From the pergonal project to Kadimastem: A genealogy of Israel’s reproductive-industrial complex
- 146 Downloads
In the Israeli ‘start-up nation’ biotechnology has emerged as one of the most thriving knowledge-intensive industries. Particularly the med-tech and repro-tech sector are widely regarded as world class in their ability to develop experimental therapies and medicines based on topnotch ‘pioneering’ biomedical research. These developments have rightly been attributed to the neoliberal turn of the late seventies when Israel started to position itself as significant player in the global health and research market. By exploring the (dis)continuities between Pergonal, a fertility drug developed in the late 1950s by the Israeli scientist Bruno Lunenfeld and the Swiss-Italian pharmaceutical company Serono, and the experimental stem cell therapies that are currently being developed by the Israeli biotech company Kadimastem, this article argues, however, that a much older, but still ongoing history of Zionist settler colonial warfare in Palestine/Israel also lies behind the emergence of Israel’s flourishing reproductive-embryonic industry. A Zionist demographic logic that aims to consolidate a Jewish majority in a Jewish state has created fertile conditions for the emergence of a reproductive-industrial complex in which the interests of a pronatalist Jewish state and a biomedical establishment – consisting of academic entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, biotech companies and pharmaceutical giants – have coalesced. The bodies of Israeli women play a pivotal role in this process, not only as reproducers of the settler nation but also as providers of the raw biological materials that are needed to produce experimental research results and to generate surplus bio-value.
KeywordsPalestine/Israel reproductive-industrial complex bio-capitalism zionism settler colonialism demography
The author would like to thank Hedva Eyal, Sahera Dirbas, Bilal Dirbas, Tamar Novick and Lana Khaskia for helping with the translation of archival and policy documents, and Michal Nahman, Leila Stockmarr, Adam Hanieh, Koen Bogaert, Annemie Vermaelen, Sami Zemni and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback and comments.
- Almog, O. (2000) The Sabra: The Creation of the New Jew. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Amir, D. and Benjamin, O. (1992) Abortion approval as a ritual of symbolic control. In: C. Feinman (ed.) The criminalization of women’s body. New York: Haworth Press, pp. 5–25.Google Scholar
- Barilan, Y.M. and Siegal, G. (2004) Stem cell research: An Israeli perspective. In: W. Bender, C. Hauskeller and A. Manzei (eds.) Crossing Borders: Cultural, Religious and Political Differences Concerning Stem Cell Research. Münster: Agenda Verlag, pp. 293–324.Google Scholar
- Ben-Gurion, D. (1971) Israel, A Personal History. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.Google Scholar
- Bichler, S. and Nitzan, J. (2002) The Global Political Economy of Israel. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Birenbaum-Carmeli, D. and Carmeli, Y. (eds.) (2010) Kin Gene, Community: Reproductive Technologies Among Jewish Israelis. New York: Berghahn Book.Google Scholar
- Brown, N. and Webster, A. (2004) New Medical Technologies and Society: Reordering Life. Cambridge, UK: Polity Books.Google Scholar
- Cooper, M. (2008) Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era. Seattle: Washington University Press.Google Scholar
- Davidovitch, N. and Seidelman, R. (2004) Herzl’s Altneuland: Zionist Utopia, medical science and public health. Korot: The Israel Journal of the History of Medicine and Science 17: 1–20.Google Scholar
- Dichek, B. (2011) Baby boomer, http://israel21c.org/people/baby-boomer, accessed , 8 February 2011.
- Donath, O. (2014) Choosing motherhood? Agency and regret within reproduction and mothering retrospective accounts. Women’s Studies International Forum. Available online, corrected proof in press.Google Scholar
- Efron, N. (2007) Judaism & Science: An Historical Introduction. Westport, CT; London: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Eyal, H. (2010) Egg donation in Israel, action research 2009–2010. Isha L’Isha, http://www.isha.org.il/upload/file/EggDonationactionresearchEng2010.pdf, accessed 24 March 2015.
- Filc, D. (2009) Circles of Exclusion: The Politics of Health Care in Israel. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Franklin, S. and Lock, M. (2003) Remaking Life & Death: Toward an Anthropology of the Biosciences. Sante Fé, NY: School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
- Golan, T. (2004) Introduction of "Science, Technology and Israeli Society", Special Volume of Israel Studies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, pp. iv–viii.Google Scholar
- Gooldin, S. and Shalev, C. (2006) The Uses and misuses of in vitro fertilization in Israel: Some sociological and ethical considerations. Nashim 12(Fall): 151–176.Google Scholar
- Goven, J. and Pavone, V. (2014) The bioeconomy as a political project: A polanyian analysis. Science, Technology & Human Values: 1–36.Google Scholar
- Harvey, D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hashash, Y. (2010) Medicine and the state. The medicalization of reproduction in Israel. In: D. Birenbaum-Carmeli and Y.S. Carmeli (eds.) Kin Gene, Community: Reproductive Technologies Among Jewish Israelis. New York: Berghahn Press, pp. 271–295.Google Scholar
- Hashiloni-Dolev, Y. (2006) Between mothers, foetuses and society: Reproductive genetics in the Israeli-Jewish context. Nashim 12(Fall): 129–150.Google Scholar
- Herzl, T. (1902) Altneueland. Leipzig. Hermann Seemann Nachfolger.Google Scholar
- International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART) (2013) World report: Assisted reproductive technology 2004. Human Reproduction 28(5): 1375–1390.Google Scholar
- Kadesh, A. (2014) IXiii BioMed conference draws thousands, http://mfa.gov.il/mfa/innovativeisrael/conferences/pages/mixiii-biomed-conference-26-june-2014.aspx#.U6wSQ2pauxA.twitter, accessed, 26 June 2014.
- Kahn, S.M. (2000) Reproducing Jews: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Kanaaneh, R. (2002) Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Livneh, N. (2002) The good father, Haaretz, http://www.haaretz.com/the-good-father-1.43736, accessed 30 May 2002.
- Lunenfeld, B. (2013) Management of infertility: Past, present and future from a personal perspective. Journal of Reproductive Medicine and Endocrinology: 10 Special Issue 1 on 50 Years of Gonadotropin Therapy 10(Special Issue 1): 13–22.Google Scholar
- Lunenfeld, B., Sulimovici, S. and Rabau, E. (1962) Les effets des gonadotrophins urinaires des femmes menopausees sur l’ovaire humain. C.R. Soc. Franc. Gynecol 32(5): 29.Google Scholar
- Mashiach, S., Birenbaum-Carmeli, D., Roy, M. and Marta, D. (2010) The contribution of Israeli researchers to reproductive medicine. In: D. Birenbaum-Carmeli and Y. Carmeli (eds.) Kin Gene, Community: Reproductive Technologies Among Jewish Israelis. New York: Berghahn Book, pp. 51–57.Google Scholar
- Messer-Yaron, H. (2011) Technology Transfer in Countries in Transition: Policy and Recommendations, World Intellectual Property Organisation, http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/dcea/en/pdf/Technology_Transfer_in_Countries_in_Transition_FINAL-21.08.2012.pdf.
- Nahman, M. (2008b) Synecdochic ricochets: Biosocialities in a Jerusalem IVF clinic. In: S. Gibbon and C. Novas (eds.) Biosocialities, Genetics and the Social Sciences: Making Biologies and Identities. New York: Routledge, pp. 117–135.Google Scholar
- Novick, T. (2014) Milk & honey: Technologies of plenty in the making of holy land, 1890–1965, unpublished, PhD Dissertation, History and Sociology of Science Department, University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
- Peck, J. and Tickell, A. (2002) Neoliberalizing Space. In: N. Brenner and N. Theodore (eds.) Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Malden, MA: Oxford’s Blackwell Press, pp. 33–57.Google Scholar
- Portuguese, J. (1998) Fertility Policy in Israel: The Politics of Religion, Gender and Nation. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Remennick, L. (2006) The quest for the perfect baby: Why do Israeli women seek prenatal genetic testing. Sociology of Health and Illness 28(1): 21–53.Google Scholar
- Rosenberg, D. (2015) The Truth About Startup Nation: Pretty but Precarious. Haaretz, 29/01/2015, http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/david-s-harp/.premium-1.639703, accessed 31 March 2015.
- Senor, D. and Singer, S. (2011) Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. New York: Twelve.Google Scholar
- Shalev, C. (2010) From woe to woe: Egg donation in Israel. International Women’s and Gender Studies in Lower Saxony 6: 71–90.Google Scholar
- Shalev, C. and Werner-Felmayer, G. (2012) Patterns of globalized reproduction: Egg cells regulation in Israel and Austria. Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 1(15): 1–35.Google Scholar
- Shohat, E. (1988) Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the standpoint of its Jewish victims. Social Text, No. 19/20(Autumn): 1–35.Google Scholar
- Shvarts, S. (2008) Health and Zionism: The Israeli Health System 1948–1960. Rochester, NJ: University of Rochester Press, p. 322.Google Scholar
- Spar, D. (2006) The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
- Stockmarr, L. (2014) Seeing is striking: Selling Israeli warfare, Jadaliyya, http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/16044/seeing-is-striking_selling-israeli-warfare, accessed 18 January 2014.
- UK Stem Cell Initiative (UKSCI) (2006) Global positions in stem cell research: Israel, http://www.dh.gov.uk/ab/UKSCI/DH_096199, accessed 19 June 2014.
- Veracini, L. (2006) Israel and Settler Society. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
- Vertommen, S. (2015a) “Political Economy of Egg Donations: Doing it The Israel Way”, edited volume on ‘Critical Kinship Studies: Kinship (Trans)formed’, Charlotte Krolokke, Routledge (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Vertommen, S. (2015b) ”Baby’s from behind the bars. Stratified assisted reproduction in Israel/Palestine”. edited volume on “Assisted reproduction in a European and globalized perspective – Notes on the overall frameworks”. in: Merete Lie and Nina Lykke (eds.) Routledge (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Waldby, C. and Cooper, M. (2006) The Biopolitics of Reproduction: Post-Fordist biotechnology and women’s clinical labour. Global Biopolitics Working Group. Working Paper 15, http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/politicaleconomy/research/biopolitics/publications/workingpapers/wp15.pdf.
- Waldby, C. and Cooper, M. (2014) Clinical Labor: Tissue Donors and Research Subjects in the Global Bioeconomy. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Wallerstein, I. (2003) Historical Capitalism and Capitalist Civilization. London: Verso.Google Scholar
- Weinstock (1965) Pergonal, the magical drug. Maariv, 01/02/1965.Google Scholar
- Weiss, M. (2002) The Chosen Body: The Politics of the Body in Israeli Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wolfe, P. (1999) Settler Colonialism and The Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of An Ethnographic Event. London: Cassel.Google Scholar
- Wolfe, P. (2007) Palestine, project Europe and the (un-)making of the new Jew. In memory of Edward Said. In: N. Curthoys and D. Ganguly (eds.) Edward Said: The Legacy of a Public Intellectual. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press, pp. 313–337.Google Scholar
- World Intellectual Property Organisation. http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/dcea/en/pdf/Technology_Transfer_in_Countries_in_Transition_FINAL-21.08.2012.pdf.
- Yuval-Davis, N. (1998) Gender and Nation. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Yuval-Davis, N. and Stasiulis, D. (1995) Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class. London: Sage Publication.Google Scholar
- Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31/03/2004 on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells, http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2004/l_102/l_10220040407en00480058.pdf, accessed 7 February 2014.
- ESHRE (2010) Assisted reproductive technology in Europe, 2010: Results generated from European registers by ESHRE. Human Reproduction 29(10): 2099–2113.Google Scholar
- Human Fertilisation and Embryology Agency (2010) Fertility Treatment in 2010: Trends and Figures. London, http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2011-11-16_-_Annual_Register_Figures_Report_final.pdf, accessed 1 March 2015.
- http://www.emdserono.com/en/about_us/history/History.html, accessed 27 February 2015.
- http://www.bertarelli.com/family/serono/, accessed 24 February 2015.
- Office of Chief Scientist (2014) Catalogue of R&D Incentive Programs, www.economy.gov.il/madan, accessed 8 July 2014.
- OECD (2008) Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2008: Highlights. Paris, http://www.oecd.org/science/inno/41551978.pdf, accessed 17 February 2015.
- OECD (2011) Science and Technology: Research and Development, Information and Communication. Paris, http://www.oecd.org/std/08_Science_and_technology.pdf, accessed 24 December 2012.
- www.kadimastem.com, accessed 7 June 2014.
- The Israel tech transfer organization, http://www.ittn.org.il, accessed15 June 2014.
- Yissum Technology Transfer, http://www.yissum.co.il/, accessed 8 June 2014.
- Israel Advanced Technology Industry (2012) Israel Life Science Industry towards a breakthrough decade: In Partnership with IATI-2012 Summary Report. Tel Aviv, http://www.iati.co.il/files/files/Israel%20Life%20Science%20Industry%20-%20towards%20a%20breakthrough%20decade-%20IATI%202012%20Summary%20Report.pdf, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Israel Ministry of Health (2013) Department of Health Information, Medical Facilities and Equipment Licensing Division 2013. IVF treatment in 2013, http://www.health.gov.il/English/News_and_Events/Spokespersons_Messages/Pages/14072015_1.aspx, accessed 10 January 2015.
- Israel Advanced Technology Industries. (2014) Israel Innovation Conference; 20–22 May. MIXiii Hi-Tech Biomed. Tel Aviv: Catalogue.Google Scholar