Renouncing Citizenship as Protest: Reflections by a Jewish Israeli Ethnographer
Irus Braverman. 2018. “Renouncing Citizenship as Protest: Reflections by a Jewish Israeli Ethnographer.” Critical Inquiry 44(2): 379-386
Posted: 10 Jan 2018 Last revised: 10 Apr 2018
Date Written: 2018
The events of summer 2014 and the painful realizations that they invoked have led me to consider renouncing my Israeli citizenship. Contemplating what may seem like a straightforward stance of resistance, I have come to realize how complex it actually is. This short essay considers renunciation as an act of protest from the standpoint of a Jewish Israeli legal ethnographer and geographer... [The essay] foregrounds the following questions: aren’t all modern states founded upon bloodshed? And, if so, shouldn’t all citizens be renouncing their citizenship? Or from the opposite angle: why bother replacing one flawed citizenship with another? In my own case, how is my current US citizenship better than the Israeli one that I am considering renouncing? What, if any, is a citizen’s responsibility vis-à-vis her nation-state(s), and how far back does this responsibility go? As a citizen of the United States, am I now responsible for slavery? For the war in Iraq? For the continued oppression of people of color and the ongoing colonization of Puerto Rico? And does this responsibility change if I hold double or even multiple citizenships?... In any case, the renunciation of citizenship as protest cannot be a renunciation of responsibility to redress injustice, a shedding of liabilities; it is, rather, a taking on of enhanced responsibility, an act of care.
Keywords: Israel/Palestine, renunciation, citizenship, protest, occupation, ethnography
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