The Sephardic-Mizrahi Moment: Cultural Renewal, Jewish-Arab Rapprochement, and Zionism in the 1920s

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Engagement with Arab-Israeli studies is obfuscated by a discourse of dichotomies, often enmeshed within narratives which are attached to political aims. These narratives result in obscured historical nuance and selective readings of history, making them a formidable opponent not just to historians, but also political actors which seek to change the reality on the ground. More critically, these narratives promote essentialist readings of Arabs and Jews, solidifying the understanding of Arab-Israeli history in the popular memory as natural and inevitable, preventing the consideration of which variables will effectively reap change today. Sephardic- Mizrahi Jews are particularly disenfranchised by these narratives, but the study of their history with specific attention to the mandatory period elucidates new approaches which challenge reductionist discourse. Yet more significantly, it exposes a period of time when the path of Jewish-Arab relations was not nearly as crystallized as current discourses would presume.


Received Honorable Mention for the Undergraduate Spring 2023 DLC Research Prize

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May 1 2023

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