The Israeli government of 2017 has a modus operandi that resembles that of most of the country’s previous governments, right and left. First it denies, then it turns the victims into a fifth column and excludes them from the centers of influence, hurriedly looks for some conflict that supposedly threatens our existence (Iran, the Palestinians, anti-Semitism in Europe) and pins all its survival hopes there. Then it mobilizes the West – can’t ignore the international community, after all – and goes on to the next denial, which will also inevitably boomerang.
This is how Israel has always acted in regard to the Mizrahim, and this is how it has always acted in regard to the Palestinians. When it comes to these two crimes (and others), Israel proceeds on autopilot: denies, labels those people of conscience as spreaders of hate who should be ostracized, diverts the discussion to other, seemingly more urgent subjects (like security) and essentially lets the crimes continue unhindered.
And don’t tell me that this is Netanyahu’s specialty. No Israeli government ever, including the most enlightened ones, ever officially recognized the Nakba or the horrific chapter of what seems to have been the abduction of thousands of babies from Yemenite, Balkan and other Mizrahi families to be sold to childless couples, and the experiments that were apparently done on some of them. Moreover, the names of the people who led these two destructive undertakings – and it really makes no difference if they were carried out as part of a colonialist mindset that was accepted then, or because of out-and-out racism – still grace the street signs and the public institutions where these people live and learn and get medical treatment. An ongoing thumb in the eye, in other words.
No Israeli government, past or present, has recognized the near-daily oppression and exclusion of the Palestinian, on either side of the ’67 borders, just as no Israeli government, past or present, has recognized the exclusion and oppression of the Mizrahi, and the way he is singled out as inferior and non-European. For he makes us look bad and, as a nation, it is incumbent upon us to remove him from the city, to pelt him with stones, or re-educate him until he changes to fit the modern way of life and loudly denounces all those around him, unless he’s a member of the refined hegemony that built this country with his bare hands.
At first glance, this systematic denial, which directly threatens the nation’s future, seems a bit odd. Israel is one of the strongest countries in the neighborhood, it has a flourishing arms industry, a strong army, and even its economy – so our leaders tell us – is stable and has weathered the big financial crises that have rocked the world since 2008. Still, it behaves as if its life is hanging by a thread, it is insecure and unable to come to terms with its actions, even those committed nearly 70 years ago. So much so that one starts to get the feeling that this is a deliberate policy whose aim is to preserve the status quo, even at a bloody price.
So the only thing left to do is to rise up and stand together, Jews and Arabs, and show the evil governments, the present one included, that this cannot go on, and that in democracy, as always, the majority rules. No, it won’t be easy. The Ashkenazi-Zionist propaganda machine which strives to convince us that Arabs and Arab Jews are the barrier keeping us from progress and prosperity has been working full-steam for close to a century. But we have no choice, if we are true patriots, and want to save this country from its captors who long ago lost touch with reality and are living off the scent of past successes. Meanwhile, until that day comes, and it will come, I suggest that the left, which is still trying to get back on its feet, and also Culture Minister Miri Regev, who doesn’t get that the Mizrahi struggle and the Palestinian struggle are practically the same one, and that without cooperation both are doomed to failure, start off with a simple action: Define denial of the Nakba, and denial of the injustices perpetrated against Mizrahim, then and now, as punishable “war crimes.”
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