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The Invention of the Mizrahim

Ella Shohat
Journal of Palestine Studies
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 5-20
DOI: 10.2307/2676427
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2676427
Page Count: 16
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The Invention of the Mizrahim
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Abstract

This essay examines the paradoxical effects on Arab Jews of their two, rival essentialist nationalisms-Jewish and Arab. It shows how the Eurocentric concept of a single "Jewish History" cut non-Ashkenazi Jews off from their origins, even while the Zionist idea that Arabness and Jewishness are mutually exclusive gradually came to be shared by Arab nationalist discourse. The emergence of a new, hybrid identity of Mizrahim, as a product both of Israel's assimilationist policy and of resistance to it, is discussed. Finally, the author proposes an interdisciplinary framework-Mizrahi studies-as a way of going beyond hegemonic Zionist discourses while at the same time making a strong link to the Palestinian issue.

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