A Comparison of Talk about Arabs by Iraqi and Polish Women Who Immigrated to Israel in the 1950s

How does growing up in an Arab country affect Israeli Jewish attitudes toward Arabs? recent work has gone in two directions, with some arguing that Mizrahim are more hostile toward Arabs and others arguing the oppo- site. I compare descriptions of Arabs that emerged in life stories of upper- middle-class-origin Polish and Iraqi women who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s. While there are many similarities in the two groups’ stances, about a third of the Poles express a visceral dislike of Arab culture, and a sense that too much Middle Eastern culture will turn Israel into an isolated backwa- ter. This level of distaste is not replicated in degree or substance in any of the Iraqi interviews. rather, the majority of Iraqis referenced Arabness as part of a desired cosmopolitanism. These Iraqi expressions are sometimes subtle, and appear consequential only in relation to the Poles’ statements, demonstrating the importance of a comparison to understand how ethnic- ity affects attitudes toward Arabs.

Publication Date:
Date Submitted:
Feb 22 2019
Israel Studies

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2019-12-31

 Record created 2019-02-22, last modified 2019-04-03

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