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  4. Qualitative Sociology Review , 15 2 , Thus, even though recalled by the Sharon government early on, new secondary school texts were produced by the previous Israeli government that incorporate what many would characterize as postzionist ideas. And an expanding critical core of younger scholars, particularly at Ben Gurion University in the Negev BGU , but also at Tel Aviv University and institutes in Jerusalem, are producing work that takes for granted many of the historical claims that only a decade ago were regarded as unspeakable.

    And even Anton Shammas's call for a repeal of the Law of Return, which for years resonated only with small marginal groups of Israeli Jews, is now being advocated by a small but growing number of scholars who hold positions within the Israeli university system, and is being echoed and disseminated in respectable academic journals and books. A new social scientific journal produced in English at BGU provides yet another indication that the discourse is continuing to change, however slowly.

    Changing Agenda of Israeli Sociology, The: Theory, Ideology, and Identity

    Bearing the controversial name Hagar, the journal is described by its editor, geographer Oren Yiftachel, as aiming to promote "critical scholarship with constant examination of systems, regimes and rules, and with a persistent challenge to the rationale, values and consequences of 'the order of things,'" a reference to the English title of one of Foucault's works. In his view, the name Hagar, Abraham's concubine, Mother of Yishmael Ishmael , regarded as the matriarch of the Arab nation, reflects some of the key critical perspectives of the journal: "marginality, mobility and changing power relations.

    The story of Hagar also invokes; "the inevitably close - if often uneasy - relations between Muslims and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Hebrews. Hagar," he continues, "denotes the deep historical roots of these communities in the ancient land, and casts our minds to the variegated ways in which land and memory are simultaneously contested and shared by these groups". New Politics of Truth Foucault sees the intellectual's responsibility to redress unjust power relations in the practice of theorizing that engages in a struggle against certain forms of power - a struggle, "aimed at revealing and undermining power where it is most visible and invidious" Foucault , Using theory, the intellectual ascertains the possibilities for constituting a new politics of truth.

    However, the objective is not to change "people's consciousness - or what's in their heads - but of altering the political, economic, institutional regime for the production of truth" Foucault , A major goal of intellectual critique is to render visible power relations that are obscured, concealed or neglected; power relations that have been rendered invisible by the dominant discourses and regimes of truth. Without an alternative discourse, however, any transformation would remain within the same discourse, the same mode of thought, only adjusting the thought to the reality of things and, "would only be a superficial transformation" Foucault , By helping to see power relations and their enabling conditions, the intellectual makes it possible for people to engage in what Foucault describes as "a struggle that concerns their own interests, whose objectives they clearly understand and whose methods only they can determine" Foucault , If we view postzionism as a form of what Foucault considers to be intellectual critique, we may designate as postzionists those who are engaged in a critique of the discourses, practices and institutions that have produced Zionism and have been and are being produced by it.

    On one level, the postzionist critique challenges Zionism's position as the dominant discourse through which the daily realities of Israeli life, society, and culture are to be spoken of, defined and inscribed with meaning.

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    In so doing, postzionists reveal that the foundations upon which the prevailing Zionist definitions of Israeli national identity, national territory, national history, and national law rest are contingent rather than natural, necessary or essential. At the same time, their critique makes it clear that things can be otherwise, that alternative ways of understanding Israel identity, territory, history and law are available, and that what keeps the dominant forms of knowledge in place are regimes of truth and relations of power rather than national destiny or national mission. This also helps to clarify the ferocity and intensity of the responses evoked by postzionist critics.

    In a sense, the critics are right. The cumulative effect of the postzionist critique does indeed threaten what Zionists have taken to be sacred truths, sacred practices, sacred narratives and sacred memories. And the struggle is over what Israel will become in the future. Children educated by textbooks that present an alternative narrative, that frame that narrative in a different way, may think differently about the state and its history, although, as a teacher, I am somewhat skeptical of just how much of an impact textbooks really make. In Foucault's terms, the key to the conflict surrounding postzionism is the issue of knowledge and power.

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    In criticizing dominant forms of knowledge in Israel, postzionists are also threatening power relations that make possible such forms of knowledge, and institutional arrangements that have kept them in place. If what the postzionists maintain is true, and if the way is opened to alternative forms of knowledge, then what will eventually have to change is not simply what is known, but practices as well.

    And this knowledge and these practices include an ensemble that supports and is supported by that knowledge - what Foucault calls an "apparatus"- that can include such diverse things as "practices, regulatory decisions, laws, architectural forms, administrative measures, scholarly statements, moral and philanthropic propositions" , New Discursive Spaces While this article has focused on intellectual critique within Israel, and the intellectual function of such critiques in uncovering previously obscured relations of power, the value of such a critique to the eventual resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends upon whether or not a similar critique emerges among Palestinians.

    Just as Israeli intellectual critics have undertaken to critically assess the historical narratives inherited from the past, to render visible power relations within Israeli society, the same task must also be undertaken by Palestinian scholars. Foucault's critique of power relations and the intellectual tools he provides to bring their mechanisms to light are by no means limited to Israel.

    For Foucault, power and power relations characterize all societies: all cultures produce knowledge that is interlaced with relations of power. Accordingly, until a similar kind of critique is applied to prevailing Palestinian discourses that demonize Israel and prevailing forms of Palestinian knowledge that occlude the complexity of the historical relations between the two peoples, the possibility of dialogue that traverses ever shifting boundaries is unlikely. Similarly, until the power relations within Palestinian society that conceal the marginalization or exclusion of alternative voices among the Palestinian people are rendered visible, the potential of Israeli postzionist discourse will be stifled.

    The signing of this document on September 13, at the White House brought a cessation in the armed hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian people. A New Mapping of the Middle East As Savir reports, the momentous event was made possible by the willingness of the two sides to draw "a new road map" Savir , In other words, serious peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians required a new mapping of the Middle East. According to Savir, central to this new mapping was separating the events of the past from the realities of the present and the hopes and promise of the future.

    To move forward, both sides agreed, references to the past had to be suspended, In an early meeting, Savir and Abu Ala agreed that if their efforts were to prove successful, it would be necessary to change the prevailing discourse in the Middle East: '"You know," I warned Abu Ala, "as far as most Israelis are concerned, you're just a gang of terrorists. As the events at Camp David and Taba clearly showed, any negotiations are doomed to failure when the Israeli perceptions of the Palestinians is framed within Zionist discourse and the Palestinian attitudes toward the Israelis are framed within the demonizing discourses inherited from the past.

    As intellectuals on both sides increasingly understand, the fate of the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, are inexorably intertwined. For the new discursive spaces to open up in Israel to be truly effective, a parallel phenomenon must occur among the Palestinians. Until Palestinian intellectuals recognize the need for a form of critique that parallels postzionism, little actual progress will be made in bringing about the change of discourse that is a necessary condition to a genuine peace.

    The possibilities of opening such critical spaces among Palestinian and other Arab intellectuals seems extremely limited at present. Unless the process of transforming discourses within Israel are paralleled by a similar phenomenon among the Palestinians, the disputes and conflicts will be mired in the very forms of discourse that makes their resolution virtually impossible. References Foucault, Michel. James D.

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