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  • Being a Mizrahi Jew, an Israeli and touching the Holocaust

    The Israeli Holocaust discourse illustrates the — still — conflicted position of Mizrahi Jews in Israeli society. Perhaps we could design a Mizrahi identity that draws from the roots of its own unique history and not from that which is imposed upon it externally. By Batya Shimony A year ago on Holocaust Memorial Day I was driving in my car to Be'er Sheva and listening, as I usually do, to Galei Zahal – the army radio station. It suddenly dawned on me just how much the broadcast schedule had changed compared to previous years. All the familiar stories of that…

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  • Moderate Islam meets Auschwitz

    It’s hard to think of more divisive activities in Palestinian society today. Regardless of whether one agrees with his actions, it is exceedingly rare to see someone publicly buck the fiercely dominant trends in Palestinian discourse. For nearly 40 years, Mohammed Dajani Daoudi has felt that something was wrong with Palestinian politics. In 1975, while studying at the American University at Beirut (“doing everything except studying”), he was deported to Syria for political activities. Fatah operatives supplied him with a fake passport to get back. But they mistakenly put a Syrian exit stamp into the passport rather than an entry…

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  • New law dividing Christian, Muslim Arabs legalizes inequality

    Israel ratified a new law that legally distinguishes between Muslim and Christian citizens of the state, Haaretz reported Monday. The bill, which easily passed by a 31-6 vote in its third and final reading, recognizes the Christian Arab population as a separate, though not national minority for the first time. The law, which expands the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity in the Employment Commission by adding to it a separate Christian representative, was marketed as a way to better integrate Christians into the Israeli workforce. However, in practice, it is being carried out at the blatant expense of Muslim citizens. There are…

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  • Ladies and gentlemen, the prime minister of Israel: Mr. Iran Holocaust

    I recently saw the above video of Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting a field hospital in northern Israel that treats the wounded from the war in Syria. As I watched, I realized something: there seems to be two recurring topics in the PM’s messages, two topics that are mentioned in just about every sentence he has uttered since taking office. I requested an interview with the prime minister to ask him about his focus on those two things, and was surprised to get a “yes” from his office. So, here it is, +972 Magazine’s exclusive interview with the Israeli prime minister:…

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  • In Israel, Holocaust obsession prevents real change

    A new law punishing people for calling each other 'Nazi' makes clear that the Holocaust has became a tool used to keep us, the Jews, in a position of eternal victimhood - to blind us from seeing what is happing in Israel. That's exactly what the right wing wants. By Nir Baram "Israel became boring," complained a reporter who was obsessed with Israel for many years, "the world is changing and in Israel everything is the same…" *** One of the most important articles ever to be published in Israel was "The Need to Forget." In his 1988 op-ed, Yehuda…

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  • A year in review: Anti-African racism and asylum seekers in Israel

    While most Israelis were focused on the latest war on Gaza or the last election, verbal incitement, physical attacks, incarceration without trial and forced deportation of Africans continued unabated. A timeline of Israel's war on African asylum-seekers between November 2012 and May 2013. By David Sheen Last Thursday, May 23, 2013, marked exactly one year to the day when a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets of Tel Aviv, smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across. Sadly, the Israeli economic, political and religious establishment - who were in large measure responsible for…

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  • Mizrahi culture was suppressed, Ashkenazi culture is simply forgotten

    Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Ashkenazi elite has suppressed the Mizrahi culture Jews from Arab countries brought with them. But almost without us noticing, those who led the Zionist project also erased whatever was left of the Ashkenazi traditions from Eastern Europe. By Edan Ring Family Day was no different from any other holiday. On this day, too, we received an assignment from our daughter's kindergarten teacher. Only this time, we were slightly embarrassed. As part of the Family Day (formerly known as the Israeli version of Mother's Day) celebrations, the kindergarten hosted a big meal,…

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  • Israel, Armenians and the question of genocide

    When Israel remembers the Holocaust, why does it think only of Jews? History has proven time and again that the Jews are not unique for having suffered genocidal policies. The many debates about preventing such tragedies have so far not helped populations that suffered mass killings and expulsions, with intent to destroy them for their national, religious or ethnic identity - even in recent decades. Therefore the politicization of the Armenian genocide in Israel in the context of Israel-Turkey relations, described with great eloquence by Akiva Eldar in al-Monitor, is not only wrong; it calls into question whether Israel is…

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  • Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t used to be like this

    The Holocaust lends itself perfectly to Israel's two reigning 'isms' - nationalism and emotionalism.  Aren't historic events supposed to diminish in their impact over time? Not the Holocaust, not in Israel. Today's Holocaust Remembrance Day just seems bigger, more enveloping, more sanctimonious, more commanding than ever. John Kerry just arrived last night to kick off what is supposed to be the Obama administration's last-gasp attempt at Middle East peacemaking, and I open up Yediot Aharonot - which, along with Channel 2, is the most accurate reflection of the Israeli public's personality - and it's page after page after page of…

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  • Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel: Something’s missing

    With Holocaust Remembrance Day upon us once again in Israel, I am republishing a piece I wrote four years ago. I’ve decided not to make any changes because not that much has changed and the spirit of the piece remains true to today. This year, I dedicate it to the people of Syria, may someone or something stop the slaughter and suffering of our neighbors. As a "second-generation Holocaust survivor," Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) has always been of great importance to me; its lessons were etched into my conscience from the earliest times in my childhood memories. The words, “never…

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  • The Israel lobby at its intimidating worst – in Britain

    How the British Board of Jewish Deputies and its allies are smearing a decent critic of Israel as an anti-Semite - and the success they're having. The view in Israel of British Jewry is that they're cowed by traditional British anti-Semitism and running scared from the "Muslim takeover" of the country. They're not as chutzpahdik as the American Jews, supposedly. But I think Israel is selling the British Jews short, or at least their leaders. For the last month, the country's Jewish machers have been smearing a member of Parliament as an anti-Semite with the sort of cynicism and relentlessness that could…

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  • The one good thing the next government could accomplish

    If Yair Lapid's party takes over the Education Ministry, it could bring an end to the Greater-Israelization of the country's schools and universities. After 45 years of occupation and no end in sight, it would be better for Israel to have a completely right-wing/ultra-Orthodox government than a right-wing/centrist one with Yair Lapid, Kadima and possible other fig leaves. A purely hardline government would attract more opposition, especially abroad, while a right/center amalgam will fool a lot of people into thinking things aren't so bad. In short, a Bibi/Lapid government is more beneficial to the occupation than a Bibi/Yishai government -…

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  • Remember the Jewish Labor Bund?

    The Bund was a Jewish socialist, revolutionary party in Eastern Europe dedicated to class struggle. It is all but forgotten in modern day Israel, but a few members are still around to tell the story.  By Alon Aviram A piano played and a middle-aged woman stood in the middle of the room singing classical Yiddish songs to an attentive, seated audience of 30 or so old men and women. Every so often the music was interrupted by a hoarse laugh or some remark blurted out in Yiddish by a member of the audience. Heavy red velvet curtains blocked out the…

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