How anti-Zionism colours a Mizrahi’s identity

The Mizrahi reporter Sigal Samuel, writing in The Forward, cannot be considered a ‘person of colour’ because Jews cannot be victims of other people of colour. Yet Mizrahim can be victims of ‘white’ Ashkenazi ‘racism’. Her anti-Zionism makes her  settle for the identity of an ‘Arab Jewish woman’. It does not occur to her that race might not have been a factor.

Here is another case where the comments are more worthwhile than the article itself.

“Am I a person of color?

You’d think there would be a straightforward answer to a question like that. And for a while, I thought there was. I thought the answer was yes.

When I look at my grandparents — four Mizrahim, or Jews from Arab lands — I see people who were born in India and Iraq and Morocco, who grew up speaking Hindi and Arabic.

When I stand in Sephora buying makeup, the shade I choose is closer to “ebony” than to “petal.” When I walk down the street, perfect strangers routinely stop me to ask: “Where are you from? Are you Persian? Indian? Arab? Latina?” When I go through airport security, I always —— get “randomly selected” for additional screening.

I was pretty sure all this made me a person of color.

And then an acquaintance, who is Jewish and African-American, told me in the course of a casual conversation that no, actually, I don’t count.

This was news to me. At first, I admit, the statement got my hackles up. Who gave this person the right to police my identity? But then I started to wonder: Was I, a woman who sometimes gets read as white and therefore benefits from white privilege, wrongly co-opting the “of color” label in everything from internal monologues to health insurance forms?
To find out, I spent weeks talking to people in the black, biracial and Mizrahi communities. What I learned surprised me. Turns out, nobody quite knows how to categorize Mizrahi Jews.

Read article in full


  • This is part of the obsessive racism of the left and the bizarre contortions that this woman goes through to further solidify her anti Zionism through leftist race politics is pathetic. I've been taken for Iranian, Afghan, Indian, Mexican(or at least Spanish speaking), a Muslim in Edinburgh Scotland, Georgian, Armenian incredibly warned in Israel I might be mistaken for an Arab, and on and on. I'm Ashkenazi…Russian Jewish diaspora ancestry. My friend(deceased) from Alexandria was olive skinned and tanned dark. He identified as a Jew along with me…not as an Arab Egyptian. What a sick world in which darkness of skin color gives one "authenticity."

  • Eliyahu m'Tsiyon: from what I read about in British blogs and passed along by British friends on Facebook, it's just as loony there as it is in the US and the influence at play seems to be university "diversity" types.

  • btw, I use my mother's photo as my avatar so you can see what she looked like. I use her photo because it reminds me of other days. And besides, we live in a dangerous world now and I don't want my face to be known to the very violent people who abound in this vale of tears.

  • There also seems to be an implicit notion in what Sigal Samuel wrote that "people of color" don't oppress or persecute or exploit other "people of color". Few notions could be sillier than that one. I think that Sigal Samuel has spent too much time in America.

  • It's obvious that this woman spent formative years in America because I don't believe that people elsewhere get so wound up about skin tone and hue and shade. When I lived there when I was younger I sometimes overheard people saying: Jews are N*****s turned inside out. [I once heard the same said about Italians]. Now Jews and Italians in America are classified as white and therefore, in this fashionably "Leftist" thinking, are beneficiaries of what in America is called "white skin privilege."

    For the record, my mother's father was brown, probably darker than Obama's preacher, Rev Wright. My mother was called olive-skinned and, in Yiddish, shvarts-kheynevdik (= darkly attractive), and her sister looked that shade too. So my mother was darker than this young woman. My father's brother and his sons were fairly swarthy too. Maybe Americans are getting so crazy over skin color, or have been all along although in different ways, that they ought to carry photometers with them in order to judge whom to befriend and be kind to. I am sure that some of my family members had trouble in America from bigoted people but more from hostility to Jews than from skin color, although maybe from that too, or maybe combined with Judeophobia.

    Some Americans may have hated Blacks and some still do. But they often overlooked the swarthy skin color of many Jews, Armenians, Italians, Greeks and Arabs, for that matter. When the civil rights for Blacks struggle was going on in the US, the governor of Arkansas was Orval Faubus who did not want to allow equality to Blacks. It is of interest in the context of Sigal's opinions that Faubus' top advisor in those days, the mid-1950s, was one Jimmy Karam, of Lebanese or Syrian descent. Karam was also notorious for stirring up pro-segregation mobs.

  • That chick in the picture looks white to me. Completely white. There is no way her makeup shade is "closer to ebony than petal" as she claims.


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