28 November 2011

Peace and Reconciliation, Israeli-style

Harry's Place has a fascinating piece. It reports, after an introduction giving some facts to flesh out the piece, on a supposed "peace and reconciliation" conference, Israeli-style. Unfortunately, there were, for at least one participant, serious problems with this. As the article notes, the conference concentrated on the Holocaust and the Nakba, as though no other traumas haunt the people of the region. Given that approaching half (if not now more) of the Israeli Jewish population is of Arab/Moslem land origin, and they, too, have their issues with "peace and reconciliation", one would have thought that a serious conference on this area would have the sense to widen their remit.

And, anyway, many Ashkenazi Jews don't have issues with the Holocaust on a personal level. I'm not an Israeli, but a British Jew, and my grandparents left Eastern Europe before the First World War. Although the family genealogist assures me that we lost a lot of people in the Shoah, I'm far from traumatised about it, and I guess that many Sabras aren't any more traumatised than me. The views of any Mizrachi (by origin) Jews out there would be of great interest to me as comments on this item. Here's a sample of the item, followed by the link:

"When a mob broke into the Baghdad house of Reuben Qashqoush, a Jewish spareparts dealer, in April, 1973, the incident was just one horrific incident in a catalogue of arrests, hangings, persecution and death which the Saddam Hussein regime inflicted on the remnant of the Iraqi-Jewish community...The murder of the Qashqoush family still haunts Janet Dallal, a classmate of the late Joyce Qashqoush, who was just 16 at the time of the murder. Janet fled Iraq in 1975 and is now a Tel Aviv mother of three and yoga instructor with a keen interest in binational peace projects.

But when she attended a recent conference at the Jewish-Arab village Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, Janet was shocked that one session examining the “healing of communal wounds to achieve reconciliation” did not recognize the trauma of Iraqi Jews – nor indeed the trauma suffered by any Jews from Arab countries."

“All they wanted to talk about was the Holocaust and the Arab Nakba [catastrophe],” she complains.
And here's the link.

Surely Israel is about more than just the Holocaust and the Nakba? And that's from a European Ashkenazi Jew.

By Brian Goldfarb.

P.S. [by STG] Interesting as the above quoted article is, it's only a part of body of work by Bataween, who writes in this great blog Point of no Return.