Is There a Distinct Israeli Diaspora? Impact of Temporal Sociopolitical Circumstances on the Formation of Diaspora Groups

Aviad Rubin, Ofir D. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The initial motivation for the current research stems from the inability of existing definitions of diaspora groups to distinguish between former Israelis and longtime diaspora Jews, despite apparent differences between the two groups. This article begins by presenting the various approaches to the concept 'diaspora' and outlines four components that most definitions share: (i) similar ethno-national origins; (ii) dispersion; (iii) attachment to the homeland; and (4) inability or unwillingness to fully assimilate into the host society. We later challenge the common definitions by demonstrating that there are significant empirical differences between former Israelis and the wider population of longtime diaspora Jews in North America for which the existing definition cannot account. We then suggest that the solution to the puzzle lies in adding another component-the changes in the temporal sociopolitical circumstances in the homeland, and whether there is a convergence between physical country of origin and symbolic homeland-into our understanding and analysis of the formation of diaspora groups. Finally, we provide some general concluding remarks about the relevance of this research to our understanding of the politics of identity and possible paths for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-758
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume40
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2014

Keywords

  • Diaspora
  • Israel
  • North American Jews
  • Taglit-Birthright

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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