Following Steven Plaut's expose on the MA thesis at Hebrew U. in December 2007 of a graduate student who claims that Israel is abusing and oppressing Palestinians by not raping their women, we now have this essay, "The Erotics of the Occupation", which was originally published in Hebrew as a series of articles in Ma’arav Hebrew. It has been translated by Hilla Dayan and I received it via Israel Academia Monitor on whose board I sit.
It's underlying theme?
the Israeli occupation is all about the body: sweat, heavy breathing, desire
National security is obsessed with inspecting, identifying, examining, searching and stripping the body
the Israeli Passages Administration has found a new sex toy that will help it stimulate the erotics of the occupation
Somehow, I think Leftists are too concerned with sex (or should that be too unconcerned?). Instead of making jokes, they take it much too seriously.
The Erotics of the Occupation
Jun 9th, 2009 | By Yael Berda |
The perverse relationship between Israelis and Palestinians is a depressing B movie that the entire world daily watches...Despite the attraction to the action, not many realize that the Israeli occupation is all about the body: sweat, heavy breathing, desire. There are several principles to the erotics of the occupation, such as stripping and searching.
The Israeli authorities look for war in your handbag. They ask for your identification papers. They strip and search you with a metal detector, and put you through a screening machine...National security is obsessed with inspecting, identifying, examining, searching and stripping the body.
...The Passages Administration recently began to import a machine that is going to improve its stripping capacity. The new apparatus produces a three-dimensional hologram picture of the body, and is officially called the Three Dimensional Holographic Body Scanning. Long transmission signals produce a naked image of the body... To avoid constitutional problems, the machines were made to create a hologram image of inorganic parts of a “normal” body. Israel is an enthusiastic client...
The extent to which technology advances erotics is not well appreciated. Something about the sterility of technology goes against this notion. With the Three-Dimensional Holographic Body Scanning, however, the Israeli Passages Administration has found a new sex toy that will help it stimulate the erotics of the occupation...the new machine is clearly an erotic device...
...This is the nature of the asymmetrical affair, the relationship of attraction and revulsion between Israelis and Palestinians. Israelis have to know, to touch and to smell everything that the other has – the land, the coffee, the music – but without knowing the other...Israelis basically know nothing about Palestinians or Palestinian culture, but the other side suffers from ignorance as well: many believe that Israelis live, think, and breath only in uniforms.
...Orientalism: the desire for the exotic other and his appropriation. Racism becomes more pronounced the greater the desire for appropriation is. In the delirious colonial encounter, the colonizer wants to separate, enclose and protect himself, yet is attracted to the other through the senses as to entertainment or to a cooking spice...Israel is like an obsessed lover, who wants to separate forever and by all means from his loved one, but equally desires to wake up each morning beside him, smell his clothes and spray his perfume all over a house that they share.
...Another principle of the erotics of the occupation is the desire cultivated by the eye to witness the occupation and the war.
The eye has gotten accustomed to the excitement, to the orange and red flashes on the television screen, to the blood-red smeared headlines of the daily newspapers, to the illustrations and maps of the bombing campaigns that graphically depict the event, the incident, the attack, the war zone. The eye, aided by a dramatic soundtrack announcing the special news edition, cultivates a desire for the aesthetics of violence...Without this visual feed we do not exist. If the flames stop burning there is no desire left in our lives. The short answer to the question of what gives to what, images or war, is that although not always and not in every case, usually it is the image that is in the service of violence. The aesthetics of violence make us believe that this is simply how the world is and another world is not possible...
...In every erotic relationship there is an element of uncertainty: secrets, words whispered in bedrooms, intimate situations, delicate games of closeness and distance. The Israeli authorities specialize in intimate games of intrigue. They create a radical uncertainty as for the present and the future of the relationship, and the uncertainty is a central principle of the erotics of the occupation...the true function of secrets is to sustain the erotics of the occupation. The intimate language whispered in the bedroom of the occupation, includes such terms, as security needs, investigation needs, the defense of sources and methods of action, indications, insinuations, allegations, and saves the occupation from becoming boring. It sustains an exceptional, out of the ordinary, relationship. Secrets are the aphrodisiac, an addictive love potion. Something has to keep a forty-year-old relationship going...
You have to admit, for an academic paper, one done at an Israeli University, this is good.
Unfortunately for her, she left out analyzing "Up Against the Wall" which would have been interesting, or erotic, to read.
And, of course, if a nationalist were to have written a paper on "The Politico-Psychological Passions of Arab Terror As Repressed Sexual Urges of a Third-World Putz", he'd or she'd be lambasted.