Tuesday, May 24, 2022

  • Tuesday, May 24, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday, I reviewed an academic paper by a Bedouin sociologist at Ben Gurion University of the Negev about how Israeli affirmative action programs are themselves racist against Ethiopian Jews, with a logic that only makes sense if you start from the assumption that the most progressive Israelis are racists.

Yet there was one section of the report that appears to me to indicate that the sociologist, Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder, is actually more dismissive of the Ethiopian Jewish women she interviews than the Jews she is accusing of racism.

One of the interviewees, "Klara," makes a passionate, and very compelling, point about how Western academia is dismissive of non-Western accomplishments.

What is astounding to see is how the white, western culture, for at least a thousand years, but let’s focus on the last six hundred years, really like ties itself to antiquity, to Greece and Rome, how it celebrates it and tries to insert itself into it. Because there’s some kind of ascendancy because, like, they were at the top. But then you look and see that they, like you see the bias (strikes table with her hand) itself in the research. How. Don’t. They. Talk. About. Ethiopia!? Again, Ethiopia. Not even Africa. Ethiopia. Which, in the Iliad, which is Homer’s earliest text, he, too uses the word ‘Ethiopos’. Ethiopians. The word, it comes from there. It turns out Ethiopia was a nation highly valued by the Greek. (dolefully) No one even talks about it.
Because I found who I want to study. I want to study Tamra Temanuel. He’s a Jewish figure. He was in contact with the Haskalah movement, the Jewish Enlightenment movement. He was part of it and its exactly that. This exactly is that place that allows us to deal with things that people don’t want to deal with, or don’t interest anybody, or are silenced in an attempt to form our cognition this way or that. They like saying (angrily) that the Ethiopian Jewry was isolated! But here, it wasn’t cut off! It’s not true! The Ethiopian Jewry had ties to the Jewish diaspora.  
This sounded fascinating to me, so I went to look up the sources. Sure enough, Homer had only nice things to say about Ethiopians. Klara makes an excellent point.

What about Tamra Temanuel?

There is no such person.   Abu Rabia Queder just transcribed what she heard her Ethiopian interviewee say and guessed on the spelling.

The real person Klara is referring to is  Taamrat Emmanuel (1888-1963), a fascinating figure who was brought up as a Falash Mura - his parents were forcibly converted to Christianity - but he went to Europe, studied there with eminent professors, became a rabbi and translated the scriptures of the Beta Israel  from the Ge'ez language to Amharic. He is definitely someone who deserves more study and fame

Now, Sarab Abu-Rabia-Queder worked on this paper for years. Yet she didn't even have enough respect for her passionate, brilliant Ethiopian interviewee to even look up the name of the person she references - the Ethiopian figure who Klara is dedicating herself to researching!

Racists have dismissive attitudes towards the people they hate. That is exactly the attitude that Abu-Rabia-Queder exhibits towards the people she is supposedly defending from Israeli Jewish racism. The "racism" that she accused Israel of - of appearing overly solicitous towards the Ethiopian minority - is not nearly as bad as her own, where she exhibits such disrespect towards the people she is interviewing and pretending to defend.





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