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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

why rebels must be middle class (and white)

thanks to mark elf i've become aware of the case of tali fahima, an israeli woman put in administrative detention for being in contact with the leader of a militant palestinian group. daphna baram asks why fahima, and not the many other israelis who talk to palestinian militants, was punished, and suggests a plausible answer: israeli dissidents must be white and middle class, while ms fahima is mizrahi and grew up poor. as she doesn't fit the standard profile of the questioning middle class academic, she sets a particularly bad example. baram lists a couple of other mizrahi dissidents who were singled out for harsh punishments: rami hasson and mordechai vanunu.

for an introductory text on europeans and mizrahim in israel, see here. for more in-depth material, read ella shohat, who challenges the mutual exclusiveness of "arab" and "jew", identifying herself as an "arab jew".

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