Confession and Mirage: Professor Mas`uda and the Ashkenazim-for-Palestine in Israel’s Academe

By Smadar Lavie


This autoethnography unveils its thesis as the biographic narrative unfolds. Ashkenazi upper-class Israeli faculty make Palestine advocacy their international career. When threatened, North American–Western European white colleagues, employing the dualism Israel-Palestine, obtain for these Ashkenazi upper-class Israeli faculty cushy Western positions. Mizrahi anti-Zionist intellectuals and activists are not the secular Ashkenazim with whom Western academics are familiar. Shunned from professorships due to the whiteness of Israel’s academe, their activism is in dialogue with the traditional Judaism of right-wing Mizrahi communities. Ashkenazi anti-Zionists have minimal constituencies in Israel and converse in English with Palestine scholars and activists outside Israel. Their impact on Israel’s Mizrahim (roughly half of Israel’s citizen body) is negligeable. Mizrahi exiles, however, converse in Hebrew with their constituencies.

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If you are Israelian, you may not realize that labeling Ashkenasim as white, is itself both racist and antisemitic. I grew up in USA, 2nd gen Ashkenasi. NO ONE in my 3 generations here, let alone back in Eastern Europe, were ever seen as white.

As you know, to be Ashkenasi in Eastern or Western Europe was to be a Jew, a Zhid, a Kike, first and formeost. That has barely changed.

to be White in USA is to be Wasp...Just cuz a jew could pass sometimes, as did American Negros, did not make us white.

I know all about your greivences re: ashkenasi internalization of the euro racist discourse. Stealing yemenite babies, etc. But dont be racist yourself just b/c you are angry about it.

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