TIDBITS – Marco Mauas – Towards the NLS Congress 2019

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On Wednesday, 9 January 2019 in Tel Aviv, we held a Zadig evening under the title, “The Occupation, Beyond the Left and the Right” with two prominent guests: Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, known as Israel’s most controversial journalist with his severe critical positions for the right, but also for the left, which according to him no longer exists, and Shaul Arieli, ex-colonel of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), former member of peace commissions with the Palestinians, who has a thorough knowledge of the field including small and large details of disputes. Our friend Itzhak Benyamini, editor with Resling (the publishing house which publishes Lacan’s Écrits), accompanied me at the table and was an excellent moderator of the passionate exchanges in front of the audience.
Gideon Levy was of the idea that it is already too late for a “two-state solution for the two peoples”, that the evacuation of settlements in the territories would be impossible, and that one would have to necessarily get accustomed to the idea of a single democratic state with equivalent rights for Palestinians and Israelis. Shaul Arieli considered for his part that it is still possible to make the right separation. He explained this with his knowledge of innumerable details of the terrain. Gideon Levy argued against this by mentioning the present political paralysis, the complete indifference, and even the repression – he used the word – of the majority of Israelis for whom there is little distance between places of work and leisure.
According to the participants, the debate was very good, managing to keep its distance from party politics, despite or perhaps thanks to the extreme positions of our speakers.
As I write this text, we are already preparing for the next Zadig meeting. A new friend, the journalist Oren Nahari, specializing in Israeli international politics, wrote to me that he fears the impossibility of holding a discussion without taking up the positions of right or left. I responded, inspired by our dear François Leguil, whom we had invited to give a seminar two weeks ago at the Shiba military hospital. In order to introduce the difference between the real unconscious and the transferential unconscious, he told us how Freud was so moved by Charcot’s saying, “Theory is good, but it doesn’t prevent things from existing”1 that at the dreadful moment when he had to abandon Vienna under the persecution of the Nazis, he did not forget to take along with him to his London clinic the famous illustration of Charcot’s presentation of hysterical patients at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. “Dear Oren”, I wrote to him, “you were not present for this Zadig debate, so it’s good that you are dreading the impossibility of such discourse in Israel. But, because of your absence, it is only theoretical, and that does not prevent it from existing.” This is the same answer I have waiting for the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] policy theorists.
Translation: Arunava Banerjee



1 [TN: Sigmund Freud cites Jean-Martin Charcot in “Charcot”, Early Psycho-Analytic Publications of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, volume 3, Ed. J. Strachey, Hogarth Press, London, 1963.]


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