Sunday, October 11, 2009

Are 'Arab Jews' really accepted as Arabs?

I'm pretty sure the rumors of Haim Saban buying part-ownerswhip in Al Jazeera are false -and I also think any creator or the Power Rangers has a lot to answer for- but I also think this commentary is worthwhile:
It's what Richard Silverstein calls 'an AIPAC wet dream'. Further proof, if proof were needed, that 'Arab Jews' like Saban are only acceptable when they are not also Zionists. After all, who in the Arab world would watch al-Jazeera if it were more sympathetic to Israel?
Now If Saban is really accepted as an 'Arab Jew' -that is, if he's understood as Arab- then what would be the problem with an Arab having part ownership of Al Jazeera? The problem is that Arab Jews are understood as minorities without power in Arab society. To claim power of any sort would be uppity, and so Jewish otherness is foregrounded. Silverstein, for example, refers to Saban as an Israeli-American rather than as an Egyptian Jew, entirely hiding the fact that Saban was born in Alexandria in 1944.

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