Israel Has Moved

Diana Pinto. Harvard Univ., $24.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-674-07342-5
Intellectual historian and policy analyst Pinto insists the best reading for Israel today is a postmodern one, as the country finds a “contradictory” continuity between its leading-edge technological economy and its deepened identity with an ancient past. Indeed, Israel—which the author insists has “moved” in the symbolic and psychological sense that it (and its transnational population) lives in “its own space/time”—now leans more toward the rising Asian powers it resembles economically, and away from its erstwhile Western allies, including the U.S. It has also increasingly abandoned the notion of the two-state solution to its occupation of Palestinian lands. Israeli culture, meanwhile, especially the quintessential unifier of modern Hebrew, is strengthening intra-Israeli ties despite subcultures remaining firmly uninterested in each other. Contradictions abound in this analytical, glowingly supportive if worried dissection of Israeli culture, which draws on the author’s Israeli interlocutors’ own popular psychiatric metaphors to flesh out an “autistic” existence as brilliant as it is socially isolated. Other contradictions must be read between the lines or against the text, which for all its critical consciousness of narrative constructs still trades in unexamined assumptions about Israel’s solely defensive position with respect to its Arab neighbors, citizens, and colonized subjects. While some may agree with this angle, it may not suit readers looking for a real paradigm shift in grasping Israel’s position on the world stage. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 02/01/2013
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Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-674-07563-4
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