Don’t call Ashkenazim ‘privileged whites’

Ashkenazi Jews themselves must not fall into the trap of treating Ashkenazi Jews as ‘privileged white people’, argues Sarah Katz (who is half Ashkenazi/ half Mizrahi herself) in the Times of Israel:

As the Islamic world and western left continue to frame Israel as a
European colonialist outpost in the Middle East full of “white Jews”
seeking to oppress “non-white Arabs”, an alarming chunk of the global
Jewish community has fallen into the trap of divide and blame. Namely,
provided the financial and political success of majority Ashkenazi Jews
in the US and Israel, many Mizrahim and non-Jews have come to conflate
Ashkenazim with white Europeans, almost a sort of ‘false Jew’ or, at the
very least, Jews who are too removed from Israel and the Middle East to
be considered legitimate or even at risk of oppression.

This categorization of Ashkenazim as “privileged white people” is not
only dangerous, as any kind of divide among the already minuscule world
Jewish population facilitates the goal of those wishing to victimize us
– furthermore, such a label is also inaccurate. After all, the
synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh, PA,[2] and Poway, CA,[3]
within the past year alone targeted communities of majority Ashkenazi
Jews. In neither case did the white supremacist assailants choose to
spare these Jewish individuals because of their skin tone or their
ancestors’ residence in Europe. Moreover, the Jewish caricatures
included in the recent Belgian street parade[4]
specifically targeted Ashkenazi Jews living in Belgium, complete with
the long-held stereotype of the large hooked nose, a physical trait also
commonly observed throughout western media when portraying Arabs.[5] Unfortunately, however, the western left has taken to labeling Ashkenazim as “occupiers” and “fake Jews”[6]
to claim indigeneity to the Levant, accusations that Mizrahim typically
do not experience, despite the latter two groups’ proven common
ancestry.[7]

All that being said, we cannot deny the existence of Ashkenormativity
in the US and Israel – the former due to the majority of American Jews
being Ashkenazi, while the latter stems from the fact that most of
Israel’s original founding fathers in 1948 were also Ashkenazim.
Therefore, despite such Ashkenazi dominance in these circles, this
tipped scale has everything to do with history and nothing to do with
skin tone, especially since not all Ashkenazim have fair skin – two of
the most notable examples being the well-known Ashkenazi actors, Jeff
Goldblum and Oded Fehr.

Top: Oded Fehr, above: Jeff Goldblum, both Ashkenazi actors

Thus, an issue arises when Mizrahi Jewish influencers such as Hen
Mazzig* strive to paint all Ashkenazim as a lump sum of Jewish privilege.
When faced with the threat of white supremacy, the entire Jewish
community worldwide – along with Muslims, such as the victims of the
Christchurch atrocities[8]
– must stand in solidarity, rather than creating victimhood hierarchies
based on Diasporic discrepancies and perceived similarity to “white”
Europeans.

Read article in full 

Ashkenazi Jews are Middle Eastern too 

*There are no white supremacist Jews (Hen Mazzig) 

More articles by Hen Mazzig

One Comment

  • But Sarah Katz should realize, maybe she does, that skin color is just a red herring that provides a false justification for the anti-Israel variety of Judeophobes. There is a range of skin colors among both Jews and Arabs. Some Arabs are very pale, paler or "Whiter" than most Jews. There are dark and light-skinned people among both groups. But facts like that do not matter because the Judeophobes will always find a pretext for hating Jews. If it is not skin color then it will be something else.

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