LA Times readers respond to Hen Mazzig

In the wake of the controversy generated by a ground-breaking op-ed by Hen Mazzigand his dispute with Marc Lamont Hill, the LA Times  has published the following three letters:

To the editor: Hen Mazzig’s piece
serves as an important corrective to the oft-repeated lie that Israel
consists of white Ashkenazi Jews. This lie has allowed intersectionality
extremists to falsely paint the conflict as one between white Europeans
(Jews) and dark-skinned natives (Palestinian Arabs).

fact, hundreds of thousands of Jews once lived in the Arab world but
were driven out or killed when Israel declared statehood. Everyone knows
the story of the Palestinians, but most people have never heard of the
many Jews forced out of their homes in the Arab world. These Jews were
welcomed into Israel.

is simply no way to resolve this conflict when the basic facts — and
the Jews’ basic right to live in their ancient homeland in peace — are
buried underneath ignorance and lies.

Sara Miller, New York


.Jews fleeing Yemen 


To the editor: Massig
talks eloquently about the experience of Mizrahi Jews who were forced
to flee their homes in Iraq and other Muslim countries and found refuge
in Israel.

it is striking that he never mentions the historical experience of
another Middle Eastern people, the Palestinian Arabs, which is at the
heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

decries the characterization of Israeli policy as “apartheid.” But
that’s a characterization hard to avoid given Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu’s remarks that Israel is “not a state of all its citizens,”
but only of the Jews.

referring to Israel’s Jews, Massig says “an indigenous people have
reclaimed their land,” but seems completely oblivious of that other
indigenous people, the Arabs, who were the majority in Palestine from
the 7th to the 20th century.

might want to consider how much his story, and that of other Jews
exiled from their millenniums-old homelands in Iraq and Tunisia, mirrors
that of Palestinian Arabs.

David L. Saffan, Santa Barbara


To the editor: It
isn’t just Israel’s Mizrachi and Ethiopian Jews whose remarkable
stories repudiate the “Israel is a European colonial enterprise”
falsehood. European Jewish history does too.

First, genetic studies confirm the ancestral ties
of Ashkenazi (European) Jews to the Levant. If people indigenous to the
Middle East are to be deemed “people of color,” this necessarily
applies to European Jews too.

Jews in Europe were oppressed and subjugated, not privileged. The
Romans who destroyed Judea brought 100,000 Jewish slaves to Europe; it
was they who built Rome’s Colosseum. For 2,000 years, European Jews were
confined to ghettos, expelled and massacred, culminating in the

is the very antithesis of white supremacy. Rather, an indigenous people
has reclaimed its ancestral homeland and turned it into a thriving
liberal democracy.

Stephen A. Silver, San Francisco

Read letters in full 

My comment: David Saffan’s letter treats the Palestinian Arabs in isolation, as if their leadership had no agency in their plight and no role, neither in causing the war against Israel, nor  the Jewish refugee problem. The ‘apartheid’slur does not merit to be taken seriously unless the situation in Arab states is considered in tandem.

Challenging the myth of ‘white. colonial’ Israel

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