Beyond Flesh: Queer Masculinities and Nationalism in Israeli Cinema


In Beyond Flesh, Raz Yosef explores Israeli cinema's role in the creation of national identity and the complex ways the marginalization of queerness became necessary to that goal. Zionism was not only a political and ideological program but also a sexual one. The liberation of Jews and creation of a new nation were closely intertwined with a longing for the redemption and normalization of the Jewish male body. That body had to be rescued from anti-Semitic, scientific-medical discourse associating it with disease, madness, degeneracy, sexual perversity, and femininity-even with homosexuality. The Zionist movement was intent on transforming the very nature of European Jewish masculinity as it had existed in the diaspora. Zionist/Israeli films expressed this desire through visual and narrative tropes, enforcing the image of the hypermasculine colonialist-explorer and militaristic nation-builder, an image dependent on the homophobic repudiation of the "feminine" within men. Yosef offers this criticalaccount of,the construction of masculinities and queerness in Israeli cinema and culture as a model for the investigation of the role of male sexualities within the constitution of national culture in general. He challenges the tendency within dominant critical discussions to treat race, sexuality, and nationalism separately.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2004


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