What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and Other Specters
Gil Hochberg In a conversation with Udi Aloni about the practice, art and theory toward binationalism.
Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
About the book:
Udi Aloni has written a remarkable series of love letters to what his country could be, challenging his fellow Jews to escape from all of our ghettos, whether physical or psychological. Aloni's political courage is contagious and reading him is a libratory experience.
Aloni's secular theology is definitely one of the most fascinating innovations of our time. So, if you want to dwell in your blessed secular ignorance, then do not read this book—at your own risk!
Udi Aloni provides us with a measure of the distance between our capacity for understanding and the terrors we choose instead. His art is trembling the underground, indeed. Boundless admiration.
In the hopes of promoting justice, peace, and solidarity for and with the Palestinian people, Udi Aloni joins with Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler to confront the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their bold question: Will a new generation of Israelis and Palestinians dare to walk together toward a joint Israel-Palestine? Through a collage of meditation, interview, diary, and essay, Aloni and his interlocutors present a personal, intellectual, and altogether provocative account rich with the insights of philosophy and critical theory. They ultimately foresee the emergence of a binational Israeli-Palestinian state, incorporating the work of Walter Benjamin, Edward Said, and Jewish theology to recast the conflict in secular theological terms.
Udi Aloni is an Israeli/American writer and filmmaker whose work explores the discourse between art, theory, and action. His art projects have been presented in leading museums and galleries, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his films Kashmir: Journey to Freedom (2009), Forgiveness (2006), and Local Angel (2003) have been screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, among other prominent venues. This book was published shortly after the murder of his dear friend, Juliano Mer Khamis, director of The Freedom Theater in Jenin Refugee Camp, where Aloni helped him run the Cinema Department. After Juliano's murder Aloni directed an Arabic interpretation of Waiting for Godot with the actress and actors of the freedom theater.
Gil Hochberg, is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and the Director of the Graduate Program. Her work focuses on the intersections among psychoanalysis, postcolonial theory, nationalism, and sexuality. She has published essays on a wide range of issues including: Francophone North African literature, Palestinian literature, the modern Levant, gender and nationalism, cultural memory and immigration, memory andgender, Language Politics, Hebrew Literature, Mediterraneanism, and Minority literatures. Her book "In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination" (Princeton University Press, 2007), examines the complex relationship between the signifiers "Arab" and "Jew" in contemporary Jewish and Arab literatures. Her current book project is a study of the Visual Politics of the Israeli-Palestinian entitled Visual Occupations: Violence, Visibility & Visuality at a Conflict Zone.
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