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Diasporas involved: How Jewish diaspora is involved in constitutional deliberations in Israel

Shay Keinan, Australian National University

Tue 2 June 2015

11:00am - 12:00pm

Fishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


Diaspora studies has emerged as a distinct academic field in recent years, focusing on the relationship between dispersed ethnic populations and their countries of origin (“kin-states”). Democratic states face increasing challenges when interacting with these often large and influential groups: How and to what extent can a democracy accommodate the interests of non-citizens who nevertheless maintain a strong connection to the nation kin-state?

In this paper I suggest that deliberative democratic theory can be useful in addressing such issues of diaspora involvement. Deliberative processes can enable people in the diaspora to affect the shaping of laws in their kin-states in ways other than voting. One way this can be done is by allowing diaspora representatives to participate in deliberations that take place in Constitutional Courts regarding constitutional matters that are of special relevance to diaspora populations. For concrete examples, I refer to illustrative cases from the Israeli Supreme Court, in which diaspora groups have been involved in deliberations regarding constitutional questions with direct impacts on the Jewish diaspora, their relationship with the state of Israel and the rights of Israel’s minorities.

About the speaker

Shay Keinan is a PhD candidate at the ANU College of Law, he holds an LLB degree (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University and an LLM degree from the University of Hamburg, Bologna University and the University of Manchester.

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