Cite: Yonah, Reclaiming Diaspora: Ethnonationalism in the Global Era

Yonah, Yossi. “Reclaiming Diaspora: The Israeli State, Migration, and Ethnonationalism in the Global Era.” Diaspora 16.1-2 (2012): 190-228.

 

URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/diaspora_a_journal_of_transnational_studies/v016/16.1-2.yonah.html

 

Abstract

This article offers an analysis of Israel’s migration policies toward Soviet Jews and argues, based on patterns it reveals, that “the compression of relations of time and space” characterizing the global era do not necessarily render the nation-state weaker, let alone idle or irrelevant. It discusses Israel’s attempts to construct these potential Jewish migrants, while they were still in the Soviet Union, as its conationals, and to facilitate their arrival in Israel. Israel’s migration policies and practices vis-à-vis this particular population provide a case study of the nexus connecting the nation-state, globalization, diaspora, migration, and ethnic belonging. The article shows that while during the 1970s and 1980s the patterns of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union were less rigid and considerably defied the wishes of the Jewish nation-state, from the end of the 1980s through the 1990s, at a time of accelerating globalization, the patterns of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union heeded the dictates of the nation-state more rigidly. The changing patterns of emigration from the USSR and immigration to Israel provide a compelling case showing that the nation-state may exert more power under global conditions than it was supposed to exert before the ascendance of hyper-globalization that is alleged to dominate the world today. This article contributes to accumulating research on “the state of the state” under global conditions, and argues that the state does not necessarily become weaker in this era—as many contend—but may even grow stronger, at least with respect to some important affairs within its sphere of governance.

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