Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Has Barak Obama got it in for Mizrahi Jews?

Eli Yishai of the Shas party

Who was responsible for making the untimely announcement that 1600 housing units would be built in northern Jerusalem? Interior minister Eli Yishai of the Shas party. Who was responsible for including the holy sites of Hebron amongst those Jewish Heritage sites the Israeli government wishes to renovate? Eli Yishai of Shas. Who let the dogs out? Eli Yishai. Right now, the 'right-wing' Mizrahi-dominated party seems to be the bete noire not just of the international media, but of president Obama himself. But the media have missed the larger story, argues Daniel Greenfield in the Canada Free Press: Obama's manufactured spat over building in Jerusalem targets Jews driven from their homes in Muslim countries.

One of the unreported aspects of Obama’s manufactured insult over an Israeli housing project in Jerusalem is the way in which the administration has targeted Jewish refugees from Muslim countries. While media reports frequently denounced Interior Minister Eli Yishai, as a “Right Wing Extremist”, for approving one stage of the planned housing project—what they did not report was the larger story. Eli Yishai is the head of the Shas party, one of Israel’s largest political parties, which represents the interests of Sefardi and Mizrahi Jews from Muslim countries. And the housing project would have benefited Jerusalem’s sizable population of Jews from Muslim countries.

In the 20th century a vast exodus took place in which as many as a million Jews from Muslim countries fled or otherwise departed, often leaving behind homes and valuables. Some came to America and Europe. Many more came to Israel instead. Today three million Mizrahi Jews live in Israel, indeed the majority of Israeli Jews are not the “immigrants from Brooklyn” derisively referred to by Israel-bashing pundits, but Jews whose families came to Israel from Muslim countries, or who spent many centuries living in Jerusalem under Muslim dominion.

They came from Yemen, Turkey, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Algeria. Some were driven out by enraged Muslim mobs. Others had their children stolen and their property seized by the government. Others remained behind “sand curtains”, unable to leave. The ways in which some of these Jews were smuggled out of the country through a virtual “Underground Railroad” is unknown to most. And this is a story that continues today.

Consider the story of one woman who successfully helped smuggle out thousands of Syrian Jews by bribing Syrian government officials. And though she describes the work in terms of the Holocaust, “How do you negotiate the price of human lives? I was breaking up children from their parents. It was like the 1940s – they were desperate to get their children out”, in fact the last family she saved was in 2001.

This is what a million Jews from Muslim countries escaped to begin their lives again in Israel. They left behind life in Muslim countries where they were Dhimmis, legally treated as second class citizens under Islamic law. They thought that they had turned their backs on a state of affairs where Muslims could dictate that synagogues should be built no taller than mosques, where their lives were worth less than a Muslim’s and were paid for with blood money and forced to live in ghettos. That is until Obama decided to be gravely insulted because they had decided to live in a place that he thought they had no right to live.

Some commentators have speculated that Obama’s goal by manufacturing the “insult” scandal, was to force Shas out of the government coalition, thereby disenfranchising the millions of Jews from Muslim countries living in Israel. Apologists for Obama have cloaked this in the guise of some sort of campaign against the “right wing”, but Shas, which has been part of coalitions with the Labor Party, including Yitzchak Rabin, is hardly right wing. It voted for the Oslo Peace Accords. It has been fairly open to all sorts of concessions. But its political leader Eli Yishai drew the line at turning portions of Jerusalem into a Jewish Ghetto, while reserving the remainder of the city for Arab Muslims.

And let us consider for a moment, Eli Yishai. Like so many other children of Jewish refugees from Muslim countries, Yishai was born in Jerusalem. His father, Zion Yishai, however came from Muslim Tunisia. Jews have lived in Tunisia for over 2,500 years. But where they once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, today there are hardly a thousand Jews left. The majority of Tunisian Jews now live in Israel and Europe. (...)

Tunisian Jews were forced to live in ghettos called “Haras”, subject to Muslim riots and atrocities. One in 1864 was described as follows, “Muslim fanaticism ... unleashed against our brethren on the island of Djerba… synagogues profaned and defiled. The Scrolls ... torn in pieces and burnt ... men injured and trampled ... all the women and girls raped .... My pen refuses to set down the terrifying ... atrocities ... in all [their] horror.”

In 1869, the rabbis and leaders of the community of Tunis appealed desperately to the government in Paris that “in the face of Muslim ferocity, eighteen Jews have fallen to the knives of the fanatical murderers.

Tunisian independence, celebrated by liberals as the end of colonialism, opened the door to a renewed wave of Muslim anti-Jewish violence. Today of the 105,000 Jews that lived in Tunisia in 1948, barely a thousand remain. This brief recitation of history is important because it is a reminder of what so many of the millions of Mizrahi Jews of Israel and their fathers and grandfathers suffered. And those liberals who cynically condemn Eli Yishai as a “right winger” because his party would like to provide housing for Jews in Jerusalem, rather than returning to the Tunisian ghettos are cynically exploiting the real victims of Islamic colonialism.

Obama and those in the EU who are striving to turn Jerusalem into another ghetto with areas where Jews may live and areas where they may not live, are once again inflicting the horrors of Islamic Occupation on the Jews who fled from it. It is of course understandable that Obama would sympathize with Muslims over non-Muslims due to his own extensive Muslim heritage, a fact he himself emphasized in a speech at Al Azhar Islamic University. But where Obama might have chosen to redeem his ancestors’ religion by showing tolerance to the Jewish refugees whom his family’s co-religionists had persecuted for over a thousand years, he instead chose to perpetuate their legacy of oppression by manufacturing a scandal over the “insult”. The insult being that Jewish refugees and the descendants of Jewish refugees might have actually been able to live in their ancient city in homes built on empty land. And as a result Muslim anti-Jewish riots have broken out in Jerusalem, that bear some resemblance to those in Tunisia.

Read article in full


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Daniel Greenfield is right to say that the Obama administration manufactured the crisis. They had nothing to say at all about the insult to the USA embodied in the renaming of a square in Ramallah after the murderess of 38 Jewish civilians, including an American woman who just happened to be the niece of a US Senator.

Finally, after about two weeks of invective against Israel, Mrs Clinton alluded to this event in her AIPAC speech. But she still did not call it an insult to the USA, although she did allow that it "insults the families on both sides who have lost loved ones in this conflict." [see link above].
So not even the murder of a US citizen, the niece of a US senator no less, can be mentioned as an insult to the United States itself.
Hilary's speechwriters must have worked hard to come up with the formulation in the speech.[see link below]

Another phoney White House expression was Vice President Biden's fake concern for American troops in Muslim lands. If they were really concerned for the troops in Iraq, for instance, they would have condemned Syria long ago. [see link below]

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

There is a lot of open ground to the north and west of Ramat Shlomo, although the rather prosperous Shu`afat Arab neighborhood lies to the east. Maybe the State Dept, White House, and EU want to impose apartheid on Jews in Israel, ghettoize them, as it were, and prevent them from living too close to the Arabs of Shu`afat neighborhood [distinct from the Shu`afat "refugee camp" farther to the east]. On the Euro pro-apartheid policy see link:

It ought to be pointed out that not only Jews whose families come from Arab countries live in Ramat Shlomo, but many Ashkenazim live there too. There are also Jews from France whose families previously lived in North Africa. There really is a ghettoizing logic involved in forbidding Jewish home building in Ramat Shlomo [or anywhere in Jerusalem where Jews have been the majority since the mid-19th century].

Since the Haredi population, which Shas also represents, usually have big families, they need more places to live. It seems inhuman to try to squeeze these people into the small Jerusalem west of the 1949 armistice line.

suzanne said...

On the Dutch news it was reported that a former PalArab hotel was pointed out to become an appartment building. This move was considered to be "sensitive" concerning the peace plan. They showed the shabby and falling apart building and all I could think was: what's better? Make appartments out of this or keep the building in shabby conditions for weeds, mold, cockroaches, rats and mice to rot further?

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Suzanne, remember that before the Holocaust, few Western states wanted to take in Jewish refugees. No room. No room at the inn, so to speak, in New Testament terms.

Now they don't want Jews living in parts of Jerusalem that they disapprove of Jews living in. Recall that the Spaniards didn't want Jews 500+ years ago in their country. Now they don't want Jews in the Jews' country.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

thank you for running the piece

This Is Hell said...

Obama has it in, more or less for all Jews. Mizrahis are simply first in line.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Obama has it in for Jews so much as he hasn't been able to keep his promises to remove US troops post haste from Iraq, much to the annoyance of the segment of his party who are probably "anti-zionist".