There's No Home like Place: Spatial De(Re)Attachment to Morocco among Jewish-Moroccan Émigrés to Venezuela

Aviad Moreno, Ben Gurion University

National and colonial metanarratives of global migration are often based on a notion of dissolution of the pre-immigration past in 'backwards' regions of the world. This is specifically true to the (Zionist-)national metanarrative regarding Jewish emigration from Easter Europe to Israel and the Americas in general, and to the Jewish exodus from Arab-Muslim countries, more particularly. The scholarship critical of these conceptions of emigration as 'redemption' tends to overlook the dynamic nature of space as it shapes related collective memories among communities and individuals. In the proposed paper I employ the analytical framework of spatial narratives to explore some social and cultural meanings of such narratives of alienation toward Morocco among Jewish immigrants from Morocco to Venezuela. I suggest that a shared collective memory of their homeland's landscape was constructed through dynamic transformations between various forms of spatial imagination of Morocco, organized according to transnational communal logics of attachment/detachment to/from the extra-communal, non-Jewish spaces. These notions of the past were disseminated through ethnic networks that facilitated unified spatial memories that made sense of their communal space in present. By looking at aspects of alienation this paper also adds to migration scholarship that usually stresses the process by which immigrants reattach to their former places of residence, as a result of disillusion, ambiguity and discontent with their integration in new lands.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 109. Rethinking the Jewish Exodus from Arab Countries: A Network Perspective