The invention of the Mizrahim

Ella Shohat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Palestine Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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