Post-Zionism refers to the opinions of some Israelis, diaspora Jews and others, particularly in academia, that Zionism fulfilled its ideological mission with the formation of the modern State of Israel in 1948, and that Zionist ideology should therefore be considered at an end. Right-wing Jews also use the term to refer to the left wing of Israeli politics in light of the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995.
Post-Zionism is a term associated with a variety of perceptions and different positions, behind which stands criticism of the core beliefs of Zionist groups. Post-Zionists raise many questions about Zionism and the state of Israel, among them:
Many of the aforementioned questions have also been raised by Zionists.[who?] However, the post-Zionists emphasize these points in their conception of Zionist history.
Transformations that took place in Israeli society in the 1980s and 1990s brought considerable changes to its values and political views. These changes have taken place in the economic field--e.g., liberalization of the Israeli economy and its opening to the global market, as well as in the breaking of the cultural hegemony of the labor movement, which existed up to that time. The prominent turning point occurred in 1977, when the right-wing Likud party first won parliamentary majority. This alone was a manifestation of the strengthening of the more extreme Zionist positions.
Several changes occurred in this period in tandem, including a reaction to the strengthening of the Zionist component in the government. Still, not all of the numerous changes occurring in tandem are due to one factor, and they are not all attributable to the phenomenon called post-Zionism.
The transformations in Israeli society accompanying the phenomenon of post-Zionism are found in a number of fields:
However, the groups in Israeli society going through those processes are not necessarily post-Zionist. Actually, only a minor percentage of those groups define themselves as such. The above three fields do not necessarily overlap. Benjamin Netanyahu, for example, might have much in common with several post-Zionists in his economic beliefs, though he is more Zionist in all other aspects.
Modern post-Zionism is closely associated with the New Historians, a school of historical revisionism examining the official history of Israel and Zionism in the light of declassified government documents, aiming to uncover events hitherto downplayed or suppressed by Zionist historians, especially those pertaining to the dispossession of the Palestinians, which the New Historians argue was central to the creation of the State of Israel.
The new post-Zionists are intellectuals, mainly academic people who consider themselves, or are considered by others, as post-Zionists. Critics of post-Zionism known as neo-Zionists argue that it undermines the Zionist narrative in its competition with other narratives, mainly the Palestinian one.
Although there are several intellectuals considering themselves to be post-Zionists, many others are not willing to adopt this epithet. The designation of post-Zionist has been used in a derogatory manner to describe those whose opinions take them outside the Zionist movement. Therefore, there are few intellectuals who are willing to refer to themselves as such.
In the early 1990s there began to appear articles by Israeli academicians who referred to themselves as post-Zionists; this was mostly in the aftermath of a lengthy public discussion on the issues surrounding the events of the War of Independence, attributed to the New Historians. The public mood in the aftermath of the Oslo Accords, which presumed that the Arab-Israeli conflict was nearing a conclusion, contributed even more to the development of this tendency. Since the start of the Second Intifada, public mood has changed tremendously, and as many perceive,[who?] the post-Zionist tendency has been in retreat.
On the other hand, post-Zionist historians were accused of adopting the Palestinian narrative without any doubts and of demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and Zionism.
In contrast to political Zionism's goal of the Jewish state, many post-Zionists advocate the evolution of Israel into a non-ideological, secular, liberal democratic state, to be officially neither Jewish nor Arab in character.
Post-Zionism has been criticized by Shlomo Avineri as a polite recasting of anti-Zionism, and therefore a deceptive term. Some right-wing Israelis have accused Jewish post-Zionists of being self-hating Jews.