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24 What Is It Like to Be an (Assertive) Israeli Academic Abroad? Elhanan Yakira Elhanan Yakira, an Israeli philosopher, documents the growing refusal of the academy to engage even with the moderate Zionist Left. Demonstrators prevented him from speaking in Paris, American scholars refused to read an essay of his even though they had assembled for that purpose, and the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Oxfam concluded it was not “ready, or ripe, to meet and talk to an Israeli mainstream—namely, not anti- or post-Zionist—intellectual.” Yakira describes meeting with Israeli graduate students studying in Europe who were too intimidated to speak up for Israel on their campuses. Yakira’s book Post-Zionism, Post-Shoah: Three Essays on Denial, Repression, and Delegitimation of Israel led to a vigorous conversation in Israel about the relationship between anti-Zionism and Holocaust denial but has been all but ignored abroad. The silencing of Israel’s voice, of any unapologetic Israeli voice including those on the Left, according to Yakira, is an “outrage” meriting “the most explicit denouncement” by those of conscience—but for now appears to be a victory for the anti-Israelists. Afewyearsago,IpublishedabookinwhichItriedtounderminetheintellectual and/or moral pretensions of the then so-called post-Zionists and to show, as it were, that the emperor had no clothes.1 At the time, post-Zionism was a name given to a set of ideas or maybe of discursive practices common to a group of Israeli intellectuals who pretended to question the hegemonic Zionist narrative. In fact, some of the post-Zionists simply denied the moral, political, ideological , and historical pertinence of Zionism. In other words, they cast a generalized suspicion on the idea of a Jewish state, as well, of course, on the state itself. In the years that passed since the publication of this book, many things have changed. The particular post-Zionist group I was talking about has more or less dissolved, and its messages have been marginalized. Many of its leaders have left the country , and even those who remained are more active outside Israel than inside it. They talk, it seems, more to audiences in California, New York, Paris, Berlin, or London and are also more listened to there. Some of its members participate in What Is It Like to Be an (Assertive) Israeli Academic Abroad? | 349 Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) or other anti-Israeli campaigns and contribute to its legitimation in ways reminiscent of the useful idiots of twentiethcentury Communists. While the more straightforward anti-Zionist discourse seems to have migrated to Europe and the United States, the critical discourse inside Israel has camouflaged into a pseudo-theoretical discourse about the onestate solution. Based on a mixture of ideological and allegedly pragmatic claims, the extreme Right and Left meet here in a common rejection of the two-state solution. For some, it is the divine promise of the entire Land of Israel or the refusal of the Palestinians to reach a reasonable compromise; for others, it is the expiry of the nation-states era or the irreversibility of the settlements project. In both cases, it amounts to a denial of the right for self-determination—either of the Palestinians or the Jews.2 By and large, however, post-Zionist discourse has transformed itself into being less ideological and more political. It is now more anti-occupation than anti-Zionist, directed against Israeli conduct and policies rather than against the basic premises of the original Zionist claim for the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. What distinguishes it from other forms of criticism is the double tendency to demonize Israel and to hold it as the sole party responsible for the lamentable—described often as catastrophic— condition of the Palestinians. When Post-Zionism, Post-Shoah first appeared in Israel, it provoked a small, but heated, controversy. It coincided with the gradual fading and marginalization of the older post-Zionist subculture. There were some very harsh attacks but also a considerable amount of support. In fact, this book is still alive in Israel. In sharp contrast to Israel, its reception in both the Anglophone and the Francophone worlds has been a kind of nonreception. It was indeed met with a rather general silence. Besides a couple of reviews (mostly positive) in internet journals and a very negative one in an academic printed journal (there may, of course, be more), to the best of my knowledge, no one took heed of it. To give a fuller picture, I should...


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