Thoughts on Displacement and Uprooting

Thoughts on Displacement and Uprooting | Article

Dr. Dorit Kedar

Some thoughts about the uprooting phenomenon and its possible origins, following the exhibition “Boundaries on the Move: A Cross-Cultural Dialogue” currently featured at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art

Artists from Israel and Taiwan feature works about uprooting at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art. A headline topic these days, it assumes a different aspect each time. Migrant workers arrive in the country with a permit, stay for years, and give birth to children who are educated as Israelis; since they are not Jewish, however, they are ultimately deported and thus sentenced to forced uprooting. Israel has no policy of providing asylum for refugees or infiltrators who flee countries suffering war or hunger. No one considers allowing a possible quota of refugees in keeping with the country’s demography, or caring for asylum seekers and their subsistence until a solution to their condition is found. On the contrary, the Israeli Minister of Interior has even informed mayors that hiring foreigners to work for local authorities is prohibited, thereby necessarily dooming the latter to a life of wretchedness and crime. Children of migrant workers, found to be in danger and removed from their homes, are now (following the deportation decision) returned to family units that jeopardize them, and are subject to emotional and possibly even physical harm.

One would have expected the Jews, who were murdered on account of their ethnic origins, to act differently and be tolerant toward outsiders, but this, alas, is not the case. Under the pretext of guarding Judaism, Israeli society is utterly intolerant of foreigners, and deeds are performed which attest that the victim of the past has become the victimizer of the present.

This essay sets out to introduce a conceptual alternative which may help overcome the basic paradox at the core of the crawling racist phenomenon in Israel.


Continue Reading...