[Belfast] Gaza and Israeli Fascism: The Mizrahi Predicament – A talk by Prof. Smadar Lavie (IPSC)
Gaza and Israeli Fascism: The Mizrahi Predicament
A talk by Prof. Smadar Lavie
Time/Date: 2pm, Saturday 11th October
Venue: Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast
Admission FREE, All welcome
One problem caused by the shallow mainstream media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that most people are unaware of the causal relationship between this conflict and intra-Jewish racism.
In Israel, racism exists between Jews of European origin (also known as Ashkenazim) and Jews from North Africa and the Middle East (also known as “Mizrahim”, the Hebrew for “Easterners”). Even though the Mizrahim form the majority of the Israeli Jewish population, they do not control the policies of the Israeli state, which are still driven by a ruling elite which comes from the Ashkenazi minority. It is worth noting that it was this Ashkenazi elite, rather than the Mizrahim, who planned and executed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
This talk will suggest that the 2014 Israeli War on Gaza was partly motivated by a desire among the ruling elite to pre-empt a summer outbreak of violent protests, mainly by Mizrahim, against the effects of the neo-liberal economic policies introduced by the Ashkenazi elite.
In striving to prove themselves to be just as Israeli as the Ashkenazi elite, many Mizrahim have become the strongest supporters of Israeli ultra-nationalism and, therefore, of the 2014 war. Thus, there is the paradox that a war which was partly intended to squelch Mizrahi protest, a war in which most of the Israeli casualties, both civilian and military, are Mizrahim, is a war that is strongly supported by most Mizrahim.
The tragedy is that the Palestinians are, yet again, paying the price of these intra-Jewish ethnic tensions: in this war, the main victims are the people of Gaza, who have suffered a man-made disaster worse than anything else that has happened to the Palestinians since the Nakba in 1948.
Prof. Smadar Lavie is a Mizrahi Jewish anthropologist who was a co-founder of Ahoti, the feminist-of-colour movement in Israel. A winner of several prominent prizes in the disciplines of Anthropology and Women’s Studies, she is affiliated with both University College Cork and the University of California at Berkeley. Her most recent book deals with the predicament of Mizrahi women in Israel; it is called “Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture”.
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