Monday, October 18, 2010

“Liberal” Jewish Zionist wants to bring back identification badge -- as an emblem of Jewish supremacy

About that sticker

(Mondoweiss) -- by Ali Gharib --

After an excellent string of blog posts and articles from Israel and Palestine, Matthew Yglesias has "come a long way," Weiss writes. Despite the patronizing language about his younger, blogging colleague, Weiss is right. But, with due respect to an excellent journalist whom I admire, I'd say he hasn't come all the way just yet.

That last leg, though, is a tough one, raising questions about liberal support for a state that requires one to constantly signal his or her ethnicity and religion in order to be comfortable and have a sense of belonging.

As a point of departure for Yglesias's journey, Weiss cited an old blogpost from years ago and a recent light-hearted tweet about how Yglesias wants an "I'm Jewish too!" sticker to wear around in Israel.

You see, Yglesias's last name is, well, Yglesias. It's not so obviously Jewish. I wonder what incident of perhaps mild discrimination caused him to pine for an outward expression of his belonging in Israel?

Yglesias, despite his public criticisms of Israel and U.S policy toward it, is a member of the club. Not only is he Jewish, but he is a Zionist. Despite his Hispanic last name, Yglesias knows he belongs.

My question is this: What about the rest of us? You see, I am not an avowed Zionist and, far from sounding Jewish, my last name, Gharib, is distinctly Middle Eastern (Iranian, if you must know). I've often wondered how I would fare getting into and moving around Israel. What would be the reaction of passport control at Ben Gurion Airport when they see my full name, Ali Gharib?

That's where I have a real problem with Yglesias's tweet. While I respect his work tremendously -- especially his recent posts from Israel/Palestine -- I do think it's emblematic of a sort of blind spot for many young Jewish Zionists looking at the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Wouldn't it be nice if Israel was a place where people didn't need Jewish last names -- or "stickers" identifying them -- to be able to get around perfectly well? This is not even to say that Israel shouldn't be a Jewish State, just so long as it can treat the Jewish Zionist Matt Yglesias and the Catholic visitor Carlos Yglesias the same way, not to even mention the Iranian Ali Gharib...MORE...LINK

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