The impossible quest of Nasreen Qadri to claim colonial privilege in Israel

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Nasreen Qadri is an Israeli pop singer of Palestinian-Arab origin whose professional achievements came in return for her loyalty to Israel. Successfully crossing cultural lines, Qadri claims Mizrahi identity, challenges the Ashkenazi-Zionist definition of Jews and Arabs as antagonistic ethnonational binaries, and helps Mizrahim reclaim their Judeo-Arabic heritage. However, following her controversial attempts to convert to Judaism, she fell short of crossing into religious-national privilege in Israel-Palestine. Qadri’s failure to overcome colonial segregation testifies to how Israeli racism is based on a perceived religious blood community, which is anchored in state laws and to which non-Jewish women are mostly exposed. Qadri’s case demonstrates how racialized politics of conversion are related to demographic considerations that show the fragility of the Zionist settler-colonial project. Finally, this article suggests that Palestinians in Israel may face elimination, if they seek racial and religious equality with Jews based on a shared Arab culture with Mizrahim.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)966-986
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 May 2021


  • Mizrahi Jews
  • Palestinian giyur
  • Palestinians in Israel
  • gender inequality
  • popular music
  • religious racism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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