Forget pinkwashing, it’s brownwashing time: self-Orientalizing on the US campus

Middle East
on 67 Comments

“The political and intellectual history of modernity,” writes historian Robert Orsi, “is also always a religious history.” However, as significant and diverse recent scholarship is now bringing to light, narratives around the political, intellectual, and religious history of modernity often serve not only to illuminate the past, but also to obscure it through the authorization of specific forms of experience and knowledge.

This symposium, entitled “Decolonizing Narratives, Denaturalizing Modernity,” aims to highlight recent scholarship that complicates received notions around the history of modernity. While focusing on distinct temporal, geographical, and religious contexts, in their shared attempts to uncover histories hidden by the dominant discourses of modernity, the authors featured in this symposium uniformly challenge the naturalization of modernity’s emergence and indicate that that the history of modernity has always been (and remains) fundamentally contested.

It is the ninth week for me as a new professor at Columbia University. The move here from UCLA, where I taught for fifteen years, has been full of surprises, and not always of the kind one expects. But nothing prepared me for the sight I encountered recently as I crossed the main plaza of the college on the way to class to teach Edward Said’s Orientalism to a large group of MESAAS (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies) majors. I was thinking about how best to make them see the political relevance of Orientalism to our present-day reality, and just then, as if by divine intervention, I noticed a flyer: “Hebrew Liberation Week: A Celebration of Semitism.” Curiously I approached the plaza. After all, I was about to teach Said’s discussion of Semitism as an invented 19th century Orientalist category and this seemed relevant. I soon faced three tall poles mounted with Israeli flags and was surrounded by about a dozen of young men and women wearing kaffiyehs (a checkered scarf, which has long been a symbol of Palestinian national liberation) that were blue and white (the colors of the Israeli flag). “Things don’t look right,” I noted to myself. But it was only when I noticed the bombastic billboards covering the borders of the plaza that the effect became truly chilling.

Another banner, shown above, presented a group of men in indigenous dress with a bearded man in a tallith (a white prayer shawl worn by Jewish men) placed right in the center among them. First I saw a large portrait of a Native American wearing a traditional headdress, with the word “Judah” written across it.

There is, of course, nothing wrong in suggesting an alliance between Jews and Indigenous people, and in the context of Jews living in Europe and elsewhere as “inside outsiders” and as part of internal European colonization (too much has been written about “The Jewish Question” for me to summarize here) it indeed makes sense to compare and point out similarities between the position of Jews as a fragile minority and the position of other oppressed groups, like the indigenous, colonized, enslaved, and more. However, placing such images underneath the Israeli flag makes them, at best, tasteless depictions of a pseudo alliance. Suggesting, as the posters do, that Jews have been driven out of their land (like indigenous people) and have finally returned to Israel–a trajectory that all indigenous people should unite behind–is a crude and cynical manipulation of (Jewish) history and a vulgar fabrication that not only makes no sense, but is also offensive in its use and abuse of indigenous peoples’ histories of oppression.

SSI 2017 “Hebrew Liberation Week” poster of a person in Plains Indians-style headdress of a lion with “Judah” written across the chest. (Photo: Gil Hochberg)

Indigenous people are not the only ones exploited in this campaign, run by SSI (Students Supporting Israel). SSI is the new kid on the block of campus hasbara groups (only five years old) but this kid is well funded by the usual suspects. A notable amount of the $319,598 in 2015 contributions SSI reported on tax forms comes, for instance, from the Milstein Family Foundation, which also supports CAMERA, Stand with Us, Hasbara Fellowships, and other right-wing Israel advocates. The mission of SSI, as their webpage indicates, is “to be a clear and confident Pro-Israel voice on college campuses,” and for this mission, they even offer scholarships for students “to visit Israel and come back to campus ready for action!” Nothing on the webpage, however, mentions what SSI’s current campaign at Columbia University makes clear beyond all doubt: that the organization has decided to shamelessly appropriate histories, narratives, political symbols and imagery of indigenous people, Native Americans, Africans, and even Palestinians for the purpose of producing a fictitious, if colorful, narrative of Jewish indigeneity and self-Orientalization. By Self-Orientalism I mean, in this context, a certain instrumentalization of Orientalism and its stereotypes for the purpose of producing a figure of a modern Jew/Israeli who is at the same time ancient, biblical, Semitic, Oriental. This figure is in fact an updated and improved version of the early Zionist invention of the Occidentalized ‘New Jew.’ If the Occidentalized New Jew was said to bring European civilization and progress to the East, this updated version is no longer associating the Israeli Jew with the West and its promise of modernity and progress. On the contrary, the self-Orientalized Jew/Israeli embraces his/her position as the son/daughter of the East. He/she is the native indigenous of the east (Palestine, the biblical Holy-land, Israel) whose temporality expands from the biblical time to the present.

SSI 2017 “Hebrew Liberation Week” poster of Ethiopian IDF soldiers. (Photo: Gil Hochberg)

In addition to the soldiers, there are images of Arab-Jews (Mizrahim) who must not be forgotten, not again. Images of Yemeni families, perhaps making their way to the Promised Land, are shown on other banners.As a bold background to the blue and white kaffiyehs being sold on location, there were posters covering the plaza, inundated with images of Brown and Black people and proud Israeli soldiers: Asians (children of mainly [email protected] guest workers who became Israeli citizens and “won” the opportunity to serve in the Israeli army), Ethiopian Jews, Bedouins, and overtly joyful Druze. If yesterday’s message was that the Israeli army is welcoming of gays*, today’s message is that the IDF is a place where Brown, Black, African, and Arab people all feel happy. Together.

One must ask: why a “Brown people campaign”? Or: How did all the Israelis (or Jews, the campaign isn’t clear) become so Brown all of a sudden? (I ask as a very fair Polish Jew!) Why does an organization like SSI feel the need to “celebrate Semitism” and parade Ethiopians, Yemenites, and Druze in order to make historical claims of belonging and ownership? And why the sudden need to create the pretense of a coalition with the indigenous people in North America?

SSI 2017 “Hebrew Liberation Week” banner of Yemenite Jewish family. (Photo: Gil Hochberg)

The answers are to be found in the logic of political tactic and not in the realm of a real existential identity transformation. In other words, Orientalism–which here functions also as self-Orientalism–is meant to do political work, masking settler colonialism with the language and images of nativism. But what is the political work of self-Orientalizing? What is gained by associating Zionism with the struggles of Native peoples and people of color? Correctly identifying past and present trends of the liberal and the radical left (the focus of indigenous rights, multiculturalism, and siding with the colonized and the oppressed) SSI disdainfully adopts these characteristics in order to unarm leftist critique. Indeed, if Israelis are indigenous people returning to their colonized lands, their political struggle must be considered valid and progressive.

SSI’s Semitic campaign is based on a simple but dangerous manipulation of historical facts. It abuses the historically ambivalent position of the Jew in the West as not-white-not-quite and the Orientalized modern biblical iconography of the Israelites as prototypical Orientals and Semites to create a narrative of a present-day political hallucination, according to which Jews are the colonized natives fighting for their land. If only this fantasy wasn’t so cynical, offensive and well-funded, we might have had a good laugh.

*Pinkwashing is a term by the growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation to denote Israel’s deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of progressive modernity symbolized by Israeli gay culture. See: Sarah Schulmann, “Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’” Opinion, NYT, Nov 22 2011.

Further Readings

Self Orientalization:

Grace Yan and Carla Almeida Santos, “China Forever: Tourism Discourse and Self-Orientalism” Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 36, No. 2, (2009): 295–315.

Matthew Jaber Stiffler “Consuming Orientalism: Public Foodways of Arab American Christians” Mashriq & Mahjar 2, no. 2 (2014): 111-138.

Arif Dirlik, “Chinese History and the Question of Orientalism” History and Theory, Vol. 35, No. 4, (1996): pp. 96-118.

Plamen K. Georgiev. Self-Orientalization in South East Europe. Springer, 2012

Cultural Appropriations:

Yonatan Mendel and Ronald Ranta. From the Arab Other to the Israeli Self: Palestinian Culture in the Making of Israeli National Identity. Routledge, 2016

Nicholas Rowe “Dance and Political Credibility: The Appropriation of Dabkeh by Zionism, Pan-Arabism, and Palestinian Nationalism” Middle East Journal Vol. 65, No. 3 (Summer 2011): 363-380

Susan Slyomovics. The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.

This article was originally published by Contending Modernities, a project of the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies,  on November 24, 2017.

About Gil Hochberg

Gil Hochberg is Ransford Professor of Hebrew, Comparative Literature, and Middle East Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the intersections among psychoanalysis, postcolonial theory, nationalism, gender and sexuality. She has published essays on a wide range of issues including: Francophone North African literature, Palestinian literature, Hebrew literature, the modern Levant, Semitism, Israeli and Palestinian Cinema and art. Her first book, In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination (Princeton University Press, 2007), examines the complex relationship between the signifiers “Arab” and “Jew” in contemporary Jewish and Arab literatures. Her most recent book, Visual Occupations: Vision and Visibility in a Conflict Zone (Duke University Press, 2015), is a study of the visual politics of the Israeli-Palestinian. She is currently writing a book on art, archives, and the production of knowledge.

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67 Responses

  1. Eva Smagacz
    November 28, 2017, 2:12 pm

    Hey,

    Whatever it takes to make Israeli Jews look like victims in American eyes.

    These organisations and their mis-apropriations would be laughed out of campus anywhere in Europe.

    And use of blue and white kaffiyehs is just……. blood curdling odious. Reminds me of Werhmacht belt buckles proclaiming “Gott mit uns”.

    Just WTF??? incomprehensible.
    50/57

    • eljay
      November 28, 2017, 2:27 pm

      || Eva Smagacz: … 50/57 ||

      Curious: What is the meaning of the ascending “fraction” that occasionally appears under your posts?

      • Eva Smagacz
        November 28, 2017, 2:56 pm

        I’m glad you asked!

        There are topics on which I cannot really express myself, and they tend to align with the area of expertise of YoniFalic.

        It was discussed in this thread: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/06/mondoweiss-journalists-reporting/#comment-882525

        I especially dislike idea of not being able to express myself about things that I cannot express myself. 51/58

        Hence the idea of fraction.

      • eljay
        November 28, 2017, 3:25 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, Eva.  :-)  Unfortunately, I’m a bit dense and I still don’t understand what the “fraction” is supposed to represent.  :-(

      • Mooser
        November 28, 2017, 4:48 pm

        Perhaps figures separated by a slash indicate the number submitted versus number published? ’51 comments published out of 58 submitted’= 51/58?

      • eljay
        November 29, 2017, 7:23 am

        || Mooser: Perhaps figures separated by a slash indicate the number submitted versus number published? ’51 comments published out of 58 submitted’= 51/58? ||

        That seemed like the obvious answer…but her Comment archive shows 837 comment.

    • Keith
      November 28, 2017, 6:21 pm

      EVE SMAGACZ- “Whatever it takes to make Israeli Jews look like victims in American eyes.”

      Not just Israeli Jews. The intent is to represent all Jews as having the roots of a beleaguered minority, not the powerful and privileged group calling the shots. Eternal Jewish victimhood is a core component of Jewish Zionist ideology which very many (most?) Jews firmly believe. Current success and power fragile and fleeting. Always victims, never oppressors. Critics are anti-Semites.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 29, 2017, 3:13 pm

        succinct and prescient keith.

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2017, 9:17 pm

        “A banner for the Columbia University Students Supporting Israel 2017 “Hebrew Liberation Week: A Celebration of Semitism.”

        The banner depicts the singing-group featured at the event, “The Settlement People”.

  2. Eva Smagacz
    November 28, 2017, 5:50 pm

    The second figure represents the number of comments I submitted, and the first the number of comments that had been passed by moderators.

    From my experience, the best censorship is the one where not only topic of consorship is scrubbed, but also any mention of censorship itself.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 28, 2017, 11:05 pm

      hi eva, i just did a search in the trashed comments and looked back over the last year. there was only one comment of yours in there. at the base of it it said “45/52” which is a little odd because you have a comment in your archives tagged w/ the same numerical coding at the end but containing different content.

      i don’t know if there’s some filter moderating posts before it’s done manually, but i’m fairly certain everything personally moderated here goes into our trash (or a separate spam — basically promos/advertisements), so if a moderator here personally trashes one of your comments that’s where it would be. my suggestion would be if a comment doesn’t go through try posting it again. or write adam, there could be some glitch.

      • Eva Smagacz
        November 29, 2017, 10:04 am

        Annie, my comments DO end up in trash file. But trash file numbers hardly increased in last year, which means that the comments are removed – manually or by algorithm.

        I did complain to Adam by e-mail just before last donation drive.
        I was dismayed, since April, I think, by moderating decisions: both by what was not allowed, and by what was allowed.

        And I positively hated that comments complaining about moderating process were also rigorously moderated. 53/60

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2017, 1:30 pm

        “, and by what was allowed.”

        It is indeed shocking. Look at this exchange

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2017, 9:28 pm

        ” I was dismayed, since April, I think, by moderating decisions: both by what was not allowed, and by what was allowed.”

        April comes right after March.

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 12:29 pm

        “Annie” could it be possible that “glitches” (a failure to carry a comment through the thousands of miles and systems between my computer and Mondo) are being perceived as ‘rejections’ ?

    • eljay
      November 29, 2017, 7:26 am

      || Eva Smagacz: The second figure represents the number of comments I submitted, and the first the number of comments that had been passed by moderators. … ||

      OK, I think I get it now: It’s that ratio (passed:submitted) since you posted in that thread you linked to earlier. Thanks for the explanation. :-)

  3. LHunter
    November 28, 2017, 9:00 pm

    This is more opinion than anything else and based on what I’ve read over the last year or two but it seems to me that the Palestinian plight has gained substantial recognition and support from indigenous peoples – https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/standing-rock-and-palestine-the-struggle-for-justice_us_5838e22ee4b0c2ab94436936 – from black Americans – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/09/black-lives-matter-palestine-historic-alliance-160906074912307.html – and Africans -https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160131-south-africas-anc-reaffirms-support-for-palestinians/ – from brown / latino peoples -http://mondoweiss.net/2017/06/palestinian-solidarity-display/ – And- http://www.middleeasteye.net/in-depth/features/going-global-palestine-901667444 – and many many more non-white and non-mainstream peoples and groups who the mainstream / whites think are cool or fashionable or hip or chic (not sure what the going term is these days). It makes sense that the desperate zionist powerful few would fuel an organization that was interested in breaking into the new cool club. Not sure anyone will be swayed or fooled by SSI which could be proven to be a fraud quite easily. I’m just amazed of how desperate and vulgar the Zionists have gotten – they have no shame because they have no limits to their lust for supremacy. What will the historians of the future say about Zionism and the Zionist criminals of today who have done such harm to the Palestinians and the world.

  4. mcohen..
    November 28, 2017, 10:02 pm

    What i find interesting is how much easier it is for israeli society to intergrate people of colour.it is not perfect but generally speaking it works.it helps that relegion plays a role.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 28, 2017, 11:36 pm

      hmm mcohen, not sure how much i would consider israel an intergrated society considering they have systematic separation in neighborhoods (those pesky neighborhood committees) and schools. have you read “Anti-Mizrahi discrimination was official Israeli policy” by mossi raz? https://972mag.com/anti-mizrahi-discrimination-was-official-israeli-policy/130948/

      The Israeli government has kept documents detailing systematic racism against Jews from the Middle East and North Africa sealed for 70 years. This week the Knesset rejected a proposal to open the state archives. To correct the historical injustice, the public needs to know the truth.

      …..

      Israel’s founders .. made decisions that created social and economic inequalities that have lasted for generations. Among these decisions, they created a system of population dispersal known as development towns.

      Between 1954 and 1956, Israel built dozens of development towns in the country’s northern and southern geographic peripheries, far from the country’s economic and cultural centers. During that period, 75,000 immigrants arrived from Morocco and Tunisia. They made up 85 percent of the immigrants at the time. Anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of them were sent to development towns, in contrast to the Eastern European immigrants who were allowed to settle in places in the country’s center, in and near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

      The findings that have emerged from the few files that have been declassified are disturbing. Jewish immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East, who expected to end up in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, to live in the Holy City or by the beach, were sent to the Negev; when they refused to settle there, Israeli leaders used violence and deceit to force them.

      The new immigrants often tried to resist. They refused to comply, they spoke out against their unfair treatment. But the government did not hesitate to take severe measures against them: it manipulated them, threatened to take away their children. In some instances, authorities instructed the drivers of trucks carrying the new immigrants to literally throw the new immigrants out of their trucks and onto the ground, and leave them behind against their will.

      The documents that record these decisions have been sealed for decades, in the hopes of hiding the injustice. Seventy years later, most of the documents are hidden from the public. It is precisely this information blackout that enables the continuation of the problematic policy of population dispersal to this day.…….

      In the 1990s, Ethiopian immigrants boarded planes expecting, with all the excitement of a people returning to their homeland after 2000 years’ exile, to be taken to Jerusalem. When they landed, they were sent to absorption centers. In many cases, two families were forced to share a single small apartment. Linguistic and bureaucratic barriers prevented them from taking full advantage of the immigration benefits to which they were entitled. Thirty years after their arrival in Israel, their situation remains largely the same: two families in one small apartment.

      The policy of population dispersal was—and remains—a disgrace: from the way new developments are built in the Negev, without considering their effects on existing communities, to the way African refugees arriving at Israel’s southern border were bused directly to the poor Mizrahi neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv. The deep gaps between Israel’s socio-geographic periphery and its center were created knowingly, and on the basis of racist assumptions.

      more at the link..

      • yonah fredman
        November 29, 2017, 2:28 am

        Yes, in its early days Israel encouraged discrimination. But it’s not 1956 anymore and historic grievances are not the main story (except for obfuscaters and propagandists.) But let’s try to deal with 2017 and “intermarriage” rates. Marriages between ashkenazi and mizrahim is sky high compared to marriage rates in America between African Americans and whites. There are many reasons for this: the army, the high ratio of mizrahim to ashkenazi (when compared to the low ratio of blacks to whites in America) and a sector: the modern orthodox, aka dati leumi, aka national religious where the intermarriage rates are so high that these marriages, once the stuff of cultural surprise (the 1972 movie Kazablan) are totally mundane by now. No one in America comments anymore on marriages between catholics and protestants and thus it is among the dati leumi in Israel concerning ashkenazi and mizrahi. (anecdotal: two of my dati leumi nephews are married to mizrahim. Whereas in my brother’s haredi, aka, ultra ortho family such marriages have not been arranged.) In America such cross racial Marriages are far rarer. Maybe between Hispanic and whites in certain states there is high intermarriage, but between African Americans and whites, not so. Certainly america’s toxic history is part of this equation, but also the low ratio of blacks to whites.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 29, 2017, 12:46 pm

        But let’s try to deal with 2017 and “intermarriage” rates.

        yonah, you “try to deal with” intermarriage rates by simply not even mentioning african-israelis in your comparison to US intermarriage rates between white vs african americans? hmm, interesting. by what standard are do you use the terms “people of colour” and “black”? because if you’re including mizrahi, which it appears you are, why are you limiting POC in the US solely to african americans and ignoring ethiopian jews in israel? you’re using a completely different standard for poc in the 2 countries.

        historic grievances are not the main story (except for obfuscaters and propagandists.)

        did you even read the article?

        Thirty years after their arrival in Israel, their situation remains largely the same: two families in one small apartment.

        this is an article about modern day israel. and this sort of discrimination has legislative backing via the neighborhood committees. segregation is systematic in israel.

        i am curious what you thought of the native american looking headdress with the word judah underneath it. it seems like cultural appropriation to me. especially since traditionally there’s already sort of a (big furry) jewish headdress. why not just wear one of them? and did you see the logo the kids chose for the event, the star and the fist? same as the JDL logo. https://www.facebook.com/SSIcolumbia/posts/683704338476029:0

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 29, 2017, 10:34 am

        Thank you Annie for this!!

        It is interesting how that confirms exactly the things I was told by my Mizrahim friends.. All what is there, was their experience too! And it was very common for the Mizrahim boys (2nd generation)* to try to look for a wife from Ukrain and other former Soviet countries, because marrying a “white European” would “raise their raiting” in those different categories, where the Ethiopian Jews were the lowest and the white U.S. Jews** the highest.. (The gap between the Jews from U.S. and the Mizrahim was so wide, I do not remember them really meeting each other anywhere.)

        *(My experience based on the years 2005-2009)
        **Simply because of their own attitude towards other people..

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 29, 2017, 10:46 am

        p.s. Annie:

        The official talk was ofcourse that: “Israel is the best country in the world”, but the other stories started coming up, when I started to know people and wanted to hear more about their private histories.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 29, 2017, 1:03 pm

        kaisa, there’s a excellent movie about moroccan jews who emigrated (sort of a forced emigration for some) called “They Were Promised the Sea”, it’s really worth watching.

      • eljay
        November 29, 2017, 12:34 pm

        || yonah fredman: … Marriages between ashkenazi and mizrahim is sky high compared to marriage rates in America between African Americans and whites. … ||

        Curious: How does the marriage rate in Israel between Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis compare to the marriage rate in America between African Americans and non-African Americans?

      • George Smith
        November 29, 2017, 12:43 pm

        By “obfuscaters and propagandists” Yonah Fredman means the professional historians, adhering to disciplinary standards of honesty, who have labored to reveal the historical realities that hasbaristas like Yonah seek to obscure.

        The particularly shameful chapter in Zionism’s record that Yonah tries to valorize here is its manipulation of Israel’s huge oriental immigrant Jewish population into an extreme form of anti-Arab extremism that repudiates their own oriental, largely Arab, heritage.

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2017, 1:43 pm

        “that hasbaristas like Yonah”

        Hey, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have “yonah” to explain Jews to me. It’s awful for the 80% of us who don’t know who we are or how we got here, and we need information.
        “yonah” they will be printing your archive out and rolling it up on atzei chayim !

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 29, 2017, 5:02 pm

        Annie:

        “kaisa, there’s a excellent movie ..”

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll try to find it!

      • RoHa
        November 29, 2017, 5:27 pm

        Annie, about twenty years ago I heard that American women of East Asian ancestry were more likely to marry men of white European ancestry than to marry men of EA ancestry. If this is true, shouldn’t that also be included in the intermarriage figures.

        (And a lot of EA women have very attractive figures, which is, no doubt, a contributory factor to the intermarriage.)

      • Mooser
        November 29, 2017, 11:09 pm

        “(And a lot of EA women have very attractive figures, which is, no doubt, a contributory factor to the intermarriage. Nod-nod, wink-wink)”

        Gosh, the things a real man-of-the-world can tell us. Or for some reason, just has to tell us.

      • RoHa
        November 30, 2017, 4:15 pm

        Sorry, Mooser. I’m being lascivious again. (Perhaps because I’m surrounded by young nurses at the moment.)

      • echinococcus
        November 30, 2017, 5:58 pm

        Reb Fredman,

        Yes, in its early days Israel encouraged discrimination

        That’s a beaut. 70 years and we are still in the early days.
        There are more than 50 laws and regulation officially establishing discrimination, and counting.
        Especially against anyone not born of a “Jewish” womb.

        People don’t really sympathize with your “victim” Zionist race subgroups, you know. In fact, that’s the amusing part of your story…

      • Mooser
        November 30, 2017, 6:52 pm

        “(Perhaps because I’m surrounded by young nurses at the moment.)”

        Say no more, all is understood. Those ladies light my lamp, too. (But not dental assistants. They’re always looking down in the mouth.) The nurse-patient relationship was sacred in the halcyon days before this stupid gadget degraded it to a mere formality.

        Do they still wear nurse’s caps over there? The cap’s original purpose was to keep the nurse’s hair neatly in place and present a modest appearance. So what’s the excuse for those sexy shoes?

      • Annie Robbins
        November 30, 2017, 7:53 pm

        i hope that doesn’t mean you’re in ill health at the hospital RoHa.
        if so, hang in there, please.

      • Mooser
        November 30, 2017, 8:33 pm

        “if so, hang in there, please.”

        I add my good health wishes to yours. Hopefully, “RoHa” was at the hospital for nothing more than a thorough check-out. Sorry, I mean “check-up”

      • RoHa
        November 30, 2017, 8:54 pm

        No, Mooser. No little caps to tuck a stray bit of hair behind, no crisp, white, severely starched uniform, no black stockings with seams down the back. Just the usual tunic and trousers, like everywhere else. But we still have a few intimate moments, especially when they shave me for the op. But they use electric clippers now. The days when a nurse brandished a straight razor at your essentials have gone.

        Annie, I told my doctor about the mild discomfort in my chest, intending then to go home, do a bit of repair work, and then go to Aikido training in the evening. Instead he whipped me into hospital and I’m facing a bypass. They’ll do it tomorrow, so I might not comment for a rew days.

      • Mooser
        November 30, 2017, 9:56 pm

        ,” no black stockings with seams down the back”

        When I had my tonsils out, about 1960 or so, they wore white stockings, no seams.

        Best wishes for the outcome, “RoHa”. Get back to us soon.

        Digital surface thermometers, and electric clippers. They’ve taken all the romance out of being in the hospital.

      • eljay
        November 30, 2017, 10:00 pm

        Take care, RoHa, and come back before we’re over-run by commas. :-)

      • oldgeezer
        November 30, 2017, 11:21 pm

        @RoHa

        Good luck. Umm period. In grammatical support!

      • Annie Robbins
        December 6, 2017, 12:24 am

        o m g, just reading this now. downright frightening RoHa, i really do adore you. for so many reasons. just stick around ok. don’t make me get sentimental on you.

      • gamal
        December 6, 2017, 12:48 am

        ” Instead he whipped me into hospital ”

        I hope that you get well soon.

        I am relieved that you seem to be in good hands.

        All the very best of wishes.

        G

      • RoHa
        December 6, 2017, 1:35 am

        Thanks, geezer, gamal.

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 12:34 pm

        “…in good hands.”

        The very best

      • RoHa
        December 7, 2017, 12:11 am
    • Misterioso
      November 29, 2017, 10:45 am

      @mcohen

      “What i find interesting is how much easier it is for israeli society to intergrate people of colour.”

      What world are you living in?

      Reality:

      http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/1890-even-in-death-ethiopian-jews-face-racism-from-other-jews
      “Even in death, Ethiopian Jews face racism from other Jews”
      Middle East Monitor, December 28,2010.
      Excerpt: “An Israeli newspaper has claimed that the racism prevalent between Israeli Jews extends to Ethiopian Jews even after their death. According to Ma’ariv, graves in a Jewish cemetery are separated according to the colour of the corpses; a fence has been built between the graves of Ethiopian Jews and the others in the graveyard.”

      Israel’s Jewish citizens of Ethiopian origin/ancestry suffer from discrimination and human rights violations:
      Haaretz, January 27, 2013 – “Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots.”
      EXCERPTS: “A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.”
      “The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.”

      Council for the National Interest – Sept. 30, 2013
      http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/new/?p=1791#.WNGMT4WcFZU
      “Israel Gave Birth Control to Ethiopian Immigrants Without Their Consent
      In January 2013, Israel acknowledged that medical authorities have been giving Ethiopian immigrants long-term birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent. The Israeli government had previously denied the charges, which were first brought to light by investigative reporter Gal Gabbay in a December 8, 2012, broadcast of Israeli Educational Television’s news program, Vacuum. In January, the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general, Ron Gamzu, ordered all gynecologists to stop administering the drugs.

      “Gabbay interviewed over thirty women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the immigrant community were so low. Israeli medical authorities had been injecting women of Ethiopian origin with a drug alleged to be Depo-Provera, a highly effective and long-lasting form of contraception. In some cases, the drugs were reportedly administered to women waiting in transit camps for permission to immigrate to Israel.”

      “Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but some rabbis have questioned their Jewishness. In May 2012, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignited controversy when he warned that illegal immigrants from Africa ‘threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.’”

      Alistair Dawber: “Israel Gave Birth Control to Ethiopian Jews without Their Consent,” The Independent, January 27, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-gave-birth-control-to-ethiopian-jews-without-their-consent-8468800.html.

      Ali Abunimah, “Did Israel Violate the Genocide Convention by Forcing Contraceptives on Ethiopian Women?” Electronic Intifada, January 28, 2013,http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/did-israel-violate-genocide-convention-forcing-contraceptives-ethiopian-women.

      Beth Brogan, “Israel Admits Forced Birth Control For Ethiopian Immigrants,” Common Dreams, January 29, 2013, http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/29-0.

    • yonah fredman
      November 30, 2017, 3:49 am

      Israeli government policy particularly moving Mizrahim to the periphery has been destructive towards the goal of an integrated society. In regards to Ethiopian Jews the dynamics are entirely different and more difficult than in regards to Ashkenazis and Mizrahim.

  5. JosephA
    November 28, 2017, 10:32 pm

    This was an absolutely thoughtful and brilliant deconstruction of such a blatantly devious ploy to try and win some “brownie points” (pun intended) for racist, apartheid Israel. Thank you, professor Hochberg!

  6. mcohen..
    November 29, 2017, 1:17 am

    Annie i have read the link and as i said before it is not perfect but if you compare south tel aviv to say areas in the usa or even france or belgium then one could come to a different conclusion.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 29, 2017, 4:05 pm

      i’m not arguing there are not ghettos in the us, france or belgium that are as hostile as areas of south tel aviv. but it seems as tho yonah’s arguing Israel’s “encouraged discrimination” is primarily just part of some historical past based on intermarriage between ashkenazi and mizrahi. i don’t think that’s an applicable analogy given the governments current policies and systemic racism.

      ie: ‘LIFE IN SOUTH TEL AVIV HAS BECOME UNBEARABLE’ http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Life-in-South-Tel-Aviv-has-become-unbearable-480862

      SOUTH TEL AVIV SIMMERS AS RACIAL TENSIONS LINGER http://www.jpost.com/National-News/South-Tel-Aviv-simmers-as-racial-tensions-linger

      let’s consider how this conversation started, you claimed it’s “easier” for israeli society to integrate people of colour. “it is not perfect but generally speaking it works”

      so whether you meant it’s easier now than it was in the past, or whether you mean it’s easier for israeli society to integrate poc than it is for poc to integrate in the US, i don’t know. but historically in the US new immigrants were othered (including jewish, irish, german etc). and after decades that othering becomes less so. and in israel to varying degrees this lessening has occurred for the mizrahi community. but the principle of israeli society integrating people of colour, considering what’s going on right now — the radical deportation plan of thousands of african immigrants, makes the statement, on it’s face, grossly absurd. and the very idea of requiring thousands of black people to live in detention centers in the negev… it doesn’t speak well for the concept of integration. and now the government is limiting entry to the country based on political belief.

      i’m not sure what other conclusion i could come to by comparing south tel aviv to ghettos in other countries. but in no other country on earth that i know of do their governments require half the people it rules over (based on ethnicity) living w/no rights, mostly in ghetto-like conditions, not allowed to integrate at all. to the point of separate roads even.

  7. Bont Eastlake
    November 29, 2017, 2:13 am

    Same tactic of shade blindness used by Anglo-Saxon American ruling class in order to bulk up the white nationalist government, by stimulating huge inflow of immigrants from poorer European countries like Italy, Greece, Cuba etc. Making them all feel welcomed and united with the fake white identity against a hostile mass of black and brown domestic threats.

  8. Elizabeth Block
    November 29, 2017, 10:24 am

    “Children of mainly Filipina guest workers who became Israeli citizens” – huh? Since when are they allowed to become Israeli citizens? I’ve read about guest workers asking to be allowed to convert, and being refused.
    And in Canada (and probably in the US) there are “red Zionists” – Indigenous people who are under the impression that the Jews, not the Palestinians, are the indigenous people of Palestine.

  9. Boris
    November 30, 2017, 10:29 am

    >>> SSI’s Semitic campaign is based on a simple but dangerous manipulation of historical facts.

    What manipulation?

    The simple fact is that the Jews, unlike other conquered nations, had resisted Romans placing the statue of their emperor in the Temple (happy Chanukah, everyone!). There were a series of rebellions, and, after over hundred years of unrest Romans dispersed Jews from their native Judea. This started the migration and persecution of Jews all over the world.

    I think there is a definite link between the Jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations.

    Now we came home to our ancestral land. And this is a good example to the indigenous people everywhere.

    All SSI is doing is educating people. Good job!

    • eljay
      November 30, 2017, 12:44 pm

      || Boris: … Now we came home to our ancestral land. … ||

      Geographic Palestine is not the homeland or “ancestral land” of all people in the world – citizens of homelands all over the world – who choose to embrace the religion-based identity of Jewish.

      || … And this is a good example to the indigenous people everywhere. ||

      Colonialism – yes, even when Jews do it – is a truly bad example to indigenous people everywhere.

    • Mooser
      November 30, 2017, 4:20 pm

      “And this is a good example to the indigenous people everywhere” “Boris”

      You know, “Boris”, I was going to suggest that SSI sponsor seminars called “Flipping Your Homeland For Big Profits, Let Zionism Show You How” for oppressed peoples. But I thought it too absurd. I guess I was wrong.

    • Mooser
      November 30, 2017, 4:21 pm

      “I think there is a definite link between the Jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations.”

      Maybe it’s the DNA?

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2017, 11:00 pm

        “I think there is a definite link between the Jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations.”

        Than what are you complaining about, “Boris”? Why do we Jews deserve something those other persecuted nations don’t?

        (Now “Boris” will tell me that the Palestinians are an invading and conquering nation. )

      • Annie Robbins
        December 2, 2017, 11:15 pm

        “I think there is a definite link between the Jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations.”

        that would depend on which jew. like lots of other people, many jews have never been displaced or persecuted*, nor displaced or persecuted others. but regarding a “link”, absolutely. ie: lots of jews are displacing and persecuting palestinians. i’d definitely consider that a link. like germans and jews are linked but not always in a good way. like the rapist and the victim are linked, especially if the attack produces a child. i absolutely agree there is a definite link between some Jews and other displaced and persecuted nations. but all jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations? not so sure about that.

        *albeit, one would be hard pressed to go back in lineage and not find a relative to any living jew who was not displaced or persecuted. but if we’re to include relatives, nary a person exists who did not have a relative displaced or persecuted at one time — especially if you go back 2k years. heck, i have a relative hung for (allegedly) freeing slaves, so am i (and my entire family) part of the persecuted? is persecution passed on through generations — inherited by virtue of being related?

    • RoHa
      November 30, 2017, 4:22 pm

      “I think there is a definite link between the Jews and all other displaced and persecuted nations.”

      You’re right. The link is that Jews are doing some of the displacing and persecuting.

    • Eva Smagacz
      November 30, 2017, 4:30 pm

      Boris, you said:


      There were a series of rebellions, and, after over hundred years of unrest Romans dispersed Jews from their native Judea. This started the migration and persecution of Jews all over the world.

      Unfortunately, there is no historical research to support that myth ( however convenient it is as an excuse for colonising Palestine).

      Did you not read the words of Israel Bartal, Avraham Harman Professor of Jewish History, former Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at Hebrew University and the chair of the Historical Society of Israel.

      I shall put them in bold type this time:


      “Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions. Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely…….”

      58/66

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2017, 11:04 pm

      “All SSI is doing is educating people. Good job!”

      You bety, “Boris”. I bet that stuff about “Hebrew Liberation Week: A Celebration of Semitism.” went over great at Columbia University!

      (Luckily, Columbia University has no History dept. Not a single person who will contradict the SS, uh, oh, SSI.)

    • oldgeezer
      December 3, 2017, 1:06 am

      Ok so what’s the link boris?

      What is the link to black people in the US or other western states.? To the Roma in Europe? The list would be too long but since you believe it exists tell us what it is!?

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2017, 12:40 pm

        “What is the link to black people in the US or other western states.?”

        What’s the link? Obviously, the Zionists are entitled to International Affirmative Action!

  10. DaBakr
    December 1, 2017, 3:21 am

    Pink. Green. Brown. Black. Keep it up. Whatever colour the enemies of Israel come up with they can continue to try and fall at making their ludicrous and asinine attacks against the Israeli govt. But really, although I give some credit where it is due I must say that code pink is the only group that has a very modicum of talent

    • Mooser
      December 1, 2017, 12:45 pm

      “Pink. Green. Brown. Black. Keep it up. Whatever colour the enemies of Israel…”

      Uh, “Dabakr”, if you read the article, you’d know those “Pink. Green. Brown. Black.” people are Zionism’s friends.

      Why would you assume any picture of ethnic peoples represent people united against Israel? Or are you just insulted by their presumption?

  11. Atlantaiconoclast
    December 2, 2017, 9:09 pm

    I have never understood how so few people recognize the fact that many Palestinians are genetically linked to the ancient Hebrews in Palestine. We are supposed to assume that no Jews from ancient times converted to Christianity or Islam?

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2017, 10:55 pm

      “We are supposed to assume that no Jews from ancient times converted to Christianity or Islam?”

      It is usually done on a one-for-one basis, for every Jew which converts to Islam, or Christianity, a Christian or Muslim will convert to Judaism. This evens everything out, what we lose on the swing, we gain on the round-a-bout.

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