Butler talks about gender, the dehumanization of Gazans, and how her Jewish values drove her to criticize the actions of the State of Israel.
I’ve told you that I began to be interested in philosophy when I was 14, and I was in trouble in the synagogue. … I explained that I wanted to read existential theology focusing on Martin Buber. (I’ve never left Martin Buber.) I wanted look at the question of whether German idealism could be linked with National Socialism. Was the tradition of Kant and Hegel responsible in some way for the origins of National Socialism? My third question was why Spinoza was excommunicated from the synagogue.
I was taught that it was ethically imperative to speak up and to speak out against arbitrary state violence. … I think we have to get over the idea that a state has to express a nation. And if we have a bi-national state, it’s expressing two nations. Only when bi-nationalism deconstructs the idea of a nation can we hope to think about what a state, what a polity might look like that would actually extend equality. … There is extraordinary complexity and intermixing among both the Jewish and the Palestinian populations. State should not be in the business of expressing cultural identity.
Read the full interview here.
Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of many books, including Precarious Life and Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?.
Udi Aloni is an Israeli and American artist and director whose projects in films and visual arts frequently explore the discourse between theology and politics. His documentary, Local Angel (2002), and his first feature-length fiction, Forgiveness (2006), are both radical interpretations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that have stirred controversy in the Middle East and internationally. Currently, Aloni is working on a documentary about the nonviolent movement for liberation and freedom in Jammu and Kashmir.