It has been argued that 'intersectionality', that voguish concept bandied about on US campuses - applies to all 'oppressed' groups except Jews. Not so, says Sigal Samuel in the Forward, producing evidence that Mizrahi Jewish intellectuals saw their fate bound up with Arabs since the 1950s, an argument popular on the radical anti-Zionist left. The comments I have selected below this extract do a good job of rebutting Samuel's assertions (with thanks: Amie):
"If you’ve been tuned in to the Israel-Palestine conversation over the past few months, you’ve probably heard the word “intersectionality.”
The idea that different forms of oppression are linked — so that
standing up for victims of sexism and homophobia should also mean that
we stand up for, say, victims of Israeli state violence — has touched
off a frenzy in the Jewish media.
"But whether you listen to those supporting or to those opposing
the idea that Jews must stand in solidarity with Palestinians because
our liberation is intrinsically tied to theirs, you’ll find that almost
everyone is talking about this idea as if it’s a new development.
"Which is strange, because it’s not. And it’s only because of Jews’
fixation on a mainstream Ashkenazi-centric history that we’ve managed to
forget how far back this idea goes among Mizrahim, Jews from Arab
"They weren’t using the term “intersectionality” back then, of course —
that was coined by black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.
But Mizrahim were developing a robust intersectional politics and
culture way back in the early 1950s, soon after the State of Israel was
created. As they struggled in ma’abarot, transit camps, many
Mizrahi intellectuals and artists saw their fate as inextricably bound
up with the fate of the indigenous Arabs, with whom they shared not only
cultural markers like the Arabic language, but also the experience of
severe discrimination at the hands of the Israeli government."