Is Barack Obama Nostalgic for a “White” Israel?

In a recent interview, the president discussed his nostalgia for the Israel of “kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir,” an Israel which, he claimed, saw Zionism as a project of “remaking the world.” He would make similar remarks in his address to the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington. David Bernstein notes that this translates to nostalgia for a less diverse Israel:

The Israel of kibbutzim, Dayan, and Meir was perhaps a more idealistic, and certainly a more socialist, Israel. But it was also an Israel dominated by a secularized, Ashkenazi elite.

Mizraḥim (Jews from Arab countries), though more than half the population, were marginalized at every level of society. Discrimination was to a large extent institutionalized; the governing Labor party was run by socialist Ashkenazim, and given that state capitalism dominated the Israeli economy, one’s political and social connections went a long way toward determining one’s economic prospects. The kibbutzim in particular were a font of anti-Mizraḥi chauvinism.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: Barack Obama, Golda Meir, Israel & Zionism, Kibbutz movement, Mizrahi Jewry, Moshe Dayan

Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics