"Mundane racism in Haifa"

October 20th, 2014 No comments
From Eyal in 1948 Palestine:
“(No crisis, no massacre or beating or anything dramatic, just a bit of mundane everyday racism.)

Photos:

As you probably know, the largest segments of Israeli population which are exempted from military service are the Palestinian Arabs (not including the Druze) and the ultra-orthodox Jews (the ‘Haredim’).

Last week I visited my home town of Haifa for the annual film festival there. I was walking along the main street next to where my screenings were held, and there were two businesses looking for employees. The first was a corner kiosk, and the other was a ‘Sandwich bar’. So, they both required that candidates be “post military service”. Now, this is not uncommon in Israel, and is basically illegal: An employer cannot ask you about your military service, and the courts have upheld that requiring any sort of military service background is discriminatory.
That has not made the practice go away:

“Help wanted: Post military service; energetic and hard-working; with experience in sales; preference for those with computer and editing software know-how”

While the Israeli military is involved in arms sales, I’m guessing that’s not the kind of sales experience the kiosk was after.

Now, one could argue that what they really meant is someone over 21 – since military service is officially mandatory, it’s a half-passable excuse (if you’re willing to excuse ignoring the ~35% of the population which doesn’t get drafted at all). The other place makes things clearer:

“Employees wanted for the Carmel Sandwich Bar; post/pre military service only; for details please leave your contact information.”

So, post/pre military service. Here we don’t have the age excuse, or any kind of experience which one could claim is related to military service.
That is, almost explicitly, you need to be from the kind of people who get drafted into the military. The only remaining question is whether their racism is more anti-Arab or anti-Haredi, or both.

Sometimes even being a low-pay wage-slave is considered too much of a privilege for you.”

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"Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation"

October 20th, 2014 No comments
“Despite years of diplomacy and a CIA operation to vet and train moderate rebels, the U.S. finds itself without a credible partner on the ground in Syria

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US Navy: protecting freedoms around the world

October 20th, 2014 No comments
“Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based, quelled the 2011 protests” (thanks Amir)

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Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders

October 20th, 2014 No comments

A general view of the Syrian town of KobaniBy Gulsen Solaker and Tom Perry ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey said on Monday it would allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reinforce fellow Kurds in the Syrian town of Kobani, while the United States air-dropped arms for the first time to help the defenders resist an Islamic State assault. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington had asked Ankara to let Iraqi Kurds cross its territory so that they could help defend the town which lies on the Turkish frontier, adding that he hoped the Kurds would "take this fight on". …

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K Is for Kim Jong Un

October 20th, 2014 No comments

Suki Kim’s memoir about teaching in an elite North Korean school run by evangelical missionaries highlights the dangers and absurdities of life in a closed society.
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Is the Afghan Unity Government a Roadmap for Negotiations With the Taliban?

October 20th, 2014 No comments
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Australia’s Parliament House lifts face veil ban

October 20th, 2014 No comments

A file photo shows activist group 'Faceless'CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's Parliament House on Monday lifted a short-lived ban on facial coverings including burqas and niqabs after the prime minister intervened.

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U.S. Ramps Up Push to Save Key Syrian Town

October 20th, 2014 No comments
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British Eccentrics in the Middle East: Umm Seti, Egyptologist and Reincarnation of a Priestess of Isis

October 20th, 2014 No comments
Umm Seti in old age

During the pre-colonial and colonial periods, many Europeans who spent their lives in the Middle East displayed a certain amount of eccentricity. Sometimes this could reach a point verging on madness, as we saw in our series last summer on Lady Hester Stanhope, or steeped in fantasy like some pyramid cultists; often it was a quirky personal eccentricity, as with Gordon of Khartoum or T.E. Lawrence, who were functionally productive despite their quirks.

In the latter category falls Dorothy Louise Eady (1904-1981). Better known as Umm Seti (Omm Sety, etc.), she made serious contributions to Egyptology, was longtime Keeper of the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, a writer and draughtswoman who assisted a number of prominent archaeologists in their work, published contributions in her own right, and devoted her life to the study of Ancient Egypt and the survival of ancient folkloric practices in the modern Egyptian countryside.. But she also held  nearly lifelong conviction that she was a reincarnation of a priestess of Isis named Bentreshyt from the reign of the XIXth Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I (ca. 1290-1279 BC). She believed that she had been impregnated by the Pharaoh, was told by the high priests that Isis would not forgive her for violating her vow of virginity, and committed suicide, being reborn in the early 20th Century as Dorothy Eady.

After a fall downstairs at the age of three, she had become difficult with her parents and teachers, but on visiting museums claimed to recognize familiar scene in pictures of Ancient Egyptian temples. After some time in and out of sanitariums she moved to Egypt and married an Egyptian, becoming immersed in her study of Ancient Egypt. She named her son Sety, so the title of Umm Seti or Omm Sety was earned. Despite the Muslim prohibition of all forms of paganism, she was tolerated despite being the only known person in Egypt purporting to believe in the old religion, and her offering of gifts and prayers to Isis and Osiris on key feast days.

Umm Seti

Many found her fascinating; believers in reincarnation considered her case as prima facie evidence, while many skeptics nonetheless saw her as making genuine contributions to Egyptology. Much of the online material and many of the YouTube videos relating to her are from paranormal, fringe science, or similar sites.  You can read more or see more video at those sites, but the Wikipedia page actually gives you the basics.

And while skeptics of reincarnation, of whom I count myself as one, may dismiss her explanation for her fascination with Ancient Egypt, she learned hieroglyphics and spent a life preserving and interpreting the sites, particularly the Abydos temple. Bentreshyt may be a figment of her delusions, but Dorothy Eady made a genuine if amateur (assuming you discount her claimed memories) contribution to Egyptology.

Sadly, a 1980-81 BBC documentary on her is unavailable online, though I think this may be  clip from it:


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"Jadaliyya’s Top 50"

October 20th, 2014 No comments

The essential Middle East Studies web magazine Jadaliyya, which provides decent scholarship as well as journalism and is multilingual, recently marked its fourth anniversary and, while I’m a week and a half late with this link, offered a list of  “Jadaliyya’s Top 50 of All Time,” a fine “best of” list and if, somehow, you know my blog but not Jadaliyya, which I suspect is uncommon, a fine introduction.

Yes, number one is Maya Mikdashi’s 2011 piece on Aliaa Elmahdy. perhaps though the finest feminist take on that particular subject, and about seven of the top ten relate to sex or gender, but that’s not Jadaliyya, that’s the Internet. My audience isn’t as big as theirs, but I have the same problem. Sex sells.

If you don’t read Jadaliyya regularly, it’s time to start. And start with these 50 articles. A few are in Arabic but most are in English.
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