[Marxism] Voices of the Mizrahim » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 3 14:19:49 MDT 2013

In doing background research for an article on the Jews of the Maghreb 
(North Africa), I learned of the existence of a 2002 documentary on 
Iraqi Jews titled “Forget Baghdad: Jews and Arabs – The Iraqi 
Connection”. Among Jews, the term Mizrahim (Hebrew for Oriental) is 
applied to those from North Africa and the Middle East, in contrast to 
the European Ashkenazis who constitute the ruling elite of Israel.

In some ways the term that makes the most sense is Arab Jews, one that 
is embraced by Ella Shohat, an Iraqi Jew who is featured in “Forget 
Baghdad”. Her story, and the story of four elderly Jewish ex-members of 
the Iraqi Communist Party, is a reminder of the destructive character of 
Israel’s creation. Not only did it represent a nakba (disaster) for the 
Palestinian people, it also forced a people deeply rooted in their 
respective Arab countries to become assimilated into a culture that 
regarded them as inferiors.

While by no means an attack on the Zionist entity, the 1964 Israeli film 
“Sallah Shabati” does a fairly decent job of dramatizing the plight of 
new Mizrahim immigrants. You can rent the DVD “Forget Baghdad” from 
Netflix while “Sallah Shabati” is a bit harder to get your hands on (I 
took a copy out from Columbia University’s film library, but Amazon.com 
has new copies for sale at $15.64). After seeing them side-by-side, you 
can only conclude that the Mizrahim would have been better off where 
they came from, a claim that obviously applies to the Ashkenazim as well.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/03/voices-of-the-mizrahim/

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