Who and what is Jewish?

A case study for an intersecting legal conceptualization of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion


  • Andras Laszlo Pap HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences


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constitutional identity, definition, DNA, fraud, Israel, Jewish


Focusing on Jewishness, which is placed at the intersection of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion, the article provides a case study of the complexity of legally validated ethno-racial classifications. The case of the Jewry is chosen due to its peculiar history and contemporary experience of persecution and discrimination, the myth, and the challenging legal concept of assimilation, and the unique case of Israel, the ‘official national homeland’ of the Jewry offering an official definition, which may also serve as a reference point for the Diaspora.

Author Biography

Andras Laszlo Pap, HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences

András L. Pap is Research Professor and Head of Department for Constitutional and Administrative Law at the HUN-REN Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Excellence Institute for Legal Studies, as well as Professor of Law at the Faculty of Economics at Eötvös University (ELTE) in Budapest, and Adjunct (Recurrent Visiting) Professor in the Nationalism Studies Program at the Central European University (CEU) in Vienna.   A former visiting scholar at New York University School of Law Global Law Program, and a SASPRO-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Institute of Sociology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, his research interest include comparative constitutional law, human rights, law enforcement, and the conceptualization of race and ethnicity. He worked as rapporteur, consultant, senior expert, project manager and lead researcher in various projects commissioned by the European Union, the Council of Europe and the UN. He served as expert witness for courts in the UK and the US and habitually works with international NGO’s and think tanks. He is a member of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. In 2018 he founded the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) Research Group on identity, race and ethnicity in constitutional law. He is also a recurrent evaluator for a variety of EU grants. He has taught over 85 courses, delivered over 250 presentations and published over 100 articles and book chapters in international academic forums.




How to Cite

Pap, A.L. 2024. Who and what is Jewish? A case study for an intersecting legal conceptualization of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 9, 3 (Jan. 2024), 167–187. DOI:https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v9i3.1279.