Blog post

"Settler Mythologies"—The Returns of Zionism reviewed in Against The Current

Chris Webb 1 May 2011

The roots of Israel's settler ideology—along with Jewish national narrative—are inextricably linked to the construction of hegemonic Zionist myths. As Netenyahu recently rehearsed, in tired pantomime, before the US Congress, Israel is unwilling to even consider ending settlement construction and allowing for the return of Palestinian refugees—these of course run counter to the 'Sovereign Settler' line of Israeli discourse. As Jimmy Johnson points out in his review of Gabriel Piterberg's The Returns of Zionism: Myth, Politics and Scholarship in Israel, the success of this national discourse is built upon the 

 ... negation of exile, by which the modern Israeli state traces its genealogy directly from the ancient monarchies of Kings David and Solomon. The period of exile... is rendered as a historical pause.

Piterberg, drawing from studies of settler colonial narratives in the US and South Africa, suggests that "the interaction with the dispossessed is the history of who the settlers collectively are." The construction of Israeli hegemony, as Johnson recognizes, ignores this relational history or tries to block it out with a concrete separation barrier—simply reinforcing the fact that Israeli history is the negation and separation of the other.

The fictional quality of this Jewish national narrative is the subject of another one of Verso's titles The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand. 

Visit Against The Current to read the article in full.

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