“Facing a reality of fear, discrimination, separation, and incitement, we have joined together to form alliances, to cross barriers of ethnicity, gender, and consciousness.” Those are the opening words of the vision statement by a group of Mizrahi activists, among them members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI), who support the Joint List. The statement was ceremoniously presented to members of the Joint List earlier last week, in a meeting in which all Hadash MKs participated: Ayman Odeh, Aida Touma-Sliman, Dov Khenin, Youssef Jabareen and Abdallah Abu-Ma’arouf.
According to the Zo Haderech weekly newspaper of the CPI, in their meeting with members of Knesset from the Joint List the activists presented them with a manifesto which took months to write, and which was signed by 60 people. The meeting took place at a difficult moment for the Joint List, which – like the Mizrahi struggle itself – is dealing with extremely complex challenges.
According to the “Joint Mizrahi” manifesto: “The establishment of the Joint List constitutes an invitation to imagine a vision of an open, inclusive Middle East home that strives for justice; in a reality of despair, siege, war, racism, and oppression, we call to create an alliance between all those who seek to struggle against a neoliberal social order and the anti-democratic forces rising up to destroy us.
“This alliance rests on the assumption that oppression is never experienced identically nor does it leave the same marks on groups of people; however, every moral classification of inequality, pain, and injustice creates only more pain and injustice. Creating a hierarchy of injustices serves the violent engineering of a society and the militancy of all Israel’s governments. As natives of the region, we reject the idea of a colonialist withdrawal into an imaginary villa in the jungle. We must work up the courage together to dismantle the human food chain that has taken root here since 1948, which marks some of us as superior and some as inferior, while setting us upon one another. To oppose and overcome this divide is our moral obligation as Mizrahim, as Jews, and as those who come from this region.”
The website of the initiative: https://mizrahipalestinianpartnership.wordpress.com