Zionism, Anti-Zionism and Post Zionism
A week ago, Haaretz published an article by Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Office. I tried to refute his views in a letter to the editor.
Being restricted by the format of a letter, my remarks were necessarily brief. Haaretz cut the letter even more. I am sending here the ...full (unabridged) text of my letter.
A letter of Uri Avnery
In response to The Lie of post-Zionism [Hebrew title of article] by
Shlomo Avineri (Haaretz 4/7)
In 1976, a Jerusalem periodical wrote that I and my colleagues - i.a. Gen. Matti Peled, Eliyahu Elyashar, Col. Meir Pa'il - the founders of the "Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace", are anti-Zionists. We sued them for libel, won the case and were awarded considerable compensations.
In the course of the proceedings, I testified at length, on the basis of my book "Israel Without Zionists". When the judge interrogated me about my attitude towards Zionism, I used, for the first time, the term "Post-Zionist".
"Post-Zionism" in its true meaning is a long way from "anti-Zionism". It recognizes Zionism's historical achievements: the formation of a new society, the revival of the Hebrew language and the creation of the state [of Israel.] It does this without ignoring the dark aspects the historical injustice done to the Palestinian people.
The essence of post-Zionism lies in recognizing that Zionism had fulfilled its role with the foundation of the State of Israel. Since then a new nation was born, the Israeli nation, composed of the citizens of Israel, much as the American nation is composed of the citizens of the United States. Jewish citizens feel a natural affinity to the Jewish world while Arab citizens feel a natural affinity to the Arab world.
An Israeli who is asked abroad "What are you?" answers automatically: "I am an Israeli." It would not enter his mind to say "I am a Jew", unless asked specifically about his religion.
David Ben-Gurion said that the Zionist Federation played the role of the scaffolding in the building of the state of Israel. That is true for Zionism as a whole. A building is not the anti-scaffolding, it is the post-scaffolding.
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