Antisemitism, Palestine, and the Mizrahi Question

By Tallie Ben Daniel

Chapter from On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, Haymarket 2017, 71-80 and footnotes. Reproduced with permission. You can purchse your copy here.


As a Mizrahi Jewish person, I am often shocked by the ways mainstream US Jewish histories and cultural scripts erase Mizrahi experiences and histories.1 This erasure becomes even more acute when discussing antisemitism. In this essay, I argue that in order to have a comprehensive analysis of antisemitism that truly tackles the operations of power in the United States, one must not only take Mizrahi experiences and analysis into account, but also account for the existence of the State of Israel. The essay starts by thinking through some of the more ubiquitous understandings of antisemitism, then moves to a brief analysis of Iraqi Jewish experiences and their relationship to the conventional understanding of antisemitism. Finally, the essay takes on one of the “alternative” definitions of antisemitism, and argues that it too participates in the erasure of Mizrahi experiences. The essay concludes by asking how we can link our analysis of antisemitism to both the global struggle for Palestinian rights and to the fight against the marginalization of Mizrahi Jewish communities.

The first, and perhaps most popular, understanding of antisemitism in the United States is one I have come across both in mainstream Jewish institutions and in more alternative leftist spaces. It goes something like this: anti semitism began, so the story goes, with the scapegoating of Jews in ancient times, because of the Jewish adherence to monotheism, culminating with the destruction of the Temple by the Romans; continued through the spread of Christianity and the Crusades, manifesting in accusations of blood libel; and endured through the social and economic discrimination of the Enlightenment in the form of “the Jewish question.” That was followed by pogroms, culminating in the Holocaust. Antisemitism, then, has always been with us and always will, and we have to live with this legacy. Jews, as perennial social outsiders, are blamed for economic and social problems associated with money or the media or other powerful, disembodied forces. In some cases, this story ends (happily or otherwise) with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Of course, in some interpretations, the violence in Israel/Palestine (or any criticism of Israeli policy) is further evidence of antisemitism.

While this is obviously overly succinct, I wonder if those reading this would have any trouble with this as a summary of the history of antisemitism. Although missing nuance, I am going to assume that for most, this encapsulates the major events. And the final conclusion must be that antisemitism is a problem that has always been with us, and will always be with us.

This narrative sits uncomfortably with me, and has for a long time. There are three major reasons: first, as an Iraqi Jewish person, this narrative often erases the experiences and histories of non-European Jews. Like all religious minorities, Jews are incredibly diverse, and there have been significant Jewish communities all over the world, not only in Europe. Second, in a US context, this narrative of antisemitism can lead to seeing it as a kind of urtext for other forms of racism, which often lets white US American Jews off the hook when confronting white dominance and structural racism. Third, this narrative, in this form, often ends with a justification for the dispossession of Palestinians— the establishment of the State of Israel was necessary, so the story goes, to correct for the centuries of antisemitism. Antisemitism, in this interpretation, is ongoing and unfixable because Jews are always outsiders, and in Israel, Jews can be the majority, and so never have to worry about such violence again.

Of course, any casual follower of Israeli and Palestinian politics should know that the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 did not mark an end to violence. Rather, Palestinian communities worldwide commemorate the establishment of the state in 1948 as the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” a military event that decimated Palestinian villages and created the second-largest refugee population in the world.2 The Jewish majority in Israel is maintained only through dispossession, deeply unequal laws, and a demographic war against Palestinians.3 The establishment of Israel created a new Jewish identity, in which every Jewish person, for better or worse, is hailed by the Jewish state. For some Jewish people, this relationship is one of liberation and triumph, or is characterized by a sense of belonging, even if they don’t physically reside there. For others, this relationship is one of trauma and discrimination, and/or painful culpability, as the Israeli government continues to maintain systems of oppression and discrimination against the Palestinian people. And I should point out that the relationship of Jews worldwide to Israel is not limited to those I’ve outlined here, nor are any of these relationships mutually exclusive. But regardless, a relationship is seemingly unavoidable.

Yet, when we talk about antisemitism, even in spaces that are ostensibly aware of the occupation and displacement of Palestinians, European experiences are presented as the template for all Jews, everywhere, along with a cautionary tale of the unchanging, endless, permanent, or cyclical nature of antisemitism. We also live in a world where Western Europe, and Western European history, is dominant, so the tropes that characterize European antisemitism— like conspiracy theories in which Jews are secretly in control of financial systems or the media—are dominant as well. I do not doubt that antisemitism exists, nor do I think we should let it go unchecked. But I want an analysis of antisemitism that interrogates, rather than replicates, the Eurocentricity of the current most common narrative.


The Experiences of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews

I want to offer an alternative narrative to the one so roughly outlined above: A Jewish community develops in Iraq after the destruction of the Temple and for thousands of years flourishes in the major metropolitan areas. Jewish Iraqis are found in nearly every sector of society, while maintaining a unique cultural and religious identity. They have deep cultural connections to other Jewish communities, notably in India and France. When the British colonize Iraq after World War I, anti-Jewish sentiment is imported along with a different set of colonial hierarchies.4 In 1941, the Jews of Baghdad experience the farhud, an anti-Jewish riot that was, according to historian Orit Bashkin, a result of “German propaganda disseminated into the Iraqi print market,” “an intense debate among intellectuals concerning Nazism and fascism,” and the general conflation of Zionism with Judaism in a nationalist, postcolonial era of Iraqi politics.5 After the State of Israel is established in 1948, a backdoor deal with the government of Iraq expels the Jews from Iraq, making them leave their possessions behind; they are then put in refugee camps (ma’abarot) and are marginalized as uncivilized, too close to the Arab neighbors of Israel in language, culture, and demeanor.6 Israeli identity continually valorizes Western European Jewish culture in all segments of society, including the anti-occupation left.7 The experiences of Iraqi Jews are unique, but they connect to the experiences of Jews from Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Iran, India, Morocco, and
other Middle Eastern and North African countries in that they are continually marked as “other” in Israeli society. The term “Mizrahi” is symbolic of that otherness—a Hebrew term that translates literally to “eastern.” While Mizrahi Jews constitute a majority of Jewish Israeli society, Ashkenazi Jewish culture and history dominates. Mizrahi Jews are told that the history of European Jews is the history of all Jews, everywhere. Many scholars, most notably Ella Shohat, have remarked on the position of Mizrahi Jews within Israeli society: simultaneously included and excluded from the Israeli national collective, both a potential bridge between Jewish, Ashkenazi Israelis and Palestinians and more often, a fence that marks the Israeli collective’s borders.8

The narrative above may be just as overly simplified as the one I began with, but I am using it to make the following point—that when talking about antisemitism, one cannot focus only on the experiences of white Ashkenazi Jews. To do so is to contribute to the ongoing erasure of Mizrahi Jews in Jewish communities in the United States and in Israel, and to perpetuate the idea that European Jewish history is the history of all Jews. At the same time, it is equally problematic to assume that antisemitism as it presented in Europe can be “found” in the histories of Mizrahi Jews.9 In some cases, when we start with the assumption that antisemitism is a natural and eternal part of the Jewish condition, or the human condition, it can lead to orientalizing the Mizrahi experience, by attempting to “discover” the equivalent of a pogrom or a ghetto in Mizrahi history, essentially analyzing Mizrahi history through the lens of European history.10 We assume that the status of Iraqi Jews in the early twentieth century must have been similar to those of Polish, German, or Bavarian Jews, when in fact, they were living in a totally different political context, and grappling with totally different histories. If one focuses only on antisemitism as the primary, or only, way Jews have been oppressed throughout time, and define antisemitism through the events of European exclusion and discrimination, than one is perpetuating a European-centric understanding of history and erasing the exploitation of Mizrahi Jews at the hands of Ashkenazi Jews.

In the United States, many Jewish historians lack an analysis of how antisemitism works alongside and intersects with other systems of oppression, like racism, sexism, and classism.11 I saw a version of this history of antisemitism while at the Association for Jewish Studies Annual conference, at a panel discussing what kinds of pedagogical tools one can bring to a social justice–grounded Jewish Studies classroom. One panelist discussed how her Jewish American history class is often confronted by what she saw as the contradictions of US history: how did American Jews move so quickly from marginalization and discrimination to almost total acceptance, a journey so unlike that of other minority groups?

What was remarkable to me in her discussion of the ways labor, capitalism, and “up by the bootstraps” perseverance had transferred American Jews from margin to center was the complete absence of any acknowledgment that race may have played a role. Many people of color in the United States have probably heard the phrase “I’m not white, I’m Jewish” from white, Jewish US Americans. At the same time, many scholars have examined the social processes in the United States before World War II that established “Jewishness” as ethnically separate, while allowing (some) Jews full entrance into whiteness in the decades that followed.12 Keith Feldman, in particular, has made a compelling case for looking at Israel and Palestine and the ongoing occupation as a series of events that deeply influenced the meaning and function of race in America.13 Rather than focus on the Jewish involvement in the civil rights movement or simplistic understandings of “Black-Jewish relations,” Feldman traces the rise of Zionism in US American Jewish institutions, the vexed relationship to Israel within Black liberation and Black power movements, and the impact of the events of 1967 on Arab communities in the United States, Israel, and beyond to explain not only how Jews became white, but how in the end Palestine became “America’s last taboo.”14

We cannot fully understand the experiences and histories of Mizrahi Jews unless we also confront the ways Zionism and the State of Israel contributed to—and in some cases, may be the source of—Mizrahi Jewish oppression. And in the United States, the cultural articulation that equates Jewishness with whiteness, without accounting for the impact of Zionism on Jewish racial identity, furthers and perpetuates white Ashkenazi dominance in Jewish spaces. The collective impact of this is to allow progressive white Jewish communities in the United States to avoid confronting racial oppression within the Jewish community, within the United States more broadly, and within Palestine/Israel.


Itzik, by Zoya Cherkassky-Nnadi, 2012


Things Are Not Better on the Left—on Mizrahi Erasure in a Common Analysis of Antisemitism

Attempts to theorize antisemitism “from the left” equally ignore the impact of whiteness and white supremacy on Jewish communities. In the past few years, I’ve come across a common theory of antisemitism in leftist organizing that often perpetuates Mizrahi erasure and assumes that all Jewish people are white and of European descent. For the purposes of this essay, I’m going to focus on one iteration of this theory, April Rosenblum’s 2007 zine, “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism a Part of All Our Movements.”15 I chose this zine because it is incredibly popular in leftist spaces, and precisely because it tries—and fails—to think about the experiences of Mizrahi Jews and Jews of color.

The zine treats antisemitism as equivalent to “anti-Jewish oppression.” The core assumption in the zine is that antisemitism, or “anti-Jewish oppression,” looks and works differently from other forms of oppression. As Rosenblum states, anti-Jewish oppression “can make its target look extremely powerful.”16 In other words, antisemitism makes the “ruling classes invisible” by “diverting anger at injustice toward Jews instead.” According to this theory, Jewish people are a scapegoat for the rage produced by economic and racial injustice: “The point of anti-Jewish oppression is to keep a Jewish face in front, so that Jews, instead of ruling classes, become the target for peoples’ rage.” Therefore, “it works even more smoothly when Jews are allowed some success, and can be perceived as the ones ‘in charge’ by other oppressed groups.”17 My first problem with this analysis of antisemitism is a seemingly minor one—the passive voice used to describe the position of Jewish people. Jews “are allowed some success” rather than “achieving” success, therefore erasing the ways some Jewish communities actively participated in cultivating whiteness in the United States, not to mention the active participation in the European colonization of Palestine.18 This analysis of antisemitism works as an explainer for the Jewish position in medieval Europe, but falls short in taking the current realities of race and ethnicity in the United States and Israel into account.

For example, Rosenblum’s analysis of internalized oppression claims that

on an individual level, Jewish people—especially men—often perceive themselves as physically weak. We were legally banned from being allowed to carry weapons for substantial periods under Christian and Muslim rule. European society excluded us from mainstream professions (e.g., farming) that strengthened the body. We were literally unable to protect ourselves and our families from mass violence and rape.< sup>19

This analysis, while factually suspect,20 also lacks an acknowledgment of white Ashkenazi dominance—in that the value of a strong, masculine body is a European, Christian invention, directly tied to the emergence of nationalism.21 It also completely ignores the ways Zionist masculinity developed as a direct response to this invention, with the settler-pioneer-farmer in the figure of the sabra, and that white Jewish belonging in the United States was contingent on participation in the same settler-colonial narratives.22

It also lacks an intersectional analysis of Jewish communities by collapsing all Jewish people together. Black and Latino Jewish men confront a totally different set of cultural scripts around masculinity. Rather than weakness, they contend with a racialized hypermasculinity that enables state violence against them, often by portraying them as those “we” must protect “ourselves” from. The fact that Jewish men of color experience such racism does not mean that they don’t also experience antisemitism, but one would not know that from this analysis. For another example, Rosenblum claims that “Jewish people—especially women—often feel disgust about ourselves and our bodies, because, as the main racial ‘Other’ in Europe, European society and popular culture created its images of what was ugly and disgusting based on our Jewish faces, and its fantasies of what our bodies looked like.”23 This analysis assumes that all Jewish women are of European descent, that there is a particular kind of “Jewish look” that is shared among all Jews. This excludes converts, Mizrahi Jews, and other Jews of color.

My basic problem with this theory is that it lets white Jews off the hook— it excuses the ways racism, white supremacy, and classism manifest themselves within Jewish communities. It is one thing to say that Jewish power is a myth of antisemitism; it is something else entirely to say that powerful Jewish people are a symptom of antisemitism. For example, the idea that there is some kind of secret cabal of Jews that control the media or foreign policy is a deeply anti-Semitic trope that has contributed to violence against Jews in Europe and in the United States, among other places. But white people, including white Jews, can and do hold power in the United States, and Jewish institutions, by and large, do not work to combat the ways white supremacy and racism manifest themselves in Jewish communities. This theory claims that antisemitism “works more smoothly when it allows certain Jews success.” I argue that it is whiteness, not antisemitism, that allows (some) white Jews success in the United States.

As a queer person, I see parallels in queer activism and communities, where a focus on white, male, upper-class gay issues contributes to the erasure of, and violence toward, working-class queers and queers of color. While the lack of marriage rights in the United States certainly contributed to queer oppression, the fight for same-sex marriage often railroaded the issues that had an impact on poor and working-class queer people and queers of color (homelessness and the disproportionate targeting of trans women of color by the policing and prison systems, for example).

The questions of racialization that come up when thinking about the history of Jewish identity in the United States are ever more fraught when thinking about Mizrahi Jews in this country. Sigal Samuel artfully thinks through the question of Mizrahim vis-à-vis race in the United States in an op-ed published in The Forward titled “I’m a Mizrahi Jew. Do I Count as a Person of Color?”24 She takes multiple aspects of the question into account—her personal experiences, which includes racial profiling in airports; her family’s heritage; the US Census, which as of this writing classifies Arab and Middle Eastern people as white; and academics, who are decidedly mixed in their interpretation of the location of Mizrahi Jews in the United States. She ends by claiming herself a “woman of color”—a politicized, coalitional term that comes to us via feminist thinking and activism.25 But even that term can hold its own complexity, its own way of masking difference between those who inherited a racial category due to the settler-colonial violence in the United States, and those of us who come to our racialized identities due to historical events elsewhere.26 Similarly, Keren Soffer-Sharon writes that “as Arab Jews, our very existence calls into question some of the most basic values that our mainstream Jewish community has tragically come to hold about the ‘threat’ that Palestinians and Arab Muslims in general pose to our collective safety.”27 While Mizrahi Jews are uniquely positioned to point to the damage done by assuming all Jews are European, or that Jews are somehow in opposition to Arabs, we are not immune to perpetuating and participating in racisms. There are many ways this can manifest, but for now, I would like to focus on a US-based organization, JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.


JIMENA and the “New Antisemitism”

Since at least 2004, a group of pro-Israel advocates, notably Kenneth Marcus of the Brandeis Law Center, have attempted to redefine antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. Such advocates have argued that when antioccupation activists target Israel, they are singling it out as the only Jewish state, while other human rights abuses go unobserved. While this argument has very little merit—many anti-occupation activists come to their activism through a sense of moral outrage that is not limited to human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine, and we should stringently distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism—these pro-Israel advocates nonetheless use false charges of antisemitism to target activism on behalf of Palestinian human rights, as noted elsewhere in this volume.

JIMENA is an organization that ostensibly works to educate US American Jewish communities about the histories and cultural practices of Mizrahi Jews. A project of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council, it uses the claim of indigeneity via Mizrahi Jews to further the aims of the State of Israel, that is, to undermine the struggle for Palestinian human rights. The most explicit example of this is the fact that JIMENA currently uses the website “” to redirect to its website.28 In JIMENA’s view, “Nakba” does not connote the Palestinian expulsion from Palestine in 1948, as the term is more commonly known, but rather what they refer to as the “expulsion” of Mizrahi Jews from other Middle Eastern countries (ostensibly to safety in Israel). On its website, JIMENA applies its interpretation of the “new antisemitism” to claim, “Though veiled as political activism, BDS campaigns are in effect vehicles for anti-Semitism, as they target the world’s only Jewish State, and lead to silencing and bullying of Jewish and pro-Israel students.”29 This blatant misinformation obscures the ways Palestinian human rights activism is often targeted on university campuses.30 BDS, as a nonviolent set of tactics, is responding to a call by Palestinian civil society to enact boycott, divestment, and sanctions until Israel complies with international law. But JIMENA’s purpose is to use Mizrahi identity to further silence such activism:

BDS and anti-Israel activism relies on a false narrative which portrays Jews as white European colonialists who invaded a third-world country, displaced a significant portion of the indigenous Palestinian population, oppressed and segregated the remainder. As North America’s primary organization representing Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, JIMENA is uniquely positioned to refute these myths by empowering students with the personal narratives of former Jewish refugees indigenou
s to Arab countries and Iran. We teach students that: ‘Jews and Israelis are not white colonists, we are indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa. We speak Arabic. We have been made refugees from countries we lived in for over 2,500 year [sic]. In today’s value, we had $6billion confiscated when we fled.’ BDS messaging preys on college student’s ideologies of empathy and support for the ‘third-world victim’ while singling out those with ‘white privilege’ as the oppressors. This has had a catastrophic effect on Jewish students [sic] confidence, willingness, and ability to support Israel. This damaging BDS messaging has effectively served to isolate, unaffiliate, and disempower many of our Jewish students and potential student supporters of Israel. There is no better counter defense to this propaganda than the story of Jewish refugees from Arab countries.31

Here, JIMENA is using a claim to indigeneity to further a settler-colonial project. “Jews are not white colonists, we are indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa” is a flipping of the centrality of white Ashkenazi experiences, but also does so to intentionally erase the participation of European (and non-European) Jews in the Nakba, the occupation, and the creation of the Palestinian refugee population. I am personally outraged by their use of my family’s heritage to justify the continual dispossession of Palestinians, but it is it is essential that we understand Mizrahi positionality in all its complexity, including the potential to be used to further the aims of the Israeli government, or to continue the injustices of the occupation. JIMENA is, at its core, a “brownwashing” organization, albeit a sophisticated one—using the experiences of Jews of color and Mizrahi Jews in particular to justify the occupation. I’m using the term “brownwashing” as a derivative of the term “pinkwashing” to note the ways both cynically use marginalized identities— Arab and queer—to promote anti-Palestinian aims. To fully combat this use of Mizrahi history, progressive Mizrahi Jews and Jews of color must take collective action, and work to produce an analysis and a language to address our heritage, histories, and inheritance in ways that fight back against the exploitation of Palestinians.


Notes toward a Conclusion

What would an intersectional understanding of antisemitism look like? If we take the particularities of multiple Jewish histories in the United States into account, does that mean that we are left without a way to confront the legacies of violence against Jewish people, or an accounting of the ways Jews were seen as the “other” of Europe?

My answer, as is my answer to most things, is not an either/or formulation, but a both/and one. European antisemitism has had a real impact on American culture, and continues to proliferate as European nationalism enjoys a kind of resurgence.32 At the same time, the current manifestations of antisemitism are not a recurrence of past forms of antisemitism, and we do ourselves a disservice if we think they are. We must contend with the ways some Jews have access to power and privilege, with the racial differences within the Jewish community, and, crucially, with the ways Muslims and Arabs have been targeted in the United States after 9/11. We must learn about our histories, and for those of us who fight for a better future, think carefully about what kinds of lessons we learn. As David Biale notes, “Traditional Jewish memory, with its emphasis on recurring persecutions, can only reinforce the traumas of recent Jewish history; history itself, in all its complexity, may provide the needed therapy.”33 My hope is that we can move into a future where the fight for justice—what Rabab Abdulhadi calls “the indivisibility of justice”—takes all of this into account.34


  1. Of course, this erasure is not isolated to the United States. The term “Mizrahi,” which means “Eastern” in Hebrew, is an imperfect umbrella term that refers to the Jewish communities descended from the Middle East and North Africa, including but not exclusively Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Yemen, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  2. Michael Dumper, ed., Palestinian Refugee Repatriation: Global Perspectives (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006) 6. Until 2011, Palestinians constituted the largest refugee population in the world. From 2011 to the present, the Syrian refugee population has been the largest.
  3. For more on this, see Rhoda Kanaaneh’s Birthing the Nation: Strategies of Palestinian Women in Israel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).
  4. Please see Eric Davis, Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley: University of California Press 2005), and Derek Gregory, The Colonial Present (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).
  5. Orit Bashkin, The New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012), 110.
  6. Although I am focusing for the moment on the Jews of Iraq, many non-European Jewish communities underwent similarly exploitative treatment in Israel, and often worse. See Rachel Shabi, We Look Like the Enemy: The Hidden History of Israel, and Shohat, “Sephardim in Israel,” 1-35.
  7. Shabi, We Look Like the Enemy, 23; Smadar Lavie, “Mizrahi Feminism and the Question of Palestine,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 7, no.2 (2011): 56-88. There is an argument to be made that the banning of Yiddish in Israel is connected to a kind of European assimilation as well See Dovid Katz, Words on Fire: The Unfinished Story of Yiddish (New York: Basic Books, 2007).
  8. Lavie, “Mizrahi Feminism”, 57.
  9. Shohat, “Sephardim in Israel,” 15.
  10. See Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).
  11. See Kimberlé Censhaw’s seminal work, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 43, no.6 (1991): 1231-99.
  12. Brodkin, How Jews Became White Folks.
  13. Keith Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).
  14. Feldman, Shadow over Palestine,
  15. From my research, it seems Rosenblum’s zine borrows heavily from the thinking of Cherie Brown. I have come across versions of this theory in multiple progressive Jewish spaces. My hope is that my writing here is taken as my own honest attempt to work through what I find problematic about this analysis, not an indictment of those who may find it useful.
  16. Rosenblum, “The Pat Didn’t Go Anywhere,” 2-3.
  17. , 8.
  18. See Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1992); Ran Greenstein, Zionism and Its Discontents: A Century of Radical Dissent in Israel/Palestine (New York: Pluto Press, 2014); and Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (New York: One World Publications, 2007).
  19. Rosenblum, “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere,” 8.
  20. In 1938, Jews were banned from owning or possessing firearms in Nazi Germany, one of many anti-Jewish laws throughout the decade before the Holocaust, and there have been other points in history – under Catholic rule in the Middle Ages, for example – where similar laws were enacted. However, it is factually inaccurate to say that Jews “were legally banned from being allowed to carry weapons for substantial periods under Christian and Muslim rule.” For more, see David Biale, Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History (New York: Schocken Books, 1986).
  21. See Daniel Boyarin, Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Inventio of the Jewish Man (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
  22. See Tallie Ben Daniel, “Zionism’s Frontier Legacies: Colonial Masculinity and the American Council for Judaism in San Francisco,” American Studies 54, no.4 (2016): 49-72.
  23. Rosenblum, “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere,” 8.
  24. Sigal Samuel, “I’m a Mizrahi Jew. Do I Count as a Person of Color?” The Forward, August 10, 2015,
  25. Loretta Loss, “The Origin of ‘Women of Color’”, Racialicious, March 3, 2011.
  26. Janani, “What’s Wrong with the Term ‘Person of Color,’” Black Girl Dangerous, March 20, 2013,
  27. Keren Soffar Sharon, “Mizrahi Jews, Jews of Color, and Racial Justice,” Jewschool: Progressive Jews and Views, April 28, 2016,
  28. Richard Silverstein, “San Francisco JCRC steals ‘Nakba,’” Tikun Olam, May 17, 2016,
  29. JIMENA, “JIMENA Response to BDS & Campus Anti-Semitism,” June 4, 2015,
  30. Jewish Voice for Peace, Stifling Dissent.
  31. “JIMENA Response to BDS & Campus Anti-Semitism.”
  32. I write this conclusion a week after Britain voted to leave the European Union, which many are analysing as a result of a nationalist, isolationist and racist campaign.
  33. David Biale, Power and Powerlessness, 8.
  34. David Finkel and Dianne Feeley, “An Interview with Rabab Abdulhadi,” Against Apartheid: The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities, Ashley Dawson and Bill Mullen, eds. (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015), 123-35.

This book chapter was reproduced with permission from Jewish Voice for Peace and the author.


This article has been published in the AJDS magazine Just Voices, Issue 14, Nov. 2017: Antisemitism.