Where is the Mizrahi voice in this play?

Seeing a play in which the character playing a rabbi wails ‘this is not my religion’ when Israel ‘mistreats’ Palestinians, prompts Rachel Wahba to ask in this passionate Times of Israel blog : where is the  voice of the despised Mizrahi?(With thanks: Janet)

 Rachel Wahba: misguided survival guilt

I remember a leftist Jew once screamed at me,
“If one Palestinian has to suffer for Israel to survive, then it should
not exist.”

What I never imagined is that 30 years later, mainstream Jews would catch a form of this mental illness.

If Israel has to kill Palestinian children in a
war of self-defense, if the IDF has to protect its citizens by shooting
terrorists brainwashed since nursery school to kill Jews, maybe we
should give up on the Jewish state. If the Palestinians are turning more
and more to terrorism then it must be Israel’s fault for making them do

Jews must be evil to bring on such hatred. It
was not so long ago that people wondered what Jews did to get themselves
into Auschwitz. What would make the Germans go to such lengths to get
rid of the Jews?

What would motivate this Ashkenazi
playwright/actor to omit the voices of Jews who lived in North Africa
and the Middle East, who know how hated we were under Islam?

Perhaps the Mizrahi voice, coming from ancient
Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities would paint a
different picture and ruin the narrative of Bad Israeli Jew/ Good Arab

To have a Mizrahi voice, a Jew from what
became “Arab” lands, a Jew who knows her history and where she came
from, speak up in this play? Well, it would be very problematic.

Hitler was very clear about the superiority of
the Aryan “race”. No less clear is Islam. It is repulsive to have a
sovereign Jewish nation in “their” midst. It doesn’t matter how nice or
how small. It matters that we exist. Period.

How do you get privileged American Jews who
only think of Jews as Ashkenazi in the first place, to wrap their minds
around the fact that Jews, Arab Jews, were despised. 

They never saw a merchant in Basra wash his
hands after doing business with a Jew, they can’t imagine any of it
— not the Jim Crow-like Dhimmi laws, not the twisted mentality of a Jew
rushing for cover in the rain before he would be killed for
“contaminating” the earth with rain that touched his Jewish body first.

The pogroms did not only happen in Europe,
grisly hangings of Jews were celebrated and chanting “Death to the Jews”
remains popular in countries Jew free today. My mother never stopped
hearing the screams as the mob rampaged through the Jewish Quarter in

They kicked us out in a rage when Israel
became a reality. How dare we think we can be more than second-class
citizens, sovereign in our Homeland?

The days of scaring us with a pogrom now and
then, a hanging in the park picnicking around our dead bodies was over.
Israel was now the target. They vowed with each major war to “throw (us)
into the sea” once and for all.

They failed. The entire Arab world was not able to win a war against Israel.

I am afraid of where our empathy, our
misguided survival guilt, our narcissistic wounding of belonging to a
People still struggling to survive, will lead us.

Israel is insanely accused of “Apartheid.” Slogans like “Zionism is Racism” is gaining traction.

Read article in full


  • American Jews, especially those attracted to leftist causes are indifferent to posts such as this one. Some Jews from the E.
    European diaspora want to show their perfect contempt for anything Jewish by fully adopting the Palestinian Arab narrative in all its racism. So one gets the cries that Israel is committing genocide against defenseless oppressed people of color…Arabs.
    And for them, Jews from the Mid East …The so called "Arab Jew"…are also oppressed by Israel. Yet, somehow these unfortunate "Arab Jews" haven't seen the light and aren't making common cause with their Muslim brethren to destroy the Zionist Entity. These Jews don't see the irony. Unfortunately , I have become aware of Mizrahi Leftists who are fully contemptuous of the Ashkenazi Jew and Do make common cause with the Arab world with whom they fully identify. They don't see the irony either.
    An Ashkenazi Jew , American from the E. European diaspora. who is free to take from all the global Jewish experience and make it my own.
    I know what happened to the Germans of the Jewish faith and Hungarians of the Jewish faith, same mind set as the so called Arab Jew.

  • Reply
  • Plus they use the excuse of Mizrahi Jews successfully integrating into their new countries to write off the possibility of them being victims at any point in time.

  • As a matter of fact, Ashkenazi Jews lived under the Ottoman Empire, especially Rumania where there were many Jews, most but not all Ashkenazim. Ashkenazim also lived under the Ottomans in Israel, Serbia, Croatia, etc. Aaron Aaronsohn, one of the outstanding Jews in Israel before and during WW One, was born in Rumania as an Ottoman citizen. Aaronsohn was very much distrustful of the Ottoman state which as you know was a Muslim state. He was an important source of info on the ongoing Armenian genocide as leader of the NILI group. He advised Armenian representatives at the Versailles conference. Aaronsohn was also distrustful of the German army and he was aware of their role in the Armenian genocide. Now, why Ashkenazim in the United States do not share Aaronsohn's suspicions of Islam [also based on first hand knowledge and experience] I would attribute to their receiving a "leftist" education and to the ignorance of their rabbis in the Reform and Conservative denominations of Judaism. The American Jews generally are miseducated about history, comparative religion and such topics.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, of the Middle East and North Africa, documenting the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution.

Point of No Return

Jewish Refugees from Arab and Muslim Countries

One-stop blog on the Middle East's
forgotten Jewish refugees - updated daily.