Thursday, June 11, 2009

As if Marcus Garvey had his way

Via Goldblog, I'm reminded of a familiar thought prompted by Andre Aciman's reminder of an Exodus on the NYT op-ed page:
The president never said a word about me. Or, for that matter, about any of the other 800,000 or so Jews born in the Middle East who fled the Arab and Muslim world or who were summarily expelled for being Jewish in the 20th century. With all his references to the history of Islam and to its (questionable) "proud tradition of tolerance" of other faiths, Mr. Obama never said anything about those Jews whose ancestors had been living in Arab lands long before the advent of Islam but were its first victims once rampant nationalism swept over the Arab world.
I have often thought that the single best justification for the State of Israel is the fact that Jews were an oppressed minority throughout the Middle East who had a chance, mainly after the founding of the state of Israel by mainly Ashkenazi Jews, to build a home in a sliver of land carved out from the vast acres of their former oppressors. Yes, European antisemitism was more virulent than the Muslim variety, but Sephardic Jews were very much second-class citizens in Arab lands. It's somewhat as if African Americans got hold of a piece of the Arizona desert and built their own state there.

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