Friday, September 10, 2021

  • Friday, September 10, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
At +972, Hadar Cohen writes:

Whenever I find myself at a leftist protest against the occupation, there is always someone holding a sign that says “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” This phrase has become, in some ways, the bedrock of leftist ideology promoting coexistence in Israel/Palestine. But when I encounter this phrase, I immediately feel disoriented. Which side am I on? If I am on the “Jewish” side, do I lose the Arab identity within me? Can I identify as an Arab, even as I enjoy privileges as a Jewish citizen of Israel? 

I identify as an Arab Jew. My family has lived in Jerusalem for over 10 generations, and my other ancestral cities include Aleppo in Syria, Baghdad in Iraq, and Shiraz in Iran, along with a small village in Kurdistan. 

In our traditional Jewish home, observing our Syrian-Palestinian heritage and culture came with ease. Jewishness and Arabness fit together cohesively — there was no contradiction. But outside our home, my faith and culture clashed. The State of Israel conditioned me to see the intersection of “Jewish” and “Arab” as non-existent or impossible, even though Arab Jews have lived at this intersection for years. 
She then goes on to review the racism in the early days of modern Israel against Mizrahi Jews - racism that was shameful and real enough although she exaggerates it.

Cohen leaves out a great deal in her essay, facts that are very relevant but that she doesn't want her brainwashed anti-Israel audience to know.

One is that practically no Mizrahi Jews identify as Arab. She is an anomaly. There are millions of Mizrahi Jews who are proud of their heritage that was influenced by their ancestors who lived in the Arab world, but they don' t call themselves Arab Jews. I highly doubt that her grandparents thought of themselves as Arabs. This is a construct has been created relatively recently.

The term is controversial, as the vast majority of Jews with origins in Arab-majority countries do not identify as Arabs, and most Jews who lived amongst Arabs did not call themselves "Arab Jews" or view themselves as such.[17][18] In recent decades, some Jews have self-identified as Arab Jews, such as Ella Shohat, who uses the term in contrast to the Zionist establishment's categorization of Jews as either Ashkenazim or Mizrahim; the latter, she believes, have been oppressed as the Arabs have. Other Jews, such as Albert Memmi, say that Jews in Arab countries would have liked to be Arab Jews, but centuries of abuse by Arab Muslims prevented it, and now it's too late. The term is mostly used by post-Zionists and Arab nationalists.
Meaning that the term "Arab Jew" is a new construct created for political purposes, not reflective of reality.

The second fact is related: Arabs never considered Jews to be full citizens in their countries. The lives of Jews in Arab counties were sometimes better, sometimes worse, but they were never, ever considered to be equal with the Muslims. And very often throughout the centuries, Jews in Arab countries were persecuted, forced to act as subservient to their Arab masters, attacked, raped and murdered. Only recently I published a series of articles about how Jews in Muslim and Arab lands were treated in the 1800s but Arab antisemitism is a theme I have documented countless times. 

So when Cohen says "Arab culture is centered on hospitality and the welcoming of strangers. We were a place of open arms, accepting travelers and refugees with love and care," she is either ignorant or lying. Arab culture is famously hospitable but it is not welcoming, and the strangers must know their place.

The third fact Cohen ignores is that Israel of today is not the Israel of the 1950s. Mizrahi culture is not only celebrated in Israel, it has become part and parcel of Israeli life today. The discrimination she mentions has all but disappeared, as tens of thousands of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews have intermarried and roughly half of Israelis now have some Mizrahi roots.

I can only find one article in newspaper archives that use the term "Arab Jews" - something the syndicated author Henry J. Taylor admits he made up himself in his 1979 column, although he wrote about Jews in Arab countries for years beforehand. without using that term. That 1979 column is a litany of how badly "Arab Jews" have been treated by their host countries:

Even though he uses the term, Taylor clearly doesn't believe that Jews had ever been considered true Arabs by the Arabs themselves.

Hadar Cohen's article is gaslighting, not factual. It isn't Israel that had created the division between Arab and Jew - but the Arabs themselves, over and over again throughout history. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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