Tuesday, August 5, 2008

playing games with Israel's left and right

Anti-Israel activists often love to talk about the plight of Mizrahim in Israel. Ashkenzi dominate nearly all Jewish institutions including Israel. This is supposedly proof that Israel is fundamentally racist (in a way supposedly different from, say, Iran). Yaacov Lozowick points to this article from YNet News. Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz are vying for head of Kadima.
The first real black candidate (meaning, in this case, Mizrachi, i.e. non Ashkenazi), vs. almost the first woman candidate (Golda, he reminds us, wasn't really much of a woman).
So, I wonder, are all these anti-Israel activists excited about Mofaz? In Amnon Levy's words:
The man who sent oil prices up with idiotic statements about Iran and who irresponsibly escalated our relationship with it. The man who promoted targeted assassinations but insisted on declaring that the IDF is the world’s most moral army. The man who is no stranger to any worn-out cliché and who makes Bibi Netanyahu look like an island of sanity and diplomatic moderation.


Dan Rice said...

In a racist society, there are still "tokens" who are allowed to rise to the top. In Israel, this rise for Mizrahim is typically accomplished within the military and requires the one who rises to demonstrate absolute loyalty to the state, and preferably a tough, militaristic attitude towards the Palestinians. So no, speaking as one who is in favor of a true peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and justice and rights for Mizrahim inside of Israel, I cannot get too excited about the rise of Shaul Mofaz.

Matt said...

There could be something to that, except that it happens to be ignorant and false. I guess it's my fualt for assuming every reader would be more knowledgeable than the anti-Israel folks I was making fun of. But I guess you've done me the favor of illustrating why such a viewpoint needs to be mocked.

In a pattern that trivializes anti-racism, you've figured everything in simple black/white dynamics, but you never took the time to listen to what minority groups actually say. Mofaz's hawkishness is common among Israeli Mizrachim - because they experienced the formation of Israel differently than the Ashkenazim did. They are more ardent Zionists because it was the Arabs rather than the Europeans who were their oppressors prior to the establishment of Israel. They feel considerably less need to consider the "rights" of those they see as their oppressors.

Rebecca said...

And it's not true that Mofaz was the first Mizrahi seriously considered for prime minister. Yitzhak Mordechai, also a former chief of staff of the army, was a serious candidate for prime minister a few years ago.