Beyond Post-Zionism
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Post-Zionism emerged as an intellectual and cultural movement in the late 1980s when a growing number of people inside and outside academia felt that Zionism, as a political ideology, had outlived its usefulness. The post-Zionist critique attempted to expose the core tenets of Zionist ideology and the way this ideology was used, to justify a series of violent or unjust actions by the Zionist movement, making the ideology of Zionism obsolete. In Beyond Post-Zionism Eran Kaplan explores how this critique emerged from the important social and economic changes Israel had undergone in previous decades, primarily the transition from collectivism to individualism and from socialism to the free market. Kaplan looks critically at some of the key post-Zionist arguments (the orientalist and colonial nature of Zionism) and analyzes the impact of post-Zionist thought on various aspects (literary, cinematic) of Israeli culture. He also explores what might emerge, after the political and social turmoil of the last decade, as an alternative to post-Zionism and as a definition of Israeli and Zionist political thought in the twenty-first century.

1. Post-Zionism in History

2. Amos Oz and the Zionist Intellectual

3. East and West on the Israeli Screen

4. Herzl and the Zionist Utopia

5. The Legacies of Hebrew Labor




Publié par
Date de parution 01 février 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781438454375
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


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© 2015 State University of New York
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Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
For information, contact
State University of New York Press, Albany, NY
Production, Laurie D. Searl
Marketing, Fran Keneston
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kaplan, Eran, author.
Beyond Post-Zionism / Eran Kaplan.
pages cm
1. Post-Zionism in History — 2. Amos Oz and the Zionist intellectual — 3. East and West on the Israeli screen 4. — Herzl and the Zionist utopia — 5. The legacies of Hebrew labor.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4384-5435-1 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN 978-1-4384-5437-5 (ebook)
1. Zionism—History. 2. Post Zionism—History. 3. National characteristics, Israeli—Social aspects. 4. National characteristics, Israeli—Political aspects. 5. Motion pictures—Political aspects—Israel. 6. Popular culture—Israel. I. Title. DS113.4.K37 2015 320.54095694—dc23 2014006575
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
To Michal and Shmuel Kaplan

Post-Zionism in History
Amos Oz and the Zionist Intellectual
East and West on the Israeli Screen
Herzl and the Zionist Utopia
The Legacies of Hebrew Labor

More than a decade ago I was invited by Graham Good and Linda Siegel to attend a workshop at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia that examined the legacies of postmodernism and sought to speculate what might be the new intellectual paradigm at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It was a singular intellectual experience, and it was then that I began to think about Israel and the study of Israel beyond post-Zionism. I want to thank my colleagues, in alphabetical order, Allan Arkush, Avi Bareli, Doron Navot, Yaron Peleg, and Derek Penslar, who read earlier parts of this work, for their wise comments. I am grateful to the Israel Institute for their generous grant. I also want to thank Michael Rinella and the staff at SUNY Press for supporting and believing in this project. An earlier version of chapter 2 appeared in Jewish Social Studies 14.1 (2007): 119–43. I am grateful to Indiana University Press for granting me the right to use this material.
My wife Ravit and my children Yonatan, Maya, and Tal have made this all worthwhile. I could not have completed this project without their love and support. I dedicate this book to my parents Michal and Shmuel, my first teachers, who taught me to look at things differently and to never stop asking questions.

The camp at night, buzzing with words, laughter, curses; Up in a flurry, here it is
Like a rising city is the face of the killing fields
As the camp spreads, destined to be the spiller of the blood of man and its shield as well.
—Natan Alterman, “The Camp at Night”
The competition is a color TV
We’re on still pause with the video machine
That keep you slave to the H. P. until the unity is threatened by
Those who have and who have not—Those who are with and those who are without …
Are you gonna realize the class war’s real and not mythologized
And like Jericho—You see walls can come tumbling down!
—Paul Weller, “Walls Come Tumbling Down”
Sometime in the late 1990s, in Tel Aviv, I saw an advertisement on a bus for Tel Hai College—a small regional college in northern Israel, which opened in 1993 and was accredited three years later—that left me utterly startled. The text of the ad was so outrageous that it took me several moments to comprehend it. It read, “ Gam Trumpeldor gamar po! ” which can be loosely translated as “Trumpeldor finished here too!” The verb gamar , finished, can have two meanings here: “to graduate,” but also “to die.” Trumpeldor was a legendary Zionist figure who was killed in Tel Hai in 1920 while commanding a small Jewish outpost there. The college that was established on the site of that historical battle sought in the ad to allude to the past but also, with a wink, to look to the future: Trumpeldor died here; you will graduate here. The ad drew on a collective Israeli myth to sell its product. But more important, it was a rather vulgar example of a broader process of the demythologizing of the Zionist past that Israeli society had been undergoing since the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s—Tel Hai being one of the constituent Zionist myths.
After World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the northeastern corner of the Galilee, home to several Jewish settlements including Tel Hai, lay beyond the boundaries of either British or French control. Yet despite the dangers posed by this situation and internal debates among the Zionist leadership as to the viability of Jewish settlement in the region, the communities were determined to hold on to their lands. Joseph Trumpeldor, a charismatic former officer in the Russian army who lost his left arm in the Russo-Japanese War, commanded them. Trumpeldor had been instrumental in the creation of the Zion Mule Corps in 1915, which as part of the British army saw battle in Gallipoli, and in 1917 in the formation of the Jewish Legion, which took part in some of the final battles against the Turks in Palestine. On March 1 1920, a battle broke out between the Jewish settlers and Arabs who attempted to enter Tel Hai. In the battle, Trumpeldor and five other settlers were killed. The surviving settlers abandoned Tel Hai, but in December 1920, the upper Galilee was placed within the borders of the British Mandate for Palestine, and the Jewish settlements there were eventually reconstituted. Tel Hai, which was absorbed by Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, became a symbol of Zionist resolve and sacrifice and home to a notable monument—a roaring lion, a site of pilgrimage for many Israeli school children. Trumpeldor, the one-armed military hero whose putative last words were tov lamut be’ad artzenu (It is good to die for our country), became the first martyr of the Zionist revolution. And the day commemorating the fall of Tel Hai (the 11th of Adar on the Hebrew calendar) became the first Zionist Memorial Day. As Yael Zerubavel, who analyzed Zionism’s and Israel’s constituting myths, put it,

To the yishuv , the Jewish community in Palestine, the battle of Tel Hai symbolized a major transformation of Jewish national character and the emergence of a new spirit of heroism and self-sacrifice. The commemoration of Tel Hai marked the beginning of a new era of Zionist settlement and defense of the land that led to the establishment of the state of Israel. 1
The Tel Hai College website offers the following mission statement that draws on Tel Hai’s mythic past:

Tel Hai College is located north of Kiryat Shmona, at the site of one of Israel’s legendary pioneering settlements of the early 20th century. Within a verdant landscape of mountains, rivers, and valleys, the pioneers of Tel Hai laid the stakes that mark the country’s northernmost border. In an equally far-reaching act of nation building, Tel Hai College was established. Its goal—to create a dynamic resource for quality academic and continuing education that will serve as an agent for social and economic development in the Galilee.
Although the past and the legacy of Trumpeldor and his fellow pioneers are integral to present-day Tel Hai, so was the changing economic and social landscape in Israel in the 1990s when the College opened. In the last decade of the previous century, Israeli higher education underwent a revolution. If for decades higher education in Israel was limited to a select group of research institutions, by the 1990s, as more and more Israelis were looking for professional degrees in an economic climate that favored deregulation and privatization, the academic market radically transformed. Several regional colleges (including Tel Hai) were opened, accompanied by private academic institutions, some in co-operation with foreign universities. In a country that for decades celebrated a collectivist, austere ethos that called on individuals to sacrifice for the communal good—in the manner exemplified by Trumpeldor’s deeds and words—the 1990s ushered in a new era of individualism, and the academic market reflected those changes. And in this market, the role of myths was no longer to cultivate a collectivist identity but rather to sell a product. Trumpeldor was now the Marlboro Man: Like the rugged American of the Wild West whose image (and the yearning for a pure and virtuous past) was used to sell a product, the Zionist pioneer became a symbol in an ad campaign. The Americanization of Israeli society and culture that, among other things, impacted Israeli higher education also brought on American-like marketing tools. And where the sale

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