A screaming mob of whites gathers in a public square, their placards proclaiming their hatred of blacks, their shouts of “N—-r!” reverberating and bouncing off the walls of nearby shops and homes like the ominous thunder of a coming storm. They loot shops that cater to blacks, and a prominent elected official is at the head of the mob, declaring that blacks are “a cancer” that must be eradicated.
Mississippi in the Sixties? A neo-Nazi rally? A Klan conclave?
No, it’s a recent scene in southern Tel Aviv, Israel, where Likud member of the Knesset Miri Regev – a former IDF spokesperson and prominent political figure – led a well-organized march of ultra-nationalists demanding the expulsion of all blacks from Israel. Just look at the ugliness of these people – listen to them screaming “White Power”! And here are the Jewish Hitlers, proclaiming their desire to set up a “Jewish monarchy.” A few extremists? No. Israel’s Interior Minister has pledged to ship all blacks back to Africa, and the issue of the African refugees has become the major issue in Israel’s election campaign.
Rising ultra-nationalist star Naftali Bennett, of the religious fundamentalist “Jewish Home” party, is demanding their immediate expulsion in order to preserve the “purity” of the Jewish state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, has pledged to get rid of the Africans in short order, and ordered the construction of a “security fence” bordering the Sinai, where most of the refugees turn up seeking asylum from Africa’s wars.
They come from Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, for the most part, victims of the constant conflict that has made East Africa a bloody battlefield for many years. As Israel has made a concerted effort to boost arms sales to African nations, including Ethiopia, where many of the refugees come from, the influx can be seen as blowback – otherwise known as karma.
Israel has a longstanding military connection to Ethiopia: ever since the 1970s, when the genocidal Derg took power in Addis Ababa, Israel has been intimately involved with the Ethiopian military, providing training, weapons, advanced aircraft, and direct subsidies, which the government used to battle regional insurgents. The main target was the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), which fought a bitter 30-year war of independence against the Ethiopians. Israel’s main interest in this, aside from the arms sales, was to secure control over Eritrea’s strategically important Red Sea shoreline. In 1991, Eritrea finally won its independence, yet there was but a short breather before the two sides started up again. The Israeli arms pipeline has fueled the conflict, along with generous US aid to the late Ethiopian tyrant Meles Zenawi, so beloved by Susan Rice.
There are 20,000 of these “infiltrators,” as the anti-African demagogues call them, and that they have showed up on Israel’s doorstep is not just karmic, is it also geographic: Israel is the closest country with any promise of providing them with work, and they are often invited in by Israeli employers, who cannot find enough people to do menial jobs. Israel’s growing ultra-nationalist movement finds in them a convenient target, and a politically promising issue. Violence against the refugees is on the upswing: last year, 20-year-old Haim Mula was arrested for firebombing an orphanage for very young African children: he got off practically scot-free with a three-month plea bargained sentence.
Far from being considered a criminal and a pariah, young Haim might well run for the Knesset – because he has the Israeli people with him, particularly the young people who are flocking to the banner of “Jewish Home.”
This is what is so disturbing about recent events in Israel, where outright anti-Arab racism has long been tolerated and even encouraged by the government and religious authorities. Instead of denouncing and isolating the anti-black hate-mongers, Israel’s elites are defending and succoring them. A recent declaration initiated by Professor Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C., and Professor Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, calls for “a world solution for a world problem.”
In other words: it’s not our problem. Medoff says other countries”have more room, and they have more resources. Israel has been taking a beating in the international press for how it treats the refugees, but never has there been any suggestion in these reports that maybe other countries should be lending a hand.”
Gee, that’s funny, but the US has never asked for help from other countries in dealing with the millions of political and economic refugees who have sought asylum and work here. Neither have the small European countries which today find themselves playing host to numerous migrants from less fortunate areas of the world. Perhaps because to do so would be in somewhat dubious taste – but apparently such considerations don’t come into play where Israel’s professional apologists are concerned. And naturally we do not hear one word out of their mouths about the orgy of hate the African presence in Israel has aroused – not only do they not condemn it, they don’t even mention it.
To top it off, Messrs Medoff and Bauer have named their initiative, which takes the form of a petition to the world’s governments, “The Evian Declaration,” timing it to “coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Evian conference, when nations around the world turned their back on Europe’s Jewish refugees,” as Ha’aretz put it.
The Evian Conference was called in the summer of 1938, as Hitler’s assault on the Jews took on horrific dimensions and they tried desperately to flee. While the conference did little to provide these refugees with realistic options, US and British immigration quotas were somewhat relaxed, with some others following suit (the Dominican Republic offered to take 100,000, but only 800 actually went). However, the refugee problem was on such a large scale that this hardly made a dent.
For Medoff and Bauer to invoke the Evian episode in this context simply underscores the tone-deafness of Israel’s apologists: by effectively saying it is “everyone’s problem” – and no one’s – they are merely replicating the tragedy of that affair.
Israel was itself conceived as a home for the homeless, a refuge for those who had been refugees in their own lands and driven into exile by war and the world’s animus. How they can now turn around and say “Not our problem” defies explanation. That they dare to say it out loud is proof – if more were needed – that Israeli society has gone more than a little crazy.
After all, these two distinguished professors are liberals – they aren’t joining the neo-Kahanists in the streets, firebombing orphanages and calling for “N—–s Out!” They are merely trying to cover for them, to make the world avert its eyes as hate explodes like a ripe boil on the Israeli body politic, exuding its poisons into the organs the Jewish state.
It’s the world’s problem? No, it isn’t. The hate that is erupting in the Jewish state is a Jewish problem, one that has yet to be acknowledged, let alone confronted, by Jewish leaders worldwide. I have not heard a single word about this from the so-called “Anti-Defamation League,” and its usually vociferous chief honcho, Abe Foxman, who seems to have an opinion about anything and everything, but is strangely silent on the defamation of Africans in Israel. As blacks in Israel find themselves beset by racist mobs, where is the American Jewish Committee, and all the other organizations that were important allies of the early black civil rights movement in this country – where are they now that the Bull Connors and the George Wallaces are Israeli?
They’re too busy trying to scuttle the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head up the Department of Defense to bother with speaking to the deepest values of the Jewish people and speaking out against a monstrous injustice. They’re too busy retailing the most contemptible smears against a patriotic American, who refuses to kowtow to a powerful lobby, to even acknowledge that crimes are being committed in their name and with our tax dollars. Even as I write this, detention camps – camps! – are being built with US “foreign aid” taxpayer dollars to house the “infiltrators” so they can be shipped back to Africa, often to a certain death.
It sickens me to write this. To gaze on an hypocrisy so immense, so brazen, so antithetical to everything the Jewish people have stood for historically, and to say nothing – the enormity of this kind of betrayal is simply breathtaking.
I have just one thing to say to Abe Foxman, and all the self-appointed Jewish “leaders” who arrogate to themselves the prerogative of vetting US government officials – when are you going to start vetting Israeli government officials as they whip up racist hysteria and carry out an anti-African pogrom?
I can answer this question for myself, because the answer is: never. It isn’t considered kosher to air the Jewish state’s dirty laundry in public. There is a big problem with this strategy, however: sooner or later the stench gets so bad that one can’t help but smell it.
Of course the precedent for all this is the virulent anti-Arab racism now pervasive in Israeli society, as a recent survey showed. To take just one rather vivid example: the Beitar football team has become a rallying point for swarming ultra-nationalist thugs, who beat up Israeli Arabs and engage in regular provocations against anyone deemed “alien” to the Jewish character of the state. In March of last year hundreds of them went on a rampage at a shopping mall in Jerusalem, beating Arab men, women, and children, and destroying Arab stores. Not a single arrest was made, nor was anybody charged. It’s open season on non-Jews in Israel, and no one should be surprised that blacks are now the target.
Once the American people wake up to what is going on, the much-touted support for Israel claimed by its partisans in this country will evaporate. That’s one reason why these same Jewish mis-“leaders” who are staying silent about the anti-African campaign are now voicing their “concern” that Al Jazeera, the Arab-based television network, will take over the niche once occupied by Al Gore’s “Current TV.” The Arab network has been regularly exposing the rising tide of anti-African hate now at the epicenter of Israeli politics, as well as more familiar depredations aimed at the Palestinians. The last thing the Israel lobby wants is footage of the Israeli equivalent of the KKK on American national television.
How will members of the congressional Black Caucus justify voting for billions in aid to Israel in the face of live news reports of howling Israeli mobs screaming hatred for Africans? Can the country that elected Barack Obama continue to have a “special relationship” with a nation that has turned into the Middle East equivalent of Klan Kountry? I think not.
The fatal blow to the Jewish state, however, will be the rupturing of its relationship with American Jewry, which, in spite of the vociferous dissent of some noisome neoconservatives, has a long tradition of liberalism. This noble legacy of tolerance and support for the underdog is now coming into open conflict with the newer tradition of unconditional support to the Israeli government of the moment – and, by their silence, the leaders of major Jewish organizations hope the problem will be swept under the rug, and somehow go away.
This is a very big mistake. Israeli society is going over a cliff, and the Jewish state’s political class is hastening rather than impeding the slide into a moral abyss. There is no way to cover up this crisis, because it has very visible political – and human – consequences. We are seeing this being played out in the Israeli election campaign, where the crazies are gaining momentum and sanity is in very short supply.
How many young American and European Jews will want to make aliyah to a country where blacks are demonized as disease-ridden criminals and automatically deported? How many Jews will want to express their solidarity with a Jewish state where racism is acceptable and the bullied have turned into the bullies? My guess: not many.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
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