I have written about this topic before – how Israeli elite society, overwhelmingly drawn from European and American Jewry, mistreats Oriental Jews. In light of new information, I have decided to present this important matter once more (quoting liberal from my previous piece).
I have often made the case that Zionism is an inherently racist ideology for its sole purpose is to empower one group – in this case, Jews – over another – Palestinians/Arabs in general – and use all means of subjugation, legal and violent, in an effort to forever maintain a privileged position for Jews while denying the native population equal rights. Zionism is a ideology of pure religious supremacy no different than white supremacy in apartheid South Africa or the Jim Crow American south. Zionists, then and now, hold contempt for Palestinians and speaks about them dismissively as a undesirable collective that needs to be brushed aside so that the “pioneering” Zionists than “make the desert bloom” [so the myth goes]. The Palestinians are never seen as human beings with equal [of course, the Palestinians have paramount claim on the land not just equal] rights to the Holy Land, instead Zionists from the first days treated Palestinians as savages from whom ethnic cleansing is necessary and justified. In the first Zionist conference in Basel, Switzerland in 1896, the founding father of political Zionism Theodore Herzl addressed the question of how to establish a Jewish state in a land overwhelmingly populated by Arabs. To that end he quoted the French proverb: “Those who desire the ends, desire the means.” Ethnic cleansing was there from the beginning. And late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, an early American supporter for Zionism, once wrote that Palestinians will treated by Zionists “pioneers” akin to the manner in which Native Americans were treated by American “pioneers” [ethnically cleansed, and nearly erased]. This is Zionism, and I could go on.
But you have to understand that Zionism is more racist than that. It is because Israel is based not only on Jewish supremacy against Arabs, but also European Jewry supremacy against Oriental Jews. Think about it, 50% of Israeli Jewish are Mizrahi or Sephardi; but where are they? Israel has not elected one prime minister from the latter two, Israeli governments are overwhelmingly composed of European Jews. Of course, there is always a token Mizrahi.
It is because Israel is based not only on Jewish supremacy against Arabs, but also European Jewry supremacy against Oriental Jews. Think about it, 50% of Israeli Jewish are Mizrahi or Sephardi; but where are they? Israel has not elected one prime minister from the latter two, Israeli governments are overwhelmingly composed of European Jews. Of course, there is always a token Mizrahi.
Read the Israeli historian Tom Segev and his book “1949: The First Israelis” about how the Oriental Jews were rounded up in camps and separated from the “white” Jews.
The founding father of Israel and its first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion himself spoke with contempt against Oriental Jews and declared that the state of Israel was not built for them.
Instead, it is the Jews of Europe whom are “the leading candidates for citizenship in the State of Israel. Hitler, more than he hurt the Jewish people, whom he knew and detested, hurt the Jewish State, whose coming he did not foresee. He destroyed the substance, the main and essential building force of the [Jewish] state. The state arose and did not find the nation which had waited for it.” [Segev, 157].
More than that, Ben-Gurion attacked the Jews of North Africa:
“Even the immigrant of North Africa, who looks like a savage, who has never read a book in his life, not even a religious one, and doesn’t even know how to say his prayers, either wittingly or unwittingly has behind him a spiritual heritage of thousands of years. . . .”
“They tell me that there are thieves among them. I am a Polish Jew, and I doubt if there is any Jewish community which has more thieves among them. I am doubtful if there is any Jewish community which has more thieves in it than the Polish ones.” A few years later Ben-Gurion wrote to Justice Moshe Estzioni: “An Ashkenazi gangster, thief, pimp, or murderer will not gain the sympathy of the Ashkenazi community (if there is such a thing), nor will he expect it. But in such a primitive community as the Moroccans’—such a thing is possible. . . . ”
Ben-Gurion also attacked Yemeni Jews. Oriental Jews continue to suffer discrimination in Israel. Ethiopian Jews get is worse. They are often turned away from schools and apartments and routinely called “niggers.”
If this is how Oriental Jews are spoken about [and they were and are still mistreated], is the Israeli abuse – born out of dehumanization – of Palestinians shocking. Israelis feign humanity, but are so incredibly cruel and sadistic to Palestinians because they are raised to believe that Palestinians are not human beings but Arab animals and terrorists. There was a time when the Mazrahi community, born into Arab costumes, could have built a bridge of cooperation between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land but European Zionism had no patience for that:
Yosef Eliyahu Chelouche despaired of the Zionists leadership’s insularity. The Yishuv, he wrote in his autobiography, considered every factor except one: the Arabs who lived in Palestine. “During this period of building our country we know nothing about Arab customs, habits, manners, tribes and social trends, their economic and cultural situation and more. In all the Zionist literature there is not even one book that would describe these people’s lives accurately or contain genuine information about their situation.”
Aharon Chelouche’s house still stands on the street in Neve Tsedek named for his family, and is about to be restored. Faded lettering is visible above the entrance: Frères Chelouche, and in Arabic, Ikhwan Chelouche (Chelouche Brothers).
The governor’s bridge still spans the wadi, which is now a car park. Like the Palestinians, the Sephardi Jews are part of Jaffa’s lost, or marginalised, history. How different that might have been had the Chelouches and the Moyals been able to bridge the divide between the Ashkenazim and the Palestinians.
And here’s the new bit of information that was a catalyst for this post:
So Chaim Weizmann [preeminent British-Zionist leader, first president of Israel] spoke before the Royal (Peel) Commission in November, 1936. So he said: “…that there are about 6,000,000 Jews in this part of the world–and I am not speaking of Oriental Communities whose Jews are inarticulate…” (The Palestine Post, November 26, 1936).