In the Holy Land the three monotheistic religions and their post-theistic secular equivalents collide at the speed of light, propelled by myth and contingency, compressed by the gravity of underlying unity, in black hole singularity. Every fascinated observer who transits the event horizon is doomed to disappear forever, to get religion and become inaccessible to Newtonian rescue, until the day of days that we have all fully sub- then re-emerged.
Prophecy precluded the Jewish recovery of a state prior to the messianic age. We ourselves, everyone alive, are the realization of the ancient Hebraic prophecy, the materialization, the unthinkable annihilative universalization, of the concept of the Jew, but the Palestinians have returned the Jewish question, of the stateless people, as not yet answered after all. The Palestinian project, resolving contradictory theocratic and secular imperatives to complete a transfigured national ideal, is thus also a Zionism, but a sequel, not a repetition.
The remnant of Israel had at last succumbed to the temptation to exist as the others, somewhere, finitely safe, rather than always as the other, anywhere, endangered. The Jewish accession to the nation-state, the adoption of Israel by the world as a nation-state, assertion for the Jews of every people’s right of unlimited and eternal return to a home, in this present year and every year, not a perennial next year, occurred as the extinctive culmination of the nation-state as primary engine of history, and therefore as the announcement of common entry into the global era. The Judaic messianic and prophetic mission became the objective mission of the world: The “United Nations” was the name of the victorious alliance, the words having first been put to paper by the President of the United States at the outset of his approach to Armageddon, but they were echoes from the eternal past, of the sayings of a tribe among tribes envisioning entire enlightenment. By prophetic logic, and therefore irrefutably, the advent of the United Nations of Earth ended Israel of the Book. The sign, symbol, proof, replacement, and reincarnation of the Israelites would be Israel of the Land, a nation among the nations of the Earth until the end, or an end, of time.
Definitionally lacking in Israeli Zionism is therefore, above all, the Jew: the “wandering,” “stateless,” “prophetic,” “suffering,” “messianic” Israelite, everyone’s other. The existence of the state of Israel cancels the remnant of Israel as protectively isolated custodians of the universal. What for the Jews was the oneness of life under one God is to be known by all – to whatever extent not known by all, not known.
The great earthly powers, habituated in triumph to sorting the lives and deaths and dispositions of millions by force of arms, their own millions of lives and deaths and dispositions and millions more of others, under the nearing prospect of extinction under another great test of might and right, endorsed whatever facilitative removal of the Palestinian Arabs, who were treated as negligible if not as collaborators, old defeated enemies implicated with newly defeated ones and then the new enemies, seriatim, once and again and again co-recipients of the pitilessness that victors have always been inclined to offer the defeated, like so many whores of the repulsed invader turned out in the historical street, heads shaved and thrashed, a relative mere handful new sacrifices to perceived necessity – as we mutely summoned from the Jews their last and greatest, but easiest, dispossession, of their last and cashiered claim to superiority, human rather than national morality, and the last opportunity for the world, which never accepted them as actual inferiors, self-defined superiors, to validate them as no better, even if because once better, now worse.
In a conflict with no apparent solution, the form of the conflict, its material expressions and their underlying ideological or subjective content, provide the outline of the actual solution – the solution already in hand, just not yet comprehended. Saying that there is no solution can only ever mean that we are not yet able to describe the situation satisfactorily. To stand by the claim of “no solution” would be the same as claiming that there is no problem – that the problem is no problem at all, but reality itself. Yet the ideal, as yet unnameable resolutions draw closer to us in time, violence marking out the distance they still must travel.
Being human means being drawn to seek agreement and assent: common ground, Holy Land, two names for the same thing.
By the third century of Islam, the idealization of Islam as a religion of reason had been sketched by al-Farabi, and the school of the Mu’tazalites. It had been dreamt by the Sufis, whose intimations of universality took the form of all-embracing mystical ecstasy. Simultaneously with this perfect peak of universal Islamism, which was Islamic-Judaic-Greek-and-Persian civilization, Christendom was at its nadir, under the popes of the Pornocracy, the Papacy of Whores, but the wheel could only turn, and, in the last and greatest debates of the Third Caliphate, al-Ghazali locked the “Gates of Ijitihad” shut – the limits of Islamic law and philosophy were now and, it was said, forever set – defeating Ibn Rushd’s reason as essence of the divine. Before a spiritual counterattack could develop, the Mongol Holocaust de-populated the cultural and administrative center of Islam, though the Mongols themselves were absorbed into the afterthought they had shattered, and were in turn Islamized. Ghazali’s triumph was frozen in time and carried in saddlebags across Asia, in a format more durable against history than the philosophical treatise. The attached social and hygienic determinations, defensive in the same way as were the Jewish Diaspora’s regime of sexual self-selection and cultural self-enclosure, suited a civilization already at the technologically and ideologically insuperable furthest extent ever of empire. The Moghuls, the Islamized Mongols, attached one last physical and ideational vicinity to the Umma, dealing with resistance as per custom, but failing at the boundaries to a slogan that erupted in the gap between new and old: “There is no Muslim, there is no Hindu.” With these words the Sikhs assimilated present to the past and sketched the future, our present, but the true collaboration of those two great religions was mutual exhaustion, leaving their heirs exposed to the next invaders, who knew themselves as neither Muslim, nor Hindu, nor Sikh, but as destined to rule and profit.
There is no Christian, there is no Muslim, there is no American, there is no atheist, there is no Buddhist, there is no Hindu, there is no Sikh, there is no nihilist, there is no anyone else.
Under a symmetrical transposition of functionally equivalent terms, atheism affirms the oneness of life before one truth. Christianity had sought one spirit within the bounds of the former Roman Empire, while asserting it as a negation of the material world in favor of the transcendent, the death of the living deity necessitating – allowing, requiring, summoning – the deification of the living in death. Islam commanded the realization of the divine in human time, in the sacralized society, the Umma. The New World set the same task before us as a great enterprise. The climax of the European Enlightenment, the political birth of secularism and modernity, “post-Christian” revolution, took not just the form but in every way that can matter the content of the same revelation, and called it “reason.” The contact of the so-called Eastern religions with the emergent global community also re-forms them in the image of monotheism, dissolving inward totality into the empty objective, equating them absolutely. The particularism of the post-modern project, its insistence on exclusively local or finite meanings within an un-graspable infinitude of Being, likewise converts immediately into its opposite: Assertion of the universal truth of the non-universality of truth, suspended in Nothingness, is no less a piety, and becomes formally indistinguishable from ideal monotheism with its parallel foundational paradoxes.
All proclaim the fully free subjectivity in the same way: each individual’s self-authentication correlated with every other’s, objectively.
All justification of the ways of God to humanity is blasphemy against irreligion. 100 million murdered during the two-part half-century world war are a mere handful compared to eternity, but we have no use for the recognition that God and his correlate, ourselves, have always, without exception, seen fit in such ways to accompany, sooner or later have so accompanied, so prefaced or followed, so proved, all disposal of old, beloved, but merely particular ways of life, all preparation and commencement of new, unknown, more nearly universal ways of life. Without God, there is of course no theodicy, so such justification is only self-justification, a logical profanity: The name of God unspeakable, His ways not ways at all, the pointlessness of all our woe an obligatory precept, we must not in polite and secular conversation discuss purposes served, affirming that there would not be so much murder, like stupidity, if it had no uses, but now, with our own end to ourselves firmly in our own hands, we at last are compelled to work and fight to the rejection of that “always, without exception” as the true and final impossibility – to render “always” as the past, to give up the beloved, necessary, particular, in favor of every anything at all.