1st Edition

Blackness in Israel Rethinking Racial Boundaries

Edited By Uri Dorchin, Gabriella Djerrahian Copyright 2021
    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    270 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores contemporary inflections of blackness in Israel and foreground them in the historical geographies of Europe, the Middle East, and North America. The contributors engage with expressions and appropriations of modern forms of blackness for boundary-making, boundary-breaking, and boundary-re-making in contemporary Israel, underscoring the deep historical roots of contemporary understandings of race, blackness, and Jewishness.

    Allowing a new perspective on the sociology of Israel and the realm of black studies, this volume reveals a highly nuanced portrait of the phenomenon of blackness, one that is located at the nexus of global, regional, national and local dimensions. While race has been discussed as it pertains to Judaism at large, and Israeli society in particular, blackness as a conceptual tool divorced from phenotype, skin tone and even music has yet to be explored. Grounded in ethnographic research, the study demonstrates that many ethno-racial groups that constitute Israeli society intimately engage with blackness as it is repeatedly and explicitly addressed by a wide array of social actors.

    Enhancing our understanding of the politics of identity, rights, and victimhood embedded within the rhetoric of blackness in contemporary Israel, this book will be of interest to scholars of blackness, globalization, immigration, and diaspora.


    Uri Dorchin and Gabriella. Djerrahian

    Part I: Background: Predicaments of Jewishness and Blackness

    1. The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture: An Overview 

    Abraham Melamed

    2. Jewishness, Blackness and Genetic Data: Israeli Geneticists and Physicians Tracing the Ancestry of Two African Populations

    Nurit Kirsh

    Part II: Blackness in the Jewish Israeli Society

    3. Kinked Race and Ethiopian Jewish Blackness in Israel: An Ethnography

    Gabriella Djerrahian

    4. Black-Israeli Lives Matter: Online Activism among Young Ethiopian Israelis

    Omer Keynan

    5. Blackness in Translation: The Israeli Black Panthers, 1971

    Oz Frankel

    6. Blackness, Mizrahi Identity and Ethnic Shifting in Contemporary Israeli Popular Music

    Miranda L. Crowdus

    7. A Different Hue of Blackness: The Haredi Case

    Nissim Leon

    Part III: Contested Blackness

    8. "I Am Blacker than You": Mizrahiness and Ethiopianess in an Educational Boarding School in Israel

    Avihu Shoshana

    9. Black City: Sounding Race, Territory and Belonging in Tel Aviv’s "African Refugee Crisis"

    Sarah Hankins

    10. Trajectories of Soul Citizenship: African Dance Clubs between Global Blackness and Local Awareness

    Uri Dorchin

    11. Already Black…and Proud, and Righteous: The African Hebrew Israelite Community in the State of Israel

    Fran Markowitz

    Part IV: Blackness and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    12. What is the Color of an Arab? A Critical View of Color Games.

    Honaida Ghanim

    13. What Color are Israeli Jews? Intersectionality, Israel advocacy, and the Changing Discourse of Color and Indigeneity

    Michael R. Fischbach


    Uri Dorchin is a cultural anthropologist. His studies are focused on the socio-cultural aspects of popular culture and music, ethnicity, and racial thinking. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA. 

    Gabriella Djerrahian is an assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Her research engages with questions of race and racialization, diaspora, and belonging.