Whiteness as Property in Israel: Revival, Rehabilitation, and Removal

31 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2015 Last revised: 8 Jul 2015

Date Written: July 5, 2015


This essay seeks to read Whiteness as Property onto contemporary Israel by demonstrating that the value ascribed to Jewish nationality is not simply a matter of Jew versus non-Jew. Instead, Whiteness reflects a European order that reproduces and embodies the exclusionary and orientalist tropes that produced anti-Semitism in Europe. The State continues to apply those tropes to Mizrahim, Jews of Middle Eastern origin. Mizrahim are the objects of Zionism’s modernization project, which necessitates a violent bifurcation of their Arab and Jewish identity on the one hand, and the imposition of a singular European history that effectively marginalizes them on the other. Once consolidated within an ethno-nationality mythology of a European Jewish national, the project of nation building completely excludes the Palestinian who, like the Eastern Jew, is uncivilized, but unlike her, is ineligible for rehabilitation. Instead, the Palestinian must be removed, diminished, and contained geographically, politically, and socially. Law facilitates this process as it dispossess and displaces the Palestinian and simultaneously imbues Jewish nationality with a coveted value, one that mirrors European Enlightenment ideals of civilization and the superiority of Whiteness. Settler-decolonization is necessary for Palestinian self-determination and has the potential to achieve Jewish emancipation beyond the state.

JEL Classification: K33, N35, N45

Suggested Citation

Erakat, Noura, Whiteness as Property in Israel: Revival, Rehabilitation, and Removal (July 5, 2015). Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice, 2015, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2626870

Noura Erakat (Contact Author)

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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