Sunday, June 14, 2009

The bludgeon of anti-Semitism is being swung against Mizrahi intellectuals

Obviously some mainstream Israeli academics are losing their nerve in their desperate efforts to silence growing internal intellectual opposition. Ashkenazi Jews are now swinging the club of alleged "anti-Semitism" against critical Mizrahim (oriental Jews). This is going to happen in a conference to be held in Haifa University on 22 June, 2009. The subject: The New Anti-Semitism - Educational Challenges

Among the one-sided speakers one can find a former school headmaster who is now working on his PhD, Arie Kizel (Actually Kiesel – German for pebble). Kizel is going to talk on: Post Colonialism and the New Anti-Semitism- the Case of the New Mizrahi Discourse (Heb.)

In his Hebrew abstract one can find pearls like:

The new Mizrahi secular project builds one of the post-colonial versions enlisted to an anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli terminology. This one-sided terminology is a part of a narrative based on the negation of the sovereign Jewish existence in a national framework while exposing the basis of Jewish-Ashkenazi-Western violence against two populations of alleged refugees: the Mizrahim and the Palestinians.

Kizel tries to deny the obvious strong racism in Zionist society and calls victims of such racism, in this case Mizrahim, racists.

There can be no doubt that the "negation of the Diaspora" is an essential anti-Jewish Zionist element, as it describes the Jewish existence in the "Diaspora" as sick and that this illness should be cured by migrating to Palestine. As a result the "diasporaic" identity should be erased. Also because of this ideology Shoa survivors have been badly treated in Israel and were called "human dust", "bad human material", Sabonim (bars of soap – in a disgusting reference to the urban legend that the Nazis allegedly produced soap out of Jewish corpses). But with time many European survivors were allowed to be integrated into the elite.

It is indisputable that most of the Mizrahim have had a much lower status than the European Shoa survivors and that in many respects many of them are still just above Arabs. European prejudices against Oriental culture were added to the "anti-Diaspora" position. There has been an obvious improvement in the status of many Mizrahim since the 1950s, but the problem of the racism against them is far from being solved.

Shraga Elam

Thanks for George Malant for editing my English and thanks for Yossi Dahan from Ha'Okets for drawing my attention to the conference (s. and the nesuing discussion Heb.)

A note from Henry Lowi (Canada):
This (English language) article by neo-con Meyrav Wurmser was referred to in the (Hebrew language) on-line discussion of the Ashkenazi Zionist attack on dissident Mizrahi intellectuals.
Henry Lowi

See also:
1 [1] Ella Habib Shohat is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at CUNY and a co-founder of the New Association of Sephardi/Mizrahi Artists & Writers Int'l.

No comments:

Post a Comment