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From Forced Conversion to Marranism

Crypto-Jews in Morocco and Their Fate

Paul B. Fenton

This article traces the history of the forced conversion of Jews to Islam in al-Andalus and Morocco from the Middle Ages to modern times. An account is given of the various discriminative measures and even persecution to which Jewish converts were exposed. Indeed, even though they became with time sincere and learned Muslims, just as the Marranos in Christian Spain, the sincerity of their conversion was doubted and they were constantly accused of the negative traits attributed to the Jews. The article also discusses a recently discovered defence of the New Muslims authored by an Islamic scholar of Jewish origin which throws new light on the fate of these converts.

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Gender Gaps in the Center versus the Periphery

Evidence from the Israeli Elections

Nir Atmor and Chen Friedberg

Recent evidence from industrialized countries shows that men and women tend to exhibit different voting preferences, with greater proportions of women favoring left-wing parties. This phenomenon, known as the ‘modern gender gap’, has been observed in recent Israeli elections as well. After discussing the history of the ‘traditional gender gap’, the article examines the gender gap in the 2013 and 2015 Israeli elections from a geographical and socio-economic perspective, using Israel National Election Studies (INES) data. We focus on two main hypotheses concerning these elections: first, that the gender gap in voting varies according to the geographic location of voters; second, that the modern gender gap affects voters residing in affluent localities. Our findings indicate that both hypotheses hold for the 2013 election but not for the 2015 election.

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Home and Away

The Politics of Life after Earth

Micha Rahder

This article examines the reinvigoration of outer space imaginaries in the era of global environmental change, and the impacts of these imaginaries on Earth. Privatized space research mobilizes fears of ecological, political, or economic catastrophe to garner support for new utopian futures, or the search for Earth 2.0. These imaginaries reflect dominant global discourses about environmental and social issues, and enable the flow of earthly resources toward an extraterrestrial frontier. In contrast, eco-centric visions emerging from Gaia theory or feminist science fiction project post-earthly life in terms that are ecological, engaged in multispecies relations and ethics, and anticapitalist. In these imaginaries, rather than centering humans as would-be destroyers or saviors of Earth, our species becomes merely instrumental in launching life—a multispecies process—off the planet, a new development in deep evolutionary time. This article traces these two imaginaries and how they are reshaping material and political earthly life.

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A Hybrid New World... or Not?

Transformation versus Hybridisation in Early Modern World

Fatima Essadek

During the last three decades, early modern scholarship has drawn heavily on twentieth-century theorisation to analyse the socio-cultural conditions in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An example of such scholarly endeavours is the attempt to appropriate the concept of hybridity to explain the constitution of cultural identity. This article re-evaluates this critical trend by reviewing the model of hybridity in relation to early modern cultures; it simultaneously proposes the existence of another cultural pattern that is here labelled ‘cultural transformation’. The article also contends that hybridisation is more manifest in the domain of material culture: the ethno-cultural characteristics of early modern communities made them more receptive towards accepting and integrating material objects but less welcoming towards assimilating beliefs, values or cultural practices from other nations.

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Christina Nick

This paper considers three arguments by David Shugarman and Maureen Ramsay for why dirty hands cannot be democratic. The first argues that it is contradictory, in principle, to use undemocratic means to pursue democratic ends. There is a conceptual connection between means and ends such that getting one’s hands dirty is incompatible with acting in accordance with democratic ends. The second claims that using dirty-handed means, in practice, will undermine democracy more than it promotes it and therefore cannot be justified. The final criticism states that politicians with dirty hands are a sign that politics is no longer meeting the criteria necessary to be called democratic. The paper shows that such rejections of democratic dirty hands are based on misunderstandings of the nature of dirty hands and democratic politics.

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The Ingathering of the Jewish (Moroccan) Diaspora

Zionism and Global Hometown Awareness among Spanish-Moroccan Jews in Israel

Aviad Moreno

Homeland/diaspora dichotomies are emblematic of the Zionist philosophy and, as a consequence, also in the common critical annals of long-lasting diasporic ethnicities among Jewish immigrants to Israel. This observation applies in particular to Jewish immigrants from Islamic countries, whose Eastern pre-immigration cultures conceivably contrast with the Western character of the national-Zionist venture. In this article, I focus on MABAT, an Israel-based hometown association of Jews from the former Spanish-dominated area in northern Morocco which, from its founding in 1979, embraced the Zionist notion of homecoming. I show how they came to form their own singular network in Israel, while appealing to their former hometowns, as well as to their emerging centres of diffusion in the Americas and Europe, thereby challenging commonly held assumptions of Israel/diaspora, East/West dichotomies in the annals of Jewish ethnicities in Israel.

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David Hall

Climate action is conventionally framed in terms of overcoming epistemic and practical disagreement. An alternative view is to treat people’s understandings of climate change as fundamentally pluralistic and to conceive of climate action accordingly. This paper explores this latter perspective through a framework of philosophical psychology, in particular Bernard Williams’s distinction between internal and external reasons. This illuminates why the IPCC’s framework of ‘Reasons for Concern’ has an inefficacious relationship to people’s concerns and, hence, why additional reason giving is required. Accordingly, this paper recommends a model of truthful persuasion, which acknowledges the plurality of people’s motivations and sincerely strives to connect the facts of climate change to people’s subjective motivational sets.

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Intimacy, Cooperation and Ambivalence

Social, Economic and Cultural Interaction between Jews and Berbers in Morocco

Joseph Yossi Chetrit

This study deals with the entangled relations that developed between Jews and Berbers in Morocco. From the beginnings of the Arab rule, Jews lived as Dhimmis under the protection of Arab or Berber dynasties in urban centres, or Berber tribes and clans in rural ones. They not only shared the same spaces and material culture with the Berbers but also popular beliefs and practices, such as the veneration of saints, magical thinking, folk medicine and a great repertoire of Berber songs, dances, tales and proverbs. However, their asymmetrical political status as protectors and protected and their divergent Jewish and Muslim faiths led Berbers to ambivalent misconceptions about Jews and their forms of life, despite their intimate coexistence and their complementary economic cooperation. After a long separation, Berbers and Jews are currently attempting to reconstruct their memories of the other, and both parties seem to idealise their shared past.

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Hilary Pomeroy

The eleven articles in this issue of European Judaism reflect the social and religious culture of Moroccan Jews set against an ever changing backdrop of persecution and conflict, interaction and cohabitation. Ranging from Berber Jews to forced converts, scholars, courtiers and artisans, Moroccan Jews were constantly under threat. Despite this unstable situation, they produced literary and religious works in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Spanish as well as creating distinctive life-cycle customs, songs and a highly skilled material culture. While the Jewish community of Morocco is today considerably reduced, Moroccan immigrants in Israel, France and the Americas keep the memory and identity of Jewish Morocco alive.

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Jewish Tourism in Morocco

Hilloulot as a Case Study

Hanane Sekkat

Is it possible to bring together Jews of Moroccan origin wherever they may live and convince them to keep in touch with Morocco? This is not merely a question of visiting the country for tourism but, above all, of convincing Moroccan Jews to serve as promoters of Moroccan diplomacy. To achieve this aim, it was imperative to make brave decisions, which is indeed what King Hassan II has done. To give more consistency and significance to the ties of loyalty, the Moroccan state is taking remarkable measures, organising hilloulot (Hb. ‘pilgrimages’), moments of intense spiritual experience evoking a long Jewish presence in Morocco spanning two thousand years.