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.