Were there -- And Can There Be -- Arab Jews?

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In this essay, Moshe Behar reflects on the question: Can there be Arab Jews? He answers in the affirmative and supports his position by historically tracing the meaning of Arab identity from the early twentieth century onward. He further contends that the political realm has heretofore been undervalued in historical accounts of Arab identity and in this essay shows the payoff in bringing this feature of Arab identity to the forefront. He also reflects on the broader questions of what Arab identity by itself consists of as well as the very act of defining the self and the other. He concludes the piece with reflections on the limitations of the recent statement of opposition to the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism published by Palestinian and Arab intellectuals, academics, and journalists. Behar argues that the failure to include Arab Jews in this statement reproduces rather than overcomes the problematic binary thinking in which the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is framed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContending Modernities: exploring how religious and secular forces interact in the modern world
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2021


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