Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Guardian discovers 'Israel's other Arabs'

Yet another excuse to promote Rachel Shabi's book Not the enemy (on the so-called 'ethnic divide' between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim) in the guise of a Comment is Free piece (insultingly titled 'Israel's other Arabs' ) by the Egyptian journalist Khaled Diab. Interestingly, the comments thread - open another two days - is already quite critical of Diab (With thanks: Philosemite):

"Could this common cultural heritage and affinity aid the quest for peace with the Arabs – what Shabi calls the "Mizrahi bridge hypothesis"? She once hoped it could, but her research led her to abandon it. Despite all the signs to the contrary, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the potential role Mizrahi Jews could play in building understanding and empathy. The fact that they are more likely to be ultra-nationalistic, ultra-conservative and ultra-right wing than Ashkenazis is partly due to their sense of betrayal at the hands of the Arab world and Israel alike.

"But as new generations of Mizrahi Jews discover a renewed pride in their heritage, this could lead to further corrosion of the simplistic polarity of the official narratives of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This, in turn, could prompt more dialogue with Arabs, which could eventually build the kind of understanding required to provide a solid foundation for peace."

My own feeling is that any reconciliation between Jews and Arabs has to be built on truth. No bridge-building can occur unless the Arabs acknowledge, and not marginalise, the suffering of 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

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Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Diab adheres to the notion of a rosey hued past of the Jews living in Arab lands [to be sure, in most of these lands, Jews were present before the Arab conquest]. Maybe he needs to study some real history rather than holding on to the saccarhine sweet edulcorated picture of Muslim-Jewish relations when the Muslims [Arabs and others] had unquestioned power in society.

Anonymous said...

As an Ashkenazi, I am not proud of the snobbery and discrimination we inflicted on Mizrahim in the early days.

But I find it very, very interesting that these leftists are so ready to cry rivers about discrimination from us Ashkenazim, but don't care in the slightest about the never ending MURDER campaign against Mizrahi Jews by the Palestinian terrorists.

How mysterious....

bataween said...

Mysterious indeed - Ashkenazi radical leftists have a blindspot when it comes to Mizrahi rights.

Anonymous said...

Not just Ashkenazi leftists.