New Article: Kaplan, “Zionism as Anticolonialism: The Case of Exodus”

Kaplan, Amy. “Zionism as Anticolonialism: The Case of Exodus.” American Literary History 25.4 (2013): 870-895.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_literary_history/v025/25.4.kaplan.html

 

Excerpt

If Exodus did not directly address these policy dilemmas of the Cold War, its narrative of Zionism as anticolonialism worked its magic on a global horizon where Americans worried about who would control the meaning of national revolutions. On a popular level, Exodus offered a symbolic resolution of the American ambivalence toward decolonization. Israel was located geographically among the Afro-Asian nations, but its recognizably Western qualities made it stand apart. At the same time Exodus was entertaining theater crowds, the American press was heralding Israel’s foreign policy aid as a nonimperial model for the modern development of Africa. Reports abounded about Africans studying in Israeli universities and kibbutzim and Israeli technicians “going out to assist the newly independent Africans, who find in Israel a welcome alternative to the traditional powers of East and West” (Schmidt). Articles with titles such as “Democracy’s Classroom for Africans” and a “Pilot Plant for Progress” (Seigel) portrayed Israel as an exemplary decolonized nation, and as “the strongest link between the white nations and the chaotic African situation” (Meyer E7). These stories placed Israel, like America, as a tutorial force for orderly modern development, inside the white Western world but opposed to European colonialism.