The Arab Jews: A Postcolonial Reading of Nationalism, Religion, and Ethnicity

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Stanford University Press, 2006 - History - 263 pages
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This book is about the social history of the Arab Jews Jews living in Arab countries against the backdrop of Zionist nationalism. By using the term "Arab Jews" (rather than "Mizrahim," which literally means "Orientals") the book challenges the binary opposition between Arabs and Jews in Zionist discourse, a dichotomy that renders the linking of Arabs and Jews in this way inconceivable. It also situates the study of the relationships between Mizrahi Jews and Ashkenazi Jews in the context of early colonial encounters between the Arab Jews and the European Zionist emissaries prior to the establishment of the state of Israel and outside Palestine. It argues that these relationships were reproduced upon the arrival of the Arab Jews to Israel. The book also provides a new prism for understanding the intricate relationships between the Arab Jews and the Palestinian refugees of 1948, a link that is usually obscured or omitted by studies that are informed by Zionist historiography. Finally, the book uses the history of the Arab Jews to transcend the assumptions necessitated by the Zionist perspective, and to open the door for a perspective that sheds new light on the basic assumptions upon which Zionism was founded.

 

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Contents

The Discovery of the Arab Jews
19
Colonialism Eurocentrism
49
How Did the Arab Jews Become Religious and Zionist?
77
What Do the Arab Jews and the Palestinians Have
110
The Arab Jews and Zionist Historical Memory
136
Beyond Methodological Zionism
185
Notes
205
Select Bibliography
231
Index
249
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About the author (2006)

Yehouda Shenhav is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Manufacturing Rationality (1999) and The Organization Machine (1995, in Hebrew); and the editor of Mizrahim in Israel (2002, in Hebrew) and Coloniality and the Postcolonial Condition (2004, in Hebrew).

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