The Challenge of Post-Zionism Alternatives to Israeli Fundamentalist Politics by Ephraim Nimni (London: Zed Books, 2003. 209 pages.)

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Aubrey L. Glazer

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Abstract

In uttering “Everywhere I wander is Jerusalem,” the late nineteenth-century
Hasidic revolutionary, Nahman of Bratzlav, was the first post-Zionist.
The thought-provoking essays in this anthology, especially the conclusion,
address the shifting signification of post-Zionism from (1) a methodology
in the Israeli social sciences, (2) to the political trends within contemporary Israeli society, and (3) to a particular period/project of the Israeli polity/society (p. 183).
Rounding out the volume are the 1998 reflections of renowned
Palestinian thinker, Edward Said, “New History, Old Ideas” (pp. 199-202).
This is his critique of a Palestinian-Israeli conference featuring “new” Israeli
historians and their Palestinian counterparts, which included Elie Sambar,
Nur Masalha, and himself, as well as Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé, Itamar
Rabinowitch, and Zeev Sternhell.
The present anthology is born from Said’s critique of those who concluded
that it was morally wrong but necessary to expel the Palestinians in
tandem with Zionist efforts to reestablish the Jewish state. Of this group,
only Pappé resists the profound contradiction, bordering on schizophrenia
(p. 200), that informs all other research of these “new” historians. Calling
for Palestinian and Arab intellectuals to engage Israeli academic and intellectual
audiences by lecturing in Israeli centers openly, while admitting that
the years of boycotting have achieved little (p. 202), Said calls for a new
politics free of racial prejudices and ostrich-like attitudes. These seminal
reflections are misplaced as an appendix, rather than as a forward.
Following Hanna Herzog’s call for a post-Zionist discourse more informed
by the clarity of feminism, it is a loss that the voice of Said’s daughter,
Najla, is absent. Her significant involvement with the non-violent, democratic
party, the Palestinian National Initiative, would have been another
welcome voice in this discourse ...

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