Amos Schocken and the Bigotry of Israel’s Left-Wing Ashkenazi Elite

April 18 2018

Haaretz is certainly not Israel’s most popular newspaper, but it is the newspaper of the country’s left-wing elite, among whom it enjoys a status similar to that of the New York Times. Many Israelis were thus outraged, if not surprised, when it published a feature in which its writers named the patriotic Israeli songs they disliked the most. Defending the survey on Twitter, the publisher, Amos Schocken, managed to cause something of a scandal with a comment he made to a woman with an obviously Middle Eastern Jewish surname. Liel Leibovitz comments:

At some point, one woman, Ravit Dahan, tweeted at Schocken that it was security-minded people like her who kept Israel safe and allowed Schocken “to continue [to] live here like a king and publish your surreal newspaper without interruption.” At that, the publisher lost his cool. “You insolent woman!” he tweeted back. “My family led the Zionist movement when you were still swinging from trees.”

It didn’t take long for people to note that a privileged, wealthy, Ashkenazi man accusing a Mizraḥi woman of apishness was, to put it mildly, wildly racist. Schocken must’ve realized it, too, as he deleted his tweet and issued an apology, claiming that he didn’t think accusing someone of swinging from trees had any racial connotations.

You may be tempted to write this story off as just another example of someone having a momentary lapse of judgment. . . . But Schocken’s tweet is hard to dismiss as just some unfortunate slip: rather, it is a startlingly clear expression of a systemically racist worldview that has been the lifeblood of the Israeli left for at least four decades now.

Anyone wishing to . . . understand this paradox—that a political camp that champions the rights of Palestinians, migrant workers, and other struggling groups is quick to resort to the most prejudiced stereotypes when it comes to right-wing Mizraḥi Israelis—would do well to study the seminal elections of 1977, which saw the rise of Menachem Begin’s Likud after 29 years of Labor-led governments. In his old-fashioned suits and his old-fashioned Hebrew, Begin visited neighborhoods and towns for which the left never had much use, building his base among Mizraḥi Jews who felt betrayed by Labor.

And not without reason. As an explosive Israeli documentary released late last year revealed, . . . the Labor-run governments of the 1950s deliberately dispatched newly arrived immigrants from North African countries to small and dusty towns down south, barred them from moving to Tel Aviv and other large cities—a restriction not placed on Polish immigrants who arrived a few years later—and went as far as threatening to take away the children of anyone who questioned the policy. At the same time, the very same architects of these horrendous policies spoke haughtily about peace and human rights—and were shocked when the Mizraḥi Jews they’d spent a lifetime disdaining finally rose up and voted against them.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Haaretz, Israel & Zionism, Israeli society, Menachem Begin, Mizrahi Jewry, Racism

 

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy