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April 15, 2015 9:53 am

Israel Must Banish its Ashkenazi-Mizrahi Stereotypes

avatar by Seth Frantzman

Email a copy of "Israel Must Banish its Ashkenazi-Mizrahi Stereotypes" to a friend

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Living in Israel sometimes makes me wonder what it must have been like to live in 1950s America. My grandmother was a civil rights activist in those years, and she told us many stories about the blatant racism of that period, before political correctness and an anti-racism culture became normal.

The fallout from the Israeli elections have produced an unprecedented outpouring of stereotypes and racist statements in the media. The ones that got the most attention abroad were those directed at Arab voters by the Prime Minister. But another real problem remains unresolved in Israel: The visceral hatred and contempt that many “Ashkenazi” or European-origin Israelis have for “Mizrahi” Jews, and the way that the media exacerbates racial stereotypes by repeating them without self-critique.

When the election was over and the results had shown that Netanyahu’s Likud had gotten 30 seats in the Knesset, an outpouring of rancor began on social media. Someone was to blame. Like in all nationalist societies – and Israel is a nationalist society on the left and right –  the blame must be directed at a group. In Israel one doesn’t blame “Likud voters” but rather an ethnic scapegoat called “Mizrahim.”

Larry Derfner at the website +972 asked “what’s an Ashkenazi Leftist to do?” He wrote he was “referring only to poor, generally under-educated Mizrahim who make up the base of Likud supporters.” He asserted that “Israeli leftists…are disproportionately Ashkenazi.” He claimed “Israeli leftists say we have to treat the poor Mizrahim as equals.” In no other democracy in the Western world would a self-described “left wing” person wonder about the need to treat others as equals. Equality is at the basis of a liberal, leftist, and progressive outlook.

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Following on the heels of the Derfner piece was one by Avi Issacharoff at the Times of Israel entitled, “Why did Bibi win? Because he speaks fluent Mizrahi.” He claimed that “Mizrahim are celebrating their ‘victory’ over the Ashkenazim in the recent elections.” Just as Derfner had argued poor Mizrahim were racist, Issacharoff claimed that many people of Mizrahi origin have “xenophobia, particularly towards Arabs.”

These authors and many others invent a stereotype of poor racist “Mizrahim” that are responsible for the election of Likud. No one surveyed Likud voters to see how many are actually “Mizrahi.” In fact many Likud voters come from areas that are wealthy and middle class, like my own neighborhood of Rehavia, where at least 25 percent voted Likud. Are Likud voters more racist towards Arabs than Zionist Union voters? Did anyone take time to poll both groups and ask?

On a TV program, a former professor was invited on after he had bashed Mizrahi voters on his Facebook account. He told a Moroccan woman on the show that “nothing bad would have happened if your parents had stayed in Morocco and rotted there.” Another campaign on Facebook was started to “punish” poorer towns in Israel by not giving charity to them. Guy Spigelman, CEO of the NGO PresenTense asked after the election in an article in Haaretz, “Why should we feel extra responsibility for the education, health and welfare of all Israelis?” There aren’t words to describe how wrong that is.

Some Israelis are trying to search for a scapegoat for Netanyahu’s victory. Some of them who define themselves as left wing, “Ashkenazi” and progressive have painted a stereotypical picture of “the poor” as “racist.” It is as if to be born white and from a European family automatically makes you better in Israel, despite the fact that Baruch Goldstein, Meir Kahane, and most of the virulent racists in Israeli history have also been European-origin Jews.

It’s time for Israelis to banish this discourse to the dustbin of history.  Haven’t Jews been scapegoated long enough without reflecting that hate-mongering tool inward?

Ashkenazi and Mizrahi are invented identities, born of a misreading of Jewish history. There were European Jewish families from Egypt and Sephardic Jewish families from Amsterdam who came to Israel; there is mass intermarriage. There are more than a million Russian-origin Jews in Israel; Ethiopians and Druze; and some of them vote Likud.

In fact Likud received its highest turnout (76%) in a Bedouin Arab locale name Arab el-Naim in the Galilee; and in many “Mizrahi” development towns, many voted Zionist Union. Don’t blame Mizrahim for racism in Israel, blame Israelis for racism. Instead, reach out to the poor and create a united diverse Israel with political parties that represent all the citizens, regardless of race, creed, or color.  Maybe they can take a cue from my grandmother’s generation and the anti-racism struggle in America.

The author is a lecturer in American Studies, and a Jerusalem-based Journalist.

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  • (Amir) Ishaq Al-Sulaimani

    Arab Jews cannot be racist against Arab Muslims. If Arab Jews tend to be more militant it is because the European Jews turned them against each other in a divide and conquer policy that is typical of European Colonialists. Israel was founded because European Jews could no longer tolerate the hate and persecution directed at them by European Christians. The Arab Jew and Arab Muslim lived in relative peace for over a thousand years prior to the advent of Zionism. Now the European Jew and European Christian are friends and the Arab Jew is cut off from the Arab world.

    • Tal

      Mahgrebi, Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews that lived in muslim countries lived as second class citizens under the status of “Dhimmi”. The yellow Star of David badge and other forms of public identification of Jews originated in the Islamic world. Lets not forget the pogroms, riots and Farhud that occurred. Or having you property confiscated or house destroyed because it was taller than a local mosque. Or your daughters forcibly married off.

      Also there is no such thing as an “Arab Jew”. Jews predate the arrival of Arabs in most of the Middle East/North Africa.

      Also Mizrahi Identity is not due to a “misreading of Jewish history” as the author puts it. There ARE Mizrahi and Mahgrebi Jews, they exist and are not just a bunch of Ashkenazim that moved to the region, so his point falls short there. He also incorrectly labeled Rabbi Kahane a racist.

    • Walt Baldt

      Here’s the problem I see, and it’s that since 70 A.D. up until 1948, Israel didn’t have a homeland. So, of course, the Arabs and the Jews have lived in relative peace. Yet, since Israel re-appeared after such a long passing of time, it has become the Arab and Iranian objective to either reduce them back to the way it was, or eliminate them altogether. The problem in itself is not the Arabs or the Jews per se, but the religion of Islam that drives the wedged deep between them. Because of this, the two will never reconcile; unless, there is divine intervention in the matter. Consider Daniel’s prophecy of the 1,335 days and substituting 1 day per yr.. This involves the Dome of the Rock, and involves a definite and finite timeline for its existence. Just add 1,335 yrs. to the year 688 A.D. and you’ll arrive at the year 2,023. We only have 8 years left until the 2nd holiest place for the Muslims expires. Anytime after that, and its fair to say, that that place is on borrowed time. It sits where the 2nd Temple stood. This is a very holy place in God’s eyes and the future sight in which the new age under the Messiah will begin in a not too distant future. Nothing short of what was the 2nd Temple to God will suffice here. Jesus threw out the merchants from the Temple grounds because they dishonored the site so holy to His Father. Afterwards, Jesus prophesied how not one stone upon another will be left, predicting its fulfillment when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.. Yet, a 3rd Temple is prophesied to reappear in the end times and is acceptable to God; though, not in the right national spirit. Why I say this, the reason being that it is the Messiah Jesus who enters the 3rd Temple and makes it right again as Israel by that time accepts Jesus for who he rightfully is. The Dome of the Rock by that time would have been destroyed. Unfortunately, the Arabs and Jews will presently never be able to go anywhere until this event comes to pass and all of Israel’s present enemies would have been destroyed by God Himself. Will there ever be reconciliation you ask, sure, but only after Jesus 2nd return. A prophet, mind you, is someone who is directed by God and revealed a prophecy which must come to pass, or be he a false prophet. Jesus predicted quite a number of them, which came to pass, and many more still to come. What did the prophet Mohammed predict or come to pass? Truth is, none. For example, consider how the records were held in the 2nd Temple but burned and destroyed in 70 A.D., it holds fair to say that had the Prophet Muhammed been born before 70 A.D., it would have been easier to link him to a royal line which is a requirement. But, he was born much later. Islam is akin to modern day Mormonism. Why? Because some American dude in the mid-18oo’s or Joseph Smith, had a revelation from an angel of God named Moribe. (spelling maybe incorrect) but, nonetheless true. He was revealed writings from the hand of God himself. He started a new religion and prophesied. He married a few women. He went to war. He has a holy site in Utah, the Mormon Church, which is central in their faith. This is very similar to the Prophet Mohammed’s story. They both even rebelled against their founding fathers’ religions. Yet, Jesus did none of the above. He was holy, pure and never sinned. He never married; never did he order to kill or killed anyone; on the contrary, He preached about His Father’s kingdom, and how the only way to get to meet his dad and enter into his dad’s kingdom was through him or Jesus only. Jesus did say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one enters into heaven but by me.” John 14:6 I’m afraid to have to tell you this my friend, but the this is the truth of the matter. You must be born again. Your efforts at best are futile. If you do not repent, and anyone follow you in this delusional dream, you and your followers, the prophet Mohammed and the countless Islamic faith followers will end up in Hell with Satan and his fallen angels. Don’t deceive yourself trying to achieve the impossible because all of what is occurring today had been pre-recorded in your King James Holy Bible. And I hate to bust your bubble, but none of what your trying to achieve is recorded in it. It will never come to fruition for you. Do you understand this? Your only hope is to research Jesus and all of the Holy Scriptures and forget about Quran which is nothing more than a “mish-mosh” put together by a prophet that was illiterate and written by others for his own parsimonious interest. A desert religion as revealed by an angel named Gadreel and not angel Gabriel. Gabriel would never reveal any new revelations or start a new religion that would dishonor his Father. He obeys God and loves God. He loves us too because he’s on Jesus side. The Bible ends with a warning in the book of Revelation very last chapter as to why he or anyone is allowed to add to His holy words to his prescribed Book or for that matter subtract from it. You have been deceived as well as all the Muslim world about who is really responsible for revealing the revelations of the prophet Mohammed. I keep you in my prayers.

  • All Israelites all the time

    All Israelites all the time

    Too much loshon hara. We are all Israelites all the time.

  • DACON9

    SETH, YOURE A SICK MAN.

    ALL THE GARBAGE WRITERS
    SEEMS TO GET POSTED IN THIS SITE.

    THIS IS NOT DIVERSIVIED SITE
    THIS IS A PERVERTED SITE
    FILTH IS NOT EQUAL TO WISDOM.
    I GUESS THE EDITORS THINK FILTH IS ON EQUAL BASIS.
    BEN STARR IS TOP OF THE LIST THEN THIS SETH GUY.
    EVEN INTERNET SITES HAVE TO MAKE TESHUVA/REPENT.

  • Sue Deutsch

    There is still a great deal of bitterness in the Mizrahi community regarding how they have been treated. Up until recently, for example, Mizrahi/Sephardi girls from “frum” families were not allowed to attend the same schools as Ashkenazi girls(this was only true for certain religious girls schools–not for all-still it was wrong and created much anger.) There is the feeling that Russian immigrants to Israel, even those whose halachic claims were minimal at best, were treated far better than Mizrahi’s. Whatever the situation now, there was certainly reason in the past for claims of discrimination. I am Ashkenazi but find it funny that someone from a shtetl in Poland or Russia was automatically considered of higher status than someone from Cairo or Baghadd.

  • David S.

    Truly a disgusting article.

    Why slander Rabbi Meir Kahane on the eve of Yom HaShoah?

    He epitomized the idea of Never Again! He popularized the slogan and the concept in the US.

    Why take the title rabbi away from him?

    Virulent racist? He fought for Ethiopian Jewish freedom. He had many African American Jews in his movement.

    He died al Kuddush HaShem.

    Lastly, the prohibition against spreading Lashon Hara also applies when speaking about the deceased. Halachic authorities write that an ancient decree was enacted against speaking derogatorily about the dead. this applies to speaking about an “am ha’aretz” (simple person); all the more severe is the transgression if the deceased individual is a Torah scholar: the speaker is deserving of excommunication as stated in the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 243:7. The prohibition of disgracing a Torah scholar applies when he disgraces the person; how much more so is it forbidden to disgrace his Torah teachings.

    This is a new low for Algemeiner.

  • Lynne T

    Thanks again for another interesting piece, Dr. Frantzman.

    Larry Derfner must truly be an idiot if he actually wrote “Israeli leftists…are disproportionately Ashkenazi.”

    It may be that the overwhelming majority of Israeli leftists are Ashkenazi, but “disproprotionately”? And I have to wonder how that squares with membership in Israel’s trade unions, which are usually classed as “left”. Perhaps this is just another example of how the “left”, including in Israel, has actually abandoned principals once associated with leftism.

  • Yale

    The Israeli Left, like the Left in most places, sees itself as wiser, more intelligent, better informed, and more moral than the great unwashed masses, and they resent the idea that those masses get to vote just like Leftists do.

    What is particularly galling to them is that because their ancestors lived with Arabs, the Mizrahim have always understood the Arabs better then Leftists do. Mizrahi support for a tough Likud stance on the Palestinians has turned out to be the correct policy.

    Not only has the Left lost that argument, they have been exposed as not wiser, more intelligent, better informed, or more moral. They have been exposed as simple hypocrits who cannot accept minority status.

  • Shalom-Hillel

    I don’t have an axe to grind here, since I identify as both Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, but thank G-d for the Mizrahim. The Ashkenazi leftists may have PhD’s, but the Mizrahim have common sense and ultimately they are a whole lot smarter than these myopic elite. Just as in the US, the Left seeks revenge all the while spewing ad hominem attacks. And as the article points out, not all Ashkenazim are putzes. Likud has Ashkenazi support, as well.

  • DACON9

    YOU ARE EXACTLY LIKE THE LIBERALS.
    They feel only the white liberals can uplift and free the black man because the blacks cannot do it alone.
    You are trying to uplift the mizrahi yet perpetrates the same bigotted attitudes without even you realizing this.
    That attibute is exactly how the xtian missionaries think of JUDAISM.
    That Jews are inferior and they replaced us.
    Your opinion is based in 1950 with your grandma being I factually know that many many sephardeem and ashkanaz to use your words do in fact, do in fact,
    do in fact ”’intermarry”’intermarry intermarry intermarry.

    YOU ARE TRYING TO CREATE A UNIMPORTANT CAUSE WHEN IN THE JEWISH WORLD WE HAVE THE MAJOR CAUSE OF XTIANITY IMPOSING INTIMIDATING JEWS TO DIALOGUE WITH THEM AND
    (HEAVEN FORBID) SEDUCING THEM TO CONVERT TO XTIAN…
    MAKE THIS YOUR MAIN CAUSE..

  • DACON9

    THIS ARTICLE IS YOUR OPINION.
    NOW THIS IS MY OPINION FROM BROOKLYN NEW YORK ATTITUDE.

    Your article is an ashkanaz rag salemans arrogant self centered view. Even if my understanding is wrong,according to you,it is what ‘hear’ from YOU.
    MY SEMANTICSIsnt this what your article is about?

    YOU POST:
    Ashkenazi and Mizrahi are invented identities, born of a misreading of Jewish history.
    > Jewish history is we are all from ABRAHAM NOT FROM A CHICKEN AND AN EGG LAYED IN POLAND.
    > There were European Jewish families from Egypt and Sephardic Jewish families from Amsterdam who came to Israel;
    > NO! THEY WERE JERUSALEM/BABYLONIAN FAMILIES FROM LAND OF CANAAN THEY WERE FORCED AS SLAVES OR SEARCHING FOR FREEDOM sold into europe from the roman/xtian/muslims persecution.

    there is mass intermarriage
    NO! Between the 1st and 2nd temple they intermarried and EZRA STOPPED IT AND DEMANDED IN THE NAME OF HASHEM THEY DEVORSE.LATER FROM THE ROMAN MUSLIM CONQUESTS being displaced no homeland,then they intermarried on and off again.
    There are more than a million Russian-origin Jews
    NO1 THEY WERE FROM MY OPENING STATEMENT,they came originally from Canaan/Israel.So they were/are not from russia as you are not from hungry/poland/germany…
    Ethiopians their origins have been extremely questionable and Druze; and some of them vote Likud.

    SO I STATE EMPHATICALLY THAT EVERY ONE OF YOU ASHKANAZ ARE FACTUALLY AND ACTUALLY SEPHARDEEM.
    EVERY ONE OF YOU ASHKANA MUST NOW PURCHASE WHITE ROBES
    ONE CAMEL AND A STAFF SIMILAR TO MOSES STAFF.
    You must go back to HEBREW AND NOT CHANGING THE TET TO A ‘SAV’, ITS REBBOTAI NOT REBBOSAI.
    GET RID OF ALL YOUR GHETTO POLAND CLOTHING WHICH IS A REMINDER OF HITLER AND EUROPEAN POGROMS FROM THE XTIANS and CHURCHES.

    YES WE ARE ONE NATION FROM 12 BROTHERS AND MASHIACH WILL KNOW WHICH TRIBE WE CAME FROM…but in the meantime….
    enoght with your european ghetto mentality MR AUTHOR…

    WHAT YOU PREACH IS WHAT YOU ARE GUILTY OF….
    BLACK CLOTHES LARGE BLACK BRIMMED HATS PERVERTED HEBREW
    GILFILTA FISH WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY ATE SHWARMA AND KIBE….
    ALL OUR PARKING LOTS MUST ACCOMODATE OUR HORSES AND CAMELS BEING YOU WANT TO CHANGE THINGS BEFORE MASHIACH.
    I HAVE TO CAMELS BY THE WAY..ONE BRED IN GERMANY AND THE OTHER FROM JAPAN.

  • The problem is trying to act White when Israelites are Fundamentally African and Asian

    Think on this on Shabbat,

    The problem is trying to act White when Israelites are Fundamentally African and Asian.

    What is called the “Mizrachi” Israelites are far more realistic than the what is called the “Ashkenazim” Israelites when it comes to realpolitik.

    Why are Ashkenazim trying to “be European”? The Torah says absolutely everything about being an African or Asian and absolutely nothing about being European or emulating European.

    The Uncle Moshe or Auntie Pearl syndrome of the Ashkenazim has got to stop. There are plenty of proud Ashkenazim that are tired of the leftist wannabee Europeans among them.

    Let us Build the Third Temple and reconnect fully with our African and Asian brethren across the world.

  • Reform School

    As a fellow activist raised in pre-PC 1950’s America, let me assure Mr. Frantzman that our generation has something never imparted to his by its Socialist schoolteachers and professors. I call it ‘effective, critical thinking.’ The occasional pockets of hatred of our era remain to this day. What is different now is the Political Correctness you were ‘brainwashed’ [as CIA founder Allen Dulles coined it] has left your generation insensitive to the realities that not everyone is the same (nor should they be), bigotry and hatred operate independent of the cause-and-effect cycle, and [worst] your generation lacks the independent-thought skillset needed to protect itself [and ours] from a self-imposed ‘LaLaLand.’ Ability to think outside the box is not genetic, but rather carefully developed, as anyone lucky enough to watch YouTube Videos of over a dozen effective thinker communicators, patriots like William F. Buckley, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Thomas Sowell, Pat Condell, Binyamin Netanyahu (watch him as ‘Ben Nitay,’ age 28), Allen West, Michael Oren, Mark Silverberg, John Bolton, Caroline Glick, Bill Whittle, Andrew Klavan and the late [murdered?] Andrew Breitbart.

    High-minded old farts like me find the lack of actual experience among the Algemeiner staff quite aggravating. Internet-based publishers circumvent historic inaccuracy erected by traditional, power-and-profit driven brick-and-mortar publishers like the ‘All the News that Fits we Print’ New York Times and its “ASS-o’-CIA-Ted Press” wanna-bes, but shared schooling and mass-media sourced background material leave their output tenuous at best.

    Journalists are advised to read Steve Allen’s DUMBTH http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/494799._Dumbth_
    and to view the 50-year-old film version of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” Pay close attention to the ‘Eloi’ near the finale, with a large mirror surrounding the viewscreen facing you.

  • NAOMI

    Probably in a generation or two this stereotyping will end. Due to intermarriage and equality in education such cultural distinctions are very likely to disappear. In the meantime – people like yourself have to carry on voicing their objections. I salute you, as the problem is very frustrating.

  • Lauren Goldman

    The racism between groups of Jews does nothing but divide us and hurt society at basic levels. We are to be beacons of light to the world, and this situation only serves to dim the light.

  • Liz Jones

    So now the Mizrahim are being blamed for not having ‘education’ by the very people who denied it to them. Many Moroccan families were placed in development towns such as Ashdod where the access to higher education was severely curtailed. Instead they were inducted into the IDF to function as grunts.Even those who managed to obtain higher education were not promoted due to discrimination. Now that those coddled Ashkenasim are finally just starting to lose their grip on power they have nothing more to do than throw insults. What’s more the Mizrachim lived under the ‘benevolence’ of Arab regimes and have plenty of experience of how they behave towards each other let alone dhimmi people. ISIS is now demonstrating this to the world at large and still the leftists (and I include the Obama administration and the EU in this) are pontificating with their eyes wide shut!

  • Trish

    Excellent! Since we made aliyah, our half & half family has heard more snotty racist elitist comments from Ashkenazi Jews (many of them Anglo olim, sadly) about the Moroccan side of my family. The ones in Tel Aviv, while asserting their hipness and progressiveness, are the same ones who deride us for living with all the “penguins” (religious) and “Arabs” (the latter said with a sneer or shudder). Fortunately, the non-Ashkenazi population is pulling ahead of this embedded self-centered delusional elite with every generation.

  • Rivka

    “In no other democracy in the Western world would a self-described “left wing” person wonder about the need to treat others as equals. Equality is at the basis of a liberal, leftist, and progressive outlook.”

    Has the author met any leftists? Of course, they talk about equality all the time. But their policies are designed to promote inequality (racial, economic, educational) so they can use inequality as a justification for continually expanding government power.
    Further, no leftist believes in equality for those who disagree with them. Those who disagree must be stupid, or as leftists quoted here say “poor, generally under-educated” and “xenophobic”. Therefore they can’t be trusted to make decisions, which is why Tony Blair recently said British voters shouldn’t have a say in whether their country remains part of the EU. The mayor of London responded, “How dare he tell the British people that they may not pronounce on this matter. That it must be reserved to a sacred cast of intellectuals and do-gooders to decide…”
    But that’s how leftists think all decisions should be made.

  • Julian Clovelley

    I find this a very courageous article – but whilst it acknowledges that there is an elephant in the room if fails to go quite far enough to identify it – But it gets close in a very important sentence: “Ashkenazi and Mizrahi are invented identities, born of a misreading of Jewish history” and then goes a little further when he speaks of intermarriage between Jewish groups. But we are now on ground where today’s angels fear to tread, particularly because an entire train of progressing thinking and action were disrupted by the intervening Holocaust. I think Gentile and Jew alike need to step into that territory – but it will hurt some people. I think we are impelled by circumstance to go there. Our survival may depend on it

    The nazis created a scapegoat out of the Jewish people. But who was the scapegoat protecting if not the middle and rich classes in European society? The nazis created a system of classification that identified “Jews” – even creating a ludicrous table of proportions for “Mishlinge”, mixed blood. Upon the resulting “Jewish” classification was outrageously placed the entire blame for European, and particularly German Reich problems. This much we all know. But we tend to politely ignore the fact that the coincident self identification was a development of late nineteenth century Zionism developed from the late Herzl – who might well not have approved of its evolution.

    Judaism is not a religion of single racial lineage. Jews originate from all of the races of the region currently and in the remote past lived in by Jewish people. The distinct genealogical heritage is in fact no different from Gentiles – it is imaginary. As Zionism’s opponents in the early twentieth century already recognised tying Judaism to Genealogy and territory was a false path, a delusion that was potentially dangerous. That then was the territory where angels feared to tread, and Zionism leapt into it boots and all, and got stuck there

    The writer is almost recognising something in this article that underlies much of the alleged “rise” in antisemitism. It is the realisation that the concept of Jewish identity is severely flawed, but in everyones psyche. The truth is that just as people in Europe have been abandoning nationalisms to the point where people of different nationalities now move their homes across national borders, so they have stopped believing in “Jewish Nationality” too. This has turned the perception of Jews from being a “persecuted’ minority to being “self interested racists”. The category itself is the core of the problem, The treasuring of it on one side and the perception of it on the other

    When you look at the internal problem of division between “Jewish” groups – you need to look at the major problem too – in the manner that it was being examined at the end of the nineteenth century. The increase in secularisation in the advanced countries is accelerating, most especially on the progressive Left, Christians are continuing to abandon a religion they now comprehend better in terms of its historical evolution and origin. Part of the Christian Bible is the Jewish Bible. Thus the Torah amongst Gentiles has largely lost credibility. I was brought up in a Fundamentalist ethos of Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve, Original Sin, and the Exodus and the Divine ordained occupation of Caanan with its accompanying genocides of competing tribes. That world – the one on which my parents Christiaity was also built – exists for me no longer.

    The writer says “Haven’t Jews been scapegoated long enough without reflecting that hate-mongering tool inward?” – Yes but there is more, and the numbers marrying outside of Judaism reflect it. It is time to reject not only the created Scapegoat of nazism and fascism – It is also time to reject the self created confirmation of that classification that Zionism has provided

    There is neither Gentile nor Jew – St Paul – if he ever lived, and wrote that, got it right – there never was – it is a religion with a myth of origins for its adherents – a powerful myth that despite its obvious falsehood in assimilation and conversion, has been abstractly preserved where it hasn’t been preserved Genealogically and indeed Genealogically never existed anyway except in the human races universal probable origin in Africa.

    In the author’s last sentence – when extended into the whole area of “identity”, lies Israel’s hope – and I believe the true destiny of the Jewish people – “reach out to the poor and create a united diverse Israel with political parties that represent all the citizens, regardless of race, creed, or color.  Maybe they can take a cue from my grandmother’s generation and the anti-racism struggle in America.”

    Grandma was right. She would have been of the generation of Martin Luther King. Let freedom ring: “When we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: free at last – free at last. Thank G-d Almighty we are free at last!” (MLK )

    What from, Grandma, if not freedom from all our “pasts”? – from all our yesterdays and from all our invented “histories”. One more tiny step Seth…the step so many of us have taken after breaking the chains of religion. Humanity and our present religions cannot coexist. We have to choose.

    Let me ask you Seth – am I a racist because I believe I am no different from a Jew? – and that a Jew is no different from me? – For of one thing I am certain, I got that right. Who is really prejudiced? – or are we all perhaps the product of false tribal histories with no real grounds for conflict or its causes, which is all too often selfishness on all sides.

  • Mark

    I can attest to the racism of people, Jews included, toward Jews of other origins in places other than Israel.

    In the heat of an argument my Ashkenazi father once said to me, “I am sorry I polluted you with Sephardic blood,” referring to my Sephardic mother.

    Well, nice to know how he really feels!

  • Emmett

    Well Seth, isn’t that a stylish article. Now let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. But, in all reality, to even suggest that Baruch Goldstein & Rabbi Kahane were racists is nothing more than leftist false propaganda, a regurgitated lie repeated only by the secular leftist, self-righteous scum of the Earth media whores who have declared war against the Torah & Judaism. Is Algemeiner so desperate for news that they circulate this garbage, or is it a new agenda?

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