Israel, Lebanon

Lebanon’s Jews: A BBC Arabic Documentary

Somehow, I missed this incredible BBC Arabic documentary about Lebanon’s Jewish community. It follows the stories of several people who left Lebanon for Israel after 1948, reconstructing these narratives both from their own testimonies as well as the memories of their friends and neighbors whom they left behind.

I highly recommend watching the entire thing (provided you understand Arabic). It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve seen on a contemporary Lebanese topic.

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Discussion

98 thoughts on “Lebanon’s Jews: A BBC Arabic Documentary

  1. No love for non-Arabic speakers? :( :(

    Posted by Won | June 18, 2010, 9:45 pm
  2. if anyone is interested in more info on the Jews of Lebanon checkout this site

    http://www.thejewsoflebanonproject.org

    Posted by V | June 18, 2010, 10:33 pm
  3. V,

    Awesome website. I liked the music.

    As an ashkenasi American Jew who was once married into a Mizrachi (“eastern”) Jewish family (Syrian/Yemenite), all this glorification of dead communities (to me) is sad and meaningless.

    I think it is just a way for the various governments to “boast” about their self-imagined “tolerance”. It is easy to talk about tolerance when your country is devoid of the people you claim to tolerate.

    This glorification is no different than the glorification of the great Ashkenazi/Yiddish communities of Northern Europe or the Spanish communities of North Africa and Southern Europe.

    All dead and non-existent Jewish communities for all intents and purposes.

    The future of the Jewish People is undoubtedly, Israel, the only Jewish state in the world.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 19, 2010, 10:01 am
  4. AP,
    You and I have not seen many issues in the same light but in this case I am in total agreement.
    It sure is important to rehabilitate the major Synagogue in Beirut but what is equally important is to ask the question (which was avoided like the plague in this documentary) why a community of rather prosperous 25,000 felt the need to pack up and go at a great financial loss and often to countries where they did niot know what to expect?
    What is interesting is that the bulk of the immigration did not take place after 1967or even 1973. The greatest number left during the civil; war.
    Jewery in Lebanon ought to number 45,000 if the old proportions of 1% were maintained instead of the current 45.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 19, 2010, 11:26 am
  5. This documentary is a bit premature by a couple of decades.

    The best time to lament one’s lost Jewish community is about a century after the last one is driven out / slaughtered, having a couple still hanging around completely spoils it.

    Learn from Europe, those guys have it down to an art form.

    G

    Posted by G | June 19, 2010, 11:56 am
  6. Ghassan,

    Maybe it was because the Israelis bombed the major Synagogue in Beirut after it had survived 7 years of civil war

    Posted by mo | June 19, 2010, 12:28 pm
  7. Ghassan Karam,

    Thanks. I wish the Arab-Israeli conflict would end already so both people can live together in peace and (lots of) prosperity.

    That being said, the forces of “intolerance” (led by Iran and their intolerant supporters) continue to prevent the region from healing.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 19, 2010, 12:34 pm
  8. mo,
    I am sure that the Israeli invasion of 1982 played a role. History also shows us how under such circumstances suspecion and mistrust often win; note the Japanese treatment after Pearl Harbour. I only wish that the Lebanese government or civil society had taken some proactive measures to tell the Jews in Lebanon that they are valued citizens and that they are encouraged to resist the temptations offered to move them to different countries.
    What will be valuable and informative is a project in oral history that will cover Jewish people who left Lebanon over the past say 40-50 years in an effort to learn about the motivations.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 19, 2010, 12:44 pm
  9. Ghassan, I didn’t mean to imply the invasion played a role although to some it might. But the damage you see to the synagogue today was from a direct hit from an Israeli aircraft. The Israelis have never missed an opportunity to try and drive Arab Jews out of their hone countries.

    Posted by mo | June 19, 2010, 2:39 pm
  10. Mo,

    Enough with the propaganda. The synagogue was already out of use in 1976, way before it was hit by Israel.

    From http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,660675,00.html :

    “For more then 30 years, the Maghen Abraham Synagogue has been allowed to decline into ruin. In 1976, the last rabbi practicing there moved the Torah scrolls to a safe place and locked the building up.”

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2010, 4:06 pm
  11. LOL…

    http://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/12/world/beirut-s-only-synagogue-is-casualty-of-the-israelis.html?scp=1&sq=beirut+synagogue&st=nyt

    You gotta pay for the whole article but hey the first sentence is a nice repeat of my “propaganda”

    Oh and you may want to go to Ahronots offices and ask to see their back catalog for 1982. You may find an article detailing how the “Jews of Lebanon only had themselves to blame because they wouldn’t emigrate to Israel even after they were offered cash”

    And you idiot, the Synagogue was on the green line, of course it wasn’t in use in 1976 – And guess what, nor were the churches, mosques, houses or shops either.

    Posted by mo | June 19, 2010, 6:10 pm
  12. To some real idiots all the world’s ills are the fault of Israel and the Jewish people.. While they stick their stupid heads in the sand.

    Please stop entertain us here with your old Soviet new Khomeinist propaganda we have enough of your “khara” in the Beirut rags or on Al Manar TV.

    Posted by V | June 19, 2010, 6:25 pm
  13. Good debating points there V. I’m now stunned into silence…….

    Posted by mo | June 19, 2010, 6:38 pm
  14. Mo,

    You were saying that the Israelis bombed the synagogue to make the Jews leave. But how could that be for that purpose if already the Jews left in 76 and before because the civil war?

    And since Israel never hid the fact that it bombed the synagogue, why would that scare the Jews to leave. That should have scared them to come to Israel.

    Posted by AIG | June 19, 2010, 7:20 pm
  15. Elias,

    Thanks for the link, it was interesting to watch.

    Ghassan,

    Thank you for your thoughtful observations in comment #8. Unfortunately the stories of the Middle Eastern Jewish communities is sinking into oblivion. Based on the documentary, it seems like the situation with Lebanon is a little better since the Jews left later than in other countries, so there are still people who have relatively fresh memories, and are willing to talk about them candidly (such as Marko Mizrahi and Dany Laniado who are interviewed in the documentary). I come from an Iraqi Jewish family and there the situation is much more dire, the Jews who came from Iraq in the early 50’s weren’t really ever encouraged to share any stories of their existence in Iraq, especially not ones that will somehow paint the past in positive hues. It’s very common to have Jews from Arab countries be extremely tight lipped about their past, especially those who came in the 50’s. There was a culture of “we’re going to build a Brave New World in Israel so don’t bother us with your petty diaspora nostalgia”. This was also the treatment that holocaust survivers received, because they were “weak”.

    On the Iraqi side I presume there also wasn’t much desire/possibility to capture the past of the Jewish community and its interaction with Muslims and Christians, and I bet also a desire to paint the Jews as traitors and as victims of their own deeds. Also the world of journalism and media wasn’t then where it’s today, where a BBC reporter can hop between these countries find the relevant people and weave their stories together relatively easily, and then publish it for everybody on the internet…

    Your comment about capturing oral history is very important, and I’m going to try to apply it to my family. The problem is that the generation of my grandfather is no longer with us, so can’t locate their neighbors anymore—I have no clue who they were, and the next generation left Iraq in a fairly early age so they don’t have a very involved understanding of what exactly was going on there during the decades before they left.

    So the end result is that all of these efforts end up like grasping at straws and there is no other significant “Arab-Jewish” communal existence of any sort, except for the one that people have built for themselves in Israel.

    Posted by Yossi | June 19, 2010, 7:41 pm
  16. They didn’t all leave and not all have left. Its not complicated.

    Posted by mo | June 19, 2010, 7:41 pm
  17. You were saying that the Israelis bombed the synagogue to make the Jews leave.

    It’s always easier to blame the Jews and the Zionists than taking a hard look at yourself, your government, and the state of your people.

    Just look at Dr. Assad…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 19, 2010, 9:10 pm
  18. Its great that the Jewish praying house is being rebuilt in wadi abu jamil – I hope also soon in Allei and Saida; the fact that the investment is being made means that at least some of the Jewish community that now lives outside the country (like 70 per cent of Lebanese also live outside Lebanon) means that some Jewish people still interested in Lebanon’s welfare – hopefully it will keep the cultural, trade and investment ties for that future day when the region is back to normality – what we have had in recent decades is a deviation from normality and it won’t last forever.

    Posted by Jean Estiphan | June 20, 2010, 4:03 am
  19. Great documentary, thanks for posting it QN. As a Lebanese who emigrated from Lebanon during the war,it always strikes me how the nostalgia and the sense of loss is identical regardless of whether someone is a Lebanese Jew or a Lebanese anything else.

    Posted by Blackstar | June 20, 2010, 4:40 am
  20. My friend drew attention to this piece – it is good for all the minorities – at the moment, political and bureacratic positions are shared between the bigger communities – the smaller communities all benefit whenever one of them rebuilds its place in the mosaic. Mabrouk nishtaklak

    Posted by S Riachi | June 20, 2010, 6:53 am
  21. And who is going to protect the Jews and the synagogue during the next Lebanon-Israeli war? No one. Why would any Jew risk his life and go pray there?

    Posted by AIG | June 20, 2010, 6:43 pm
  22. Why would any Jew risk his life and go pray there?

    AIG,

    Yes, and my point is there are no Jews in Lebanon.

    Lacking a rabbi, Lebanon’s Jews find it difficult to continue their religious traditions and tend to keep a low profile.

    “Tolerance” in action…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Lebanon

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 20, 2010, 9:14 pm
  23. “And who is going to protect the Jews and the synagogue during the next Lebanon-Israeli war?”

    You are so full of shit still trying to portray any Jew anywhere as a victim. Who protected them last time? Oh yeah no-one because they didnt need protecting.

    And could further questions aimed at AIG be specific at which AIG they mean as the AIG in post #14 clearly has a different level of understanding of the English language than the one at #10.

    As long as he can say hasbara though, thats ok

    Posted by mo | June 21, 2010, 4:10 am
  24. By some estimates, we’ve a hundred thousand Jews in Iran. Israel has tried to tempt them with money, housing, you name it.

    They ain’t budgin’.

    Posted by Pirouz | June 21, 2010, 7:37 am
  25. In Lebanon the Jews are afraid to say so in public. Why is that? Oh yeah, because they are protected.

    And of course Iran is a paradise. Who would want to leave there and go to places like Beverly Hills or Tel-Aviv when you can get raped gratis in Evin or in any one of the other fine establishments run by the ultra-liberal Iranian government?

    Posted by AIG | June 21, 2010, 9:53 am
  26. The first sentence above should be:
    In Lebanon the Jews are afraid to say they are Jewish in public.

    Posted by AIG | June 21, 2010, 9:54 am
  27. Very interesting BBC documentary.

    Here’s a very short one – in French – about the Jews in Iran

    And an article by Roger Cohen, published in the New York Times : “What Iran’s Jews Say” (22/02/2009) :

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/opinion/23cohen.html?_r=1

    “[...] the reality of Iranian civility toward Jews tells us more about Iran — its sophistication and culture — than all the inflammatory rhetoric.”

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 21, 2010, 10:24 am
  28. Jews have left every Muslim country except the Iranian Utopia NewZ

    From today’s Ha’aretz:

    The unnecessary media to-do surrounding the arrival of 40 Jews from Iran last week might harm immigration to Israel and the 28,000 Jews still in Iran. The Jewish Agency, the military censor and the government agency who contributed to these festivities, or who did not prevent them, might be sorry afterward.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/endangering-the-jews-of-iran-1.236221

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 21, 2010, 11:31 am
  29. I’m so happy to see more pieces like this documentary coming out about the Mizrahim, as it hits close to home for me.

    I was born and raised Jewish in the NY metropolitan area. My mother — born and raised Catholic — fled her home, Budapest, due to the Russians’payback for the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (i.e. two months of independence that abruptly ended when the pledged US backing flaked out…). She converted to Judaism from Catholicism on her own accord years before she met my pop, the latter born and raised Jewish in New York.

    In university, I studied Arabic language and culture, with which I’ve always felt 100% at home; I remember being an adolescent attending Bar Mitzvahs, and always looking forward to the melodies of prayers which I later learned share Arabic maqamat (sim. to musical scales). A “Semitic thing”, maybe? Could be. All I know is that I find speaking in a “root system” much more intuitive than English :)

    After being mistaken for a Lebanese on one instance when using my Arabic in NYC, I became interested in this amazing little country. Then, via classifieds, I met the my current roommate. Lo and behold, she turned out to be Beiruti.

    One of the biggest crimes in the greater American ignorance of the history and people of Modern Israel (which is inextricably linked to that of Lebanon) is (a) the association of “Israel” with ALL Jews (a widespread mistake with the exception of most Lebanese I met while living “in that neighborhood” over the past few months; they mostly made the distinction between “Jewish” and “Zionist”), and (b) the idea that all Jews are Ashkenazi. I remember as a kid looking at my globe and always finding it weird that I’d see “Israel” in the modern global context; to me, “Israel” was always a much more abstract idea. I never took the rhetoric of “return” literally so that I’d end up moving to Israel some day.

    Keeping all this in mind, I note a point made by one interviewee (I think his name was “Allen”) when highlighting how French differentiates between “Israélien” and “Israélite” while Arabic doesn’t. And it breaks my heart, man, when I hear him and all the Lebanese Jews in this piece in addition to comparable voices I heard in a separate documentary on Iraqi Mizrahim (انسى بغداد [Forget Baghdad]). More than anything, I feel frustration on behalf of the Arab Jews. Racism is bullshit to begin with, but I get really pissed over how the history and culture of Mizrahim are largely unknown, particularly among other American Jews (in my experience).

    I always found one of the more compelling about Judaism was a history of perseverence under extreme circumstances, and damned if I don’t see that in the Mizrahim. And, sure enough, when I saw the synagogue in Beirut a month ago — notwithstanding potential political motivation in its restoration — it brought up some great feelings; the building is like a physical manifestation of the Lebanese Jewish heritage and how it survives, even if the population dwindles. (As it was mentioned above, this kind of thing appears to be a good sign for any minority!) I felt comfortable in Beirut from the start, but there was a kind of additional “ahla w sahla” in seeing yet another piece of Lebanese culture, one with which I share a connection, no less :)

    Posted by Qub | June 21, 2010, 3:32 pm
  30. Sorry, anal grammatical error, RE the final paragraph: “I always found one of the more compelling aspects of Judaism to be a history of perseverence…”

    Posted by Qub | June 21, 2010, 3:34 pm
  31. Sorry. This isn’t related to the topic at hand, but maybe QN can take it up and run with it in its own entry:

    “Bassil: Electricity plan will fix shortages by 2014, produce profits in 2015″

    (Said plan has since been approved by the cabinet).

    I’d like to be optimistic, but history isn’t really on the side of this actually happening. SPECIALLY (and cue Ghassan here) when there is absolutely ZERO mention anywhere as to WHAT this magical plan is.

    Where are the numbers? The projections? The conditions? Or did Bassil and company pull this stuff out of their asses?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 21, 2010, 4:03 pm
  32. Qub,

    What are you smoking? 99% of the Mizrahim survived because they went to Israel. In fact a much larger percentage of the Mizrahi Jews are in Israel than the Ashkenazi Jews. In Israel at least, because of intermarriage, there will not be much distinction between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews in a couple of generations.

    Posted by AIG | June 21, 2010, 4:03 pm
  33. @ Qub :

    Thank you very much for your comment. The way you describe your identity is fascinating and obviously too subtle to be appreciated by closed-minded Zionists – as AIG.

    It reminded of Ella Shohat’s book – again! – “Le sionisme du point de vue de ses victimes juives, les Juifs orientaux en Israël” (La Fabrique, 2006).

    http://www.lafabrique.fr/catalogue.php?idArt=204

    In the introduction of the French version, she made this pretty touching description of her parents and grand-parents, showing a deep attachment to Arab traditions, as well as their incapacity to comply to the Euro-centered discourse of the colonial (and so-called Jewish) State :

    “Pour mes parents, c’était comme si le temps s’était arrêté dans les années 1940 à Bagdad [...] Leur refus obstiné de s’ouvrir à toute autre culture – euro-israélienne en particulier – est le signe tragicomique d’un provincialisme judéo-bagdadi qui perdure en dépit des années passées dans divers ailleurs de par le monde [...] Mes grands-parents, des dizaines d’années après leur arrivée et jusqu’à leur mort n’ont continué à parler que l’arabe, etc.”

    pp.9-11

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 21, 2010, 4:40 pm
  34. quelqu’une,

    You are also living in an alternative reality. Qub can define himself any way he likes, but he has a lot of chutzpah to talk in the name of the Mizrahim, especially the Israeli ones.

    Wake up and smell the coffee. The Mizrahim are much more right wing than the Askenazi Jews. They are the backbone of the Likud party. The second party they are likely to vote for is Shas an ultra-religious and that is known for the racist epitaphs against Arabs of its spiritual leader Ovadia Yossef. Eli Yishai, the interior minister that dissed Biden by announcing the plans to build in Jerusalem is from that party.

    In short, both you and Qub are fantasizing about some reality that doesn’t exist. The majority of Mizrahi Jews are very nationalistic and quite anti-Arab. Except for very, very few they definitely do not seem themselves as part of the Arab world or are nostalgic for the pre 1948 times.

    Posted by AIG | June 21, 2010, 5:20 pm
  35. “The majority of Mizrahi Jews are very nationalistic and quite anti-Arab.”
    I do agree with you on that point, AIG.
    It only proves how the racist brainwash actually operates on those who have been themselves the victims of another racism : the Ashkenazi Euro-centric complex of superiority on which zionism is based.

    It’s actually a very common process that you may notice in other types of migrations in the context of a colonial ideology. In the case of France, for example, most of the Portuguese migrants (who arrived in the 1920’s and then in 1960’s) – in spite of being themselves the victims of French natives’ racist prejudices – happened to be racist against African migrants (who came later in the 1960’s and the 1970’s).

    Mizrahi Jews were in a very similar position. Despised by the Ashkenazi Jews for being Arabs, they turned to be as you say “very nationalistic and quite anti-Arab”.
    De la surcompensation identitaire, j’imagine!

    http://actualites.ehess.fr/nouvelle519.html

    “Les principales victimes du racisme des Portugais sont indéniablement les immigrés d’origine africaine et leurs descendants et les petites communautés de Tsiganes. Mais ces deux collectivités ne sont pas victimes du même type de racisme. La démarche typologique utilisée dans la recherche qu’on présente ici, a, en fait, pu dégager les deux types idéaux de racisme existants dans la société portugaise.

    Le racisme à l’égard des immigrés et de leurs descendants obéit nettement à la logique de racisation « inégalitaire » ou « assimilationniste » dont les sources se trouvent dans le passé colonial du pays et dans les idéologies et préjugés hérités de ce même passé. La représentation contemporaine de l’Africain immigré doit encore beaucoup à l’imaginaire du « Noir colonisé ». Ce sont les discriminations quotidiennes, le traitement inégalitaire dans beaucoup de domaines de la vie sociale, l’infériorisation constante et le l’harcèlement verbal qui constituent les pratiques les plus souvent perçues et témoignées par cette catégorie d’individus. Les domaines de l’emploi, de l’habitation, des transports en commun et des loisirs – surtout dans les milieux urbains où les immigrés se concentrent – sont autant de situations ou les acteurs sociaux perçoivent le plus les manifestations racistes. Les immigrés et leurs descendants ont effectivement une place dans la société ; ils ne sont pas exclus de la sphère de la production ou de la vie économique mais ils sont méprisés et relégués à des situations d’invisibilité sociale.”

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 21, 2010, 6:41 pm
  36. quelqu’une,

    Now you are just patronizing the Mizrahi Jews in order to make them fit your quaint colonialist theories. How about using Occam’s razor for a change? How about that Mizrahi Jews do not like Arabs that much because they know them the best having lived among them and been rejected by them? They have no fantasies or utopian visions about what Arab societies are.

    Posted by AIG | June 21, 2010, 7:45 pm
  37. For those who are not certaqin what is Chutzpah:
    “Chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, and /or arrogance; “No other word or no other language”, can do it justice.

    The following example is better than 1,000 words. Read the story below and you will understand.
    THE ESSENCE OF CHUTZPAH…

    A little old lady sold pretzels on a street corner for 25 cents each. Every day a young man would
    leave his office building at lunch time, and as he passed the pretzel stand, he would leave her a quarter, but never take a pretzel.

    This went on for more than 3 years. The two of them never spoke. One day, as the young man passed the old lady’s stand and left his quarter as usual, the pretzel lady spoke to him. Without blinking an eye, she said:

    “They’re 35 cents now.” “

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 21, 2010, 10:08 pm
  38. Qub,

    Your life-story is fascinating and you have made some astute observations about the fate of the Arab Jews and their culture. What we have been suffering is nothing short of memoricide, more severe than the one that befell the Palestinians and perpetrated by the same Ashkenazi Zionists in collusion with weak and greedy Arab regimes and meddling Western powers (e.g. the British in Iraq). The dismissive tone which AIG used to reply to you is a thousand times more considerate than the one his Ashkenazi ancestors used when they trampled over the bodies and souls of my ancestors from Iraq. And still you can see that even in his “modern and more considerate” incarnation the prototypical Zionist Ashkenazi has a black heart and also a sharp mind. A combination that has wrought endless suffering on millions. The preservation of the assets and memories of the Jewish communities is now in the hands of few and is ill fated. The Arab Jews have moved on and they are building their lives in Israel and elsewhere. Their thousands years’ worth of heritage will sink into oblivion, although some are making a last ditch effort to preserve it. You said you like Maqamats, here is one by Yair Dalal and the deceased Yossef Ya’acov Shem Tov (the first ten minutes).

    I saw in other videos that Yossef’s kids are learning to play the Oud too, so it gave me some hope for the future.

    Take care Qub, I can feel that your soul is pure.

    Quelqu’une, All,

    When AIG writes “99% of the Mizrahim survived because they went to Israel” one can only surmise he’s talking about how Israel saved the Arab Jews at the last moment from the death camps that their Muslim and Christian neighbors were building for them. Right? And Israel was so “generous” to save them that every now and then when they decided to stay put a bomb would go off near a synagogue and ominous leaflets would be distributed by Zionists calling on the Jewish population to leave immediately. And Israel was so worried about the well-being of the Arab Jews that it negotiated “exclusivity” rights with the Arab governments such that the Jews will have to leave their property behind and will be forced to leave to Israel ONLY. A win-win situation for the ones who got the spoils and for the master race who got their hewers of wood and drawers of water. They were sent directly to border towns where they are stuck till this very day.

    Quelqu’une, All,

    AIG is correct in his assessment of the Arab Jews current political views but you have articulated very well the reasons for these views. And in a sense, these political views are very superficial and immaterial. Because, even though the Ashkenazis have tried to suffocate their souls for two or three generations, a moderate incarnation of their popular culture is now emerging and drowning the Russian-derived popular culture of Ashkenazi Zionists. And guess what, when a bleeding heart “liberal” Ashkenazi actually has to live in co-existence with an authentic Arab Jew, or any other Arab, they just recoil in disgust and go packing or surround themselves with walls, ever retreating. And thus, at the end of the day, the Arab Jews will be the ones who will remain in Israel/Palestine and they will find a way to co-exist with the Arabs, they will reach back to the memes which have allowed them to do so prosperously over thousands of years and will do so once again.

    And the intermingling which AIG talks about it most likely a fantasy, which Israel officialdom deliberately makes impossible to quantify as it doesn’t keep track of the origin of 3rd generation Israelis, and so no reliable data exists. But every visit to every periphery or religious neighborhood town in Israel reveals the truth instantly. There are many Arab Jews who have intermingled and assimilated but they are outnumbered by the religious supports of Shas and those stuck in the poverty towns, and their reproduction rate is nothing but dwarfed by that of the latter. Of course every Mizrahi person can choose his or her alliances and build their own identity as they see fit, they are entitled to happiness in this world no matter what everybody else wants them to do or says about them—this is their right as the victims of a heinous double betrayal, memoricide and identity manipulation by powerful and sinister forces.

    Posted by Yossi | June 21, 2010, 10:14 pm
  39. @ Yossi :

    Your comments made me think of a very old man I had the chance to meet a few months ago, Victor Segré. I don’t know if his mémoires have been translated into English since the original version was written in French.
    His book is a precious testimony of what you call the “heinous double betrayal” : Un aller sans retour : l’histoire d’un Communiste Juif Egyptien (L’Harmattan, 2009).

    http://www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp?navig=catalogue&obj=livre&no=29447

    « Nés en Egypte, étions-nous Egyptiens, Arabes, Palestiniens, Français ou Russes ? Cette question m’a souvent hanté. »

    Instead of maintaining this question open – as Victor Segré did does – the zionist ideology imposes a euro-centric answer in which a strong orientalist bias gives its shape to plain colonialist racism.

    Dr Jacob Thon from the Palestine Office of the Zionist movement stated in 1908 : “it is hardly in need of pointing out that the question of employing Jewish instead of Arab agricultural workers is one of the most important problems of colonization of Palestine.”
    @ AIG : As you can see it’s the Zionists who used the word “colonization”. It’s a historical fact that has nothing to do with anyone’s “quaint colonialist theories”.

    Jacob Thon explains then that the Zionist youth from the Diaspora should be employed and given the priority on “the indigent Oriental Jews, who are still on the same cultural level as the Arab fellahin”.

    So, this is the ideological background of the only democracy in the Middle-East.


    source : Zionism and Oriental Jews: Dialectic of Exploitation and Co-optation by Ehud Ein-Gil and Mosh´e Machover (July 2008)

    http://www.matzpen.org/Data/English/miz18.pdf

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 21, 2010, 11:20 pm
  40. Thanks for the comments— didn’t mean to present as gospel or speaking on behalf of an entire people. Not my intention by a long shot.

    Posted by Qub | June 21, 2010, 11:22 pm
  41. Yossi,

    Don’t be ridiculous. You think that the Ashkenazim kept the thousands year old heritage from the shtetel? In Israel a new identity and a new nation was forged.

    I really like you patronizing. You want to portray the Mizrahi Jews as dumb by denying them the responsibility for their political opinions! The smart and “black hearted” Ashkenazim have brainwashed the pure but naive and stupid Mizrahim. That is pretty bigoted.

    And I am sure that the Mizrahi Jews would be delighted to hear that their political views are “superficial and immaterial”. Who are you exactly to so off handedly dismiss the opinions of millions of people? It seems you do not respect them at all.

    And as for the Ashkenazim not being able to live near a Mizrahi, that is just utter BS. In 1995 already 25% of Jewish kids were of mixed marriages with the number steadily growing.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ashkenazi-mizrahi-marriages-have-not-narrowed-ethnic-gap-1.210602

    I look around me and see that about 50% of the married people I know are intermarried. In a couple of generations the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi distinction is going to disappear in Israel.

    By the way, since you married an Ashkenazi Jew, how are you protecting your heritage from “memoricide and identity manipulation by powerful and sinister forces”? Do your kids speak Arabic? What do they know exactly of life in Baghdad? Do they play the oud? Welcome to the club of the “black hearted” “double betrayers”. And by the way don’t worry about it because your political views are immaterial and superficial since you are a Mizrahi.

    Posted by AIG | June 22, 2010, 12:58 am
  42. Behold the viciousness and glee with which AIG mocks my attempts to connect with my heritage after two generations of highly successful suppression and erasure of my Arabic Jewish heritage. This is the same Bolshevik impulse that has been driving the Zionist movement since its inception in the desire to create a new homogenized “strong” Jew and cleanse the country of non-Jews for the New Jew uncontested rule. The Zionist disdain towards the Shtetel/Yiddish culture was in some ways no less severe than the one that was directed towards the Arab Jewish culture. They all had to be erased. However, whereas after the rise of the Nazis and the holocaust, the Ashkenazi Jews were willing to participate in this act of attempted self-memoricide, the Arab Jews as well as the Arabs of Palestine, were never really asked whether they wished to assume the roles that were designated to them by the Zionist movement. The Ashkenazi viewpoint, which may have been an exceptionalist and highly-egoistic one even before the holocaust, fails to understand why the Arab Jews and the Palestinians can’t make “small sacrifices” much smaller than the ones the Ashkenazis were forced to make, as if saying: “we were exterminated and kicked out of Europe, and look: we built this wonderful country, why can’t you, whiny loser Palestinians, do the same in the Arab countries? Come’on lend a shoulder for our lofty goal of self-determination in Palestine” and to the Arab Jews “come’on so we erased your heritage forced you to live secular lives made you second class citizens and made you leave all your possessions behind. But now we can create a new identity! Of Spartans singing Socialist Hebrew songs with Slavic syntax to Moldovan tunes—it will be good for you!”.

    And where does the zeal to show that Arab Jews are “assimilating quickly” come from, if not from the same old desire to erase whatever was left unique about their identity? However, as I said anything that the Mizrahim would do that will make them happy and prosperous is fine with me. I’d be the last one to tell them what to do, and love between man and woman is the strongest force on Earth. If that’s their vehicle for upward mobility then so be it. I will still hope that marriage between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim doesn’t necessitate the erasure of their heritages and I will lament the loss of ancient culture, if “intermarriage” does lead to that.

    It is not surprising though that AIG sees a lot of mixed marriages around him. As a middle class person, I do too. But as the study which he cited hints, and is consistent form my family experience (about 40 data points) the lower and upper classes are harder to penetrate, especially that the lower classes are mostly religious while the others are not. As the religious segments of society are growing in an accelerated rate, I predict we will see less overall intermarriage. Once again: it’s fine either way, people have the right to intermingle or not to.

    AIG says I’m patronizing when I say that Mizrahi political opinions are superficial. He is wrong. I am just more aware of the dynamics of Mizrahi politics than he is, or more than he is willing to admit in order not to ruin his arguments. The gap between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi salaries is larger than 30% and has been increasing over the last decade. Mizrahim are under an economic pressure that AIG doesn’t understand, as a privileged pure-bred Ashkenazi (read the survey he forwarded) who doesn’t have the majority of his family living in the Mizrahi poverty townships. Their desire to upward mobility is the main factor determining their politics. For example: in the 90’s the Shas movement supported the two-state solution however today its leader, Eli Yishai is the staunchest supporter of settlements, especially in and around Jerusalem. What happened? Dozens if not hundreds of thousands of poor Mizrahi religious Jews were at a situation were due to the rising prices of real estate inside the green line they could not afford new flats there and were lured into the settlements where housing and everything else was highly subsidized. This is how the right wing has co-opted the Mizrahim into maintaining and furthering the settlement enterprise. Make no mistake, like in Israel, the Mizrahim in the settlements are mostly segregated. They are not welcomed everywhere, however the mega-settlements of Maale Edomim, Beitar Ilit and the neighborhoods in Eastern Jerusalem were mainly developed as cheap housing solutions for them. Well maybe by now their co-option is no longer superficial. Maybe now they have thoroughly bought the gospel of hatred towards the Arabs. That would definitely make AIG’s day, wouldn’t it. But I don’t think this is the case as is demonstrated by leaders such as Aryeh Deri and Shlomo Lahiani, both waiting in the bullpen to sweep the Mizrahi masses. Time will tell.

    AIG also says I’m patronizing the Mizrahim when I says their political opinions do not matter. This is an attempt of feigned reading miscomprehension in order to justify feigned outrage and a personal attack. As is clear from what I wrote, the Mizrahim political opinions are immaterial *to their ability to co-exist with Arabs* as much as the Ashkenazim’s political opinions are immaterial to their disability to do the same.

    The truth is scary to AIG but he cannot really deny it, that’s why his arguments are so hollow. He knows that in 15 years max he will have nothing to do in Israel and that’s why he spends “part of his time” in America. One has to thing about the future of his children.

    Posted by Yossi | June 22, 2010, 3:13 am
  43. @BV :

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=179463

    QN: Could not watch more than the first five minutes, as my connection for the past month has been dead slow. A while back I tried to lookup on the net anything related to Lebanese Jewish community, I was surprised to find that the 2nd biggest community lived in Broumana. Now that Baroud gave the choice of baring religion from ID card, it might be easier for some to come back. Not to simplifiy a somewhat complicated issue; but I think that not many Lebanese can differenciate between Israeli and Israelite, just like they don’t make a difference between Jewish and Zionist and this is one reason why if I was Jewish I would not eel safe in Lebanon.

    Posted by marillionlb | June 22, 2010, 3:19 am
  44. Yossi,

    Instead of having reality be a base for your views, you create an alternative universe to support your views.

    The Mizrahi voter put Begin and the Likud in power in 1977 WAY before there were any significant settlements. There was no need for co-opting or all your conspiracy theories and big words. The Mizrahi Jews were naturally attracted to the Likud’s conservative and right wing politics because of their experience and traditions. You are trying to find someone to blame for historical processes you don’t like. But there is no one to blame.

    If upward mobility is the main driving force behind Mizrahi politics, this shows again why the Mizrahi would favor a Likud government which is much more pro-growth than the alternatives.

    You grasp at straws and try to explain history using intricate theories that erase facts you don’t like as superficial. In the end, you cannot even convince 99% of Mizrahi about what you say. So basically your position is that they are babes in the woods but YOU know better than them what they really should think and do.

    And of course I will mock your crocodile tears about your lost heritage. If you can’t even bother to educate your kids about it, what are you complaining about? Is there some Ashkenazi golem in your living living room hitting you on the head each time one of your kids practices the oud?

    Posted by AIG | June 22, 2010, 10:16 am
  45. I am surprised there is so much interest in this topic, but since there is, you might enjoy this website: http://www.jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/

    It chronicles Jewish communities in Arab lands – both the minimal remnants today and the communities of the past, both when they were significant and their expulsions.

    Posted by dontgetit | June 22, 2010, 12:10 pm
  46. Marillion,
    I was raised in Brummana but I do not recall except one Jewish family 6-8members) who went down to Beirut during the winter season but spent the summer in Brummana. I also knew of another family that would come up toBrummana during the sammer season to one of the Hotels. I can tell you, based on this very limited experience that the Lebanese never discriminated openly against these individuals but we never made them feel as part of the family so to speak. They were often treated as outsiders and after 1967 with great suspicion.
    The community of 20,000-25000 strong did not wilt to less than 50 only because all of the various members decided to leave. Local attitudes, the civil war and the 1982 invasion have conspired to make them feel unwelcome.
    The renovation of the Beirut synagogue is a good step in and of itself but we should view it with a jaundiced eye. A renovated synagogue does not mean that Lebanon is a hospitable place for Jews. I cannot help but view the renovation as being at least partially a PR project, a museum if you will. Around a year ago Executive magazine wrote an article about Jews of Lebanon and asked a few of the 40-50 that remain in Lebanon to share their thoughts anonymously but none accepted the offer. Are they justified in their suspicions? I do not know but the fact that all share the fear of retaliation or discrimination speaks volumes about the acceptance of the Jews in Lebanon.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 22, 2010, 12:34 pm
  47. AIG has taken another page out of the hasbara tactics book: always and quickly take the battle to enemy territory. In this case, note he doesn’t even try to refute any of the substantive assertions about memoricide and general carelessness or ill intent towards Mizrahim. But things are well documented and are irrefutable, as quelqu’une noted and is knowable to anybody who cares to read any memoir of Mizrahi Jews. So what can AIG do? Make the entire argument revolve around whether I am or not ingenious about reviving my Jewish-Iraqi heritage. As if there is a reason I would be disingenuous, and as if what I do or don’t manage to do in my private life has any consequence here. But this just exemplifies what I said before: in the Ashkenazi Zionist world, the victim is always at fault, never the perpetrator.

    With respect to 1977, I have been there with the rest of my family, all Likud members, handing out fliers promoting Menachem Begin. “Likud #1” the slogans said, with the “L” curving like a proud flag. It was a great victory, what many thought would be liberation from the Ashkenazi Labor party discrimination and condensation. Like all Mizrahi politics, the alignment to the Likud was based mainly on its promise for equality and advancement of the Mizrahim in Israel. The knight on the white horse and all his lieutenants were Ashkenazi, but they still stroke a cord of sincerity, part of it was also their plain talk with respect to the Arab-Jewish conflict, not like the “left” with its weasel formulations and double-speak. Let’s get something straight: Mizrahim, overwhelmingly and unlike many Ashkenazim, were always loyal people to their country, be it their origin country or later Israel. But they also believed in Jewish solidarity, and thus once they found themselves in Israel, they could not have betrayed the Ashkenazim the way the Ashkenazim betrayed them. Not that they were able to resist even if they wanted to. In the few cases they did, they were met with live bullets. And thus they could be counted on to support nationalistic agendas as willing cannon fodder. And let’s not forget something else: the support for the Likud was also just a naked power grab. People realized that to further their interests they needed a place at the table. The deal was, and still is, the Mizrahim bring the votes, then in return they get their interests taken care of, mostly in the form of mid and low level government jobs. There is no other way to survive in the dead-end poverty townships.

    Still, it didn’t take long for many Mizrahim to discover that the Likud is not what it promised to be. Indeed in the first two terms of the Likud a lot has been done to help the Mizrahi neighborhoods and townships but by the end of the 80’s this was all gone. The Likud with its ultra-liberal fiscal agenda, and the opening of the world to Israeli export as a result of the Oslo accord, has indeed brought quick growth to the Ashkenazi power centers in Israel, but the poverty townships were left behind. The gaps in economic strength grew wider. Any excess was invested in the settlements. In addition, the Mizrahim felt they needed to resist their secularization. As a result, Shas has emerged on the political scene. Those who could not afford to send lunch with their kids to school, could rely on Shas’s religious schools instead. They provided lunch. And Shas got its funding, and still does, by political extortion of the Ashkenazi power centers. That’s the deal that maintains the Israeli ethnic equilibrium and relative to which any “intermarriage” phenomena is background noise.

    Over the years that have passed, the Likud felt less and less compelled to even portray itself as a Mizrahi-empowering movement, to the point that only a few out of the current Likud MK’s are Mizrahi, and none of the members of the Likud in the “seven ministers forum”, the cabinet which decides Israel’s policy, is Mizrahi. In fact the only Mizrahi out of seven is from Shas—Eli Yishai.

    All of this long-winded background was provided in order to illustrate two things:
    (a) the main driver for Mizrahi politics is Mizrahi interests and well-being
    (b) even if the Mizrahim hate the Arabs and are distrustful of them (as they should be, given the Arabs’ betrayal), this doesn’t in any way absolve the Ashkenazim from THEIR betrayal of the Mizrahim and of the material and cultural crimes they have committed against them.

    I do not like to indulge in vengeance but as I said, given AIG’s unrepentant stance, there is something very satisfying in the fact that AIG and his ilk are becoming an endangered species in Israel.

    Posted by Yossi | June 22, 2010, 1:35 pm
  48. Yossi,

    Me, an endangered species? What exactly are you smoking? Since my identity does not revolve one bit about the fact that I am Ashkenazi, I really don’t care if there are no Ashkenazi Jews in Israel or if no one remembers how to make gefilte fish or kleizmer music is outlawed. I am a Zionist Israeli Jew and that is all. As such, of course I am not an endangered species.

    What exactly do I have to repent? I was born way after 1948 and am not responsible for any policy or activity related to the Mizrahim. You seem to think that anyone from Ashkenazi decent holds some collective responsibility or guilt. That is of course absurd. I neither feel responsible nor guilty about how the Mizrahim were treated. Of course I acknowledge that there were many mistakes made in absorbing the Mizrahi immigration. But when a population of a very poor country under threat from its neighbors doubles over a few years due to immigration, how can mistakes not be made in absorbing that immigration? Furthermore, I hold the Mizrahim responsible for conserving their heritage. That is not something the state needs to do for you. My parents could have taught me Yiddish but they didn’t. They are responsible for not maintaining the shtetel culture, not the state of Israel. That is the point I was trying to make while giving you as an example. The point again is that if you want to conserve your heritage, no one is stopping you, so stop blaming others.

    Look at all the loops you have to go through to explain the past and current huge support of the Mizrahi Jews for the Likud. Why not just accept the simple explanation: The Likud best represents their ideologies and interests. It is not “superficial” or “immaterial”, it is a decades old phenomena that you cannot just sweep under the carpet.

    Posted by AIG | June 22, 2010, 2:21 pm
  49. “But when a population of a very poor country under threat from its neighbors doubles over a few years due to immigration, how can mistakes not be made in absorbing that immigration? ”

    Incredible how the Zionists are obsessed with demographic facts. Exactly like white supremacists who were and still are obsessed with “changing demographics in America”.

    In that respect, memoricide, racist behaviors, other ethnic cleansing are crimes that Zionists may ultimately call – as AIG does – …”mistakes”. oops!

    AIG : you are the one sweeping both facts and morality under the very thick carpet of nationalism.

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 22, 2010, 3:11 pm
  50. quelqu’une,

    Wow, how wrong can you be! If the Ashkenazi Jews were worried about demographic issues in the Jewish community, why would they accept over a million Mizrahi Jews, in fact making them the majority of Jews in Israel? The fact is the Ahkenazi Jews were not worried at all about becoming a minority! Your analogy is just bogus.

    What the hell is memoricide anyway? If a second generation Lebanese in the US does not speak Arabic is that memoricide? If yes by who? If not, then why is what Israel did memoricide? It is the duty of the immigrants to conserve their heritage if they want to do so. It is not the duty of the state.

    As for racist behavior, of course that existed and exists. So what? People have to be educated and this needs to be stamped out but show me a country that people are put in jail for being racist. Racism is not a crime. It is a character flaw.

    Posted by AIG | June 22, 2010, 3:50 pm
  51. Wow. Just wow. I had no idea.

    Posted by dontgetit | June 22, 2010, 3:52 pm
  52. Man, you guys don’t get tired of arguing with each other. :)

    Who would have thought that the subject of Lebanese Jews could generate so much discussion.

    Maybe I should outsource my dissertation to all of you. Shall we have an open thread on the subject of 14th century Arabic encyclopedic literature?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 22, 2010, 3:58 pm
  53. QN: Please have a look at the link I posted. I came across it because I had met a Jew from Aleppo here in NY. He was living in Panama now, having fled Syria in the 70s and his story was interesting enough that I started to look into the general subject myself.

    Posted by dontgetit | June 22, 2010, 4:02 pm
  54. Those Brainwashed Mizrachis

    Yossi,

    cc: AIG

    We have talked at length about other specific Israeli issues, but this one is no different. You have a very liberal opinion, and you’re trying to justify it while most Israelis would disagree with you, especially the Sephardi/Mizrachi Israeli Jews.

    I have to agree with AIG. What he is saying is the plain truth: the majority of Right-Wing Jews tend to be the Mizrachi/Oriental/Sephardi Jews, and the Left-Wing Jews are mainly European/Ashkenasi Jews. This is a fact, so how do you explain it?

    I know this from the polling data, as well as my experience from being married into a Syrian/Yemenite Israeli family. The family members’ opinion ranged from right-wing to center. Never left wing. None of them hated or blamed Ashkenazi.

    …highly successful suppression and erasure of my Arabic Jewish heritage…

    My experience in Israel was that EVERY heritage (not just “Arabic” heritage) had to lose their uniqueness at the door once they arrived in Israel. “Arab” Jews (they don’t like the term, naturally) or no different from Ashkenasi Jews or Ethiopian Jews, have to throw away their heritage unfortunately, which is difficult to do.

    No different than the ethic communities that moved to the US from Italy, Eastern Europe, Asia, etc.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 22, 2010, 4:49 pm
  55. AP,
    “No different than the ethic communities that moved to the US from Italy, Eastern Europe, Asia, etc.”?
    Where do you see these communities “loosing their uniqueness at the door once they arrive”? This could not be further from the truth.
    On the contrary, these communities continue to live and celebrate their heritage, to this very day.

    Posted by NewGuy | June 22, 2010, 5:17 pm
  56. NewGuy,

    As an American-born Jew, I know what being an American is. If you think someone like Jackie Mason could make it in the US by doing something else than being a rabbi or a standup “ethnic” comedian, you would have to be kidding yourself.

    It is very difficult “fitting in” when you’re wearing kippah, a turbin, a scarf, or a kaffiyah.

    The fact remains, when in Rome, do as the Romans. This is what I am refering to. Every nationality has its customs, including Israel.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 22, 2010, 5:26 pm
  57. NewGuy,

    In addition to the above, I am NOT saying “communities” should NOT “continue to live and celebrate their heritage”, I’m just saying that no one outside of these communities will care one way or the other.

    And I think what AIG and I are saying is that this “disinterest” is not a crime nor anything unusual.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 22, 2010, 5:31 pm
  58. NewGuy,

    Most of the immigrants to the USA were Germans, even more than Anglo-Saxons. Is there a community of non-Amish that has kept any German dialect alive? How can the Germans in the US keep their heritage if they don’t know their own language?

    Same goes for the Italians and most other European immigrant groups. The moment you lose the language, you lose most of the uniqueness. Pizza or beer do not make a heritage. Everybody eats pizza and drinks beer or marches on 5th avenue. Ok, the Scot-Irish have their kilts and the worlds most awful musical instrument, the bag-pipe. But what percentage of the millions of Scot-Irish in the US have a kilt or play the bag-pipe? And what percentage has ever eaten haggis (the reason they invented the bag-pipe so you could not concentrate on the food)?

    Posted by AIG | June 22, 2010, 5:43 pm
  59. AIG # 50 :
    “If a second generation Lebanese in the US does not speak Arabic is that memoricide? If yes by who?”

    Aux dernières nouvelles, Lebanese people living in the US haven’t moved to a place where is military planned the systematic eviction of US citizens and expropriation of their land. Again, it’s your own analogy which is plain bogus.

    AP # 54 :
    “My experience in Israel was that EVERY heritage (not just “Arabic” heritage) had to lose their uniqueness at the door once they arrived in Israel. “Arab” Jews (they don’t like the term, naturally) or no different from Ashkenasi Jews or Ethiopian Jews, have to throw away their heritage unfortunately, which is difficult to do.”

    This statement is pure fiction : no society could concretely sustain itself without referring to an well-articulated heritage.
    If one throws their heritage away, they would simply adopt the dominant one. That’s integration, and you can’t integrate into nothing. Indeed, when you already are a part of the dominants, it’s much easier : you just comply with the dominant norms and it seems “natural” – only because you are fitting in.
    Oriental Jews had to throw away their Arab heritage to fit in the Zionist narrative. I’m not surprised that many of them are anti-Arab. The more anti-Arab they are, the less identified to Arabs they would be. It’s rather useful not to be identified as an Arab in a State founded on the ethnic cleansing of Arabs.

    Reading the last comments, it seems that among pizzas, beers and bag-pipes, a spectre is haunting the Zionist State – the spectre of an Arab Palestine.

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 22, 2010, 7:31 pm
  60. AP/New Guy,
    There are two schools of thought about immigration in the US (1) Melting Pot and (2) Mosaic.
    In the melting pot immigrants were expected to check in their “old” at Ellis island while in the new version one can maintain special characteristics as long as one fits into the overall theme of the Mosaic. Many of the old school do not look favourably at the Mosaic approach although it is the one that has become dominant.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 22, 2010, 7:50 pm
  61. Quelqu’une,

    You nailed it. I don’t have much to add on top of what you said in comment 59 + what I said in previous comments. Except this:

    “Furthermore, I hold the Mizrahim responsible for conserving their heritage. That is not something the state needs to do for you. My parents could have taught me Yiddish but they didn’t. They are responsible for not maintaining the shtetel culture, not the state of Israel. That is the point I was trying to make while giving you as an example. The point again is that if you want to conserve your heritage, no one is stopping you, so stop blaming others.”

    To this I have to say:

    For three decades when you opened the radio or the TV what you heard and saw was this Bolshevik junk:

    Apparently the state DID manage to promote somebody’s culture over another’s… I wonder whose culture that might have been? Can the astute observer guess the cultural roots of the above song and the dresses of the singers? Examples of active suppression of Mizrahi culture and identity are well documented in all walks of life. Thankfully today things are better, in the sense that the Russians have basically forced Israel to accept the “Mosaic” model (thanks Ghassan) but the underlying racism towards Mizrahim is still rampant, and well documented. In a study conducted just a few years ago identical resumes were submitted to potential employers, one with an “Israeli name” and one with a traditional “Mizrahi name”. The Mizrahi resumes were consistently turned down. Mizrahi accents had even a worse effect. When this is the atmosphere around you, you learn very quickly what you should and shouldn’t like, and how you need to construct your identity. A personal story: my aunt’s name was Ghazzala, on one of her first days in Israel she went to school and the teacher informed her that her new name was Ayala (same meaning). Does anybody believe she and her parents had any choice but to comply? How far would have she gotten in Israel, with the Arab name “Ghazzala”? They never asked to be immigrants in Israel and second class citizens.

    But AIG plays it dumb (maybe I gave him too much credit, maybe he is really not that sharp) and says: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”. What a sham.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 12:35 am
  62. Yossi,

    As usual trying to blame others and not taking responsibility. At home, did your aunt’s parents have to call her Ayala? Of course not. Could the teacher make them change the name officially? Of course not. It was their choice.

    Did Israel ever ban Arabic music? Never. Could your relatives have played cassettes or records at home? Of course. So why exactly are you blaming the Israeli state?

    Yes, there was prejudice in Israel. Every immigrant group all over the world faces such things. There is the famous Lool sketch about this where each immigrant group is shown to be prejudiced about those coming after them. Israel is not a prison. If your family did not want to stay there, they could have left.

    Do you really believe they had a better future under Saddam Hussein? Do you really believe that the Mizrahi Jews would have had a better future had they stayed in their countries? Of course you don’t. So what exactly are you complaining about?

    And how is quelqu’une’s point even relevant? Is a Lebanese in the US a Native American? And beside that, how does the status of the land matter as to whether the Mizrahi Jews taught their kids about their heritage or not. Again, it is a personal decision and has nothing to do with what happened on the land previously.

    It is so easy to blame others. It sure beats facing reality. If Mizrahi culture was suppressed, it was suppressed by the Mizrahim themselves. It was their choice to change how their kids were raised and what they taught them at home. If you have complaints, complain to your parents, not to some abstract Ashkenazi conspiracy.

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 1:37 am
  63. AIG I know that you know that your questions are a hollow and empty maneuver, nice job playing dumb. Your only goal is to have the last word in this debate. Fine then. I feel I have made a compelling argument to everyone who was willing to listen and I don’t give a fig what you think about the topic, you’re a lost case if there was ever one.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 1:57 am
  64. Yossi,

    I am the lost case? Or is it you that cannot even convince your own family? My questions are substantial. You are not willing to face the fact that to a very large extent the Mizrahi are responsible for their own destiny. They are not puppets and the AShkenazim are not puppeteers. That very notion is ultra patronizing from your side.

    The large majority of Mizrahi have held right wing ideologies and were Likud supporters even before 1967. They are in fact responsible and should be proud of the fact that they brought the Likud to power in 1977. Their ideologies are not superficial and immaterial. These are deep seated beliefs that have manifested themselves by the actual voting for right wing parties over decades. They were not duped into this by cheap housing in settlements because they supported the right way before there were any settlements.

    You can continue howling at the moon, but that will not change the fact that the Mizrahi are right leaning and Likud supporters. And they are like this by their own volition and not because they were stupid and easily manipulated by some grand Ashkenazi conspiracy..

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 10:47 am
  65. Yossi,

    Take a look at this, you will like it:

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3909503,00.html

    And don’t forget the talkbacks.

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 11:04 am
  66. AIG I can’t convince my family of WHAT? What kind of straw man are you erecting now? In what fantasy world do you live? Everything that I told you about Israel in general is backed by personal experiences of my extended family. From the times before the left Iraq till this very day. What I do need to convince them of? I just listen to them. You should try that sometimes.

    Now with respect to your Mikey-Mouse version of Mizrahi politics and its evolution over that years—that’s really entertaining. My thesis was that Mizrahi has voted to further their interests, which have been changing over the years, and have always included a traditionalist-religious element. What is your thesis that they support “the right” because of “deep seated beliefs”. Now who’s the blubbering patronizer AIG… the one who surveys the complexity and dynamics of a varied group of people or the one who is willing to summarize it with a homogenous and immutable “they vote right because of their deep seated beliefs”?

    Now let’s test your strawman
    1) The Mizrahim are NOT puppets or the Ashkenazi pupeeters
    2) The Mizrahim are intrinsically right wing

    Not in terms of the 50’s and 60’s when the memoricide had its deepest impact, when the Mizrahim were caged off in poverty towns and had very little ability to assemble and take control of themselves, as you suggest they could have—in your (feigned) ignorance. No, let’s talk in terms of 2009 Israeli politics.

    Mizrahim are at least 65% of the Jews in Israel and you’re saying they are right wing, so the percentage of voters for right wing parties should be more than 65%. Let’s say that in general 80% of the voters of right-wing parties should be according to your thesis, of Mizrahi origin. Now if they are under-represented, our conclusion must be that they are indeed puppets in an Ashkenazi controlled political scene. So… let’s see what we have:

    Let’s go from most right wing towards the left:

    1. National Union: 1 Mizrahi out of 4.
    2. The Jewish Home (practically ethically Ashkenazi): 0 out of 3.
    3. Shas (explicitly Mizrahi): 11 out of 11
    4. Torah Judaism (explicitly Ashkenazi): 0 out of 5.
    5. Israel our home (practically ethically Russian): 2 out of 15.
    6. Likud: 9 out of 27

    What’s the story here? Well distinctly, SHAS is the only party that faithfully represents the Mizrahim, and at least promises to take care of them. They are doing a horrible job at that, but that’s a different story. Mizrahim HARDLY EVER vote for hard-core settler parties or to Russian parties, and they know why: they have conflicting budgetary interests, and those parties have more than undertones of racism toward them anyway.

    So who votes for Likud? There is definitely a hard core, mostly urban, who votes for Likud the same way they would follow a soccer team, despite the fact that that party fails to represent their interests, but they like its nationalist glory. Then there is the agricultural Mizrahi Moshavim, who are represented by agricultural minister Katz, who takes care of them.

    Definitely within the Likud, the most senior Mizrahi minister, Silvan Shalom, is a left-wing marker.

    OK, so I think we’ve thoroughly burned down your strawman by now: either the Mizrahim are not as right wing as you portray them, or they are effectively powerless, except when they use their force explicitly in the context of an ethnic Mizrahi party like Shas.

    What do we see in Kadima? I think it’s about 12 out of 28, pretty much like Likud, slightly better. Again, who are the left markers in this party? Meir Shitrit, Dalia Itzik—both Mizrahi.

    Labor? 5 out of 13. Much better, perhaps if we assume that you’re right and Mizrahim don’t vote labor. Who’s the left marker in labor? Probably Daniel Ben-Simon, a Mizrahi.

    Go do your homework, and stop wasting my time.

    Now about all this question of whether I expect you or anybody else, or the “government of Israel” to do anything to preserve the Mizrahi culture.. I definitely don’t EXPECT you or your ilks who are at the helm of Israeli politics to do anything. You have proven your racism and bias through and through. I believe that parties like Shas, will talk with you the language that you understand—the language of force and coercion, and they will take care of the Mizrahi interest as much as they can and willing to. However it is unfortunate that they have accentuated their religious message and made it subordinate to Ashkenazi orthodoxy. But I don’t think this will hold-up for much longer.

    Look, my comment about repentance wasn’t made because I need anything from you. On the contrary, it was an offer for you to cleanse your soul, so that it can be taken into account when the tables are turned and you will face the consequences.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 2:21 pm
  67. Yossi,

    What you can’t convince your family is to stop being right wing and anti-zionist like you.

    As for being a bigot it is clearly you. You want to blame people just because of their Ashkenzi ancestry. It was a few people that decided on the immigration absorption policies in the 50′. Most of them are not alive today. Yet you still blame the generic “Ashkenazim”. Do you blame your kids a little less just because they are half Ashkenazi? How about your wife and her parents? Are they responsible for memoricide, whatever that is?

    It is time you stopped looking for people to blame. There is no one to blame anymore for your family’s “memoricide” nor for the murder of 90% of my family. Shit happens and then you die. If you don’t like life, go commit suicide. If you want to change things, go into politics.

    This is amusing your “when the tables are turned and you will face the consequences”. Yes, I am really scared of a future in which I will be treated like a Mizrahi Jew in Israel. I see how they are treated today and I have no worries. But perhaps you meant something more sinister? What crime are you accusing me of committing, and what will be the consequences for my crime?

    As for your strange analysis, it begins with a wrong premise and is therefore irrelevant. Under representation does not mean being a puppet. Acting against your own interests and in the interest of others is being a puppet. If Mizrahim elect people that act in the interests of the Mizrahim, it does not matter whether the eleced people are Ashkenazi or not. The Mizrahim that voted for them are not puppets.

    But here exactly lies your problem which is your vanity. YOU know better than the Mizrahim what their interests are. You have no respect for the democratic process. If the results are not what you think they should be then obviously the Mizrahim are puppets.

    I never said that Mizrahim are intrinsically right wing. That is just plain stupid. No Mizrahi is born with the property of being right wing. What I am saying is so obvious that I find your reluctance to accept it very strange. For decades the Mizrahim have voted much more for right wing and traditional/religious parties because their views tend to be right wing. And their views are not right wing because of genes. They are right wing because of their philosophy and culture. You can try spinning this anyway you like but it is a fact.

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 5:01 pm
  68. As I said in my previous e-mail, many Ashkenazim that didn’t fit the Zionist mold were also victims of the same steam roller. I do not have anything but affection to fellow Ashkenazim (including my wife who is the dearest person in the world for me, off course) who have resisted the spoils of Palestinian and Mizrahi subjugation. A small minority of Ashkenazi elite have always been rabble-rousing and they have always brought, at the end, great sorrows to their communities with their unique combination of freakishly high intelligence and a pathologically egoistic mentality. You are a direct descendant of this despicable heritage, and you’ve taken the Jews of Israel, most of them Mizrahim, with you on your current adventurous ride. It will end in great sorrow, not just for Israelis but for all Jews. I know you weren’t there in the 50’s and 60’s but it’s clear as daylight that you are, if anybody is, one of the people who will forever resist any ascendance of Jewish-Arabic-derived culture in Israel, and as I said, the way to change that is to fight you and your ilk, in the political and economic fields, or otherwise, as is necessary.

    In a utopic world:

    1. For your crimes of continual assault of the Mizrahim I think an appropriate punishment is currently in the process of being meted out, which is, you will exceedingly feel less and less at home in Israel. I don’t know if you still spend any significant portion of your time in Israel, but in 15 years, you’ll have nothing to look for there, except in the capacity of a tourist.

    2. For any other crimes you and your ancestors have committed you will pay separately.

    Of course we don’t live in a utopic world but somehow I feel pretty confident that justice will be served in this case.

    The rest of your analysis of Mizrahi politics is as usual infantile, not backed by any evidence and is best (for your sake) ignored.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 5:30 pm
  69. Yossi,

    Now you are also a psychic? It is clear that I “resist any ascendance of Jewish-Arabic-derived culture in Israel”. How do I do that exactly? You are just a prejudiced bigot. And on what ride exactly have I taken anybody?

    Who is this Ashkenazi elite that is taking people on a wild ride? They are not any of the politicians I am aware of since none of them have “freakishly high intelligence”. Surely you don’t mean Olmert or Netanyahu? And since you have already established that I am not that smart then obviously I am also being taken for a ride by this invisible cabal, yet you view me as culpable.

    So can we have the names of these “rabble rousing” Ashkenzi people that are taking all of us on a ride?

    15 years is a very short period of time. I feel very comfortable in Israel now, and I will feel the same in 15 years. What major change do you see happening in Israeli society in such a short time frame?

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 5:56 pm
  70. Reporting on the Sephardim in a 1949 article, during the mass-immigration from Arab and Moslem countries, the journalist Arye Gelblum wrote:

    “This is immigration of a race we have not yet known in the country …. We are dealing with people whose primitivism is at a peak, whose level of knowledge is one of virtually absolute ignorance, and worse, who have little talent for understanding anything intellectual. Generally, they are only slightly better than the general level of the Arabs, Negroes, and Berbers in the same regions. In any case, they are at an even lower level than what we knew with regard to the former Arabs of Eretz Israel …. These Jews also lack roots in Judaism, as they are totally subordinated to the play of savage and primitive instincts …. As with the Africans you will find card games for money, drunkenness and prostitution. Most of them have serious eye, skin and sexual diseases, without mentioning robberies and thefts. Chronic laziness and hatred for work, there is nothing safe about this asocial element …. “Aliyat HaNoar” [the official organization dealing with young immigrants] refuses to receive Moroccan children and the Kibbutzim will not hear of their absorption among them.”

    source : Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victims. Ella Shohat. Social Text, No. 19/20. (Autumn, 1988)

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 23, 2010, 6:16 pm
  71. AIG, I’m done with you for now. You almost made me pitty you. Almost.

    Have a nice day/night/whatever.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 7:07 pm
  72. Yossi,

    Nice try but I will not let you off the hook so fast. Who are the people in the “freakishly intelligent and rabble rousing” Ashkenazi elite?

    Your whole theory rests on the existence of this mysterious group that is taking Israelis for a ride. If you cannot name some people in this group, then your theory is just another conspiracy theory.

    The names please or admit you have been spewing BS all along. I will not hold my breath.

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 7:53 pm
  73. Yeah it was BS all along. Yallah bye.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 8:23 pm
  74. Yossi,

    Why is it so difficult to come up with a few names? Nu? Maybe one name? Will that take too much of your time?

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 8:35 pm
  75. AIG,

    You don’t need the precise name of each single nazi involved in the Wehrmacht to condemn fascism, right?

    I’m pretty sure you would be unable to name more than 10 of these nazis. Does it mean to you that Holocaust is “just another conspiracy theory”?

    If you think so, then you share at least one common point with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    I find disgusting any sort of historical revisionism – whether it’s related to Jews or not. Revisionism is a way to deny the persecuted minorities their only belonging : which is the ability to develop their own narratives and testimonies.
    Even if the persecuted minorities became one day a majority of persecutors – as it is happening in the Zionist State – it does not erase the past persecution, it only proves that a past persecution can be used to justify a present persecution.

    Seriously, I wonder how you can be so arrogant. Why can’t you simply acknowledge and show some respect for the traumatic experience the Oriental Jews have been through both in the Arab countries (their countries) and in the Zionist state?

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 23, 2010, 8:41 pm
  76. It’s not difficult at all, it’s just that I have other things to do and you have gotten way too much out of my time already, which you obviously don’t deserve. And you’re playing dumb again.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 8:43 pm
  77. Yossi,

    In the time it took you to write your last answer you could have written down one name. And I am not playing dumb. I honestly do not know which “freakishly intelligent and rabble rousing” Ashkenazi elite you are talking about.

    So come on humor me. Just one name. Who is taking all of us for a ride?

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 8:56 pm
  78. quelqu’une,

    Don’t be dense. I can give you the names of hundreds of Nazi officials. I don’t know them by heart but I know where to find them.

    Yossi is claiming there is a small “freakishly intelligent and rabble rousing” Ashkenazi elite that is fooling most Israelis. Well, who are these people? Certainly not the current Israeli politicians. So who is he talking about?

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 9:01 pm
  79. Allah yakhfazna… what a dreg… is this a holocaust-induced attention seeking disorder?

    1. You can start with one Theodore Herzl. You can continue with one Chaim Weizmann and one David Grun. From there you can proceed with one Pinhas Lavon, go through Ariel Sharon. At that point I’d say you’re better off looking for them in America: Feith, Abrams, Wurmser, Weismann and the rest of the war mongers and double agents. Today in Israel not too many names come to mind, except for Uzi Arad and Barak and at a lower level all the “demographers” and the heads of Zionist planning think tanks.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 9:16 pm
  80. quelqu’une,

    You asked:

    >>> Why can’t you simply acknowledge and show some respect for the traumatic experience the Oriental Jews have been through both in the Arab countries (their countries) and in the Zionist state?

    You know I’ve been asking myself the same question. Also why is he so eager to discuss the topic? He’s obviously not going to change his mind in any significant way, or change mine, so what’s the point?

    I think the answer is, that deep inside, there is a moral person hiding in AIG. Now, that moral person knows that the moment he makes the first admission of guilt of any sort, the whole house of cards goes down, because the Palestinian and Mizrahi catastrophes are interconnected.

    As a second line of defense, he has adopted this philosophy under which there is no notion of inheritance of responsibility, of governments, collectives, etc. So that even if he has to admit that his ancestors did something wrong, it will not touch him—god forbid—anything but take responsibility. This also further his self-perception of self-reliance because he has neutralized any claims he might bring against the Germans. He likes this world view of “no favors, it has a utilitarian appeal, but of course it doesn’t allow for any relationships of any depth.

    Then in terms of tactics, he adds another layer of defense by piling a heap of accusations on anybody who may make a demand of him, so as to dissuade them from even voicing their complaints. He tops it off with a condescending style.

    Once you take it a part you see a very little man and that’s why I said that I almost pity him. But he IS responsible for he is, there is no escaping that.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 9:32 pm
  81. “.. is this a holocaust-induced attention seeking disorder?”

    About myself : not at all. It’s a humanist-induced attention seeking a better understanding of the way victims of nationalist disorders are dispossessed of their own narratives and memory.

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 23, 2010, 9:39 pm
  82. quelqu’une,

    Sorry for the confusion… that remark was for AIG.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 9:43 pm
  83. No problem, Yossi!
    And thank you for the valuable comment you made in # 80.
    It’s sad people like AIG aren’t able to respond to any moral question without speaking the hasbara’s voice.

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 23, 2010, 10:00 pm
  84. Yossi,

    Thanks for the entertainment. So its mostly a dead or comatose Ashkenazi cabal. Wow! Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Weizmann are egoistical maniacs. Who knew. I guess you are smarter than 99% of historians. Quite amusing is that you really believe that American intellectuals are influencing Israeli actions or the Uzi Arad or Barak are thought leaders or that they have anyone fooled.

    Thank you for the ridiculous psychological profile. I hope it didn’t take too much of your valuable time. Keep howling at the moon and keep seeking retribution or guilt from dead people. You are wasting your time. Most philosophers believe that collectives cannot inherit responsibility. My position is very mundane on this issue. For example, that is why very few people in the US support reparations for slavery. You want to pin blame on blameless people. That is not how the world works.

    Maybe you are very frustrated about the fact the none of the “cabal” was ever punished, so you want to punish their relatives. Still, your position is not moral.

    Posted by AIG | June 23, 2010, 10:17 pm
  85. Yossi, AIG,

    Here are the main 3 Left-of-Center political parties and their MKs. What percentage of these MKs are Mizrachi?

    Labor:
    Ehud Barak
    Isaac Herzog
    Avishay Braverman
    Shelly Yachimovich
    Matan Vilnai
    Eitan Cabel
    Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
    Amir Peretz
    Daniel Ben-Simon
    Shalom Simhon
    Orit Noked
    Einat Wilf
    Raleb Majadele

    Meretz:
    Haim Oron
    Ilan Gilon
    Nitzan Horowitz

    Kadima:
    Tzipi Livni
    Shaul Mofaz
    Dalia Itzik
    Tzachi Hanegbi
    Roni Bar-On
    Ze’ev Boim
    Meir Sheetrit
    Ruhama Avraham
    Avi Dichter
    Marina Solodkin
    Yoel Hasson
    Gideon Ezra
    Yaakov Edri
    Ze’ev Bielski
    Ronit Tirosh
    Nahman Shai
    Shlomo Mula
    Robert Tiviaev
    Majalli Wahabi
    Rachel Adato
    Yohanan Plesner
    Shai Hermesh
    Yisrael Hasson
    Aryeh Bibi
    Otniel Schneller
    Orit Zuaretz
    Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadima

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Movement-Meretz

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Labor_Party

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 23, 2010, 10:45 pm
  86. Guys

    Do my a favor and don’t put more than 2 links in one comment. I have to clear it from the filter.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 23, 2010, 10:46 pm
  87. OK AIG :-) so glad to see that my response wasn’t threatening for your afterall. Just entertaining. That’s good. Take care.

    Posted by Yossi | June 23, 2010, 11:26 pm
  88. ouf
    I just finished reading the comments, especially the argument between Yossi (somewhat backed by Quelqu’une who shares the same ideological sensitivity) and AIG (somewhat backed by Akbar Palace who shares the same ideological sensitivity). That was quite intense and exhausting!

    I think there is a lot of interesting stuff and ideological stuff in this heated argument, and that we would all be better off if the ideological baggage was left at the door. Once we do that, I believe we can start seing things more clearly.

    So please let’s drop the blame game and the cynicism so as to look at the dynamic and try to see how things are evolving.

    Nada Abdelsamad’s documentary is just another example of the growing interest amongst non-jewish Lebanese in the almost extinct jewish community. This interest is undeniable, and one can add that it is exceptional (the general trend is that people are interested in their own community) and that it is not driven by the government or by foreign funding.
    Most people are curious about the history of this community. Its very existence has slipped out of our national conscience and people are struggling to fit it back in. Talk of the jewish community raises many questions, that of the disappearance of a community (which hurts our pride in communal diversity and is felt as an impoverishment) and that of the dual loyalty of Lebanese Jews (which is equally problematic to Israel and Lebanon). This interest is new, and so is the public discussion about Lebanese Jews. Things are changing, evolving, and the internet is making things much easier to reconnect and interact.

    I will share with you two stories:
    Most people who have tried to visit the Magen Avraham synagogue a couple of years ago were turned back by the guards. I remember facing this problem on several occasions. But three years ago, I accompanied a friend of mine there. This time, I told them that we wanted to pray (which actually had little meaning in this de-sanctified space). The guards let us in without hesitation but told us to be quick because this communal building was not open to visitors.

    Similarly, I took a group of children (Lebanese and Palestinians) to another de-sanctified synagogue, and believe me, they were more interested in it than they were about the Mosque or Church that they had just visited.

    Sure, all this is not going to bring the Lebanese Jews back… but that’s not the issue here. Something that was “taboo” and had vanished from our national conscience is being discussed again. A vanished community (that had chosen for decades to be “invisible” out of distress) is being reintroduced as part of the national fabric. The works on the Magen Avraham synagogue (and its future re-sanctification) is part of this process that is very likely to pick up speed and amplify. This will not solve all issues, but it will certainly open up the space for more discussion and more individual initiatives by Jews and non-Jews to reclaim this heritage.
    As for Lebanese Jews coming back to Lebanon, I honestly don’t see why this is so unlikely. Look at the rebirth and the expansion of the Jewish community in Germany. Look at all the Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and German jews that are reclaiming the nationality of their ancestors (and their land)… This dynamic only started in the 1980s and picked up speed in the 1990s. If it happened to Ashkenazi jews, after two, three or sometimes four generations in Israel, I don’t see why this dynamic won’t hit Mizrahi and Sephardic jews in the coming years.

    Posted by worriedlebanese | June 24, 2010, 2:25 pm
  89. “I honestly don’t see why this is so unlikely. Look at the rebirth and the expansion of the Jewish community in Germany. Look at all the Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and German jews that are reclaiming the nationality of their ancestors (and their land)… This dynamic only started in the 1980s and picked up speed in the 1990s. If it happened to Ashkenazi jews, after two, three or sometimes four generations in Israel, I don’t see why this dynamic won’t hit Mizrahi and Sephardic jews in the coming years.”

    Part the rebirth and the expansion of the Jewish community in Germany,as you wrote, was due to the fact that those countries took responsibility for what they had done in the past to the jews.
    I don’t see the Lebanese, or any other Arab countries for that matter,take similar responsibility to their action in the past.
    mainly the ethnic cleansing,theft,murder of the jews in the Arab countries.

    but hey, even a long road starts with a first step.

    Posted by idit | June 24, 2010, 3:36 pm
  90. Idit, I think you should start by checking the facts before making your accusations.

    In Lebanon, there was no ethnic cleansing of Jews, and if you look at the casualties during the two civil wars (in 1958, and 1975-1990), the Jewish community is probably the one that suffered the least from theft, kidnappings, and assassinations.

    If you want to know more about Lebanese Jews check out Kirsten Schulze’s book “Jews of Lebanon: between coexistence and conflict”.

    Posted by worriedlebanese | June 24, 2010, 4:54 pm
  91. idit,
    Lebanon can be accused of many things but not of ethnic cleansing against the Jewish community. At worst, Lebanon can be accused of not making a special effort to make the Jewish community feel protected. The worst that happened in Lebanon was the kidnapping and maybe the liquidation of about 10-12 leadership members by some fundamental Islamist groups in the early 80’s. That reaction, is obviously regrettable but does not equate to ethnic cleansing by any stretch of the imagination.
    Actually the facts paint a different picture. Lebanon is the only Arab country whose Jewish population increased after 1948. Unfortunately the global events conspired to make many , maybe all, feel uncomfortable in a country that is at war with Israel and in particular a country that was invaded by the Jewish state.
    Lebanon could have done more to assuage the fears and anxieties of its Jewish population but it did not promote or participate in any ethnic cleansing of the Jews. I feel certain that no matter how hard you try you will not be able to show a active premeditated policy against the Jews of Lebanon. Lebanon could have done more in the same way that the US could have done more for its Japanese Americans but Lebanon did not place its Lebanese Jewery in concentration camps.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 24, 2010, 6:51 pm
  92. I wonder if the killing of “11 Jewish leaders” may have done something to convince Lebanese Jews that their time was over?

    The Lebanese Civil War, beginning in 1975, proved worse for the Jews. In 1982, during the Israeli invasion, 11 Jewish leaders were captured and killed by Islamist radicals.[7][8]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Lebanon

    Considering that Israel Arabs are growing and thriving in Israel, and considering that 11 Israeli-Arab leaders were never “captured and killed”, I would have to say the State of Israel operates “one (humane) level” above whatever the government of Lebanon or their supporters claim.

    OK, now back to “breaking” the Gaza Blockade…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 28, 2010, 11:48 am
  93. @akbar palace
    I can guess the smile of satisfaction you must have had when you found the quote on wikipedia and copy pasted it here. Kudos for a job well done.

    Now take a couple of seconds to put this quote into context… I know “context” is a tricky word here. You undoubtedly understand it as a worldview and this means fitting everything into a jewish-exclusive Weltanshauung (with its binary division of world history, and its two simple categories of jewish/non-jewish, and narratives of persecution until the heroic rebirth of the nation).

    But let’s go back to the true meaning of “context” (the circumstances that form the setting for an event): Kirsten Schulze’s book doesn’t speak of “leaders” but of “leading members of the community” (p.171) which basically means prominent members of a community. They were not kidnapped during the Israeli invasion but between 1984 and 1987. Do you know how many prominent members of Christian and Muslim communities were kidnapped (and killed) during that period? A president, 4 leading religious figures (including the religious leader of the Shiite community).. more than 5 000 notables (doctors, bankers, traders…). And they were followed by many others between 1987-1990 (including a prime minister, another president, the Mufti).

    So enough with your silly comparisons and your truck load of prejudice, hate and contempt.

    Posted by worriedlebanese | June 28, 2010, 12:43 pm
  94. Dear worriedlebanese,

    I do not claim to know half as much about Lebanese history as you and many of the participants here.

    However I DO know what “captured and killed” means. I am also aware that many Arabs in Lebanon were also “captured and killed”. But 2 wrongs don’t make it right.

    All I’m saying is that if 11 Israeli-Arab leaders were “captured and killed” during the Lebanese War or any war for that matter, there would have been a major international outcry including UNSC resolutions “out the wazoo”.

    I guess it’s all about expectations.

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 28, 2010, 2:10 pm
  95. I think the following clip explains better than tens of posts why the Jews of Lebanon are not returning any time soon:

    http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2536.htm

    Posted by AIG | July 20, 2010, 3:30 pm
  96. I cant believe that most of the lebanese jews immigrated to Israel, the state that was and still in war with Lebanon!!
    Also it is really shocking to witness that some of them entered the Israely army!!!!
    They were living in peace in Lebanon why did they leave their country before 1975 in such hurry!!why? why?
    The Zionist propaganda was saying:no future to any jew outside Israel!! what the hell is this analysis?? especially that a lot of Arab jews came to Lebanon after 1948 where they were treated and given rights like the other Lebanese communities !!!!
    Marco Mizrahi, Alain Abadi, tfouhh 3aleykom

    Posted by waziid | May 26, 2011, 8:46 am
  97. @ Akhbar Palace ,

    Do you know how many Palestinians who hold the Israeli citizenship were killed and massacred since 1948 ,and yet nobody talks about them .You love to whine and present yourself as a victim but you arent .Get over the problems you brought to yourself .

    Posted by Kees | April 3, 2012, 8:28 am

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