Author(s)McGonigle Ian Vincent
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AbstractIn 2013, the Israeli state announced that it may begin to use genetic tests to determine whether some prospective immigrants are Jewish or not. If implemented, the state would be enshrining Jewishness at the level of DNA, rendering “Jewish genes” legally legible, and making DNA signatures a basis for decisions on basic rights and citizenship for the first time in its history. Herein, I examine the Israeli context of “Jewish genetics,” and I situate this contingent historical moment within the diverse political philosophy of Zionism, particularly as it relates to configurations of Jewish ethnicity and modes of citizenship. At issue is the possibility of a novel application of genetics in distributing citizenship, entailing a unique application of Jewish political thought, an articulation of a secular Zionism that foregrounds biology in determinations of civic inclusion.