Modernism and Zionism

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The "post" prefix represents then, in this case, the distinction between "becoming" the Zionist stage and "being" the post-Zionist stage. Sociologist Erik Cohen has presented the Durkheimean-Weberian, or shall we say Eisenstadtian, version of the post-ideological approach to post-Zionism. Zionism was a charismatic movement of radical transformation; in the course of time it underwent routinization, and left behind it an anemic vacuum.

Post-Zionism is thus an anxiety arising out of the absence of a generally accepted system of legitimization Cohen, This perspective is congruent with the latest views of S. Eisenstadt on the breakdown of the "original mold" which was designed by the dominant elite, and the subsequent proliferation of alternative discourses, including the post-Zionist one, but without the emergence of a substitute which will unify society Eisenstadt, Eisenstadt may be thus termed a "cognitive post-Zionist," as distinct from a normative one, i.

Modernism and Zionism

A number of Israel's veteran Zionist intellectuals share this position with him. In somewhat parallel terms coined within the framework of an earlier discussion by political scientists Charles Liebman and Eliezer Don Yehiya, post-Zionism may be considered a situation of a "state without vision" or a "service state" , in distinction from a "visionary state" which they deem the Zionist state to have been Liebman and Don Yehiya, The works of Baruch Kimmerling on the decline of "Israeliness" and the rise of multi-cultural society, contribute substantially to the post-Zionist analysis, even if he avoids direct reference to the concept Kimmerling, a; b.

This post-ideological approach is in fact a late Israeli version of the "end of ideology" thesis Bell, It is an evolutionary "historical stages" approach, according to which Israeli society is experiencing a normal transition from a nation-building phase into an institutionalized phase, or from a "stormy nationalism" to "banal nationalism," as befits a mature liberal state Billing, The Post-Modernist Perspective The post-modernist approach does not consider post-Zionism as the maturation of Zionism, but, on the contrary, as signifying its demise.

Nationalism is not considered simply the conventional expression of peoplehood, but rather as a framework forced upon fluctuating identities. Nationalism is thus a form of oppression; post-nationalism a form of liberation.

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The ambition of nationalism to "melt" various identities into a cohesive universal identity, and to exclude differing identities, is replaced in post-modern times by a discourse of otherness, differences and multiculturalism - and the umbrella expression of this trend in Israel is post-Zionism Azoulay and Ophir, The proponents of this perspective view post-Zionism not as a new historical phase, but rather as a new point of view, a new epistemology, which subverts and undermines the linear and essentialist point of view of nationalism.

Post-Zionism is the exposition of the multifarious repressed identities under the national banner, and an expression of the heterogeneity which Zionism attempted to homogenize.

Lawrence Silberstein, author of the most comprehensive text on post-Zionism to date, defined the relations between post-modernism and post-Zionism as a complex web which has nodes of joint and disjoint Silberstein, The post-modern approach considers post-Zionism as a subversion of Zionism and a deconstruction of it into components and narratives it used to deny or marginalize. Eliezer Schweid from the Hebrew University, who opposes Post-Zionism, considers it the Israeli version of post-modernism [Schweid, ].

On the relationships between post-Zionism and post-modernism, see also Levine, While the above is a Foucauldian, identity-oriented, version of the post-modern approach, there is also a Habermasian, citizenship-oriented, approach to post-Zionism.


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This approach refers to the distinction between ethnic-nationalism and territorial-nationalism Brubaker, In this view, post-Zionism represents a post-national concept of Israeli citizenship, or even of Israeli constitutional nationalism, de-linked from the Jewish or any other communal belonging. Based on their labor-Zionism settler-colonial experience, as well as criticisms of the mass construction undertaken in Israel in its first decade, the architects diverged from technocratic "high modernism" to accommodate the needs of African weak governments.

Focusing on prestigious governmental and educational buildings such as the Sierra Leone parliament, Ife University in Nigeria, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia, as well as urban and national planning schemes, this study brings to the fore the performative capacities of these projects in relation to the national and international audiences they addressed as vehicles of governance and markers of a desired modernity. In other words, this study examines the role these projects played in the mobilization of workers, funds, lands, infrastructure and policy making.

Cutting across North-South and East-West dichotomies, the study of this modality of transnational exchange sheds new light on processes of modernization and globalization and exposes their diverse cultural and political underpinnings.

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