With Israelis camping out in the streets in protest against a chronic shortage of affordable housing, who should jump on the bandwagon but Mya Guarnieri, al-Jazeera's woman in Tel Aviv. Guarnieri wonders why the media have been ignoring the good citizens of Kfar Shalem, an area of south Tel Aviv threatened with demolition which she wrote about in February.
Kfar Shalem may not be familiar to most Israelis but it is certainly known to readers of this blog, when Point of No Return covered the mostly-Mizrahi residents' struggle to fight eviction in 2007.
Young anti-Zionist radicals like Guarnieri can't resist politicising what is essentially nothing more sinister than the common man's universal fight against encroaching urban gentrification and redevelopment.
In her article for +972 blog, Israel has manipulated the poor Mizrahim for political ends, exploiting them to keep Palestinians from reclaiming their homes:
Once an economically depressed neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, Kfar Shalem, "was once a Palestinian village, Salame. Jewish forces ran the Arab residents out in early 1948, months before Israel was established and (what some refer to as) the War of Independence began.
The young state gave the empty Palestinian homes to impoverished Mizrachi Jews. The idea, some residents of Kfar Shalem admit today, was to discourage dispossessed Palestinians from returning. The Jewish occupants were to “guard” the houses.
These new residents also created facts on the ground and, after the 1948 War, the municipality of Tel Aviv annexed Jaffa and Salame—both of which were destined for a Palestinian state under the partition plan approved by the UN in November of 1947.Not a word of course, about the Arab aggression that caused the 'War of Independence'. Nor is Guarnieri remotely troubled by the thought that the impoverished Mizrahi Jews could have themselves been dispossessed of their homes in their Arab countries of birth. For Guarnieri, Arabs can only ever be victims.
This blog has already drawn attention to the double standard among far-leftists for whom Arab property rights invariably trump Jewish rights, for example in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah. These leftists are only ever exercised by injustice against Jews when the Ashkenazi-dominated ruling elite can be blamed.
Curiously enough, however, this form of leftist hypocrisy has not escaped some of the residents of Kfar Shalem themselves: they obviously find the attentions of anti-Zionists like Guarnieri rather irksome. She herself admits, but was too cowardly to include in her report for Al-Jazeera:
.. many of the Jewish Israelis I interviewed were upset with their fellow citizens for not doing more to help them in their battle against homelessness. Some also expressed frustration with the Israeli left because they felt that such activists reserve their sympathies only for Palestinians and foreigners.
Good for you, residents of Kfar Shalem, for making a stand against the leftist manipulation of your grievances to advance their own political agenda.