Elvis in Jerusalem: Tom Segev
In this session, Tom Segev discussed his book of the same name with Jonathan Freedland. Segev argues that the sweeping americanisation of Israel, rued by many, has in fact had an extraordinary beneficial influence, bringing not only McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts but also the virtues of pragmatism, tolerance and individualism. Jumping full square into the ideological battle about the future of Zionism, he welcomes as a harbinger of compromise and openness the diffusion of national identity and ideology that has taken place in the last decade. Post-Zionism, as Segev defines it, ‘means that Zionism has done its job, with notable success, and that Israel must now move on to the next stage’. Against the backdrop of continued violence in Israel, Segev stressed the importance of post-Zionism at this time of crisis.
Tom Segev is one of Israel's most celebrated historians. His works include The Seventh Million; 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East; Simon Wiesenthal; and One Palestine, Complete, which was chosen as one of the best ten books of 2000 by the New York Times.
Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian, where he is executive editor, Opinion. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s contemporary history series The Long View and has also written seven books.