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Racial palestinianization and the Janus-faced nature of the Israeli state

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Abu El-Haj focuses on David Theo Goldberg's analysis of 'racial palestinianization' in The Threat of Race. Most broadly, she argues that the specific contours of the Israeli state's racial rule over its Palestinian subjects and citizens do not fit easily into Goldberg's characterization of neoliberal racism. She thinks with and further elaborates Goldberg's many insights, especially his use of Michel Foucault's concept of 'race wars' and 'counter-history' to think about Zionism and the Israeli state, and then demonstrates the ways in which, at moments, Goldberg fails to exit fully the counter-historical narrative he sets out to critique and considers why that is so. Finally, she questions Goldberg's naming of racial palestinianization a 'born again racism', and complicates his characterization of Israel as a neoliberal state, insisting on recognizing and highlighting its dual nature: Israel is a neoliberal and a colonial state, overlapping, and yet each operating according to distinct tactics and modalities of rule.

Keywords: David Theo Goldberg; Israel; Palestine; The Threat of Race; Zionism; racial palestinianization; racism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2010

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