Interrogating the Citizen: The Israeli Logic of Exclusion and the Internationalization of Citizenship Restrictions
Molavi, Shourideh Cherie
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Working from the paradigm of 'stateless citizenship' as a looking glass, this study examines the particular logic of exclusion in the Israeli constitutional order. To this end, the Thesis is composed of two central analytical tracks. It begins by outlining the manner in which Israel mobilizes structures and arrangements of citizenship in the actual exclusion. It is through the bestowal of Israeli citizenship that non-Jews are made stateless; it is through inclusion within the Israeli citizenship regime that they are excluded. Using extensive documents and original materials from archives in Jerusalem, London and Geneva, the study holds that the modern paradigm of citizenship, traditionally a mechanism for inclusion, is transformed in Israel. The relation of exception in the liberal model of citizenship is placed on its head and inclusive exclusionary mechanisms are inverted. This is because the Israeli incorporation regime has displaced the central figure of the citizen in the body politic, vesting it with features of the less stable and capricious immigrant. The study examines the mechanisms through which constitutional arrangements the Israeli incorporation regime inverts the image of the citizen with the figure of the Jewish immigrant. The matrix of inclusion into citizenship in Israel is thus less geared toward the citizen, and more towards determining immigration in a manner that enables Jewish entry and settlement. Placed at the center of the Israeli constitutional equation, the immigrant guest surfaces as the real citizen in Israel. Building on this, the study goes on to consider what these findings elucidate about broader transformations in citizenship restriction and revocation. The problematic parameters that maintain the inverted placement of the citizen of Israel vis--vis the figure of the immigrant in the constitutional order are considered in relation to recent practices in Western states so as to reveal their meaning and troubling juridico-political implications. In the end, the study points to the process of a desacralization of citizenship, encompassing two separate yet related developments. First, citizenship itself is being uprooted from its classical protections and replanted in closer proximity to the more temporary figure of the immigrant. And second, given this closer proximity the structures and arrangements of citizenship have themselves been employed in the exclusion of the legal subject from the inside that formal suspension and revocation is not even necessary.