Al Jazeera has an op-ed by Susan Abulhawa, who claims that Israel is a racist country because of its treatment of Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries) as second class citizens.
Yes, Al Jazeera has breaking news from 1954.
Obviously Alulhawa doesn’t give a damn about Mizrahi Jews, or else she might have spared a word about how they have all been ethnically cleansed from Arab countries, as well as how badly they were treated by Arab Muslims and Christians for centuries.
Absurdity abounds throughout the article, as Abulhawa claims that the entire idea of Mizrahi Jews is a fake construct made up by Israel to take away their individuality:
Thus, the word Mizrahim, from the Hebrew and Arabic words meaning “those of the East,” was popularised to lump all of these peoples of different nations into a single miscellaneous category that erased their individual ancient histories and cultures that spanned thousands of years of life and tradition, replete with countless and invaluable achievements in their respective nations.
What about the word “Sephardic”? Was that also an attempt to homogenize Jews who were not Ashkenazi?
And didn’t Zionism do the same thing with Jews from Russia, Poland, Germany and Hungary, by lumping them all together as “Ashkenazi Jews”? Didn’t they each have their own cultures and traditions that were also subsumed under the Israeli umbrella as Israel struggled to integrate every Jew to become a new nation?
Was that racism too?
Traditional Jews have maintained much of their culture, whether from the West or the East. And Israel has incorporated parts of Mizrahi culture into its society. The idea of Ashkenizi and Sephardi Jews intermarrying is utterly normal, and has been for decades, which is surprising from such a “racist” society (which has had a Mizrahi president too.)
But Abulhawa’s real agenda is clear from this hilarious final paragraph:
Israel has moved away slightly from early Zionism’s contempt for our part of the world. And while it remains a colonial project, bent on erasing the native Palestinian presence, their social efforts are more focused on “indigenising” themselves to the land. The obstinacy of Arab Jews in clinging to their cultural roots has provided a convenient avenue to lay claim to regional indigenous culture. So now, Arab foods (like falafel, hummus, shakshouka), traditional Arab clothing (like tatreez, galabiyas, keffiyehs), and Arab folkloric dances are all being rebranded as “Israeli,” yet another phase of colonial renaming, and they use the rebranded Arab Jews to justify their claim.
It’s always about the falafel.
Abulhawa’s ridiculous attempts to smear Israeli Jews of European origin prove only one thing: She’s the racist, not the Israelis.
The fact is that Jews from Arab countries were always second class citizens, much more persecuted than they ever were in Israel 60 years ago. And Abulhawa is quite OK with that.
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