Friday, March 13, 2015

Leftist slams leftist 'anti-Mizrahism'

With the Israeli elections looming, an artist and Haaretz contributor called Yair Garboz (Garbuz) has been venting his prejudices against 'talisman-kissers' and 'tomb worshippers', an obvious reference to Israel's Sephardim and Mizrahim. Condemnation comes from an unlikely source, founder of the far-leftist 972 magazine Dimi Reider. Reider produces some fascinating data indicating that Israelis still vote along ethnic lines, with the poorer Mizrahim supporting Shas and the more affluent Ashkenazim supporting Yesh Atid and Meretz. The mainstream parties are more evenly divided. The left needs to address Mizrahi grievances if it is to make headway, writes Reider. I would say he is partly right - but the Left also needs to tailor its foreign policy agenda to a constituency hard-bitten by Arab antisemitism.

Yair Garboz:derided 'talisman-kissers'

Garboz’s remarks were not merely patronising and prejudiced, throwing such innocuous - and to many, cherished - experiences as pilgrimage into the same category as corruption, genocidal racism and murder. They also highlighted a tremendously important and painful political divide that usually goes unseen by foreign observers: Israeli voters attribute considerable importance to the often unstated ethnic affiliation of a party, almost as much as they do to its political role.

A week before the rally, this overwhelmingly ignored reality was confirmed by a rare survey broadcast by Channel 10 that asked for whom Ashkenazis and Mizrahis intended to vote. The resulting division could not be clearer: 51 percent of the potential voters who support the Zionist Union, which the current standard bearer of Labor Zionism, are Ashkenazi, and only 29 percent are Mizrahi.

Among the voters for the Union’s more liberal cousin, Meretz, whose stronghold is among Tel Aviv academics, kibbutzim and professionals, 69 percent are Ashkenazi and 12 percent are Mizrahi. Habayit Hayehudi, product of the historic Ashkenazi Religious Zionist movement, has 46 percent Ashkenazi voters and 31 percent Mizrahi. Yesh Atid, an “apolitical” centrist capitalist party appealing to Israel’s urban young professionals, has 51 percent Ashkenazi voters and 29 percent Mizarhi.

Meanwhile, Likud, the original vehicle of Mizrahi electoral awakening, boasts the most equal division between the two communities, with 41 percent Ashkenazi voters and 39 percent Mizrahi. Kulanu, a centrist party led by a prominent Mizrahi, ex-Likud politician Moshe Kahlon, comes close to the Likud balance with 36 percent Ashkenazi voters and 42 percent Mizrahi. Shas, the only party so far to bill itself as a party by Mizrahis for Mizrahis, specifically, ultra-Orthodox Sephardi Jews, boasts 75 percent Mizrahis among its voters and only 5 percent Ashkenazi.

These results are further borne out by the voting data from the 2013 elections, processed into map form by the Madlan real estate portal. Hover over Tel Aviv, its northern suburbs or any of the kibbutzim that dot the map, and you will see overwhelming votes for Labor, Meretz and Yesh Atid. 

over Tel Aviv’s poorer southern suburbs, like Bat Yam and Rishon Letzion, or over the far-flung “development towns” where the original Mizrahi immigrants were shunted, and see the color change to blue, with overwhelming vote for right-wing parties and for Shas.

Israeli left-wingers who like to claim that intra-Jewish discrimination is a thing of the past also like to wonder loudly - and often sneeringly - why the poorest Israelis continue to vote for Netanyahu, even though his ultra-capitalist economic policies hurt them first. The question should rather be who and what they are voting against, and how the left-wing parties can address these grievances, past and present.  

 Read article in full

A rejoinder by Benny Ziffer in Haaretz (with thanks: Eliyahu)
Cavemen accuse national poet of racism 
 Playwright derides mezuzah-kissers as fools


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Apparently other "leftists" realize that Garbuz made a tactical mistake:

Ben said...

Yedioth Aharonoth dedicates a full two broadsheet pages every Friday to a horoscope. Its readers, Mizrahi and Ashkenazi alike, are told how the alignment of the stars and their date of birth will combine to determine the contents of their love life and their economic success. As far as I know nobody has ever suggested that this casts doubts on the level of culture and sophistication of the general public.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Yedi`ot's horoscope section is a very good example to bring up in this context, really. That's because Yedi`ot is on the same side as Garbuz in the election campaign [pro-Labor, pro-Herzog, pro-Livni]. In fact, Yedi`ot is notorious for its constant smearing of Netanyahu. The staff at Yedi`ot probably divides up almost totally between Labor and Meretz, with maybe a few Commies thrown in.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

To know what kind of a person Garbuz is, my son in law told me last night that Garbuz once sickked his dog on him. This happened when my son-in-law was a teenager. I think he was mad that some boys were playing ball and the ball went into his yard.

bataween said...

Garbuz sounds like a thoroughly objectionable person..

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Yes, he is obnoxious. And the Meretz-Labor crowd thought that he deserved to be one of the speakers at their rally.