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fundamentalists, the Verbovers, adopt in Chabon’s novel. Once the

Verbovers are mobilized and their Zionist vision militarized,

violence becomes, as Jacqueline Rose puts it, “a form of creativity,

a form of ‘constructive aggression’” (2007: 141). Zionism was

originally invented and then reanimated in Israel, Rose writes, as a


first to anti-Semitism in Europe and then to the

Holocaust. It is a response to a long history of pain, suffering and

loss, as suffering congeals into an assemblage of shared affects such

as fear and shame: fear of annihilation and shame for the Holocaust.

Rose argues that Israel “comes into being on the back of a guilty,

repudiated, unconscious identification with its own dead” (141). It

is fear

the fear that they may perish of shame

that prompts the

fundamentalists such as the Zionist Verbovers to sweep shame under

their carpet. The Verbovers, moreover, also give the logic of Zionist

thought a deadly twist as secular and political Zionism succeeds in

sacralizing itself and is translated and re-told as a messianic narrative.

What is the messianic narrative that Zionists activate to lend

legitimacy to themselves? Jacqueline Rose and Judith Butler have

both offered diagnoses of this Zionist symptom.


For Rose, it is

both a narrative of redemption and of catastrophe; or, to be more

precise, it writes a narrative of apocalyptic redemption, with evil

being forcefully defeated and the divine retribution of justice re-

instituted. First, the conservative fundamentalists are terrified that a

history of pain and shame will be repeated. This proactive, though

pessimistic, view of the future motivates them to take preemptive

actions to prevent what they fear the most from being actualized.

However, in order to mobilize people otherwise indifferent to, if not

unsympathetic, to their causes, they turn to hatch and organize a

conspiracy to bring about a small-scale catastrophe, with the sole


Other than Jacqueline Rose whose

The Question of Zion

I engage with here, Judith

Butler has also attempted to articulate, by drawing upon Jewish sources, a

diasporic and non-nationalist-oriented ethics that allows Jews to live and be

together with non-Jews. See Butler’s

Parting Ways: Jewishness and Critique of