Abstract

Surrogacy is a popular assisted reproductive practice in Israel, and it has been legal since 1996, albeit, until recently, only for married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples who aspired to genetic parenthood were therefore “forced” to look for available surrogates abroad, in countries such as the United States, India, Nepal, Mexico, and Russia. This resulted in the emergence of a lucrative transnational surrogacy industry in Israel that relies on the reproductive labor power of racialized egg cell providers and surrogates in the global South, East, and North. While much of the existing research on surrogacy in Israel explains its ubiquity by centering cultural accounts of Jewishness, this article rethinks contemporary policies, practices, and markets of assisted reproduction from the vantage point of the “colonial episteme,” by unpacking the complex “intimacies” and reproductive afterlives of settler colonialism and racial capitalism in Israel/Palestine. The article argues that surrogacy operates both as a demographic frontier in the consolidation of a Jewish state in Israel/Palestine and as a commodity frontier for the accumulation of capital in a booming surrogacy industry. Surrogacy and other reproductive technologies also emerge as sites of reproductive resistance through practices of surrogacy strikes and sperm smuggling.

There is something revolutionary about being at the frontier of something new. Someone has to be the first one, someone has to be the pioneer.

—Gay surrogacy advocate about Tammuz, Israel’s first gay surrogacy agency

In 1996 Israel became one of the first countries in the world to legalize commercial surrogacy. While surrogacy will soon be allowed for all Israelis, regardless of sexual preference, initially the Embryo Carrying Agreement Law permitted surrogacy only for married heterosexual couples, explicitly excluding same-sex couples and singles from accessing this reproductive service.1 This fostered the emergence of a transnational surrogacy sector in the early 2000s, consisting of Israeli surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics, and law firms that specialize in family and migration law and recruit and contract offshore surrogates and egg cell providers in countries where these practices are either allowed or not regulated at all. Israel’s transnational surrogacy industry caters not only to same-sex commissioning parents who wish to have a biologically related child, but also to heterosexual couples who prefer to look for cheaper and more readily available surrogacy arrangements abroad.

This article uses commercial surrogacy as a lens to analyze the broader political economy of (assisted) reproduction in Israel/Palestine, at the crossroads of ongoing histories of settler colonialism and racial capitalism. Contrary to much of the existing research that explains the ubiquity of surrogacy in Israel from a cultural and religious perspective, this article rethinks contemporary policies, practices, and markets of assisted reproduction from the vantage point of the “colonial episteme”; and it unpacks the reproductive “intimacies” of racial capitalism, empire, and settler colonialism in Israel’s surrogacy regime (Lowe). I will do so by introducing the frontier as an analytical trope to conceptualize and grasp the variegated (anti)colonial-capitalist relations of Israel’s surrogacy regime.

The idiom of the “frontier” has been sparking Zionist imaginaries since the late nineteenth century when Jewish halutzim or pioneers from all over the world were encouraged to redeem the “Land of Israel” and “make its deserts bloom” through productive work, farming, and homesteading (Efron). In Zionist historiography, this is considered the constitutive period, with the pioneer as “the quintessential moral and economic subject for national conquest and development in Historic Palestine” (Neumann 3). Through their continuous conquest of the supposedly empty land on the frontiers of historic Palestine, the pioneers instilled the Jewish people’s “perennial rebirth,” to use Frederick Jackson Turner’s frontier terminology, after centuries of diasporic persecution and presumed degeneration (Weiss; Massad). Until now, “frontier” was used as a catchy metaphor to foreground Israel’s advanced and innovative position or “chutzpah” in the field of science, technology, health, and medicine. However, as critical science and technology studies scholars demonstrate, frontier imaginaries of scientific progress, modernity, and civilization often materialized only through violent and necropolitical practices of displacement and dispossession of Indigenous and enslaved populations (Harding; Franklin).

In Israel/Palestine, I will argue, gestational surrogacy materializes first and foremost as a demographic frontier in the consolidation of a Jewish state, at the expense of Palestinian life. In dialectical relation to that, surrogacy also operates as a commodity frontier in which an outsourced reproductive labor force of “Caucasian” (and other racialized) surrogates and egg cell vendors are providing the “cheap inputs” for Israel’s fertility industry (Moore). Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork research conducted along the surrogacy frontier in Israel/Palestine (2012–19) and the Republic of Georgia (2018), consisting of participatory observations in surrogacy agencies and fertility clinics in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nablus, Tbilisi, and Batumi, and semi-structured interviews with Israeli, Palestinian, and Georgian fertility doctors, surrogacy brokers, government officials, commissioning parents, (gay) surrogacy advocates, and critics from civil society organizations, I will unpack the intricate ways in which gestational surrogacy is put to work and contested in Israel/Palestine in relation to its triangular population economy of settlers, Natives, and racialized reproductive workers.

In doing so, I make three contributions to the existing scholarship on reproduction, conquest, and empire. First, I bring Israel/Palestine and Zionism’s settler colonial present into the debates on the grammars, logics, and modalities of reproduction under racial capitalism (Spillers). Second, this article looks at the myriad genealogies of conquest in contemporary assisted reproductive technology (ART) regimes with their distinct yet mutually constitutive reproductive logics of removal, accumulation, and exploitation. Building on the astute insights from Black feminist scholarship on the crucial role of reproduction in plantation and slave economies, my research on Israel/Palestine suggests that the epistemic condition of possibility of surrogacy is grounded not only in slavery and four hundred years of “slave breeding” but also in genocide and the centuries-old ongoing removal of Indigenous peoples. Third, I explore how these stratified reproductive logics also impact the articulation of reproductive resistance by looking at the diverging ways that surrogacy strikes and sperm-smuggling practices have been imagined and materialized in Israel/Palestine.

Hagar and the Genesis of Surrogacy in the Holy Land

To start unpacking some of the epistemic intimacies of racial capitalism, slavery, and settler colonialism in Israel/Palestine, I offer the Old Testament figure of Hagar as a fertile point of departure. This story from Genesis is often discursively framed as the first case of surrogacy, and during my interviews with Israeli fertility treatment providers, they often used it to provide cultural and religious legitimations for the popularity of ARTs and surrogacy in Israel. The story goes that the matriarch Sarah, when realizing she was infertile and unable to provide Abraham with a son, asked her Egyptian slave Hagar to be inseminated with her husband’s sperm, so that their son could be Abraham’s successor and father of a great nation. Yet, intimidated by the pregnant Hagar, who began to feel confident in her new role as surrogate for the patriarch’s future child, Sarah banished Hagar to the desert. According to Jewish and Islamic tradition, Ishmael, the son of Hagar and Abraham, went on to become the father of the Arab-Islamic nation, while Isaac, the “real” son of Sarah and Abraham, went on to become the father of the Jewish nation. Some scholars used this badly managed surrogacy arrangement as a metaphor for the so-called conflict between the State of Israel and Palestinians (De Sutter and Delrue). According to New World Encyclopedia, the expulsion of Hagar is “a key text in interfaith relations between Judaism and Islam,” symbolizing for Palestinians their expulsion from their homeland in 1948, while Jewish tradition believes that “Sarah was justified to use forceful measures to defend the life of her son Isaac and the Jewish nation from perceived Palestinian encroachments.”2

Despite Hagar’s biblical role as a surrogate for Abraham and Sarah, in present-day surrogacy arrangements in Israel it is highly unlikely that Hagar would be of Egyptian descent, and she would surely not be a Muslim Palestinian woman. On the contrary, the State of Israel actively avoids using the wombs or egg cells of Palestinian women for third-party reproductive services for Jewish Israelis. There are even laws in Israel prohibiting “interreligious” egg donation or surrogacy agreements between Jews, Christians, and Muslims (Vertommen, “Towards”). Instead, Israeli intended parents and their fertility brokers are increasingly contracting transnational surrogates in countries like Thailand, Nepal, Georgia, or Mexico and using egg cells from Ukrainian, Czech, or Romanian women in their reproductive quest for a biologically related child.

Remarkably, there is another group of racialized women who have come to identify with Hagar and her role as slave, handmaiden, and housewife. Black scholars in gender and theology studies have related the surrogacy story of Hagar to that of the millions of Black enslaved women whose wombs were violently appropriated and controlled by their masters and plantation owners for over four hundred years in the reproduction of property, power, and capital. Angela Davis, for instance, noted that enslaved Black women “possessed no legal rights as mothers of any kind. Considering the commodification of their children—and indeed, of their own persons—their status was similar to that of the contemporary surrogate mother” (“Surrogates” 212).

Alys Eve Weinbaum refers to these analogies as the slavery-surrogacy nexus, arguing that the persistence of what she calls the slave episteme continues to frame the racialization of reproductive and gestational labor in the biocapitalist present. She writes that “surrogacy must be linked to slavery and thus recognized as a racialized capitalist formation because it is in and through slavery that surrogacy becomes intelligible” (”Gendering” 457). Weinbaum’s 2019 book includes a discussion of Sisters in the Wilderness, the 1993 treatise by womanist theologian Dolores Williams, who suggested that through Hagar “Black women’s history . . . [becomes visible] as reproduction history . . . as history that uses labor as a hermeneutic to interpret Black women’s biological and social experience of reproducing and nurturing the species and as an interpretive tool for analyzing and assessing Black women’s creative productions as well as their relation to power” (Afterlife 135). The figure of Hagar speaks to generations of Black women who relate not only to the reproductive exploitation and expulsion she faced but also to her willpower to resist and overcome these imposed hardships.

I am sharing this biblical anecdote not only to illustrate the contested religious genealogies of surrogacy in the Holy Land but also to make an analytical point about how the messiness of historical and contemporary practices of reproduction becomes visible in and through surrogacy, with its gendered and racialized stratifications and divisions of labor that are shaped by epistemic legacies of slavery and settler colonialism. Hagar’s story epitomizes many of the surrogacy narratives that will animate this article: the pronatalist imperatives to reproduce the nation, the exploitation of racialized women’s reproductive labor power that this pronatalism requires, the expulsion of Natives who are viewed as a reproductive threat, and the fertile modes of resistance that are enabled in and through the reproductive sphere. Yet, despite the many resemblances between Black and Indigenous conditions of womanhood, I will argue in this article that, unlike Black women, Palestinian women are not so much racialized through the hermeneutic of reproductive labor and exploitation as through the hermeneutic of demographic replacement, genocide, and dispossession, considering the hesitance or outright “refusal,” as Patrick Wolfe termed it, of the Israeli settler polity to depend on Indigenous reproductive labor power (Traces of History).

The article treats the stratified ways in which gestational surrogacy in Israel/Palestine materializes as both a demographic frontier and a commodity frontier in relation to its triadic population economy, based on several (international) surrogacy stories and case studies that emerged during my fieldwork between 2012 and 2019. Complicating the dyadic model of settler versus Native, Black scholars introduced a triadic population model of “European-Negro-Indian” or “White-Black-Red” to understand the complex relations of colonial conquest, slavery, and genocide (Wynter; Wilderson; King). Congruently, Lorenzo Veracini, in his work on settler colonialism, argued that Israel/Palestine, similar to other settler colonial formations such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, is historically shaped as a triangular population economy, consisting of Jewish Israeli settlers, Indigenous Palestinians, and “imported” workers, who are all governed and racialized through different re/productive logics (Settler Colonialism). Put differently, reproducing racial capitalism in Israel/Palestine requires the plentiful reproduction of (Ashkenazi) Jewish Israelis, problematizes Palestinian procreation as a “demographic threat,” and exploits the reproductive labor power of racialized (migrant) workers, including elderly care workers, sex workers, and egg cell providers and surrogates. The final part of the article examines how surrogacy operates not only as a frontier of demographic replacement and capital accumulation but also as a frontier of resistance, by discussing the surrogacy strike and sperm smuggling as two diverging types of reproductive sabotage.

Surrogacy as a Demographic Frontier: From Interreligious Zygotes to Racialized Wombs

Gestational surrogacy has become one of the newer and more popular reproductive technologies through which Israelis are exerting their right to parenthood, a right that is deemed so fundamental that it is recognized by political leaders and the judiciary alike. In the well-known Israeli court case of New Family v. Approvals Committee for Surrogate Motherhood Agreements, Justice Mishael Cheshin famously stated: “The right to parenthood is at the foundation of all foundations, at the infrastructure of all infrastructures, the existence of the human race, the ambition of man and the basis of that right as the profound need to have a child which burns in the soul . . . man’s instinct of survival [is] . . . the necessity for continuity” (Schuz 199).

With an average of 3.1 children per woman, Israel is the most fertile of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, where the average hovers around 1.7 children.3 This “reproductive imperative,” as Meira Weiss termed it, is deeply entrenched not only among heterosexual couples but also in Israel’s gay community. In 2014 the main theme of the Tel Aviv Gay Parade was rainbow family life and equality, and the famous Israeli song “Children Are Joy, Children Are Blessing” was chosen as the event’s theme track.4 In one of my interviews with Dan, a gay father of two surrogacy babies with an American surrogate, he explained:

I grew up in Israel, and these are the values that the society I grew up in has given me. When I go to Europe and I speak to gay people about the opportunity of becoming parents, people raise an eyebrow and tell me: “Why should we become parents?” When I meet with people in Europe who go through the surrogacy process they usually have one child. Here in Israel we all want twins and that’s only the beginning. (Tel Aviv, July 13, 2017)

Uri, the head of the Association of Gay Fathers said, “I think it’s part of the Israeli and maybe even Jewish ethos that you become part of the tribe when you produce your own offspring” (Tel Aviv, July 9, 2017).

Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has been known for its pronatalist policies, aimed at high birth rates and large families. Israeli scholars documented how this pronatalist stance has been institutionalized through various funds, councils, and committees, including the Heroine Award for mothers with at least ten children (1949), the Committee for Natality Problems (1962), the Demographic Center’s Fund for Encouraging Birth (1968), and the Israel Council on Demography (2002). These initiatives offered financial support for reproducing large families, social and welfare benefits for (working) mothers, and high child allowances (Hashash; Birenbaum-Carmeli and Carmeli). The same pronatalism can be discerned concerning the usage, regulation, and subsidizing of assisted reproductive technologies, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, gamete donation, surrogacy, and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and screening. Israel has more fertility clinics per capita than any other country in the world. Measured by the number of IVF treatment cycles per capita, Israelis are by far the biggest consumers of IVF in the world.5

Many of these reproductive technologies are generously sponsored by the state. For instance, the government funds for every Israeli citizen up to age forty-five—regardless of ethnic, religious, or marital background—an unlimited number of IVF cycles for the birth of a first and second child. Israel’s pronatalist stance is often explained and legitimized through cultural narratives of Jewishness that emphasize the importance of reproduction in Jewish culture, history, and tradition. Some authors refer to the first religious commandment that prescribes Jews “to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Others refer to the violent histories of anti-Semitism to which Jewish communities in Europe and Russia have been subjected for centuries, culminating in the Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jewish lives, in this way transforming individual procreation into a matter of collective survival (see, for instance, Kahn; Ivry; Teman). However, a recent bulletin on fertility trends by the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel suggested that these cultural arguments do not hold up when comparing Israeli Jews to Jews elsewhere in the world. The report states that, “although they often share the same history, fertility among Jews in other developed countries is significantly lower—including among Jews living in Europe, where welfare policies are more generous than in Israel” (Taub Center). While cultural narratives of Jewishness are important, albeit insufficient, to explain Israel’s pronatalist drive, the report’s conclusion, that the reasons behind Israel’s “exceptional” fertility trends “remain a mystery,” is less convincing.

Drawing on the inspirational body of work by Indigenous scholars and/or scholars on settler colonialism on the gendered, embodied, and reproductive grammars of settler colonial formations, I have been arguing in my work that there is nothing mysterious or exceptional about Israel’s pronatalism, when taking into account Zionism’s ongoing histories of conquest and demographic replacement in Israel/Palestine (see, for instance, Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Birthing, Security; Smith; Abdo; Yuval-Davis and Stasiulis; Wolfe, “Settler,”,Traces; Jacobs; Morgenson; TallBear). Settler colonialism is an old scholarly paradigm that has recently been picked up again by researchers from all over the world who want to understand the political, economic, social, and cultural past and present of settler societies, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Algeria (see, for instance, Jabary-Salamanca et al.; Lentin; Shalhoub-Kevorkian; Wolfe, “Settler,” Traces). According to Patrick Wolfe’s structuralist approach, settler polities have two defining features: (1) territorial expansion and the maximum accumulation of Indigenous land, and (2) the demographic transfer of the settler population to the newly acquired lands. He argues that this double movement of territorial accumulation and demographic settlement is undergirded by a societal logic of elimination of the Native population and their claims to their land, culture, and history. This is also a highly gendered and reproductive process (Wolfe, “Palestine”).

Similar to other settler colonial formations, including Australia or the United States, the Zionist demographic zero-sum project in Israel/Palestine follows a bio/necropolitical grammar of reproduction, in which the fruitful reproduction of the settler population presupposes the non-reproductivity of Indigenous populations (Ghanim). Analyzing historical and contemporary fertility policies in Israel/Palestine, Jacqueline Portuguese and Rhoda Kanaaneh each argue that these were primarily designed by the State of Israel to benefit its Jewish citizenry, and not Palestinians whose supposedly high fertility rates have been framed by Israeli media and policymakers alike as a “ticking demographic time bomb” for the survival of the Jewish state. One famous example was the Heroine Mother Award, a prize initiated by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in 1949 to grant all mothers a financial compensation and a personally signed letter on the birth of their tenth child. The award was dropped after ten years when it turned out that it was mostly Palestinian mothers in Israel who claimed it. Portuguese concluded that Israel, in its attempt to create and consolidate a Jewish demographic majority in a Jewish state, has been as concerned with lowering the Palestinian birth rate as it has with raising the Jewish one. She also stressed that this never resulted in a straightforward anti-natalism toward Palestinians. Unlike other settler colonial societies such as Australia or the United States, Israel has no history of forced sterilizations or abortions of Indigenous women. Moreover, Palestinian citizens in Israel (unlike those in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) are legally entitled to the same fertility treatments as their Jewish compatriots. My research suggests nonetheless that Palestinians in Israel are often restrained from exercising their reproductive rights equally. This is because of not only Islamic and Christian restrictions to third-party reproduction but also, as I will show, because of settler colonial realities on the ground.

In 1996, when the Embryo Carrying Agreement was put in place, a state committee was appointed to approve and authorize the surrogacy contracts between the Israeli surrogate and the intended parents. The law included a religious clause, requiring the surrogate carrier and the intended mother to share the same religion. The same religious logic was repeated in 2010 with the introduction of the Egg Donation Law, requiring the egg provider and egg recipient to both have the same religion. The introduction of these strict religious requirements was justified as a way to harmonize both surrogacy and egg donation practices according to halakhic principles, since Judaism follows matrilineal standards by which the religion of a newborn is determined by the mother’s religion.

Halakhic standards generally define the mother as the one who carries the baby, favoring gestational motherhood over genetic motherhood. However, with the arrival of assisted reproductive technologies, there has been a fragmentation of different maternal roles—genetic, mitochondrial, gestational—creating strong disagreements among the rabbinical authorities about who or what defines motherhood, and thus Jewish kinship (Kahn; Ivry). In an interview with a prominent rabbi, who was then president of Israel’s National Bioethics Committee and expert in medical halakhic ethics, the stakes of the rabbinical debates on motherhood were clarified:

There are at least four opinions among Jewish rabbis. One says that the genetic material is the important one, so the egg donor is the mother. Another one says that the egg is just a chip made in China, and what is important is the pregnancy, carrying the baby, and delivering, it doesn’t matter where the genetic material comes from. A third opinion says that neither is the mother, because to be a mother you have to fulfil both functions, and once you divide there is no half mother, and since it’s half and half, then there is no mother at all. A fourth position is that both are mothers, who says that we can only have one mother, we have two mothers, one is the genetic mother and one is the nurturing mother. (West Jerusalem, July 16, 2013)

Since the rabbis failed to reach a uniform opinion on what constitutes “pure” Jewish motherhood, it was decided that both the genetic and the gestational mother must have the same religion, “so that,” the rabbi continued, “we know for sure what a child is, either Jewish or non-Jewish” (Jerusalem, July 16, 2013). In practice, this means that a Jewish Israeli woman cannot donate oocytes or gestate a baby for a Muslim, Druze, or Christian (who are often Palestinian) woman, or vice versa, without the approval of an Exceptions Committee. As Palestinian women rarely serve as surrogates or egg cell providers in Israel, this also means that Palestinian women are not benefiting from these reproductive services. Apart from one, none of the dozens of Israeli surrogacy agents whom I interviewed mentioned having Palestinian clients for either domestic or international surrogacy arrangements. They predominantly cater to Jewish Israeli couples, which is in line with Elly Teman’s findings in her foundational study of surrogacy in Israel.

The legal advisor of the Ministry of Health explained the inclusion of the religious amendment in the Law on Egg Donation as a way to “not make more problems than we already have, and we have a lot in this country. If, for example, there would be a Jewish egg donor and a Muslim recipient, then this would cause problems because the baby would be both Muslim and Jewish (interview, West Jerusalem, February 20, 2012). Another renowned bioethicist and former member of the Bioethics Committee clarified: “We don’t know what will eventually emerge as the religious attitude towards interreligious zygotes, so we decided to stay on the safe side” (interview, Tel Aviv, July 26, 2013).

Ironically, most Israelis in need of egg donation or surrogacy continued to make use of transnational egg vending and surrogacy programs with countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, and the Czech Republic, where oocyte vendors or surrogates are rarely Jewish.6 In these cases of transnational fertility services, the State of Israel, in agreement with the chief rabbinate, solved the alleged kinship problem by encouraging the intended parents to convert the children born from this procedure to Judaism in order for them to be recognized as full-fledged Jews.7 In the latter case, the genetic possibility of an “interreligious zygote” did not motivate Israeli policymakers to outlaw the reproductive practice. This suggests that religious legitimations hide more than they actually reveal (Ben Porat; Nahman, Extractions). Indeed, religious categorizations of Jews, Muslims, and Christians often tend to obscure underlying racial and ethnic classifications of Arabs/Palestinians versus Jews. As Patrick Wolfe phrased it, “In Israel, religion operates as a racial amnesty” (Traces 260). When asked about his opinion on the inclusion of the religious clause in the Egg Donation Law, one fertility specialist stated: “The consensus was that we didn’t want to mingle between populations and to put, let’s say, a Jewish egg in an Arab woman” (interview, Hadera, August 21, 2012).

Moreover, Michal Nahman’s research on racializing practices of ova extraction demonstrated how Jewish Israeli women considered rejecting ova from Palestinian women in Israel. She quoted a Mizrahi Jewish couple: “Regarding the religion of the donor, we didn’t talk about it, so I guess it’s not relevant. Of course, it’s important that she shouldn’t be an Arab, ya’ni” (“Materializing” 205). Similarly, when asking a Jewish Israeli surrogate, who pointed out during our interview that she would happily gestate the babies of all Israeli couples, “from ultraorthodox couples to homosexual ones,” whether she would do the same for a Muslim or Christian couple, she answered: “Of course not, they don’t have the same values as us. These mothers send their children to explode themselves as suicide bombers, how can I share a surrogacy with them?” (interview, Kiryat Atta, July 21, 2017).

In her research on surrogacy and racial practices, Jaya Keaney suggested that contemporary transnational surrogacy markets flourish by presenting the womb as an empty rental space that does not shape the fetal identity. In this biogenetic business model of kinship, gestation is seen as peripheral to racial transmission. She argues that “in sharp contrast to the racialization of gametes, surrogates’ wombs are deracialized.” While my research on Israel/Palestine concurs that for transnational surrogacy arrangements, the “foreign” womb is indeed constructed as largely irrelevant to the racial makeup of the surrogacy baby, this “nonracializing” logic does not uphold for domestic surrogacy. Within the frontiers of the settler colony, the womb’s religious and racial boundaries are closely monitored. Similar to cross-religious restrictions for marriage, adoption, and egg donation, the State of Israel demonstrates a structural reluctance to mix with the Indigenous Palestinian population, as Dafna Hirsch’s research indicated. This is contrary to reproductive logics in other settler colonial formations, where Indigenous peoples have often been bioculturally assimilated into the settler body. As Wolfe summarized: “In the case of Palestinians, . . . Zionism’s racialization strategy can be expressed with maximal simplicity: it is one of outright exclusion” (Traces 272).

Another example of surrogacy’s reproductive-demographic arithmetic in Israel/Palestine can be found in gay couples’ access to surrogacy services. As Adi Moreno’s research on gay surrogacy in Israel indicated, at first sight, gay couples seem excluded from the state’s pronatalist stance to be fruitful and multiply, by not permitting them to start a surrogacy procedure in Israel and “forcing” them to go abroad to countries such as Thailand, India, or Nepal, where—until recently—surrogacy was either legal or not regulated at all. At times, these cross-border arrangements resulted in highly mediatized surrogacy scandals in which Israeli surrogacy babies and their intended fathers got stuck abroad without the necessary papers to “return” to Israel.

In 2013, for instance, sixty-five Israeli surrogacy babies were stranded in Thailand after the Thai government refused to let the babies cross the border. Thai law awards full parental rights to the gestational mother and not to the intended parents. This is why the Israeli Ministry of the Interior initially refused to issue Israeli passports for the babies, as the Thai government would consider this child abduction. Outraged by the lack of support from the government, sections of Israel’s gay community began organizing a public campaign to “bring the children home,” particularly targeted at Gideon Sa’ar, then Minister of the Interior, who at that time just had a baby himself. In a well-coordinated social media action, famous Israeli celebrities posted selfies with the slogan “Gideon, your baby is home, ours isn’t” on their Facebook pages. The campaign received massive media attention, and after nine days of action the Israeli authorities agreed to temporarily authorize passports for the Israeli babies in Thailand under the express condition that the Thai surrogate would sign a document relinquishing all her rights and commitments toward the newborn child. Similar events unfolded in Nepal in April 2015. After a huge earthquake hit the country, killing almost ten thousand people, it became clear that Nepal had transformed into a popular surrogacy destination for Israeli gay couples, with dozens of surrogacy babies who were unable to leave Nepal. Israel was the first country to send a humanitarian mission to Nepal, with the repatriation of the Israeli surrogacy babies and their dads as the top priority, while the Indian surrogacy mothers were left in Nepal. On the arrival of the first three young babies in Israel, the spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent out the following statement made by Lieutenant Colonel Ron, accompanied by a picture of an IDF soldier holding a tiny baby in his hands: “We have the knowledge and experience and especially the commitment to bring the residents of the State of Israel back home” (IDF, April 27, 2015).

The script in each of these surrogacy “scandals” follows a similar storyline. The Israeli intended parents publicly reported feeling abandoned by their government in their quest for parenthood. The Israeli media then followed suit by framing them as reproductive exiles who were refrained from “returning” to Israel, a highly emotive leitmotif in Jewish history. However, as Moreno argued, the State of Israel was not absent at all in facilitating these international surrogacy journeys. On the contrary, the Israeli authorities actively contributed to the regulation of the surrogacy babies by promulgating overseas surrogacy regulations for intended parents, acknowledging genetic parenthood of the parents in Israeli family courts, registering the child, issuing citizenship, arranging passports for the surrogacy babies, and even sending the army or private planes to pick up the surrogacy babies and their parents.

When one Israeli surrogacy lawyer was asked about the scandal with the Thai surrogacy babies, and whether the babies were blocked from entering Israel, she replied:

Of course, they entered, but it took some time. But you cannot prevent this child from coming to Israel. They [the Israeli authorities, S.V.] would need to change the Citizenship Law to restrict surrogacy babies from entering Israel. Today it says that every child from Israelis is an Israeli by birth. Unless you add a paragraph stating that it doesn’t count when the baby is the product of surrogacy in a country that is not acknowledging surrogacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Justice can do hula-hoops in the air, this is the law. If they don’t fix it, then they don’t have any argument. If the State of Israel really dislikes transnational surrogacy, then they should just change the Law of Return and add the paragraph on surrogacy, but they are not doing it. Again, because they have this demographic problem, they are afraid. (interview, Tel Aviv, July 15, 2014)

The Law of Return and the Citizenship Law are the legal cornerstones of Zionism’s demographic project in Israel/Palestine. The Law of Return provides every Jewish person in the world the right to acquire Israeli citizenship and to settle in Israel. By simultaneously refusing Palestinian refugees the United Nations guaranteed Right to Return to their homeland, the Law of Return also safeguards a demographically Jewish state in Israel/Palestine. One of the important insights from Nahman’s work on the oocyte traffic between Israel and Romania is that transnational egg donations are “state-making practices” through which certain imaginaries on citizenship, race, genetics, and the nation are performed. She noticed, for example, how in an Israeli proxy fertility clinic in Bucharest, the sperm and embryo vials of the Israeli recipient couples were all labeled with their Israeli ID number, presupposing that they “somehow already belong to the state” (Extractions 60). She also recalled how at a certain moment, when the Israeli government halted the import of ova from an Israeli proxy clinic in Bucharest, the Israeli couples who had already started their fertilization procedures demanded “their” embryos back, insisting that the embryos had the “right to return” to Israel. Similarly, surrogacy also operates as a demographic frontier through which mostly Jewish Israelis—heterosexual and homosexual alike—but not Palestinians, are encouraged and enabled to reproduce the Jewish nation while “interracial” mixing between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis is actively discouraged.

Surrogacy as a Commodity Frontier: Birthing a Reproductive-Industrial Complex

Surrogacy in Israel/Palestine serves not only as a demographic frontier but also as a commodity frontier powered by a logic of capital accumulation.8 Similar to what world-ecologist Jason Moore has termed “cheap nature,” a capitalist strategy in which use-values such as food, energy, raw material, and labor power are produced with a below-average value composition (53), fertility has become a commodity frontier for the “cheap” (re)production of babies, families, and life in Israel/Palestine and across the rest of the world.9 The global fertility industry is estimated to become a $40 billion market by 2026, with the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and also Israel as important fertility hubs.10 Indeed, in its selectively pronatalist drive to create and maintain a Jewish state, a burgeoning and innovative “reproductive-industrial complex” has emerged in Israel/Palestine, comprising sectors as diverse as repro-tech and medicine, the stem cell industry, and cross-border fertility tourism, including transnational surrogacy and egg donation services.11

In 2008 Tammuz Family was founded, Israel’s first transnational surrogacy company with a specialization in surrogacy arrangements for gay couples. Since then around fifteen other surrogacy agencies have been created to fulfill the increasing demand. These agencies coordinate medical, logistical, and legal procedures and broker the demands of commissioning couples and the availability of surrogates and egg cell providers, inside but mostly outside Israel. Only two agencies specialize in domestic surrogacy, while the others focus on transnational arrangements. A recent report on surrogacy by the Knesset Research and Information Center suggested that between 2005 and 2017, 700 babies were born through national surrogacy arrangements in Israel, and 1,513 babies were born through international surrogacy agreements, with a sharp annual increase in the latter.12 As one surrogacy expert at Israel’s Ministry of Health clarified in an interview: “You can see now that the agencies are a lot more interested in working on surrogacy abroad than on domestic surrogacy. There is no bureaucracy, it goes faster, much more money, nobody [is] watching you all the time and checking if everything is exactly according to the law, they can do whatever they want” (Jerusalem, August 3, 2014). Unlike Israel’s oocyte provision sector, which is run by fertility doctors, the surrogacy industry is mostly run by lawyers, social workers, and so-called experts through experience, who went through transnational surrogacy procedures themselves and feel confident to guide commissioning parents through the complex surrogacy maze.

While many surrogacy brokers put an effort into concealing the marketized nature of surrogacy under the tropes of help, care, and altruism, it is undoubtedly still a business, as Sharmila Rudrappa and Caitlyn Collins demonstrate. Contrary to Israel’s international adoption procedures that are legally required to be implemented by certified nonprofit organizations, Israeli surrogacy agencies are commercial companies that charge between US$9,000 and $12,000 for their services—up to a third of the total cost of international surrogacy. The total cost depends on a broad series of variables, such as the local/nonlocal background of the egg donor, the surrogacy destination, the shipment of frozen sperm, the legal counseling, the inclusion of nonstandard add-on technologies and procedures such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or screening (PGD, PGS), and the number of newborns (single baby, twins, or triplets). The agencies use various other marketing strategies to promote their services and cut down on costs, such as “guarantee programs” that offer the promise of a fail-safe cross-border surrogacy procedure resulting in a take-home baby—or “egg cell sharing” deals, whereby two intended parenting couples share the egg cells from one donation cycle.

The principal way in which surrogacy agencies gain profit, however, is by saving money on the reproductive labor costs of surrogates and egg cell providers through subcontracting to the global South/East. In my interview with the founder of Tammuz Family, who himself had two children using an American surrogate, he explained that surrogacy in the United States is of high quality but very costly. In California, the epicenter of the global fertility industry, a surrogacy procedure costs around $150,000 on average, while in Israel, couples often pay up to $70,000. “This is why with Tammuz, we started to think about cheaper routes for surrogacy. In my previous life, I worked in the high-tech industry, where many activities were subcontracted to low-wage countries like India” (interview, Tel Aviv, July 17, 2014).

In India, Nepal, and Mexico—until a few years ago the most popular surrogacy destination for Israelis—surrogacy cost between US$30,000 and $50,000. Indian and Mexican surrogates received between $2,000 and $8,000 of this. In Georgia, where I conducted my fieldwork, the procedure costs between US$30,000 and $40,000. Georgian surrogates receive US$15,000 in “fees” (not a salary, as gestation and parturition are not viewed as “real” labor). Many of the Georgian surrogates I interviewed mentioned that they would have to work three years in conventional jobs, including laboratory work or waitressing, to make the same amount. Yet surrogates often sign contracts in which they agree to work under questionable health, safety, and psychosocial conditions. In the Republic of Georgia, surrogates are not allowed to decide about the number of embryos transferred to their womb, how to give birth, whether to perform an embryo reduction or abortion, or whether to breastfeed after the birth. The surrogacy contract stipulates that these reproductive decisions are reserved for the intended parents in consultation with the surrogacy agency and the doctors. Furthermore, surrogates in Georgia do not have access to decent postnatal medical care and life insurance. Medical complications due to the pregnancy are therefore never seen or compensated as work accidents but are viewed as ordinary health issues. Moreover, for the duration of the conception and pregnancy, the bodies of surrogates are closely monitored, disciplined, and surveilled: no alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, “excessive” sexual intercourse, or heavy lifting are allowed, while exercise and healthy food are strongly encouraged. Some Israeli parents even request a kosher diet for the surrogate during the pregnancy. Finally, some of the interviewed surrogates struggled with the psychological and emotional stress of having to transfer the baby to the commissioning parents after delivery. One of the main reasons surrogacy subcontracting in Georgia is an exploitative industry is that surrogates refrain from and are dissuaded from identifying as reproductive workers. Despite their undeniable integration into a capitalist export-oriented industry as surplus value producers, surrogates are “housewife-ized,” to use Maria Mies’s powerful phrase, as “gift-giving mothers” (Mies; Vora; Vertommen and Barbagallo).

The divisions of labor in Israel’s transnational surrogacy industry are not only highly gendered but also explicitly racialized. Egg cell providers are recruited based on their presumed “genetic qualities” (such as intelligence, beauty, fitness, race, etc.), while foreign surrogates’ genetic makeup is framed as largely irrelevant (Keaney). The latter are recruited “merely” for their gestational capacities. When one Israeli fertility broker was asked in 2014 why egg cells are imported to Israel from Ukraine and not from Georgia—assuming it would be easier to combine egg cell provision and surrogacy in the same country—he replied: “Have you seen Georgian women?,” implying that Georgian women are not pretty enough for egg extraction, in comparison to Ukrainian women (interview, Tel Aviv, July 22, 2014). Indeed, Ukrainian egg cells are highly desirable commodities because they are branded as reproducing not only beauty but also “Caucasian whiteness.”13

As discussed earlier, Palestinian women are not recruited as surrogates in Israel. Scholars in Black, Native, and settler colonial studies have explored how settler colonial formations such as Australia and the United States often opt to import exogenous laborers who can make no sovereign claims to the land (Wolfe, “Settler”; Veracini, Settler; King; Shafir; Jackson). Similarly, Israeli surrogacy agencies appear to contract foreign surrogates and oocyte providers instead of using the “cheaper” Indigenous Palestinian surrogates or egg cell providers. Yet, contrary to other types of racialized reproductive work in Israel, such as sex work (which is often performed by Russian, Ukrainian, or Moldovan women from the former Soviet Union) or eldercare work (which is performed by Philippine women), surrogates and egg cell providers are not employed as migrant reproductive workers inside Israel (Bernstein et al.). Instead, they perform the subcontracted work of ovulation, gestation, and parturition outside the borders of the state. Unlike Palestinians who as a surplus Indigenous population are racialized through their exclusion from the assisted reproductive labor force, Georgian surrogates and Ukrainian egg cell providers are racialized through their inclusion. Similar to eldercare workers who, in Hebrew, are often referred to as filipini (“my Philippine careworker”), Georgian surrogates and Ukrainian egg cell donors are racialized as Caucasian through the work of gestation and ovulation.14

           ■■■           

Although Israel has a booming domestic reproductive industry, the biggest profits are made when national borders are crossed. In the case of egg donation, the reported “national shortage” of local egg cells in the early 2000s prompted the IVF directors of Israel’s major hospitals to start partnerships with proxy fertility clinics abroad in countries like Czech Republic, Ukraine, and Romania (Nahman, Extractions). Some of these proxy clinics are certified by Israel’s Ministry of Health. The ministry doctor in charge of licensing fertility clinics clarified in an interview:

There are six official fertility units abroad, in the Ukraine, Czech Republic, and the United States, but there are so many unofficial units that Israeli doctors are working with . . . maybe ten or fifteen units all over: in Cyprus, in Russia, in Kazakhstan. Every day, I hear of another place where Israelis go and make business because the women in these countries are often very poor so they are ready to give their eggs for cheap prices. (Tel Aviv, August 21, 2014)

Depending on the chosen treatment package, a transnational egg donation procedure costs approximately double the amount of a local procedure and is partially refunded by National Health Insurance.15 While local Israeli donors would receive a compensation of approximately US$6,000, foreign egg cell providers from Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries are paid between US$600 and $1,000.

Israeli surrogacy agencies also collaborate with local clinics and agencies abroad. When Nepal was a popular surrogacy destination, Tammuz Family started its own proxy fertility clinic in Kathmandu, integrating the medical and logistical services along the surrogacy frontier. Manor Surrogacy, another popular Israeli surrogacy agency, established fertility clinics in Tbilisi and Kiev, where local physicians perform the medical procedures together with Israeli doctors “who travel to Tbilisi and Kiev specifically for this purpose.”16 Manor also provides fully furnished apartments where the commissioning parents and surrogacy babies can reside after the birth, while waiting for the legal documents that need to be approved to return to Israel. Instead of starting their own proxy clinics abroad, most Israeli transnational surrogacy agencies collaborate with local agencies and clinics. The director of one famous Israeli surrogacy agency, for instance, travels every month to Tbilisi with a portable container full of frozen Israeli embryos in their hand luggage and cooperates with a Georgian surrogacy agency and IVF clinic to which the recruitment and medical follow-up of the surrogates is outsourced.

Another cross-border trend is that Israeli surrogacy agencies started introducing their “pioneering” surrogacy model to the rest of the world. Tammuz, for instance, created offices in Brazil, Australia, and the Nordic countries over the past few years to recruit foreign couples. The director clarified this during our interview: “A year ago, we decided that we wanted to not only focus on Israel. I mean, until then Israel was our base, but we took a decision to expand to other destinations. We started to build new offices, like in the Nordic countries and in Brazil, for over a year now. Australia is quite new. So, we now have representatives in these countries. We now have more intending parents from outside of Israel” (Tel Aviv, June 21, 2017).

In this sense, Israel’s fertility industry, which emerged from the debris of ongoing histories of settler colonialism and racial capitalism, is expanding into what Bronwyn Parry and Rakhi Ghoshal termed “reproductive empires.”

Frontiers of Reproductive Resistance

Using the frontier trope, I have demonstrated thus far that fertility technologies such as surrogacy operate as both a demographic frontier and a commodity frontier in Israel/Palestine. These technologies mobilize the reproductivity of settlers, Natives, and racialized reproductive workers in stratified yet mutually constitutive ways, depending on their position in the population economy. Following the crucial insight by Marxist feminists about social reproduction’s “dual characteristic” and by Black feminist scholarship on the crucial role of reproduction in resisting slavery, it is important to note that ARTs operate not only as a colonial-capitalist site of dispossession, extraction, and proletarianization but also as a fertile frontier of resistance (Federici; Weinbaum, “Gendering”). In this last section, I treat the stratified and at times counterintuitive ways in which surrogacy strikes and sperm smuggling have been appropriated as reproductive tools of resistance and sabotage in Israel/Palestine.

The first surrogacy strike was organized by Gays Against Surrogacy, a small anti-Zionist queer collective that opposes the surrogacy industry and Israel’s overall pronatalist climate.

I met Yossi and Yotam, the founding members of the Gays Against Surrogacy collective, on a typically hot July day in South Tel Aviv in 2017. When we were walking to Yotam’s house to discuss surrogacy among Israel’s gay community, I noticed the No Kidding badge on Yossi’s backpack and asked him about it. Yossi laughed and said that these badges were his own creation. He wears and distributes them to critique the consumerist pronatalism in Israeli society, especially among his own gay community (fieldwork notes, Tel Aviv, July 2, 2017).

During our interview Yotam and Yossi pointed at the nuclear family and the army as two of the most powerful institutions for the reproduction of Israel’s settler project as they bring forth and reproduce Israelis as settler/citizens and soldiers.

I see a continuity between the Israeli gay struggle for national belonging by joining the army or by having children. For me, these are the two pillars of Israel’s social contract. . . . According to the dominant Israeli discourse you only deserve your citizen rights if you have been in the army and if you have served your country. And if you didn’t serve in the army, then you are a horrible person. So, I see this struggle to permit gay surrogacy as an attempt by the gay community to prove loyalty and belonging to the state. (Tel Aviv, July 2, 2017)

In 2015 Gays Against Surrogacy joined the Gay Pride parade in Beersheva. Yossi recalled how they carried a huge banner during the parade that said: “We fuck up the ass (which doesn’t lead to the birth of soldiers).” In this small act of resistance against Israel’s pronatalism, Gays Against Surrogacy explicitly correlated queer sexuality with anticolonialism and antinatalism. Birth strikes are not a recent phenomenon. They have been used throughout colonial history as powerful practices of sabotage. Black feminist scholarship, including many of the contributions in this issue, demonstrated that in the plantation economies of the Caribbean and the United States, enslaved women often refused to reproduce the next generation of property and labor power for the plantation owners (Roberts). Darlene Clark Hine, for example, argued that the insurgency of Black enslaved women in the United States and the Caribbean against sexual and reproductive extraction through sexual abstinence, abortion, and infanticide was crucial in overthrowing the slave economy.17 Weinbaum, in “Gendering the General Strike,” also argued that enslaved women’s withdrawal of sexual and reproductive labor (by resisting rape or childbirth) ought to be understood as gendered contributions to the larger general strike against slavery. Gays Against Surrogacy, in their queer reappropriation of the birth strike, provocatively reintroduced the surrogacy strike as a political tool in Israel.

Unsurprisingly, the surrogacy strike as proposed by Gays Against Surrogacy never gained traction in Israeli society. Ironically enough, their call was overruled by a different type of surrogacy strike that was organized in July 2018, when the Israeli Knesset voted against a law that would have allowed surrogacy for gay men. After extending eligibility from heterosexual couples to single women, but not to same-sex couples and single men—the groups undoubtedly most in need of surrogacy—Israel’s LGBT community began an unprecedented nationwide strike to protest the government’s failure to include gay couples in its surrogacy laws.

The Aguda, Israel’s umbrella LGBT organization, announced on its website: “For the first time ever, the gay community will go on a national strike” (Times of Israel). And so it happened that in July 2018, in the midst of Israel’s deadly incursion against Gaza’s March of Return that killed 214 Palestinians and injured 36,100 more, and just a few days before the implementation of the controversial Jewish Nation State Law that allows national self-determination for Jews but not for Palestinians in Israel, hundreds of thousands of Israeli protesters went on strike and blocked the streets of central Tel Aviv to demand equal surrogacy rights for gay men. Moreover, more than forty Israeli companies and branches of multinationals, including Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft, supported the surrogacy strike and encouraged their employees to participate in it. Some companies even committed to financially supporting the international surrogacy arrangements of their gay employees who were forced to look for a foreign surrogate. The Jewish Agency, in a landmark move, decided to offer an $11,000 loan to its gay employees to cover the costs of surrogacy services abroad. As Isaac Herzog, then chairman of the Jewish Agency, stated in an interview with the Jerusalem Post: “The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal” (Sharon).18 The strike was successful in the long run for the organizers. In July 2021 the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to lift the ban on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single men within six months, despite the heavy resistance by the Jewish orthodox political parties.

Remarkably, the Israeli surrogacy strike was organized by the relatively privileged (excluded) gay consumers of the reproductive practice, and not by the reproductive workers (egg cell providers and surrogates), as is usually the case during a strike. In this sense, it was a strike for surrogacy, rather than a surrogacy strike. These diverging appropriations of the surrogacy strike in Israel/Palestine illustrate the complex articulations of (re)productivity, racialization, and resistance in settler colonial formations. Strikes and withdrawals of labor are usually powerful and effective tools of resistance to obtain more recognition, visibility, or remuneration for the paid and unpaid labor performed by the working class (in its broadest sense). Strikes might be less effective, however, for Indigenous peoples who are deemed surplus populations and whose primary (but not only) value—from the oppressor’s point of view—lies in their removal rather than their exploitation. As Gargi Bhattacharyya aptly remarked in her work on racial capitalism and social reproduction: “To be rendered surplus is not to be paid less, it is to be left dying or for dead. Rush too quickly to brush away this ugly distinction and we are in danger of collapsing all racialized economic violence into a claim for equal pay (20). Or, as Laura Briggs stated in her contribution to this special issue: “We need a stronger account of (post)colonial spaces and reproductive labor.”

Throughout its history, Wolfe argued, the Zionist movement has been cautious not to depend too much on Indigenous Palestinian labor. In the early twentieth century, the principle of avoda ivrit or Hebrew labor was introduced to encourage Jewish entrepreneurs and company owners in mandate Palestine to hire only Jewish workers at the expense of Palestinian workers, although the former were often more expensive and less skilled than the latter. Since the early 2000s, and especially after the Second Intifada, Israel has given fewer working permits to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to work inside Israel, while increasing the number of migrant workers from Thailand (agriculture) and the Philippines (care work) (Kemp and Raijman; Wolfe, Traces). Although Palestinians have effectively used general strikes as a means of resistance against colonial dispossession (for example, during the Great Revolt of 1936, during the First Intifada in the mid-eighties, and in May 2021 during the Israeli onslaught on Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza), as Glen Coulthard argues, from an Indigenous perspective, blockades have been much more effective than strikes in materially dismantling and disrupting colonial relations. In Red Skin, White Masks (2014) he explains that blockades and other acts of sabotage constitute a crucial act of negation to processes of colonial extraction, appropriation, and accumulation in settler political economies. Rather than strictly focusing on sabotage as the disruption of so-called productive land (or industry-based infrastructures, technologies, or materialities such as pipelines, powerlines, factories, or power plants), it can also be viewed from a reproductive and embodied perspective (Coulthard).

One act of reproductive sabotage that has been trending in Israel/Palestine is by Palestinian political prisoners who are smuggling their sperm out of Israeli prisons in an attempt to make proxy families (Vertommen, “Babies from behind Bars”). Unlike Jewish Israeli prisoners, Palestinian political prisoners are not allowed physical contact or conjugal visits with their partners. Obviously, these restrictions have far-reaching consequences for Palestinian prisoners and their partners at home who wish to become parents. Thwarting Israel’s security policies through their reproductive bodies, Palestinian prisoners started smuggling their sperm out of prisons. The sperm, referred to as “ambassadors of freedom” in Palestinian parlance, is then rushed to fertility clinics in Nablus or Ramallah where the wives of the prisoners attempt pregnancy by means of artificial insemination or IVF (Abumaria).

Salem Abu al-Khaizaran, the leading doctor and spokesperson for the prisoner’s project in the Razan Medical Center, estimated during an interview in 2013 that more than sixty-five Palestinian prisoners had succeeded in sneaking their semen out of prison and into the Razan Medical Center for Infertility in Ramallah and Nablus, where it is stored in freezers awaiting fertility procedures. According to “Doctor Salem”—as his patients call him—this had resulted in eighteen pregnancies and six live births, with more deliveries expected in the near future (interview, Nablus, August 3, 2013). Since our interview in August 2013, the sperm-smuggling strategy has gone swimmingly in the West Bank and Gaza, with more than one hundred babies reportedly being born (Murrar).

Although IVF costs around US$3,000 per IVF cycle in the West Bank and Gaza, the Razan Medical Center provides the fertility treatment free of charge to the wives of long-term prisoners as part of their community service. The matter became highly politicized when some prisoners’ family members and the Israeli authorities made repeated references to the political tension surrounding this issue in the national and international media. Lydia El-Rimawi, one of the prisoner’s wives who gave birth to a boy in 2013 after her husband smuggled his sperm out of Nafha prison, proudly stated during our interview: “The birth of our son Majd is a defeat for the Israelis, and a personal and a political victory for us. Despite all restrictions we managed to find a way” (interview, Beit Rima, August 30, 2014). Dallal Ziben, the first Palestinian woman who got pregnant through the sperm-smuggling strategy, remarked, “This accomplishment is dedicated to the Palestinian people, namely prisoners and their families” (quoted in Sherwood).

Rhoda Kanaaneh and Jacqueline Portuguese both documented how the Palestinian resistance movement has, in similar fashion to the Zionist movement, deployed the ideology of motherhood as a political tool. Portuguese referred to Yasser Arafat’s famous speech from the seventies when he compared the Palestinian woman to “a biological bomb threatening to blow up Israel from within” (165). The discourse of reproduction as a form of resistance gathered steam during the intifadas when childbearing was presented as Palestinian women’s national duty and a way to replenish those who were martyred as a result of colonial violence. This pronatalist discourse has been criticized by Palestinian feminists and women’s organizations as patriarchal, one that restricts women’s insurgent capacity to their biological and cultural role as mothers.19

In the case of the prisoners’ project, Palestinian women are using reproductive technologies as a last resort to comply with the sociocultural traditions and imperatives of motherhood in what is still a patriarchal society. Dallal Ziben, for instance, used pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select the sex of the embryo, to ensure the birth of a boy, still an important tradition in Palestinian society. Moreover, Doctor Salem informed me that he is keen to help the wives of the prisoners, as they run the risk of “paying a double price.” “First, she wastes her life waiting for her husband, and by the time he gets out, his family will start pushing him to get married to another woman, because she will be too old to give him children” (interview, Nablus, August 3, 2013).20

Yet assisted reproduction also permeates the political arena as a vexed site through which Palestinians are negotiating and claiming their reproductive-demographic rights as a people, in an act of embodied sabotage against colonial politics of erasure. In her research on Palestinian women giving birth in Occupied Jerusalem, Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian concluded that “the willful act of deciding to continue surviving and giving birth is itself perceived as political—as subversion, revolt and agency—by the women themselves” (Birthing 160).

Toward Reproductive Solidarities

In bringing together the intimacies of racial capitalism, settler colonialism, and slavery in this article, commercial surrogacy proved to be an insightful way of making sense of the broader political economy of reproduction in Israel/Palestine. Conversely, Israel/Palestine is an equally fertile lens to understand how reproduction is put to work in settler and racial capitalist formations. While many of the contributions to this issue have a US focus on the intricate relations between transatlantic slavery, “slave breeding,” and the racialization of reproductive labor and extraction, my research on the politics of (assisted) reproduction in Israel/Palestine suggests that surrogacy’s condition of possibility is as much defined by the colonial episteme and the genocidal elimination and replacement of Indigenous populations. For building a reproductive theory of conquest, it seems crucial to understand the reproductive afterlives of the slave episteme in relation to the colonial episteme, and to balance the importance of their variegated reproductive grammars, depending on the historical specificity (in terms of population economy, mode of re/production, divisions of labor) of each racial capitalist formation.

In Israel/Palestine, surrogacy operates as a dialectically interwoven frontier of demographic replacement and capital accumulation, in which the Zionist movement and later the State of Israel capitalized on its colonial impetus to birth and nurture a demographically Jewish state. This biopolitical project materializes at the expense of the lives of Indigenous Palestinians and racialized reproductive workers across the fertility frontier, from Nepal to Georgia and Thailand. However, as Hagar’s insurgent surrogacy experience in the opening story illustrates, assisted reproduction constitutes an equally powerful frontier of resistance in Israel/Palestine. From surrogacy strikes to sperm smuggling, different population groups are seizing their means of reproduction. In resisting the state’s stratified reproductive policies, solidarities between these different reproductive struggles can be forged. In that sense, Hagar could be viewed as the Georgian surrogate who organizes for better reproductive working conditions, as much as she could be the wife of a Palestinian prisoner who decides to get pregnant using the smuggled sperm of her husband, or the Israeli queer who questions the state’s stratified pronatalism.

Acknowledgments

I thank Alys Eve Weinbaum and Jennifer L. Morgan, and the other workshop participants, for their generous and critical feedback on earlier versions of this article. This work was supported by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FWO, grant no. 1207320N).

Notes

Certain sections of this article were already included in other published papers and book chapters. They are listed in the works cited section (Vertommen). This article was written before the events of October 7, 2023. Since Hamas’s attack on Israel, and Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza, it has become even more crucial and urgent to understand how Israel’s settler colonial project in Palestine is undergirded by reproductive grammars of genocide. See, for instance, ReproSist, “Resistance is Fertile—Endorse our statement for Reproductive Justice for Palestine,” December 19, 2023, https://reprosist.org/2023/12/19/resistance-is-fertile-endorse-our-statement-for-reproductive-justice-for-palestine/.

1

In 2018 the existing law was modified by allowing single women to obtain surrogacy services, while still excluding same-sex couples and single men. July 2021 the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to lift the surrogacy restrictions for same-sex couples and single men.

2

New World Encyclopedia, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hagar (accessed April 15, 2022).

3

OECD, 2022, Fertility rates (indicator), https://doi.org/10.1787/8272fb01-en (accessed September 21, 2022).

4

Thanks to Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli for reminding me of this song.

5

According to the most recent data by Israel’s Ministry of Health, there were 5,169 IVF treatment cycles in 1995, resulting in 4.5 cycles per 1,000 women. In 2018 that number has risen exponentially to 48,294 IVF cycles or 23.4 cycles per 1,000 women, which is over five times the European average and ten times the international average. Accordingly, live births via IVF treatment rose from 1.7 percent of Israel’s total live births in 1995 to 5.1 percent in 2018 (Israel Ministry of Health). See also Birenbaum-Carmeli and Dirnfeld.

6

There are some fertility companies that specialize in “Jewish” egg donations. A Jewish Blessing, for instance, is an Israel-based agency that recruits American Jewish donors. NY LifeSpring is a fertility company launched by an Israeli egg broker, who specializes in finding a match between Jewish Israeli donors and couples in the United States.

7

Israel’s chief rabbinate has ruled that all surrogacy babies need to be converted if the parents want their child to be considered Jewish. If the rabbinical judges of the conversion court decide to accept the baby as Jewish, the baby requires immersion in a mikve and circumcision if it is a boy.

8

Jason Moore defined commodity frontiers as a capitalist strategy based on the progressive appropriation, and often dispossession, of places and people as new and cheap reserves of natural resources and labor (Moore).

9

We developed this argument further in Vertommen and Barbagallo.

10

DataBridge Market Research, “Global Fertility Services Market—Industry Trends and Forecast to 2026,” https://www.databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-fertility-services-market (accessed October 2, 2022).

11

On the reproductive-industrial complex, see Vertommen, “From the Pergonal Project”; Peskin.

12

Knesset Research and Information Centre, “The Surrogacy Procedure in Israel and Abroad and Its Cost Elements in Israel That Are State-Funded,” October 7, 2018, https://www.knesset.gov.il/mmm.

13

For more research on the racialization of Caucasian egg donors, see Vlasenko.

14

For more research on the racialization of reproductive labor, see Glenn; Weinbaum, Afterlife.

15

In Israel’s three largest health funds, there is a standard reimbursement of up to NIS 12.000 for two trials of egg donation abroad, up to one child (Ministry of Health Israel, “Egg Donation,” 2015, http://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/fertility/ovum_donation/Pages/default.aspx (accessed October 2, 2022).

16

https://manorsurrogacy.com/our-facilities/ (accessed November 12, 2022).

17

See also the work by Jennifer Morgan, Rhoda Reddock, Alys Weinbaum, and Angela Davis.

18

This section on the surrogacy strikes was included in Vertommen, Parry, and Nahman.

19

While some Palestinian women’s and family planning organizations have promoted lower fertility rates and smaller families as a modern model for emancipation against cultural traditions, it seems that large families are at least in part wanted by Palestinian women. Research suggests that in 2006 the family size considered ideal by Palestinian women was around five children, with some differences between the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Wick; Abdul-Rahim).

20

None of the women that I interviewed mentioned this as one of their motivations. Marcia Inhorn has criticized this culturalist trope of “the Arab man” who will separate from his wife if she cannot give him children. She suggests that the new Arab man is actively rethinking patriarchal forms of masculinity (Inhorn).

Works Cited

Abdo, Nahla.
Women in Israel: Race, Gender, and Citizenship
.
London
:
Zed
,
2011
.
Abdul-Rahim, Hanan, Wick, Laura, Halileh, Samia, Hassan-Bitar, Sahar, Chekir, Hafedh, Watt, Graham, and Khawaja, Marwan. “
Maternal and Child Health in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
.”
Lancet
373
, no.
9667
(
2009
):
967
77
.
Abumaria, Dina. “
Smuggled Sperm Allows Palestinian Prisoners to Become Fathers
.”
Media Line
,
October
29
,
2017
. https://themedialine.org/featured/smuggled-sperm-allows-palestinian-prisoners-become-fathers/.
Ben Porat, Guy. “
A State of Holiness: Rethinking Israeli Secularism
.”
Alternatives
25
, no.
2
(
2000
):
223
45
.
Bernstein, Deborah, Shamir, Hila, Levenkron, Nomi, and Amir, Dlila. “
Sex Work and Migration: The Case of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, 1918–2010
.” In
Selling Sex in the City: A Global History of Prostitution, 1600s–2000s
, edited by Rodríguez García, Magaly, Voss, Lex Heerma van, and Meerkerk, Elise van Nederveen,
329
54
.
Leiden
:
Brill
,
2017
.
Bhattacharyya, Gargi.
Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival
.
London
:
Rowman and Littlefield
,
2018
.
Birenbaum-Carmeli, Daphna, and Carmeli, Yoram S., eds.
Kin, Gene, Community: Reproductive Technologies among Jewish Israelis
.
New York
:
Berghahn
,
2010
.
Birenbaum-Carmeli, Daphna, and Dirnfeld, Martha. “
In Vitro Fertilisation Policy in Israel and Women’s Perspectives: The More the Better?
Reproductive Health Matters
16
, no.
31
(
2008
):
182
91
.
Coulthard, Glen Sean.
Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2014
.
Davis, Angela. “
Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of Slaves
.”
Massachusetts Review
13
, nos.
1–2
(
1972
):
81
100
.
Davis, Angela. “
Surrogates and Outcast Mothers: Racism and Reproductive Politics in the 1990s
.” In
The Angela Y. Davis Reader
, edited by James, Joy,
210
21
.
London
:
Blackwell
,
1998
.
De Sutter, Petra, and Delrue, Eline.
De maakbare baby: Een onbegrensd verlangen
.
Gent
:
Academia
,
2017
.
Efron, Noah.
Judaism and Science: An Historical Introduction
.
Westport, CT
:
Greenwood
,
2007
.
Federici, Silvia.
Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
.
Oakland, CA
:
PM
,
2012
.
Franklin, Sarah.
Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2007
.
Ghanim, Honaida. “
Thanatopolitics: The Case of the Colonial Occupation in Palestine
.” In
Thinking Palestine
, edited by Lentin, Ronit,
65
81
.
London
:
Zed
,
2008
.
Glenn, Evelyn Nakano. “
From Servitude to Service Work: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Reproductive Labor
.”
Signs
18
, no.
1
(
1992
):
1
43
.
Harding, Sandra, ed.
The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2011
.
Hashash, Yali. “
Medicine and the State: The Medicalization of Reproduction in Israel
.” In Birenbaum-Carmeli and Carmeli
271
95
.
Hine, Darlene Clark. “
Female Slave Resistance: The Economics of Sex
.”
Western Journal of Black Studies
3
(
1979
):
123
27
.
Hirsch, Dafna. “
Zionist Eugenics, Mixed Marriage, and the Creation of a ‘New Jewish Type.’
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
15
, no.
3
(
2009
):
592
609
.
Inhorn, Marcia.
The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East
.
Princeton, NJ
:
Princeton University Press
,
2012
.
Israel Ministry of Health
. “
Report: Statistics on IVF in Israel 1990–2018
.”
2020
. https://www.health.gov.il/UnitsOffice/HD/MTI/info/Pages/IVF.aspx.
Ivry, Tsipy.
Embodying Culture: Pregnancy in Japan and Israel
.
New Brunswick, NJ
:
Rutgers University Press
,
2010
.
Jabary-Salamanca, Omar, Qato, Mezna, Rabie, Kareem, and Samour, Sobhi. “
Past Is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine
.”
Settler Colonial Studies
2
, no.
1
(
2012
):
1
8
.
Jackson, Shoana.
Creole Indigeneity: Between Myth and Nation in the Caribbean
.
Minneapolis
:
University of Minnesota Press
,
2012
.
Jacobs, Margaret.
White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880–1940
.
Lincoln
:
University of Nebraska Press
,
2009
.
Kahn, Susan Martha.
Reproducing Jews: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2000
.
Kanaaneh, Rhoda.
Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel.
Berkeley
:
University of California Press
,
2002
.
Keaney, Jaya. “
The Racializing Womb: Surrogacy and Epigenetic Kinship
.”
Science, Technology, and Human Values
47
, no.
6
(
2021
):
1157
79
. https://doi.org/10.1177/01622439211055228.
Kemp, Adriana, and Raijman, Rebeca.
Migrants and Workers: The Political Economy of Labor Migration in Israel
.
Jerusalem
:
Van Leer Institute and Hakibbutz Hameuchad
,
2008
.
King, Tiffany Lethabo.
The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2019
.
Lentin, Ronit.
Traces of Exception: Racializing Israeli Settler Colonialism
.
London
:
Bloomsbury Academic
,
2018
.
Lowe, Lisa.
The Intimacies of Four Continents
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2015
.
Massad, Joseph. “
The Persistence of the Palestinian Question
.”
Cultural Critique
59
, no.
1
(
2005
):
1
23
.
Mies, Maria.
Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labor
.
London
:
Zed
,
2014
.
Moore, Jason.
Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital
.
London
:
Verso
,
2015
.
Moreno, Adi. “
Crossing Borders: Remaking Gay Fatherhood in the Global Market
.” PhD diss.,
University of Manchester
,
2016
.
Morgan, Jennifer L.
Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery
.
Philadelphia
:
University of Pennsylvania Press
,
2004
.
Morgenson, Scott Lauria. “
Theorizing Gender, Sexuality, and Settler Colonialism: An Introduction
.”
Settler Colonial Studies
2
, no.
2
(
2012
):
2
22
.
Murrar, Alaa. “
Palestine: With ‘Liberated’ Sperm, the Impossible Becomes Possible
.” Mediterranean Network for Feminist Information,
January
9
,
2023
. https://medfeminiswiya.net/2023/01/09/palestine-with-liberated-sperm-the-impossible-becomes-possible/?lang=en.
Nahman, Michal.
Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism
.
Hampshire, UK
:
Palgrave Macmillan
,
2013
.
Nahman, Michal. “
Materializing Israeliness: Difference and Mixture in Transnational Ova Donation
.”
Science as Culture
15
, no.
3
(
2006
):
199
213
.
Neumann, Boaz.
Land and Desire in Early Zionism
.
Waltham, MA
:
Brandeis University Press
,
2011
.
Parry, Bronwyn, and Ghoshal, Rakhi. “
Reproductive Empires and Perverse Markets: Unpacking the Paradoxical Dynamics of ART Market Expansion in Non-urban India and Beyond
.”
Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience
8
, no.
1
(
2022
):
1
26
.
Peskin, Doron. “
Israeli Tech Companies Take Fertility Treatments to Next Level
.”
Al-Monitor
,
July
5
,
2022
. https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/07/israeli-tech-companies-take-fertility-treatments-next-level.
Portuguese, Jacqueline.
Fertility Policy in Israel: The Politics of Religion, Gender, and Nation
.
Westport, CT
:
Praeger
,
1998
.
Reddock, Rhoda. “
Women and Slavery in the Caribbean: A Feminist Perspective
.” In “Latin America’s Colonial History,” edited by Steve J. Stern. Special issue,
Latin American Perspectives
12
, no.
1
(
1985
):
63
80
.
Roberts, Dorothy E.
Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
.
New York
:
Vintage
,
1997
.
Rudrappa, Sharmila, and Collins, Caitlyn. “
Altruistic Agencies and Compassionate Consumers: Moral Framing of Transnational Surrogacy
.”
Gender and Society
29
, no.
6
(
2015
):
937
59
.
Schuz, Rhona. “
The Developing Right to Parenthood in Israeli Law
.”
International Survey of Family Law
,
2013:
197
225
.
Shafir, Gershon.
Land, Labor, and the Origins of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1882–1914
.
Oakland
:
University of California Press
,
1996
.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera.
Birthing in Occupied East Jerusalem: Palestinian Women’s Experience of Pregnancy and Delivery
.
Jerusalem
:
YWCA
,
2012
.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera.
Security Theology, Surveillance, and the Politics of Fear
.
Cambridge
:
Cambridge University Press
,
2015
.
Sharon, Jeremy. “
Jewish Agency to Help Gay Employees with Surrogacy Costs
.”
Jerusalem Post
,
March
3
,
2019
. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/jewish-agency-to-help-gay-employees-with-surrogacy-costs-582342.
Sherwood, Harriet. “
Gaza’s First ‘Prison Baby’ on Way after Jailed Palestinian Smuggles out Sperm
.”
Guardian
,
October
13
,
2013
. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/13/gaza-first-prison-baby-palestinian-smuggles-sperm.
Smith, Andrea.
Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2015
.
Spillers, Hortense J.
Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book
.”
Diacritics
17
, no.
2
(
1987
):
64
81
.
TallBear, Kim. “
Making Love and Relations beyond Settler Sex and Family
.” In
Making Kin Not Population: Reconceiving Generations
, edited by Clarke, Adele E. and Haraway, Donna,
145
64
.
Chicago
:
Prickly Paradigm
,
2018
.
Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel
. “
Why Are There So Many Children in Israel?
February
2019
. https://www.taubcenter.org.il/en/research/why-are-there-so-many-children-in-israel/.
Teman, Elly.
Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self
.
Berkeley
:
University of California Press
,
2010
.
Times of Israel
. “
Thousands to Join Day-Long Strike Sunday by LGBT Community over Surrogacy Law
.”
July
21
,
2018
. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-gears-up-for-strike-protests-by-lgbt-community-over-new-surrogacy-law/.
Turner, Frederick Jackson.
The Significance of the Frontier in American History
.
Chicago Annual Report of the American Historical Association
,
1893:
197
227
.
Veracini, Lorenzo.
Israel and Settler Society
.
London
:
Pluto
,
2006
.
Veracini, Lorenzo.
Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview
.
Hampshire, UK
:
Palgrave Macmillan
,
2010
.
Vertommen, Sigrid. “
Babies from Behind Bars: Stratified Assisted Reproduction in Palestine/Israel
.” In
Assisted Reproduction across Borders: Feminist Perspectives on Normalizations, Disruptions, and Transmissions
, edited by Lie, Merete and Lykke, Nina,
207
18
.
New York
:
Routledge
,
2018
.
Vertommen, Sigrid. “
From the Pergonal Project to Kadimastem. A Genealogy of Israel’s Reproductive-Industrial Complex
.”
Biosocieties
12
, no.
2
(
2017
):
282
306
.
Vertommen, Sigrid. “
Towards a Political Economy of Egg Donations: ‘Doing It the Israel Way.’
” In
Critical Kinship Studies: Kinship (Trans)formed
, edited by Kroløkke, Charlotte, Adrian, Stine Willum, Myong, Lene, and Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Tine,
169
84
.
London
:
Rowman and Littlefield International
,
2017
.
Vertommen, Sigrid, and Barbagallo, Camille. “
The Invisible Wombs of the Market: Waged and Unwaged Reproductive Labor in the Global Surrogacy Industry
.”
Review of International Political Economy
29
, no.
6
(
2021
):
1945
66
.
Vertommen, Sigrid, Parry, Bronwyn, and Nahman, Michal. “
Assisted Reproductive Technology’s Colonial Present: Colonial Lineages of Global Fertility Chains
.”
Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience
8
, no.
1
(
2022
):
1
16
.
Vlasenko, Polina. “
Desirable Bodies/Precarious Laborers: Ukrainian Egg Donors in Context of Transnational Fertility
.” In
(In)Fertile Citizens: Anthropological and Legal Challenges of Assisted Reproduction Technologies
, edited by Kantsa, Venetia, Zanini, Giulia, and Papadopoulou, Lina,
197
216
.
Athens
:
InFERCIT
,
2015
.
Vora, Kalindi. “
After the Housewife: Surrogacy, Labour, and Human Reproduction
.”
Radical Philosophy
2
, no.
4
(
2019
):
42
46
. https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/article/after-the-housewife.
Weinbaum, Alys Eve.
The Afterlife of Reproductive Slavery: Biocapitalism and Black Feminism’s Philosophy of History
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2019
.
Weinbaum, Alys Eve. “
The Afterlife of Slavery and the Problem of Reproductive Freedom
.”
Social Text
31
, no.
2
(
2013
):
49
68
.
Weinbaum, Alys Eve. “
Gendering the General Strike: W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction and Black Feminism’s ‘Propaganda of History.’
South Atlantic Quarterly
112
, no.
3
(
2013
):
437
63
.
Weiss, Meira.
The Chosen Body: The Politics of the Body in Israeli Society
.
Stanford, CA
:
Stanford University Press
,
2002
.
Wick, Livia. “
Building the Infrastructure, Modeling the Nation: The Case of Birth in Palestine
.”
Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry
32
(
2008
):
328
57
.
Wilderson, Frank B. III.
Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
,
2010
.
Williams, Dolores S.
Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk
.
New York
:
Orbis
,
1993
.
Wolfe, Patrick. “
Palestine, Project Europe, and the (Un-)Making of the New Jew: In Memory of Edward W. Said
.” In
Edward Said: The Legacy of a Public Intellectual
, edited by Curthoys, Ned and Ganguly, Debjani,
313
37
.
Carlton, Australia
:
Melbourne University Press
,
2007
.
Wolfe, Patrick. “
Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native
.”
Journal of Genocide Research
8
, no.
4
(
2006
):
387
409
.
Wolfe, Patrick.
Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race
.
London
:
Verso
,
2016
.
Wynter, Sylvia. “
1492: A New World View
.” In
Race, Discourse, and the Origin of the Americas: A New World View
, edited by Hyatt, Vera Lawrence and Nettleford, Rex M.,
5
57
.
Washington, DC
:
Smithsonian Institution
,
1996
.
Yuval-Davis, Nira, and Stasiulis, Daiva.
Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class
.
London
:
Sage
,
1995
.