Zionism to the nth degree

Ron Kuzar kuzar at RESEARCH.HAIFA.AC.IL
Mon Apr 7 07:13:01 UTC 2003

Dear Celso,
The passage from Silvan Shalom's speech is definitely representative of
the nationalistic discourse hegemonic in Israel today. If not for my
laziness and preoccupation with my own work, I could have harvested
dozens of such examples from newspapers every week.
Condemning it as nationalistic and fundamentalist is both correct and
politically felicitous.
I'd like to say a word about calling it "Zionism to the nth degree". It
might be correct in one of its readings, but this is precisely why it is
not politically wise.
Zionism is a big basket, which houses also fairly moderate streams
willing to go for the same political solution as that of non-Zionist
(better known as post-Zionist) streams in Israel, or at least convertible
in the future towards these positions. On the other hand, there are in
Israel fundamentalist forces (such as SHAS, the party of Sephardic Jews
Observing the Torah Laws) who are anti-Zionist but share with hegemonic
Zionism a racist nationalistic position. You don't want to alienate the
former, nor to exclude the latter.
You don't want to help maintain the myth that
anti-Israel=anti-Zionism=antisemitism, which is one of the strongest
claims supporting the national unity position of "the whole world is
against us".
I would therefore refrain from directing criticism against Zionism at
large and would suggest to make precise claims about fundamentalist,
racist, and nationalistic positions of official Israeli representatives
and policy makers.
Thanks again for the quoted passage.
                             Dr. Ron Kuzar
Address:           Department of English Language and Literature
                         University of Haifa
                          IL-31905 Haifa, Israel
Office:               +972-4-824-9826, Fax: +972-4-824-9711
Home:               +972-2-641-4780, Mobile: +972-54-819-676
Email:                kuzar at research.haifa.ac.il
Homepage:       http://research.haifa.ac.il/~kuzar

More information about the Critics-l mailing list