Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"It Could've Been Worse" is the Ultimate Non-Sequitur

Israel Bonan writes on the history of Egyptian Jews and the significant oppression -- culminating in violence and expulsion -- that characterized their experience in the 20th century.

It's a reply to Eyal Sagui Bizawe, who also wrote about the 20th century history of Egyptian Jews. Bizawe's column is somewhat peculiar, since it doesn't rely deny the reality of historical oppression so much as it seems cranky that it's being talked about as a form of significant oppression. It's replete with logic like "well, yeah Jews were expelled from Egypt, but not all of them so ... why should we call it 'expulsion'?" Or "yes, there was violence directed at Jews and Jewish neighborhoods, but 'pogrom' -- that's overselling it, no?"

Basically, Bizawe seems to think it's a sort of trick, or a form of dirty pool, for Egyptian Jews to argue that a significant (not the only, but a significant) component of their recent social experience was discrimination by the Egyptian state and society. It's unfair, it's reactionary, it's harboring a closet right-wing agenda. None of these contentions are particularly persuasive, and Bonan's column does a good job refuting them. But read them both and decide for yourself.

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