Revisiting Israel’s Mixed Cities Trope

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Abstract

This article offers a critical examination of the term mixed cities, concentrating mainly on its usage in Zionist and Israeli discourse. It posits that the term is uniquely reserved to denote Israel’s Jewish Arab urban spaces. Presented as bureaucratic and value-free, the term sharply contrasts with the anti-Arab reality of Israel’s mixed cities. The article traces the origin of the term to pre-State, Zionist discourse, which denounced Arab Jewish “mixing,” situating it between “pure” Zionist and “foreign” Palestinian Arab spaces. The article identifies four general forms of urban (anti-)mixing: pluralistic, racial, sovereign, and colonial. It locates Israel’s mixed cities within the latter two categories. Abandoning this ideologically charged trope and replacing it with Urban Studies concepts are proposed. The advantages of this perspective are demonstrated with a test-case analysis of Arab-Jewish cities in British Palestine (1918-1948) through the lens of Scott Bollens’s model for the study of ethno-national contested cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1129
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Urban History
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Arab Jewish relations
  • Gramsci’s hegemony
  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Urban Studies
  • Zionism
  • divided cities
  • ethno-nationalism
  • mixed cities
  • settler colonialism
  • urban divisions

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