[P4801] Mizrahi Cultural Trespassers: Boundary Crossing, Patriotism and Betrayal in Israel/Palestine

Created by Shay Hazkani
Tuesday, 11/21/17 10:30am


Nations and ethnic groups can sometimes be unforgiving to those members who choose, or are perceived to have chosen, to cross cultural boundaries into the camp of the “other.” In Israel/Palestine, such crossovers are seen as particularly egregious. In this panel, we propose an analytical framework that allows the presentation of Jewish-Mizrahi ‘cultural trespassers’ who have elected to make bold and controversial acts of self-identification throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. The willingness and ability of individuals to rapidly move between the realms of Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, and Arab identities challenge the supposed rigidity of these identities, as well as the scholarly claims that religious or ethnic bonds take precedence over other forms of connection.
The topics presented in this panel encompass a range of historical themes and approaches, including social biographies, migration studies, inter-communal negotiation and identification, as well as the influence of one group’s formative trauma on the identity of other groups. We examine both the personal journey made by individual Jewish outliers, as well as the ways in which the societies they lived in perceived their “transgressions.” What brings together Second Aliyah immigrants who turned their back on settler colonialism and supported Palestinian nationalism, Jews who fought for the Arab side in 1948 against other Jews, Mizrahim who chose to repatriate to the Arab world, and Mizrahim who have identified as second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors in Israel, is the realization that their choices came at a steep price. Some deemed these individuals patriots, while others deemed them traitors. Although the focus of the panel is Israel/Palestine, the papers presented here offer a transnational approach that links Israel/Palestine to places like Iraq, Morocco and the United States. In so doing, the panel opens up new questions not only pertaining to Jewish and Arab identities, but also to political inclusion and exclusion more broadly.





Michelle U. Campos

(University of Florida)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Bryan Roby

(University of Michigan - Ann Arbor)
I am an Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies with the Frankel Institute. My focus is on Middle Eastern and North African Jewish history in the modern era. After earning my PhD at the University of Manchester (UK), I completed a postdoctoral fellowship...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Shay Hazkani

(University of Maryland, College Park)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Shayna Zamkanei

(University of Michigan)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Hillel Cohen

(Hebrew U Jerusalem)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;