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Black matters: young Ethiopian Jews and race in Israel

"This dissertation sheds light on the multiple articulations of race and blackness in Israel amongst two age groups of Ethiopian Jews (teenagers and young adults). My analysis of the stigma of Ethiopian Jewish blackness relies on a two-thronged approach. Racially speaking, on the one hand this group copes with lingering doubts as to the authenticity and "purity" in regards to their bloodline and genealogy. On the other hand, blackness as a racial stigma is located on the level of the epidermis and is, somatically speaking, skin deep. Both racial logics clash and contradict one another as Ethiopian Jews struggle to find their place in Jewish Israeli society. I describe in detail the historical period that formed the group that came to be known as Ethiopian Jews and recount the impact encounters with Western Jews had on their formation as black Jews living in Israel. I argue that their identity as Jews racially speaking is the platform on which Ethiopians' blackness gains traction. As such, however marginalized, their position as "internal Others" cannot be disassociated from the larger legal and structural implications of their racial inclusion into the body of the Jewish meta-family. Race and ethnic relations amongst Jews are also explored as a way to provide the backdrop against which Ethiopian Jewish blackness and claims of racism emerged.Methodologically, I used ethnographic inquiry by way of participant observation, formal interviews, and informal discussions. Fieldwork consisted of a total of 12 months between 2007-2009. I equally analyzed the media, locally in Israel and internationally as well, that addressed the topic of race and/or racism and the integration of Ethiopian Jews." --

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  • ""This dissertation sheds light on the multiple articulations of race and blackness in Israel amongst two age groups of Ethiopian Jews (teenagers and young adults). My analysis of the stigma of Ethiopian Jewish blackness relies on a two-thronged approach. Racially speaking, on the one hand this group copes with lingering doubts as to the authenticity and "purity" in regards to their bloodline and genealogy. On the other hand, blackness as a racial stigma is located on the level of the epidermis and is, somatically speaking, skin deep. Both racial logics clash and contradict one another as Ethiopian Jews struggle to find their place in Jewish Israeli society. I describe in detail the historical period that formed the group that came to be known as Ethiopian Jews and recount the impact encounters with Western Jews had on their formation as black Jews living in Israel. I argue that their identity as Jews racially speaking is the platform on which Ethiopians' blackness gains traction. As such, however marginalized, their position as "internal Others" cannot be disassociated from the larger legal and structural implications of their racial inclusion into the body of the Jewish meta-family. Race and ethnic relations amongst Jews are also explored as a way to provide the backdrop against which Ethiopian Jewish blackness and claims of racism emerged.Methodologically, I used ethnographic inquiry by way of participant observation, formal interviews, and informal discussions. Fieldwork consisted of a total of 12 months between 2007-2009. I equally analyzed the media, locally in Israel and internationally as well, that addressed the topic of race and/or racism and the integration of Ethiopian Jews." --"@en
  • ""Cette thèse vise à élucider les multiples articulations du concept de race et de blackness en Israël parmi deux groupes d'âges de juifs éthiopiens (les adolescents et les jeunes adultes). Je propose une double approche à l'analyse du stigma attaché au blackness juif éthiopien. D'une part, racialement parlant ce groupe fait face aux doutes persistants quant à leur pureté généalogique. Je décris en détail l'histoire des juifs éthiopiens, tout en explorant l'influence qu'ont eues leurs rencontres avec les juifs occidentaux sur la formation du groupe en tant que Noirs vivant en Israël. D'autre part, le stigma racial de blackness constitue une référence somatique superficielle renvoyant à la couleur de la peau. Ces deux logiques raciales s'affrontent et se contredisent à mesure que les juifs éthiopiens luttent pour se tailler une place au sein de la société juive israélienne. Tel que je le démontre, leur identité raciale en tant que juifs est la plateforme par laquelle le blackness des Éthiopiens gagne du terrain. Or, malgré leur marginalisation, leur position en tant qu'un Autres à l'intérieur du monde juif en Israël ne peut être dissociée des implications légales et structurales plus larges de leur inclusion raciale dans la méta-famille juive. Les relations raciales et ethniques entre juifs en Israël sont également mises de l'avant pour décrire le contexte dans lequel se constitue le blackness juif éthiopien et mettent en perspective les accusations de racisme portées par ces derniers contre l'État d'Israël. En ce qui concerne la méthodologie, j'ai utilisé principalement l'enquête ethnographique, comprenant des observations participantes, des entrevues formelles, et des discussion informelles. Le travail de terrain en Israël a duré 12 mois entre 2007 et 2009. J'ai également analysé les reportages médiatiques diffusés localement en Israël ainsi qu'au niveau international qui parlaient du thème de la race et/ou du racisme et de l'intégration en rapport aux juifs éthiopiens." --"@en

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  • "Black matters: young Ethiopian Jews and race in Israel"@en