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The Unlikely Blessings of Living on Borrowed Time in a Leased Land 413

III. “Tell [Them] a Story”: Productive Misreading

Huh-uh. The story, Detective Lands-

man, is telling us. Just like it has done

from the beginning. We’re part of the

story. You. Me.


The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

(2007: 365)

A story, in other words, has to be told to invest the “tactics of

sacrifice” with ideological significance that fits the psychological

needs of a people. To conservative Americans such as Cashdollar,

the Federal Representative sent by the US government to “sort

things out,” their job is to “tell a story”

“fulfilling what was already

written,” for stories are what people want in order to make sense of

the barrenness of their existence. To ensure that the manifest destiny

of the US be fulfilled and “the divinely inspired mission of the

president of America” (339) be achieved, American officials like

Cashdollar find it imperative that the US should exercise her

sovereignty by “Holding the strings. Setting the agenda” (375),

including collaborating with radical fundamentalist groups such as

the Verbovers and launching a terrorist attack against their joint

enemy. So, to ensure the US can continue to set the agenda of world

politics, Cashdollaor must feed the Zionist fundamentalists and the

rest of the world certain stories. The stories Zionists want to read,

and the stories they end up telling themselves, are those that help

them act out their fear and shame while en route to homecoming

and redemption. To understand this, we need to turn to Jacqueline

Rose (2007), who in

The Question of Zion

offers a perceptive

diagnosis of Zionism as a collective defense mechanism that

eventually turns aggressive, as Zionists resort to preemptive

measures of aggression and violence to screen out their collective

shame and fear.

This is precisely the mechanism, with tactics of defense

translated into tactics of offense or “sacrifice,” that the Jewish