January 16, 2006

A Sephardic take on Martin Luther King Day

The link here is to an article by David Shasha, editor of the Sephardic Heritage Update newsletter. It's been written for Martin Luther King Day which is on 18/1. Titled Martin Luther King, Yes, Sephardic Jews, No: Mr. Peretz Please Go to the Back of the Bus the article rails against the hypocrisy of an Ashkenazi establishment remembering Martin Luther King jr, while practicing discrmination against non-white Jews such as Amir Peretz. I think Mr Shasha has perhaps too much faith in Peretz but I like I'm taken with the anger he expresses here.
The continued suppression of Amir Peretz in the Western media, a Sephardic leader who could perhaps become the Martin Luther King Jr. of Israel, forces us to come to a more nuanced understanding of the Jewish celebration of Dr. King on this Martin Luther King Day.

On the day dedicated to the memory of Dr. King we Sephardic Jews working in the progressive spirit of Dr. King are forced to witness this vain, vulgar and continuing Ashkenazi prejudice against Sephardim and their concerns.

While hypocritically celebrating non-violence, social justice and equality in Dr. King's name, Ashkenazim in Israel and the US, as evidenced by their continued disregard for the principles of equal rights and pluralism that were the hallmark of the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., continue to abide the Southern racism of Robert Byrd and George Wallace those White Americans who fought so hard against King to keep the BLACKS IN THEIR PLACE.

Sephardim have been denied inclusion in the larger Jewish context that has been dominated, as we have insisted, by a "Whites-Only" policy.
I don't want to quote David Shasha out of context so please read the whole article.

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