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How Post-Zionists Falsify the History of Middle Eastern Jewry

Oct. 28 2014

Historian Rachel Shabi and a group of other post-Zionists have tried to use historical prejudice against Mizrahim—i.e., Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin—to undermine Zionism. In her view, Mizrahi Jews are really “Jewish Arabs” who ought to make common cause with Palestinians against the state of Israel. Although ethnic prejudice and discriminatory policies have certainly existed in Israel, Shabi exaggerates them wildly, fails to understand then in their historical context, and idealizes Jewish-Muslim coexistence in the Arab world beyond all recognition. She also, writes Lyn Julius, ignores the fact that this prejudice is largely a thing of the past:

Although it was . . . a struggling developing country, Israel took in the stateless, the destitute, the sick, and the elderly—because they were Jews. . . . . Today Mizrahim are generals, doctors, property developers, bank managers, and have held every government post except prime minister. Most importantly—a hugely significant fact that Shabi simply glosses over—intermarriage [with Ashkenazi Jews] is running at 25 per cent, and the mixed Israeli family is fast becoming the norm. Soon there will be no such thing as Mizrahi or Ashkenazi in the Israeli melting pot.

Shabi’s nostalgia trip to a world before Zionism leads her up a blind alley. She confuses the interpersonal with the political: good neighborliness with the (unequal) power relationship between Jews and Arabs. An overlap of culture and language with Arabs over 14 centuries did not protect Mizrahim from pogroms, dispossession, and expulsion, to the point where fewer than 5,000 Jews live in Arab countries today, out of a 1948 population of one million. This is a lesson lost on some who eagerly espouse Arab-Israeli coexistence projects.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Arab anti-Semitism, Matti Friedman, Mizrahi Jewry, post-Zionism

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism