What has happened to the Mizrahi Rainbow? It is 10 years since this radical group of post-Zionist intellectuals was founded in Israel to fight for Mizrahi rights. But now, it seems, according to this article in Haaretz, the group is falling apart. Or is it?(With thanks: Edwin)
"He (Yehuda Shenhav, one of the Rainbow's founders) also sees all the internal arguments and the departures from the movement as a natural process in a radical movement: "First the Arabs left, since our struggle over land did not relate to theirs. After that, Meir Buzaglo saw I was using a laptop on the Sabbath and decided he would leave together with the traditional activists. The feminists left because they contended the Rainbow was being run by men, and so on and so forth."
"He adds: "We conducted the struggle over land in the name of the right of 'state lands,' and in this way, we separated it from the joint struggle over Arab lands. To my regret, we also accepted the cultural racism that basically comes with the melting pot approach - that merely tries to find a place for the Mizrahim, instead of posing a challenge in principle to the question of national identity."
"Even if the Rainbow did not enjoy great practical achievements, it contributed to raising public awareness. "Until the 'rainbow' came along, the Mizrahi struggle was associated merely with misery and weakness. This was the first time people who had succeeded on a personal level were those who led the struggle. This created pride and a model for emulation for the educated Mizrahi youngsters."
"And what will the future hold? Some of those interviewed for the article said they believed the Rainbow movement had lost its appeal. Nurit Hajaj, the current director of the movement, believes this is far from the case and attributes the notion to members who are no longer active in the movement. "There is a prominent generation, well-versed in the media, that has left the movement, and these people find it hard to be less dominant. Those looking in from the outside also believe no one is left in the movement. It is true that today's activists are less famous, but there certainly is activity. Our central theme continues to be the vast tracts of lands over which local councils have given control to certain small communities at the expense of the development towns that are in the same areas," she says.
"In other words, it is possible that Shenhav and Yonah's intellectual Rainbow, which was busy examining Mizrahi identity, has died; but perhaps the Rainbow, in its political and social form, as envisioned in Sheetrit and Karif's disappointed dreams, is trying to come back to life."
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See Meyrav Wurmser's piece here