters”.
Although, Netanyahu won the recent elections in Israel and became the prime minister for the fifth time but now, it is up to him, whether he wants to become authentic or inauthentic Jew, racist human or colonialist making himself a human being by creating slave and monsters.