First from Prof. Steven Plaut writing at Front Page Magazine in 2014:
Once education and the other explanatory variables are controlled, there is very little difference between Ashkenazim and Mizrahim earnings, and in a few cases, particularly for women, Mizrahim outperform Ashkenazi women. The Ashkenazi-Mizrahi distinction certainly appears to be less important in explaining earnings differences than the distinction between native-born Jews and foreign-born Jews or recent immigrants. Here again, there are differences between men and women. Ashkenazi women slightly underperform Mizrahi women, other things being equal, while Ashkenazi men slightly outperform compared with Mizrahi men. The bottom line is that the data do not support the presumption that Mizrahim are systematically disadvantaged in Israeli labor markets.
It’s highly typical of politically active Arabs abroad painting the situation in Israel in a hysterical light. ”Discrimination and injustices” (real and imagined) that effect every single Western state in existence are highlighted in a extreme light, all because they supposedly take place in Israel. Immediately all sense of proportion and reality are tossed out the window because the Jews are involved.
NOTE: There is absolutely NO excuse for Western journalists in this day and age of the internet, to give an uncritical ear to propagandists. It’s obvious that pseudo journalist Annika Hallström (and her gatekeepers) at the Hufvudstadsbladet deems it to be her duty to spread unsubstantiated bull crap against the Jewish state.
Hufvudstadsbladet Article 14.4.2016 / Translation
A Palestinian artist is not romantic
By Annika Hällsten
Palestinian musician Jowan Safadi needed a break from the persecution in Israel. In Suomenlinna he found his comfort zone. Jowan Safadi, born in Nazareth, but residing in Haifa, is standing on the Suomenlinna ferry deck and looking happy. Partly (because) the weather is the best possible one morning in April, partly (because) he has a meeting with his Finnish musicians to look forward to.
Jowan Safadi is the artist in residence and the first participant of the Safe Haven project the City of Helsinki is now paying for. Safe Haven Helsinki offers persecuted artists a respite for a limited time and Jowan Safadi expects to stay in Finland for a maximum of just over four months.
Arabs who are Jews
“It’s hard to be an Arab in a racist state” sings Jowan Safadi in the song To be an Arab. The song caused a stir when it was published in the summer of 2015. Partly because Safadi sings in Hebrew, partly because the point in the text is directed against the racist Israel. The song is about Mizrahi Jews, i.e. Jews from Arab countries such as Iraq and Morocco.
– We are talking about Arabs with the Jewish religion, Jowan Sawadi explains. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Mizrahi Jews were persuaded to move to Israel but were met there by a different reality than they had imagined.
– In their home countries, the Mizrahi Jews belonged to the elite. In Israel, they were discriminated against and ostracized and treated as slaves because they were Arabs.
– It led to a situation in which they, in their attempts to adapt, became racist against Arabs. How do Mizrahi Jews react to the song?
The 1st Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Helsinki, Arezoo Hersel, responds:
Even today Jews are forced to flee
Hufvudstadsbladet Op-ed 24.5.2016: Even today Jews are forced to flee My fellow countryman, Mr. Jowan Safadi, a guest of the City of Helsinki, presented his version of history and negative interpretation of contemporary Israel in HBL’s interview (14.4.2016). He might represent the fringe of Israeli society, but certainly not its majority. In order to understand these issues, let me mention some major events:
In 1947 the United Nations adopted the partition plan for establishing an Arab State and a Jewish State in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine. It was accepted by the Jews, but rejected by the Arabs. Moreover, the Arab countries started to prepare for war against the future Jewish State.
The Political Committee of the Arab League drafted a law to govern the Jews in Arab countries, about 856,000 Jews, referred to as the “Mizrahi Jews”. It provided, among other things, that Jews suspected to be Zionists would be interned as political prisoners and their assets would be confiscated. Discriminatory legislation against Jews was enacted and pogroms and anti-Jewish riots took place in many countries, for example in Iraq, Libya and Morocco.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors. As a result of the conflict, two refugee groups emerged: Jews from Arab countries and Arabs of Palestine. It is important to note that many Arabs stayed in Israel and became citizens with equal rights under the law.
During its early years, while surrounded by enemies and coping with limited resources, Israel did its utmost to welcome and absorb the immigrants. Unfortunately, the same did not happen for the Palestinians: Arab countries (except Jordan) refused to grant them citizenship and intentionally maintained their status as refugees.
To this day, the hostile policy of most countries in the region towards Israel and Jews continues to force Jews to flee. For example, just last month, nineteen Jews escaped from war-torn Yemen to Israel. Nowadays, only a fraction of the once flourishing Jewish communities is left in the Arab world.
The painful journey of the Mizrahi Jews is not a mere historical fact, but part of my personal history: as a child, I escaped revolutionary Iran with my family and found a safe haven in Israel – the only place I call home. As newcomers, we were received with open arms. I was educated according to the core values of Israel – still the only true democracy in the Middle East – promoting pluralism and fundamental rights for all of its citizens, regardless of their religion, race or gender.
Unfortunately, sometimes these values are misrepresented in Israel and abroad to an extent that distorts history and facts. In democratic countries, such as Israel and Finland, everyone is of course free to express their views, even if they are extreme or offensive. However, attitudes of this nature, do not contribute to better understanding of the conflict and promoting reconciliation. Let’s advance peace through constructive dialogue that will lead to coexistence and brighter future.
Embassy of Israel