For some years now, an opposition has been drawn, not only among Israeli academics but among politicians and journalists as well, between Jewish nationalist or Zionist thought and the kind of thinking that is called “postmodern.” The argument is that a Zionist cannot be a postmodernist and vice versa, the two being incompatible. It appears that this opposition originated with an identification made between “post-Zionist” historical revisionism (of the kind associated with Ilan Pappe, Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Simha Flapan, and Tom Segev) and postmodernist methods, assumptions, and claims. In some cases, the identification was made by the “new historians” themselves. While there is considerable bad blood between post-Zionist scholars and those, inside and outside the academy, who defend one or another version of the Zionist narrative, it needs to be demonstrated that postmodernism has nothing to do with their adversarial relations. The effort of this article is to show that, even before postmodernism was heard of, nationalist thinkers such as Rabbi A. I. H. Kook (1865 – 1935), Rabbi M. A. Amiel (1883 – 1946), Rabbi Abraham Hazan (1920 – 2003), and Professor André Neher (1914 – 1988) mounted Zionist arguments of a sort that we now regard as poststructuralist or postmodern.
Avinoam Rosenak; “PRE-Postmodern”: Four Jewish Nationalist Thinkers of the Last Century. Common Knowledge 1 April 2012; 18 (2): 292–311. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-1544959
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