David Newman: Reassessing the Israel-Diaspora link

Reassessing the Israel-Diaspora link

The conference on Wednesday organized by the Humphrey Institute for Social Research at Ben- Gurion University will deal with a very contentious topic – the political, social and cultural role of diasporas and their links with their countries of origin or, in the case of second and third generation diaspora children, the home countries of their parents and grandparents.

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Why do diaspora communities, following their migration from one country to another to create a better life for themselves or to escape persecution, expend much of their energies in forging and constructing links with the country they chose to leave? And why does the migrant generation, those that chose to make the move, get annoyed when their children and grandchildren show little interest in the “home” country and prefer instead to see themselves as fully integrated and assimilated citizens of the countries in which they were born and grew up? What is most perplexing is the fact that many diaspora communities have a tendency to take on more extreme stances concerning conflicts back in their “homelands” than do the home communities themselves. The Irish Catholic émigré community in North America was a strong backer of the IRA during the periods of heightened conflict in Northern Ireland, while many Jewish groups in Brooklyn, Toronto and London often adopt the most right-wing and intransigent positions concerning Israel and the occupied territories…. READ MORE

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