"Castigating Arab Jews for their native culture has led to a profound crisis in Sephardic civilization. Sephardim have been transformed by Ashkenazi Zionism into Arab-haters and as witnesses to the barbarity of Arabs and their culture. This has led the Sephardim to reject their traditional past and the wisdom of their Sages, many of whom were immersed in the Arab culture."Really? Mr. Shasha is claiming that Sephardic Jews in Israel were "made racist" by those evil Zionist Ashkenazis. This is really an unbelievable claim, and like all of Shasha's unbelievable claims, it is also completely fabricated nor backed up by anything in the way of reasonable sources. It couldn't have anything to do with the extreme amounts of anti-Semitism pouring out of the Arab countries that might make the Sephardim skittish. After all, practically all the Sephardim who live in Israel are onlyi there because they were thrown out of Arab countires for no good reason! But you're right, let's blame the Ashkenazis. Shasha's racism toward them has already been discussed in Part 2, so I guess this is only the natural conclusion.
Shasha races toward the end of this article and his words only get more and more rabid and shrill:
"In the end, those who are on the receiving end of the Israeli whip understand all too well the pressures that have been placed on Jews to conform: Israel is the new God, the new revelation from on High, and all those who reject its commandments are to be excommunicated from the community, marked as Jewish heretics who deny the new order."Um, right. As I discussed in Part 1, Jews see Israel as part of their community. They see it as an important part of Jewish life. But Judaism does not revolve around Israel, and if Shasha had any kind of actual evidence to back up this claim he should put it forward. Arguing about Israel and what Israel does is a favorite pastime among Jews I know, Shasha cannot claim in any honesty that there is the kind of uniformity of opinion that he describes.
"For Sephardim, what Israel means at present is not only the ongoing destruction of their culture and heritage and the near-complete triumph of Ashkenazi Judaism, but the requirement that Sephardim bear witness to their own cultural impotence and corruption."Excuse me? "For Sephardim?" I know that Shasha is the Director of the Center for Sephardic Heritage, but he doesn't have any right to speak for Sephardic Jews. Especially when they are often very pro-Israel. It seems like Shasha is using the classic debate trick that we have seen so often among the HPers; make a claim and then say something like "the whole world knows this," or "everyone agrees with me," or "all intelligent people think this is true." Speak for yourself, Mr. Shasha.
"What Israel means to me at the moment is the fact of Jews persecuting other Jews for speaking out and affirming the traditions of the past, of being "Old Jews" rather than "New Jews.""I guess if nothing else that sentence sums up this article pretty well: Shasha berating unnamed Jews for something that they never did, all the while making unsupported claims and using undefined labels like "Old Jews" and "New Jews." Whatever the heck that means.
It thinking more about this article, I cam upon a theory: Shasha thinks about the Jews of the old days as the more traditional way of living. Jews lived under the heel of others. They were small, kept to themselves, were learned and kept to the traditions of their ancestors. They also died by the dozens if not hundreds when the people in power decided that now is a good time to kill them.
What changed in recent times is that the Jews joined the community of nations, in the form of creating Israel. And like all the nations of the world, they had to make tough decisions. When faced with an enemy who would destroy them, do they fight or just give up? And if they fight, what might happen? Well, people will die of course. So how do you conduct the war so innocent people get killed as little as possible? Or do you not even try? How do you handle problems in your country? Your own citizens who put your soldiers and people at risk (like Anat Kam)?
Before Jews entered the national stage, these things were easy. Jews were weak, if they were attacked, they died. They didn't need to soul search about the best ways and make the hard call when it comes to killing their enemies. And now that they have, people like David Shasha screech endlessly about how they have "lost their soul." No, they haven't. They have simply become like all the other nations. Real people do what they need to to stay alive. Real people do things that they don't like because they don't have a choice. And the Jews are now "real people." If David Shasha would prefer that they go back to the days when they were endlessly oppressed and endlessly brutalized (but were righteous victims) he's going to be waiting a long, long time.