Once A Diaspora, Always A Diaspora? The Ethnic, Cultural and Political Mobilization of Kurdistani Jews in Israel

Bahar Baser, Duygu Atlas

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    2 Citations (Scopus)
    75 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper examines the experiences of Kurdistani Jews who were airlifted to Israel from Iraq in the early 1950s with the Operations Ezra and Nehemiah. The article seeks to answer questions regarding what transnational ties Kurdistani Jews have with their former homeland in Iraq, how their ethnic, cultural, and political mobilization transpires in Israel, and whether the Kurdistani Jewish community in Israel may be considered a diaspora. The article scrutinizes their (allegedly) enduring diasporic situation and identity formation in the specific context of ethnic and cultural mobilization regarding the community’s former homeland. It also examines how this community maintain their attachment to the KRI and what kind of transnational activities they pursue to create a bridge between Israel and Kurdistan. The arguments are based on extensive fieldwork in Israel, consisting of semi-structured interviews with first and new generation Kurdish Jews who live in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, between October 2018 and May 2019.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302-328
    Number of pages27
    JournalPolitics, Religion and Ideology
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021

    Bibliographical note

    © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


    The first author would like to thank the CBRL (Council for British Research in the Levant) for funding her research between 2018 and 2019. She would also like to thank Ceng Sagnic and her research assistant Nitzan Horesh who accompanied her during her fieldwork in Jerusalem. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers and colleagues such as Dr. Yaniv Voller and Dr. Durukan Kuzu for their valuable feedback and suggestions for the earlier versions of this article. The second author would like to thank Mesut Alp for his valuable input throughout the research process.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Religious studies
    • Philosophy


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