Before we start, a few facts. Somewhere between 5-10% of the Israeli population are Jews who fled persecution in Ethiopia. They are what we in America would call “black”. (I reject this; they are simply Jewish, but let that go.) Something like 45% of the Israeli population is comprised of Jews who fled persecution and/or were forced to flee by government policy from places like Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, etc. They are either “brown” or “black”. Again, that is an American hang-up; they are simply Jewish. So Israel is more than half “people of color”. It is also true that the “people of color” married “people of pallor” so that most Israelis are a blend of the imaginary color spectrum.
Barack Obama, race obsessed as always, wishes we had the old socialist/communist group in power, the “white guys” who somehow survived the Holocaust. And, of all people, the Washington Post is calling him out for this.
Oh, the irony. Here’s an excerpt from the president’s interview with Jeffrey Goldberg:
Obama: And I care deeply about preserving that Jewish democracy, because when I think about how I came to know Israel, it was based on images of, you know—
Goldberg: We talked about this once. Kibbutzim, and—
Obama: Kibbutzim, and Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir, and the sense that not only are we creating a safe Jewish homeland, but also we are remaking the world. We’re repairing it. We are going to do it the right way. We are going to make sure that the lessons we’ve learned from our hardships and our persecutions are applied to how we govern and how we treat others.
To understand how this sounds to someone sensitive to the history of various historically disfavored groups in Israel, imagine a foreign leader had said “I came to know America based on images of Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, the American Federation of Labor, the Daughters of the American Revolution…” Each of these individuals and groups had their virtues, but lots of us would think, “Geez, you’re nostalgic for an America dominated by White Protestants, and you aren’t even sensitive enough about the course of American history to recognize it, or assumedly you wouldn’t say it.”
The Israel of kibbutzim (kudos to Obama for using the proper Hebrew plural), Dayan, and Meir, was perhaps a more idealistic, and certainly more socialistic Israel. But it was also an Israel dominated by a secularized, Ashkenazic elite.
Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries), though more than half the population, were marginalized at every level of society. Discrimination was to a large extent institutionalized; the governing Labor Party was run by socialistic Ashkenazim, and given that state capitalism dominated the Israeli economy one’s political and social connections (protectsia in Hebrew) went a long way toward determining one’s economic prospects.
Most Americans don’t understand this, but the duo that Obama supported in the Israeli election last March, Herzog and Livni, are the children of powerful Ashkenazi politicians. They are the Hilary Clinton types of Israeli. Jews who either directly fled the slaughter of Muslim countries, whether in Africa or the Middle East, are a whole lot less naive about the tactics and intentions of Israel’s enemies. They understand them, having lived among them for generations. Obama wants the old socialist, kibbutznik leadership because he believes he can manipulate them. I don’t think they are that stupid, but that is what he is saying in this section of the interview.
And there’s more at the link. We are a dumb country being led by a real dolt.