ON DISPOSSESSION AND DEPARTURE
A Response to Judith Butler’s Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism
by Mark Lewis Taylor
A condensed version of the review printed below was presented on a panel treating Judith Butler’s book, Parting Ways, at the American Academy of Religion, Annual Meeting, November 25, 2013, in Baltimore, MD. The panel included Professor Butler who responded to panelists remarks
I – Dispossession and Scholars’ Departure
I believe it fruitful to read key dynamics of Professor Butler’s most welcome book, 2012 book, Parting Ways (PW), within a key problematic she considers in her still more recent book of dialogues with Athena Athanasiou on Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (D). Butler and Athanasiou critically examine the connection between two modes of dispossession. One of these is to be abhorred and resisted, Butler writes: dispossession is “what happens when populations lose their land, their citizenship, their means of livelihood and become subject to military and legal violence”(D, 3). It is what is now ongoing in the Naqba (“catastrophe”) of Palestinians’ colonial subjugation and expulsion. It is a site of “violent dispossession, surveillance, and the ultimate control by the Israeli state over Palestinian rights to mobility, land, and political self-determination” (PW, 7). Achille Mbembe has termed the contemporary colonial subjugation of Palestine to be “the most accomplished form of necropower,” a power of global sovereignty that determines whose lives are disposable, and then implements that disposability. Throughout Parting Ways, Butler marks her abhorrence with value-laden terms, most notably as “utterly wretched” (PW, 7), “wretched” (18, 24, 98, 210, 220, 223, passim), also “pernicious” (24) and “perverse” (211). These terms are applied carefully by Butler, backed by careful research, but pointed especially at the whole complex bond in this colonial subjugation, where a “wretched binationalism” prevails in the four forms of (1) the militarized streets of East Jerusalem where Palestinians are dispossessed of their homes, (2) the economic dependencies between Palestinian workers and Israeli settlements of the West Bank, (3) the Palestinians who are but nominal or partial citizens of the State of Israel and thus suffer social and legal restrictions, and (4) the “most fundamental form of wretched binationalism,” Israel and Palestine bonded together “continuing practices of settler colonialism” (210-13).
Although this is a session on the intellectual contribution of Butler’s book, I wish to note here that the time is well past due for the guilds of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature to collectively work through toward endorsement of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, initiated by Palestinians and supported worldwide. The best arguments for that endorsement, I believe, are provided in a book by Omar Barghouti, Boycott Sanctions and Divestment, and at the web site on the BDS movement’s progress. The Association of Asian American Studies has already unanimously endorsed it. The American Studies Association is in the process of debating a proposal to endorse [It was later endorsed, unanimously, on Dec. 4, 2013 ]. Professor Butler’s arguments on the BDS initiative were clearly aired in her remarks at Brooklyn College earlier this year.
But in addition to the dispossession we criticize and resist, there is another sense of dispossession in Butler’s work. Butler writes that it “marks the limits of self-sufficiency, and . . . establishes us as relational and interdependent beings” (D, 3) This refers generally to the different ways one is “solicited out of oneself” (D, 71), to be the relational subject, to be dispossessed as one responsible to others’ dispossession (in the first sense, above).
Parting Ways faces dispossession in the form of colonial subjugation of Palestinians by the Israeli Zionist regime, and seeks a “Jewishness” sufficiently dispossessed of itself, for generating critique of that Zionism. Professor Butler finds here a theoretical “conundrum,” (3) in that such a dispossessing and critical Jewishness can seem to claim an exceptionalist status, to be a “different Jewishness.” This is desired but is also troubling, because it risks re-presenting the very exceptionalism working at the heart of Israel’s Zionism. Butler finds a way forward through the conundrum by critically interrogating and welding insights from a variety of Jewish thinkers who enable her to express her own dispossession as a departure from exceptionalism, especially from the Zionist exceptionalism congealing as regime of colonial subjugation, but also from the subtle exceptionalism of a “better Jewishness.”
I cannot claim expertise in the scholars she examines here. But for nearly any reader, she provides an instructive and rigorous feast, analyzing Levinas (reading him “against himself,” in fact for his not granting “face” to Palestinians, PW23, 61-2), also Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Hannah Arendt and Primo Levi, other figures such as Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish. Her accomplishments seem to me noteworthy and exemplary – “exemplary” of what departure looks like when a dispossessing scholar thinks amid a co-habitation of different peoples, who are often in agonistic relation. In fact, for thinkers of a tradition who move from its ethics into that ethics’ politics, “departure” for Butler becomes a trait of tradition itself: “the departure from the tradition is a precondition of any tradition yielding strong political principles” (PW, 4). Butler’s achievement is impressive, avoiding processes of easy translation or continuous unfolding of Jewish tradition, either on some model of progressing development or of a Gadamerian fusion of horizons. To the contrary, she inhabits with a rigorous care, the chasms and disorientations that abide in any translation (PW 10-12). The departure, we might say, is a further dispossession of thinkers from their traditions, even while providing a richer diasporic ethic for politics amid exile and for cohabitation. The moves she makes are themselves like the sparks and scattering of insight that she extols in Benjamin’s work. Rather than saying that she has “tarried with the impossible” (PW, 1) in all this, though, I would point to her vigor and rigor of argument as showing what is possible for the dispossessing scholar facing colonizing dispossession. To call it “impossible” risks something like what both Butler and Athanasiou name in their joint book, a tendency to freeze critique in a certain “being always already dispossessed,” even perhaps to “legitimize an abdication of political responsibility” (D, 5). My worry is that the discourses of “the impossible,” except in the dreams and daring of the materially dispossessed as colonially subjugated, come perilously close to this legitimization, or at least leave unchallenged the states of inertia neglectful of doing even the possible. (I note that “the impossible” seems less prominent across the pages of Dispossession than in Parting Ways.)
II – Christian Scholars’ Departure
I am perhaps driven to make this point because as a Christian thinker, I know all too well the posture that takes as “impossible” the kind of departure from tradition that would be analogous in Christian thinking to Butler’s search in Parting Ways for Jewishness as critique of Zionism. “Christian-ness” as critique of Zionism is also necessary, but again, I would emphasize that it is not so much “impossible,” as it is routinely neglected and refused. This “departure” by Christian thinkers, is just as important, if not more so, for those of us who, like me, publicly inhabit the category of religion named “Christianity,” which, as Butler herself notes, provides “the cultural preconditions of the public, whose symbols circulate freely within the public,” as distinct from other religions’ symbols that when circulating are “considered ostentatious or threatening to democracy itself” (115). Christianity, especially in its protestant formations, shapes public life in dominative ways even when it is presented “as secular (115).”
With their religion circulating in these powerful ways in European and U.S. publics, Christian thinkers’ necessary task entails a two-fold critique. First, there is a necessary critique of anti-Semitism, exposing, acknowledging, rejecting and resisting the anti-Semitism that has been intrinsic to the very formation of Christianity to the present, in modes of cultural and religious discrimination and demonization and centuries of pogroms and other acts of violence, notably the Shoah. A second critique, though, focuses, especially today, on U.S. global sovereignty, and its dependence on Christian Zionism or even upon various secular policies that leave unquestioned the various narrative modes by which Christian Zionism continues to flourish. Even liberal Christian congregations in the U.S., many eschewing Christian Zionism and the political traits of “the Christian Right,” leave intact a narrative understanding of Christian supersession of Judaism that is crucial to the religious narrative. Supercession is not just a negative move beyond Judaism, it is often simultaneously a kind of Christian grafting onto Judaism that can religiously underwrite settler colonialism, and has (recall the “promised land” motif among Christian settlers in colonial New England and elsewhere). As Mbembe noted, these religious narratives are partially constitutive of the subjugation of Palestinians, a subjugation that is, again, not just Israeli Zionist but also imperialist and neocolonial amid the geopolitical maintenance of sovereignty, an imperial formation that Said named the Pax Americana/Israelica (e.g. The End of the Peace Process: Oslo and After, Random House, 2000, p47). Especially in U.S. Christian Zionism, the U.S. imperial is sustained by Protestant national chauvinism, and regularly makes common cause with Jewish Zionist “subimperial” projects (even while many of these same Protestant chauvinists may pray for the full conversion of all Jews to Christ come the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon).
Both of these tasks of Christian critique will require of the Christian thinker a dispossession of subject, manifest in departure from Christian tradition(s). Again, recall, as Butler astutely observes, this is a precondition for generating strong political principles (3). The logic of this claim, as I understand it, is that political principles that are “strong” are those that can play across the multiple discourses of the world that different peoples must co-inhabit differently. Political principles that “work” on that terrain are those that by necessity – and I stress this – “depart” from specifically Christian discourses. The departure(s) required of the Christian, are analogous to the two Butler notes for herself, (a) taking the Jewish tradition as starting point for her thinking, but (b) breaking with a communitarian discourse that “cannot furnish sufficient resources for living in a world of social plurality or establishing a basis for cohabitation across religious and cultural difference” (9).
If I take “the Christian tradition” as my starting point, I do not do so as an adherent to its orthodoxies as established, for example, by biblical canon or ecclesial councils of orthodoxy, or any one or several doctrinal systems of thought. Instead, as thinker I focus on analyzing different interpretations of the significance of the figure, Jesus of Nazareth. My own Christian formation includes influences by other concerns and meanings of Christian religious belief and community, but I have grown to work without the discourse of transcendence that usually entails what Butler terms “the metaphysical reduction,” a theism focused on the figure, God. I also work with a refusal of the domain of belief as being the primary discourse by which to think and live out one’s ever-changing sense of the significance of Jesus of Nazareth – this refusal of belief being a refusal of the “epistemological reduction” (22). More important than the traditions’ developed core of doctrinal beliefs are the emergent, often insurgent, aesthetic forms, which catalyze and are also catalyzed by, social movements.
To some, the refusals of these reductions would seem to produce not just departure from tradition, but destruction or abandonment of it. I suggest that there are enough practicing Christians reconstituting practice around liberating interpretations of Jesus of Nazareth, to warrant terming such interpretations as occurring within Christianity. Nevertheless, to achieve “liberating” interpretations, there will nearly always be required a kind of “departure” from tradition which many guardians of that tradition will often see as illegitimate. What more is left, some Christians might ask once one makes a departure in hope of liberating interpretation? My response would be this: even for Christians to limit their focus on the task of interpreting the significance of Jesus of Nazareth without these reductions, they have more than enough from which to craft a response to the Naqba/catastrophe at hand, the colonial subjugation and expulsion of Palestinians, and we will also have more resources for addressing critically the other sites of catastrophe attending U.S. global sovereignty in our period in the U.S. and abroad (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Honduras).
What do I mean? Liberating interpretations, and there is historical research behind them, would remind that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, but that he was also a Palestinian. Moreover, the death of crucifixion he suffered was one reserved to the rebel, the revolutionary, the bandit or eccentric who was inconvenient, if not in open rebellion, to imperial sovereignty. The Jewish Palestinian figure did not just die, he suffered arrest, capture, interrogation, torture and an imperial execution – an ignominious end resulting from a life lived, not with perfection, but with a certain integrity of prophetic justice and love that catalyzed movements of communal remembrance in the wake of his execution. As one Palestinian Christian liberation theologian put it, Naim Stifan Ateek, for Palestinians living the Naqba/catastrophe of colonial subjugation: “Jesus is the paradigm of faith and life. He was born and lived under occupation, and was killed by occupation forces.” (Others with similar beliefs would include Mitri Raheb, Jean Zaru, and many other Palestinian Christian leaders who have signed the Palestine Kairos document, “A Moment of Truth.”). Christians in the U.S. departing from their tradition(s) to forge “strong political principles,” thus, will derive them, as Butler suggests so well, from Jewishness as well as Christian-ness, and from Palestinian Christians, too. This can also proceed to draw from sources that take us well beyond Eurocentric and Hellenocentric religiosity and intellectual traditions, to include those Latin America, Asia, Africa.
Alas, Christianity has abstracted from the Jewishness of Jesus (and hence, too, from him as Palestinian), in its earliest references to Jews as “Christ-killers,” but especially as noted by Christian theologian J. Kameron Carter and others, in Kant whose writings sought a “de-Judaization” of Christianity, minimizing Jesus’ Jewishness if not also envisioning a complete stripping of all Jewishness from the Christ for true religion. In fact, in Kant, in his Religion and Rational Theology, where he spoke of “the euthanasia of Judaism.” It should also be noted that Kant also took the Jew as representative in Europe of “Orientals” and of “The Palestinians among us” (Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View). And so we have one window out onto Christian-formed European modernity that not only is a reduction of the complexity of meanings around the Jewish Palestinian Jesus of Nazareth, but also an abstraction, a purifying of any empirical, topographical references that would link Jesus – his “Christ” – to earthly life. Such links to the earth would be detrimental to Kant’s alleged higher morality. It is no accident then, that the death of Jesus in European and U.S. traditions has been signified less as a body tortured and disposed of with many others under conditions of imperial execution, and more, as an abstracted, salvific event, grounding a religious drama played out above the realms of earthly catastrophe. (Alas many U.S. church-trips to “the Holy Land” travel while still steeped in these very abstractions).
In previous works, I have attempted to derive an alternative Christian political imaginary, which presumed the Jewish and Palestinian character of Jesus, and then attempted to rethink that imaginary especially in relation to systems of U.S. mass incarceration and state violence, in which technologies of imperialism, racism, class exploitation, as well as hegemonic masculinism and heteronormativity all interplay. I won’t here replay the features of that Christian political imaginary, or revise them in light of the challenging insights Butler and her sources provide. Indeed they are rich for the further work I need to do. Here, though, I want to remain more attentive to what might prompt any such alternative political imaginary among Christians to come forth. Indeed, it may seem to be another case of “the impossible.” Yet, I don’t want to term it that, lest the steps that really can be taken towards such an imaginary are dismissed, as they readily are, as impracticable, usually “waved away” (205), to refer to a gesture of reflexive dismissal that Butler sees as often greeting Palestinian claims of a right of return.
III – What Prompts Counter-Imperial, Political Imaginaries?
In raising this question, of what might prompt an alternative imaginary, I am also taking up a response I have to Butler’s final chapter. I begin with my question: what/and or who might provoke Christian scholarly departure – indeed, any Christian’s departure – as another phase of that subject’s dispossession, in the second sense of dispossession as being “solicited out of oneself?” My response comes by way of a reading of Levin as, but as through the philosopher of liberation, Enrique Dussel, who for decades has had a major impact on Latin Americans’ Christian liberation theology as well as its philosophy. This will also lead me to accent elements of the poem for Edward Said, written by Mahmoud Darwish, in a slightly different way than does Butler’s discussion of the poem at end of her book. These other elements of the poem not only refer to a dynamic which philosopher Dussel has unpacked in his Ética (Ethics of Liberation in the Age of Globalization and Exclusion, Span. 1998, Eng. 2013), but also foregrounds a more political and social movement dynamic that strengthens the highlighting of aesthetic form that occurs in the last pages of Butler’s book. (For futher discussion of Dussel’s book, see my review of his Ethics at this website.)
Dussel has been inspired by Emmanuel Levinas, in his philosophy and Christian thinking since the 1970s. He is, for Dussel, the major figure who grounds ethical obligation to the other, particularly with the other’s material and vulnerable corporeality. Butler in Parting Ways, of course, sees in Levinas a way of deriving strong Jewish statement of such obligation, but rightly finds problematic Levinas’ Zionism and his restriction upon those whose “faces” can make a demand on the subject’s responsibility (39). Dussel found the facelessness of the Palestinians to be a problem in Levinas, but also Levinas’ answer to a key question Dussel posed to him: “And the fifteen million indigenous people killed in the conquest of Latin America, and thirteen million enslaved Africans, are they also the Other of which you speak?” (Dussel, Ethics, 591n466). Levinas reportedly answered that he, Dussel, together with his Latin American colleagues, were the ones held “hostage” to that legacy. Levinas did not seem to include himself, the European, as also held hostage or co-responsible to these colonized Others. In the 1970s, Dussel had criticized him on this point, suggesting Levinas “had not suffered Europe in its [colonial] totality and that Levinas’ reference point continues to be Europe in itself.”
What, for Dussel, might prompt Levinas to extend the sense of obligation to those others who remain faceless to him? It is not merely a more rigorous and wider enactment of the subject-Other encounter in the terms Levinas constructs it. Instead, Dussel insists that such an extension will come at the prompting of the Other/Victim as a plurality, as a “we.” There is a singularity here, with the force it has in Levinas, but it is, recalling Jean-Luc Nancy, a singular-plural “other.” Thus, if an Other interpellates the subject, binding her, dispossessing her, for Dussel this is because the other is in community with “other others” who have already interprellated themselves (affectively and practically) as a community of victims, affirming their life and dignity in the face of being negated. As so interpellating themselves they then interpellate the still “other others,” those within the prevailing system who, being hailed, now face their obligation to the victims, from whose victimization they usually live – parasitically. “The Other” of Levinas becomes, with Dussel, the “We-Others” – “we-are-existing (nosotros—estamos-siendo) as ‘re-sistant’ reality.” Dussel can conclude his point with the proactive voices of victims he hears: “I interpellate you on the basis of the justice that you should have accomplished for us (nos-otros, “we-others”)! (Dussel, 299). Whether armed or not, and usually not, for Dussel, the We-force he references in the interpellating other is “a subject through militant organization,” social movements that bring pressure. Dussel is writing, he reminds continually, from the periphery of Europe, Latin America, and at that place one knows that one’s otherness is not effective as an interpellating Other, unless as others-collectivized, in resistance. Otherwise, they are usually only “massified,” concentrated in colonial and neocolonial subjugation.
In this sense, Dussel might especially gravitate to a line not quoted by Butler from the Darwish poem. It is at the heart of a stanza from which she does quote, drawing on the poetic voice’s comments about identity (“it’s self-invention”. . .’I am multiple;” or “The outside world is exile/exile is the world inside./ and what are you between the two?”) In the center of the same stanza there is the voice’s firm reminder: “I belong to the question of the victim.” If following Dussel, we keep this emphasis on multiplicity linked to the victim(s), we could hear a kind of demand carried by social movement, a “We-other(s), warning maybe even threatening, haunting as collective specter the colonial orders of dis-possessors. We would be right to hear in this, I think, also, the “questioning” of the victim, the interpellating demand of victims pressing their claims.
Thus, I would say that it is this “We-force” of Other(s)/Victim(s) to which I would look for provoking Christian subjects out of our reductions (metaphysical and epistemological) and especially out of our abstractions, by which we gloss the Jewishness and Palestinian character of Jesus, and gloss, too, the material suffering of the Jesus of imperial torture and execution – all this thereby blocking emergence of a Christian political imaginary that might challenge regimes of imperial and colonial catastrophe, Naqba, Shoah, and others – such as Maafa (“African Holocaust of Enslavement”).
But in this, I think I’m also pointing to something I sense missing toward the close of Butler’s Parting Ways. Is it too harsh, too quick a judgment to sense in the final chapter that we are left with a brilliantly-turned alchemy, mixing the aesthetic power of poetic form with the sense of “the impossible?” I say “alchemy,” because there is an impressive and inspiring performance but without foregrounding the chemistry of popular kinesis, social movement of popular organizing. Where are these social practices and movements, I cannot help asking? True, the people are not completely absent from these closing pages, but they are people constituted by language, a plurality onto which identity opens at the point where the poem is (224). Indeed, we know Butler, our writer and thinker today, as one who situates herself, at cost, among peoples, organizations and movements. But here, in this text, it is difficult not only to see specific organizations but also their place in her theory. Am I right to here discern the poem, the aesthetic form, as over-riding movement practice? Or, how am I to strike the connections between them? I look for a synergy between them, i.e. between the aesthetic forms that rise to impress me/us amidst our departures as Christians or Jews, which can also be connected to the actions and political resistance of those dispossessed but organizing amid violent regimes.
It may be true, again quoting the Darwish poem, that “the aesthetic is but the presence of the real in form,” but might “the real” include not only the always already political and social of an aesthetic expression, but also the politicality that arises when the form catalyzes social movements, or those movements give the form new force? Reading elsewhere in Butler, I think the answer is, of course a “yes.” I find this in her 2009 discussion of the Guantánamo imprisoned poets’ discourse, more than in her conclusion to the 2012 Parting Ways. In Frames of War (2009), she concludes her chapter on “Survivability, Vulnerability and Affect,” with these observations: “The poems [from Guantánamo’s imprisoned] communicate another sense of solidarity, of interconnected lives that carry on each others’ works, suffer each others’ tears, and form networks that pose an incendiary risk not only to national security, but to the form of global sovereignty championed by the U.S . . . the poems clearly have political consequences …their writing and their dissemination – are critical acts of resistance, insurgent interpretations, incendiary acts . . .” (62, emphasis added). And here, Butler is surely thinking of the lawyers for the prisoners who pressed relentlessly to publish the poems against Dept. of Defense objections, publishers taking the risk to air the poems, students reading them in public places, also student and community organizations planning late at night after classes as to how best to hold campus events to showcase the poems, and so on.
Finally, I register my query about the place for described and theorized social movements by recalling that the first Intifada in Palestine, so surprising to many, so startling in both its popular arts and its shaking and sudden political appearance, was able to have its staying power – and indeed much of its originating power as up-rising, through the long arduous co-arising, if you will, of many movement groups that included, from labor, the Workers Unity Bloc (WUB), Workers Youth Movement (WYM), Public Service Workers in Gaza, Progressive Worker’s Bloc (PWB), with alliance building work by the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) and the United National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU). From women’s movements and committees throughout many towns and villages, there grew the Higher Women’s Council (HWC), the larger Federation of Women’s Action Committees (FWAC), Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC), and so on. Many other organizing groups and movements could be cited in the present. Indeed, mere references to such organizations does not easily make more thinkable, or possible in our time, an ending of the Naqba/catastrophe of Palestine’s colonial subjugation. But such movement groups are and will be the crucial lattice-work for the transformation – one that will always, perhaps, seem “impossible” and easily pronounced as such – but which has also dared to dream and organize for the possible. Actually, I like the way dreamer and strategist Subcomandante Marcos put it for the Maya Zapatistas in a February communiqué of this year: “we look at what was impossible until the eve of its possibility.” In peoples with that sense of “we”, and with that kind of gaze, laboring with art and practice in Chiapas, Mexico, from yet another of the many undersides of colonial subjugation, we find fomenting the chemistry of aesthetic freedom and social movement.
 Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” Public Culture Vol. 15. No. 1 (2003) 11-40, page 27.
 Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. OneWorld Pub. Ltd., 2006.
 For a summary of Christianity’s entrenched anti-Semitism, Rosemary Radford Ruether’s concise entry will do: “Anti-Semitism,” The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. D. Patte, ed. Cambridge, 2010, 56-7. One of many example of fuller treatments is David Nirenberg’s Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition. W.W. Norton, 2013.
 David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (Oxford University Press, 1992). 177ff., 310n70.
 A bit too avidly perhaps, when considering white racism, gender injustice, U.S. war-making and projects in global sovereignty, mass incarceration and so on, I wrote: “One cannot undertake radical criticism of current culture and politics in the name of Christian belief without taking up a scalpel for radical surgery on Christian belief itself.” Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology. Fortress, 2005, xiii.
 See my critical appropriation of Jean-Luc Nancy’s notion of “transimmanence” as critique of transcendence, in Mark Lewis Taylor, The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World. Fortress Press, 2011.
 I can here only gesture to this counter-hegemonic retrieval of a Palestinian and Jewish Jesus. See Naim Stifan Ateek, Justice, and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation. Orbis, 1991; Mitri Raheb, I Am a Palestinian Christian. Fortress, 2004; and Jean Zaru, Occupied with Nonviolence: A Palestinian Woman Speaks. Fortress, 2008.
 Website for Kairos Palestine, in English http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf .
 Trans. Allen W. Wood and George di Giovanni. Cambridge, 1996, p276.
 Trans. Robert Louden, Cambridge, 2006, p100. Both this and the previous note cited from J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account. Oxford Univ. Press, 2008.
 Mark Lewis Taylor, Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis, Fortress, 2005, and The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, Fortress 2001.
 Is the citation Butler makes to Darwish’s poem here (Butler on p. 224 to Darwish’s p. 178) faithful to the sense of the stanza from which it is taken? In her text it is “the poem” that is the place “where identity . . . open[s] onto plurality/not a fort or a trench.” But reference to the poem, as I wrestle with this stanza’s meaning, seems to suggest that it’s not an aesthetic form that is this place where identity so opens, but rather, “the where” that opens identity, is a traveler who leaves and traverses East and West, “not strictly east…not strictly west…”. And so the where of opening is a people on the move, not primarily “a poem.” Am I reading correctly?
 On these organizations, see Joost R. Hiltermann, Behind the Intifadah: Labor and Women’s Movements in Palestine. Princeton University Press, 1991.