Sunday, March 15, 2009

Traub on Khalidi in Today’s NY Times

The New York Times has a liberal slant, but "liberal" means one thing in dealing when dealing with the US and most of the world, and quite another thing dealing with Israel, especially if the liberal is Jewish. The Jewish liberal writing in the Times feels free to criticize Israel, and its American supporters in the Amen corner, and does so frequently – especially with regard to settlements and the Territories. The Jewish liberal is particularly impatient with Jewish defenders of Israel, such as Abe Foxman, Alan Dershowitz, and those to his right. But the Jewish liberal, like his Zionist left counterpart in Israel, never goes too deep in his analysis of Israel and problems, stopping at 67 and not going back to 48 or 1897. On the contrary, the Jewish liberal positions himself between Chomsky, Judt, Pinter (with whom they never engage but always ridicule) on the left and the usual suspects on the right. He thus presents himself as "fair and balanced," when, in fact, he is still very much within the Zionist consensus.

Liberal-slanted newspapers and magazines always call on Jewish liberals to review books on Israel/Palestine. Leslie Gelb on Walt and Mearsheimer, Jeffrey Goldberg on the same, now James Traub on Khalidi's new book, Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance on the Middle East. I wonder how that happens. I wonder, for example, if contributing writers like Traub, who write on Jewish subjects and for whom Israel is very important, volunteer to review a book whose subject matter lies entirely out of his expertise. I wonder when is the last time the New York Times asked a Palestinian, or for that matter, a non-Jew who is non-partisan, to review books on Israel-Palestine?

These reviews are predictable. They always begin by saying nice things about the author and summarizing the thesis of the book. Then they launch into a defense of Israel, or more accurately, an attack on the Arabs, which can be summed in the following: Don't bash Israel or the US; the Arabs are responsible for their own troubles. The review always insinuates that the book is a polemic and not scholarship, but the arguments of the book are never seriously engaged.

For example, the one detail in Khalidi's book that Traub considers in the review is Khalidi's claim that Truman favored Israel because of domestic political considerations. That annoys Traub, who points out that the claim is based on hearsay evidence. But would it annoy anybody besides an American Zionist, who is deeply committed to the proposition that the founding of the State of Israel was right and just, and who is proud of US support? My point is not to dispute Traub on Truman; certainly, Truman, as a religious Christian, was moved not only by political motives but also by his religious faith to overrule his State Department. But this is the sort of knee-jerk response that makes these reviews dull, predictable, and polemical.

How polemical? After Traub admits that Khalidi "recognizes the complicity of Arab regimes in their own predicament," he spends several paragraphs blaming the Arab world for their troubles, as if he is waging a polemic with a Islamist, and not a Palestinian-American secularist with whom Traub would tend to agree, or at least would read more charitably, were his views not prejudiced by his American and Jewish tribal loyalties.

The review ends with the obligatory and paternalistic put-down: the book, we are told, is important, not because its thesis may be correct, but it reminds us "how very hard it is to make progress in a region where memories are long, and practically everything is blamed on the United States (or Israel.)" In other words, if only the Palestinians were to forget about 1948 and take responsibility for their problems, then things would be a lot easier for everybody concerned, including themselves. That's the credo of the liberal Zionist.

Perhaps Traub should read Khalidi's previous book, The Iron Cage, which both shows the importance of not forgetting about 1948, and argues for major Palestinian and Arab responsibility for the Palestinians not having their own state.

 

21 comments:

Conrad Barwa said...

Taub is wrong about Turman anyway; it isn't based on hearsay but documentary record from the time

Avram said...

"never goes too deep in his analysis of Israel and problems, stopping at 67 and not going back to 48 or 1897."

I find it very sad when intelligent people, like you, fail to realize the roots of this problem can be rather easily traced to the problems that have been plaguing Jews and Arabs since the Arabs become a dominant force in the region (some 1400-1500 years ago).

This didn't start in 1897 or 1948 or 1967 ... It started much earlier, but doing so paints an even bleaker picture of a 'peaceful future' or of your 'one state solution' (which none of us want I guess, one way or another)

arabist said...

Amen. I couldn't have said it better myself, and not being Jewish (and on top of it being Arab!), it couldn't have been interpreted in the same way. Bravo.

Jerry Haber said...

Avram,

What problems plagued the Jews after the Arabs became a dominant force, and why was it for the Jews worse under Arab rule, than say under Roman or Byzantine rule?

You are reading history through the prism of current events. Things weren't rosy, to be sure, but they were arguably better than in Christian Europe, and generally not that bad, except for occasional periods of stress.

In any event, don't confuse modern nationalism, both Arab and Jewish, with anything that went before.

Poster said...

Avram is basically relying on the argument that the problem is a timeless pathological condition of the Arabs, therefore nothing Israel does or does not do (like withdrawing from the occupied terriroties or compensating Palestinians for their suffering) will make a difference. It is a moral evasion and it is not credible.

Avram said...

"Things weren't rosy, to be sure, but they were arguably better than in Christian Europe, and generally not that bad, except for occasional periods of stress."

Ha ... Why is it that this is the 'typical' response when confronted with this information? In fact, word for word response I saw from one of your #1 fans (Peter D) on another site. It's sad that because of that 'comparison', you just overpass this ...

Tell me, the forced conversion of Jewish orphans in many Islamic countries, is that looking at through 'current eyes'? Is the 2nd class citizen of most of our people also looking at it through 'current eyes'? Are the long lists of pogroms (and some rather large ones too) looking at it through 'current eyes'? Does the fact that Jews were not allowed to touch Muslims or their food also a way of looking at it through 'current eyes'?

If we wouldn't have had a conversation off line previously, I would have guessed with 100% certainity that you were Ashkenazi ... I've talked to so many 'Mizrachi' (as I'm sefardi and my family is from Southern Turkey/Rhodes, so we didn't really deal with this) elders who remember the Arab world in the 1910s and 1920s - long before 'Zionism' could be blamed for all the issues here - and the stories they tell would make you think twice about 'one state' etc ... If you want to compare it to the Romans or Christian Europe, go ahead but I doubt either 'people' or 'region' are a part of your future hopes for this region ...

Jerry Haber said...

In my original post I claimed that Khalidi was a Palestinian-American Christian, which, as my reader Kathy pointed out, is false. His mother was a Lebanese Christian, but he was raised in a Muslim family, and I am sorry for not getting that right. In any event he is no Islamist.

Avram said...

Is this the same Khalidi of 'Let's talk about him because he's friends with Obama' fame? Or is it a different one?

Peter said...

Hi, Avram.
I though we were over this point back at falsedi, but, here goes. Explain to me what do centuries of oppression of Jews in the Arab countries have to do with the Palestinians? Oppression that was by any reasonable standard less severe than in many countries in Europe. You talk about forced conversions, dhimmy status etc as if it were something unique to the Arab/Muslim world. Well, it was worse in Russia, where they would forcefully confiscate Jewish children into the army for good (kantonists), Jews were forced to live in the Pale of Settlement etc. Any bad thing happening to Jews in the Arab world that you'd bring I can top by a worse thing happening elsewhere.
Regardless, explain to me again what does it have to do with the Palestinians? Do you think that the dispossessed Palestinian felaheen hated the new Jewish olim because of the the history of animosity in Morocco or the Arabian Peninsula or maybe there were more plausible reasons? If, instead of the Palestinians, the Palestine were populated with Papua New Guineans, would they just roll over without a conflict? What happened all of a sudden to the Shiite of South Lebanon? Or the ardent Zionists Maronites once they tasted some IDF ammo? Do you think that if you were to find yourself in Gaza you'd not hate Israel and Jews even if you never knew any of your all so important history of Jewish-Arab relations?
Come on, look for plausible explanations and not ones that fit your preconceptions.
Reminds me of the joke that Uri Avnery retells (and which finally explained to me the origin of the expression "to kill a Turk and to rest"):

[...] a Jewish mother tak[es] leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar's army against the Turks.
"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…"
"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"
"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"


For you it is easier to explain the current animosity as a continuation of centuries of animosities. Why? Because it means that no matter what you do the animosity will stay, more or less, like something genetic (a funny case of genes jumping across thousands of miles) while I claim that any normal people subjected to the treatment meted out to the Palestinians by the Israelis would react in similar manner.

P.S. It is the same Khalidi

Avram said...

"it was worse in Russia"

Again, another pointless comparison and smart diversion. I don't see myself asking the 'Russian' (of then, as that is the time period you're comparing it to) to share the country with me - just like I'm not worried about the 'Romans' or the 'Christian Europeans'. They're irrelevant to the country both of you hope to see.

Fact is, we 'had' binational states all over the Middle East where Jews were a minority (though that probably won't be the case in 'your' binational state) and there was a tremendous problem with the attitude of Arabs towards their Jewish citizens. This has nothing to do with nationalism (as Jerry tried to divert) - this has to do with a clash between two 'cultures'/'religions' that hasn't exactly changed.

"For you it is easier to explain the current animosity as a continuation of centuries of animosities. Why? Because it means that no matter what you do the animosity will stay, more or less, "

You're good at this Peter - How about, "For your it is easier to ignore the Jews' predicament in the Arab world because then your idea of a binational state 'works'." Fun, eh?

I'm not using this point to excuse what we're doing now ... I'm telling you why I'm opposed to a binational state based on historical precedents (forget the issues of 'today' or 'recent history').

"while I claim that any normal people subjected to the treatment meted out to the Palestinians by the Israelis would react in similar manner. "

I don't really agree with this ... Heck, the whole debate we're having now (Arab Jews in the Arab world) kind of puts a hole in that 'claim'. I'm sure you can find some rather more extreme, recent examples too.

Avram said...

Point I forgot to mention Peter, and please correct me if you think I'm wrong:

The problem between 'Arab' & Jew started in the late 500s (far earlier than with the Russians) and still goes on till till this day (In December in Yemen, a Jew was approached in an open market and asked to convert to Islam, he refused and took a bullet in his chest for his refusal. The culprit is getting a few years in jail with the whole Jewish population on the 'shift' & a few on the way to Israel). This is something that obviously started with the 'religious' clash, and while I don't think at all it's entirely driven by it now (though it plays some part unfortunately) - it's something that essentially shows you why Jews were suffering in the Arab world (bi-national states I guess).

Now if you want to talk about an Arab state in particular, I'll do my best to accommodate. Let me know.

Peter H said...

The situation in Arab lands is much more complicated than the one of constant persecution that Avram portrays. For example, read the entry of the Jews of Iraq from Wikipedia:

Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or nationality".[7] Additionally, early Labor Zionism mostly concentrated on the Jews of Europe, skipping Iraqi Jews because of their lack of interest in agriculture. The result was that "Until World War II, Zionism made little headway because few Iraqi Jews were interested in the socialist ideal of manual labor in Palestine." (Simon, Reguer, and Laskier, p 364)

During the British Mandate from 1918, and in the early days after independence in 1932, well-educated Jews played an important role in civic life. Iraq's first minister of finance, Sir Sassoon Eskell, was a Jew, and Jews were important in developing the judicial and postal systems. Records from the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce show that 10 out of its 19 members in 1947 were Jews and the first musical band formed for Baghdad's nascent radio in the 1930s consisted mainly of Jews. Jews were represented in the Iraqi parliament, and many Jews held significant positions in the bureaucracy which in many cases led to resentment by the Iraqi population.

Peter H said...

I'll also quote from the French Orientalist Maxine Rodinson, in his book Israel and the Arabs (emphasis is added by me):

The Jews of the Muslim world accepted this version more or less generally. That world had been governed for more than a thousand years by the regime of separate religious communities, each largely autonomous, dominated by a state which officially subscribed to Islam and accorded preponderance to the Muslim community over the rest. The Jews, a minority and subject community, had always been subordinated and often humiliated – differently from one country, epoch or situation to another. Familiar with the covert competition between these communities, in a setting that was usually one of tolerance but with flare-ups of violence from which they had suffered, and in certain regions deliberately humiliated, they were bound to see in the struggle going on in the Near East mainly a new phase in these relations of competition or conflict between communities.

This explanation of the Israeli-Arab conflict is nevertheless fundamentally false. Relations between communities in the Muslim world were indeed as has been described. They were not at all as idyllic as is alleged by Arab and Muslim apologetics, though neither were they marked by constant and brutal persecution of minorities, as Zionist apologetics claims. Just as in relations between nations, there was an infinitely varying mixture of hostility and peaceful coexistence.

The Muslim religious ideology is, of course, hostile to Judaism, but less so than Christianity. It allows to Judaism, as to Christianity, a certain share of essential validity, as being a monotheistic religion. In principle, it does not compel the adherents of these religions to convert to Islam and, in practice, it has tried to do this only very rarely. The Muslim conception of three legitimate faiths coexisting under Muslim domination and preponderance was much more favourable to the underdogs than was the Christian theory. This was usually true of Muslim practice as well, the best proof being the many occasions on which numbers of Jews persecuted in Christian states (as also Hungarian Protestants threatened by Catholic reaction) sought refuge in the Muslim world.

In any case, these features of the classical Muslim world were in process of changing in the course of the nineteenth century, especially in the region where Palestine is situated, the Arab Middle East. Evolution was proceeding in the direction of a secular society on the European pattern, starting with a tendency towards equality of status for the three communities. At the beginning of the twentieth century the Jews were, in these countries – let us be clear on the geographical point – in a peaceful, prosperous and often envied situation.

This evolution was partly checked, first by the reaction to the Zionist implantation in Palestine and then by the creation of the state of Israel. True, hostility to Zionism, like every similar movement, made use of every means available. It exploited what was left of the religious hostility to Judaism and the feelings of contempt towards the Jews which had been inherited from the medieval situation. It quoted those verses from the Koran which date from the period when the Prophet was combating the Jews of Medina. But there can be no doubt that the hostility felt towards any implanting of an alien state on Arab soil would have been the same whether those involved had been Chinese or Greeks, Christians or Buddhists. It would simply have found other texts, sacred or otherwise, to exploit.

Peter said...

"Fact is, we 'had' binational states all over the Middle East where Jews were a minority (though that probably won't be the case in 'your' binational state)

Exactly, "binational" is not even a correct term to use. This example is not applicable.

and there was a tremendous problem with the attitude of Arabs towards their Jewish citizens.

Just as there was such pretty much everywhere else Jews lived.

This has nothing to do with nationalism (as Jerry tried to divert) - this has to do with a clash between two 'cultures'/'religions' that hasn't exactly changed."

It has to do with majorities oppressing minorities, opportunism, exploitation, racism etc. all reinforced by religious intolerance. Just as pretty much everywhere else Jews (and other people in similar circumstances) lived.

"For your it is easier to ignore the Jews' predicament in the Arab world because then your idea of a binational state 'works'." Fun, eh?"

I ignore it because I showed you with concrete examples that it was irrelevant. I told you many times, binational state is not my idea but the default situation in lieu of the real two-state solution, which is nowhere to be seen. If Jews in the binational state will end up having similar rights as those few Jews that mostly peacefully lived in Palestine for centuries before Zionism, it will still be a great improvement over the current abomination. Not to mention that due to their sheer numbers and well as cantons arrangement that is the most probable to emerge in the binational setting the situation will be nothing like that of those Jews.

I'm telling you why I'm opposed to a binational state based on historical precedents

I'll tell you what your problem is. You believe that people possess some ingrained qualities that prevent them from living in peace with one another. While there is of course the importance of culture and religion in shaping people's attitudes, it pales next to more immediate factors such as resentment over inequalities, oppression etc. If you build a just society where everybody has fair chance of success regardless of ethnicity, all the religious and cultural differences will take a back seat. Now, if you really want the society to prosper you'd want to go even further and diffuse additional tensions that may arise with integrated schools, army etc.
You think such binational state will be very hard to achieve? You bet! I never pretended it will necessarily work. But it is debatable what is harder: a genuine two state solution or the binational one. Because a Palestinian "state" will not solve the problem either.

I don't really agree with this ... Heck, the whole debate we're having now (Arab Jews in the Arab world) kind of puts a hole in that 'claim'.

To some extent, you are right. Some people in certain circumstances are less likely to rise against their oppressors. But this still doesn't refute my point. Palestine Arabs have a history of revolts against oppressors: the 1834 revolt against the Egyptians and the Great Arab Revolt against the British, so, in their case the main motivation is not religious. If you read the history of the Palestinian liberation movements, you'd see that Islam is a very late comer to the game.


In December in Yemen, a Jew was approached in an open market and asked to convert to Islam, he refused and took a bullet in his chest for his refusal. The culprit is getting a few years in jail with the whole Jewish population on the 'shift' & a few on the way to Israel

Oh, come on, this is relevant how? By this token the Jews contribute much more to the centuries long conflict. How about Ze'ev Wolf and Gershon Herkovitz of Kahane Chai who killed an Arab by throwing a bomb into the Arab market and served only 4 years out of ten? Or Nahum Korman who had to do six month of community service for beating an 11 year old boy to death with his rifle? Want more examples?

Avram said...

"The situation in Arab lands is much more complicated than the one of constant persecution that Avram portrays. For example, read the entry of the Jews of Iraq from Wikipedia:

Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or nationality"

They viewed themselves as members of the country - I never denied that. I also didn't say 'constant persecution' but 'problems plaguing the Jews since the Arabs became the dominant force', be it the dhimmi status or the taxes or the pogroms or the forced conversions (NOTE: You've not say any of this is false) ...

All the highlights of Jews pushing up in the Iraqi society is also something I never denied - many did very well and helped advance their homeland. I think you will find that in most countries. However, as a whole, the people were second class citizens.

"though neither were they marked by constant and brutal persecution of minorities, as Zionist apologetics claims"

"This evolution was partly checked, first by the reaction to the Zionist implantation in Palestine and then by the creation of the state of Israel."

There was no 'Zionist' movement in the Mizrachi world - most of the Arab Jewish world had no plans to leave their homes for Israel (or anywhere else for that matter).

What you point says however is that the 'one on one' testimony I've heard and read from those who came from that world is by 'Zionist apologists' ... Is that what you're honestly implying by quoting this?

It seems that you've focused on Iraq in your points Peter H. - I will do my best to have some information up for you within the week before Miluim and Pessach.

Avram said...

"Exactly, "binational" is not even a correct term to use. This example is not applicable."

So the term can only be used here because Jews will be the majority? Is that what you're saying?

"Just as there was such pretty much everywhere else Jews lived."

But 'pretty much everwhere else Jews lived' isn't related to YOUR HOPES for the future of this land. You are talking about the Jews who live here and the Arabs, not the Russians or the EUropeans or the South Americans or Africans.

"It has to do with majorities oppressing minorities, opportunism, exploitation, racism etc. all reinforced by religious intolerance. Just as pretty much everywhere else Jews (and other people in similar circumstances) lived. "

So you're basically agreeing with me about the issues. And yet you think there's a 'successful' future for a state where both people are together fighting to get things for 'their own' (be it flag, jobs, national anthem, govt position whatever) ...

"those few Jews that mostly peacefully lived in Palestine for centuries before Zionism"

You'll find many Jews didn't have that many issues under Ottoman rule - hence I feel that example is rather poor, no?

"If you build a just society where everybody has fair chance of success regardless of ethnicity, all the religious and cultural differences will take a back seat"

Ok, can you give me an example of that ever happening? If so, how long did it last and why did it stop?

Your two examples Peter are both sad (those who committed the crime should rot in jail as far as I'm concerned) and a black stain on my faith. Those people are sadly still part of my nation - I just wish they'd act like human beings and not like animals.

The example that happened in December isn't relevant I guess - as we can show examples like this on our side too. However, if I further delve into this with 'forced conversion laws' for Yemenite Jewish oprhans before Israel existed (I think twice in the country's history), then you see that this 'religious rivarly' has been a prominent driver in the 'problems' between Jew & Arab.

Peter H said...

They viewed themselves as members of the country - I never denied that. I also didn't say 'constant persecution' but 'problems plaguing the Jews since the Arabs became the dominant force', be it the dhimmi status or the taxes or the pogroms or the forced conversions (NOTE: You've not say any of this is false) ...

All the highlights of Jews pushing up in the Iraqi society is also something I never denied - many did very well and helped advance their homeland. I think you will find that in most countries. However, as a whole, the people were second class citizens.


No, I didn't deny that many bad things happened to Jews in Arab & Ottoman countries. My point is that situation wasn't static and in fact had changed by the beginning of the 20th century - the same time that the Zionist movement began to take steam in the European world.

I don't agree that Jews were 2nd-class citizens in Iraq at the beginning of the 20th Century. A 2nd-class group doesn't dominate the business sector and hold positions in the Iraqi cabinet, legislature, & senior bureaucracy.

There was no 'Zionist' movement in the Mizrachi world - most of the Arab Jewish world had no plans to leave their homes for Israel (or anywhere else for that matter).

That's irrelevant to Rodinson's argument. The struggle between the Zionist & Arabs in Palestine ignited passions throughout the Arab world. For various reasons that Rodinson gives, the animosity towards Zionism spilled over into animosity towards Jews.

What you point says however is that the 'one on one' testimony I've heard and read from those who came from that world is by 'Zionist apologists' ... Is that what you're honestly implying by quoting this?

I wasn't implying anything by quoting Rodinson. But you're kidding yourself if you don't think that there are pro-Israel writers who exaggerate the level of oppression of Jews in the Arab world for propaganda purposes.

Peter said...

Avram,

So the term can only be used here because Jews will be the majority? Is that what you're saying?

Well, at least not a small minority among others.

But 'pretty much everwhere else Jews lived' isn't related to YOUR HOPES for the future of this land. You are talking about the Jews who live here and the Arabs, not the Russians or the EUropeans or the South Americans or Africans.

That's right. And I repeat that with any of the above, including Arabs, good relations can only be established with good will and equality under law.

So you're basically agreeing with me about the issues. And yet you think there's a 'successful' future for a state where both people are together fighting to get things for 'their own' (be it flag, jobs, national anthem, govt position whatever) ..

For the umpteenth time, I don't say there will be a successful future, in fact, I think chances for such are bleak. For there to be a successful future what is needed is precisely that both people stop fighting to get things for 'their own' and think of themselves as part of the place, partners in building a just society. And to reiterate, Israel has only itself to blame for being faced with the dilemma: climbed the tree - don't cry that you don't know how to get down.
Re" minorities/majorities and oppression, well, that's exactly why it is so important to insure parity, so that no side dominates the other; naturally, that's the ideal, that will probably never be achieved (even in Belgium with one millionth of Israeli/Palestinian problems there are tensions).

You'll find many Jews didn't have that many issues under Ottoman rule - hence I feel that example is rather poor, no?

Why? That was actually part of my point.

Ok, can you give me an example of that ever happening? If so, how long did it last and why did it stop?

Are you kidding me? You don't know of countries where different religions and ethnicities and cultures coexist in peace? Give me a break.

Avram said...

Poster,

I missed this - so let's respond:

" therefore nothing Israel does or does not do (like withdrawing from the occupied territories or compensating Palestinians for their suffering) will make a difference."

I wasn't talking about '2 state solutions' sir (or compensating Palestinians, which I'm for even if our Arab Jews never get similar compensation) - I was talking about one of the reasons why a '1 state solution' will never work ... I have my doubts about 2 states working either, but hey, they always tell me Ireland worked.

Thanks for your post though - appreciated.

Peter H,

Before I type out some of the things you've neglected to mention, please also read up on 1st hand accounts of many Iraqis (those who were successful and also the 'regular folk') and their take on being Jews in Iraq. Perhaps then you can get an honest first hand account of what happened ...

Please note, I'm just giving general examples - I won't go into 'small' pogroms etc:

* ~9th century or so, Dhimma laws such as yellow patch, 'hand tax' & residence restriction enforced (this surely already shows you the 'two levels' of society that was being stressed)
* Heavy taxation begins around 1000 CE - the books I've read talk about essentially making life impossible
* 1333 - Baghdad synagogues destroyed
* 1776 - Slaughter of Jews in Basra
* Lewis's Islam in History will also go into a few examples of the relationship between Jew & Arab, and it's pretty sad reading.
* Before WWI, Jews were forced to finance a few army stations. Refusal? Torture. If you evaded it? Au Revoir.

The pro-Nazi govt there is something I guess we can 'overlook' as it was well after Zionism and that can easily be blamed for supporting Hitler and his plans.

Again, it's hard to dispute what I'm saying or what you're saying for that matter. Were Jews 2nd class citizens deprived of many rights? Yup. Were they still proud Iraqis who loved their country? Many sure did. etc ...

Lastly, I have a good friend who's an Iraqi journalist. His stories about the Iraqi school system and what he was taught about Jews (Note: NOT Israelis) is sad and sickening. Sadly, this isn't the only Arab state which pushes this 'agenda' on their kids.

Avram said...

"I think chances for such are bleak."

Not much 'tikvah' in your eyes, eh?

"Why? That was actually part of my point."

That's why I said 'Arabs' and not Moors or Ottomans, where both were rather 'fair' (for lack of a better word)

"Are you kidding me? You don't know of countries where different religions and ethnicities and cultures coexist in peace? Give me a break."

I asked for an example, preferably in this region, where we saw "a just society where everybody has fair chance of success regardless of ethnicity, all the religious and cultural differences will take a back seat"

Avram said...

"My point is that situation wasn't static and in fact had changed by the beginning of the 20th century - the same time that the Zionist movement began to take steam in the European world."

So you think 'bang' in 1891, suddenly the Arab world just warped into being overly hostile to their Jews? Surely you don't think it would take barely 10-20 years to change a society that radically.

"I don't agree that Jews were 2nd-class citizens in Iraq at the beginning of the 20th Century. A 2nd-class group doesn't dominate the business sector and hold positions in the Iraqi cabinet, legislature, & senior bureaucracy."

Exceptions are not the norm - most nations were not afraid to use the Jewish mind to further their countries, while batting it down in most arenas. I think (and I may be wrong here) that one of the main figures in writing Iraq's constitution was a Jew and he never admitted or openly showed his faith (as per his daughter) - if you cannot show your faith for whatever reason, there's issues. He disappeared around the 1940s never to be found again.

"the animosity towards Zionism spilled over into animosity towards Jews. "

As I said above, this 'radical' shift could not have happened as it did without a solid base of anti-Jewish sentiment in the Arab world ...

"if you don't think that there are pro-Israel writers who exaggerate the level of oppression of Jews in the Arab world for propaganda purposes."

a) I didn't realize most of the Mizrachi Jews I had talked to where pro-Israel writers.
b) and you sir, are kidding yourself if you don't think the level of oppression of Jews in the Arab world has been minimized for the exact same propaganda purposes ...