‘I’m a proud Israeli’: Homonationalism, belonging and the insecurity of the Jewish-Israeli body national
The section ‘gay rights in Israel’, part of the gaytlvguide.com website promoting gay life and culture in Israel, narrates Israel as ‘… one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities… by far the most tolerant Middle Eastern country towards homosexuals’. The ways in which Israel has been positioning its spatio-cultural exceptionality and the rise in LGBT discourses of national inclusion in Israel and beyond has already been identified by Jasbir Puar as ‘homonationalism’. This article, however, asks how. Namely, how do homonational discourses come to produce and hail queer populations as national loyal subjects? I suggest that, to better understand the hailing power of homonational discourses in Israel and beyond, theories of national-civilisational belonging, affect and interpellation must be reassessed and the insecurity at the heart of the national-civilisational edifice interrogated. To do so, the article draws on Lacanian psychoanalytical tools as I look into the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) approach towards LGBT recruits as well as the rise in LGBT campaigning on the political right.
Keywordshomonationalism Israel/Palestine LGBT fantasy interpellation
I am grateful for advice and feedback on early ideas about this paper from Marysia Zalewski, Victoria Basham and Melanie Richter-Montpetit. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their excellent comments. Finally, the paper benefited greatly from the editorial work of Peter Redman and Simon Thomas.
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