Politics & Political Theory

Start-up nationalism: The rationalities of neoliberal Zionism

This article examines current manifestations of Zionist political-economy by analyzing discourses that frame Israel as a “Start-Up Nation”—that is, a unique economic achievement that offers a successful business model for the world. By focusing on the 2009 book from the Council of Foreign Relations, Start-Up Nation, this article theorizes “neoliberal Zionism” as a manifestation of Zionism that valorizes specific kinds of neoliberal rationalities in order to garner support for the State of Israel. In particular, neoliberal Zionism produces an entrepreneurial Israeli citizen-subject whose unique cultural attributes derive from compulsory military service and a Zionist past sanitized of conflict with Palestinians. Further, these discourses position this neoliberal Zionist subject as economically out-competing Arabs and Palestinians. At stake is how neoliberalism and exclusionary nationalism potentially mobilize each other and operate as “management” models for other states to adopt.

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Volume 38 Issue 5

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