MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich speaking to Tel Aviv's J14 social protest movement, 2011. This week the minister called to round up leftist who support African migrant rights and dump them into work camps. (Photo: Lahav Harkov/The Jerusalem Post)
On Tuesday during a Knesset meeting a Kadima member and advocate for Tel Aviv's social protest movement intensified an anti-African debate by proposing to round up leftists sympathetic to migrants in work camps. The remarks were made by Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich who stated the rights activists should be "jailed," due to circulating an image on Facebook of fellow Knesset member, Miri Regev's face doctored onto a saluting uniformed Nazi. The Photoshop picture went viral after Regev made anti-migrant remarks during a Tel Aviv protest that turned violent last week.
(Photo: The Jerusalem Post)
In today's Bradley Burston column, "A Special Place in Hell," Haaretz reported on Shamalov-Berkovich’s statements:
Shamalov-Berkovich called the Africans' supporters phonies - who would happily deport Jews they did not like, settlers and the ultra-Orthodox - and keep the Africans here in Israel.
'These phonies - first of all I would jail them all for incitement of Jews against Jews. This is Solution Number One: to jail all human rights [activists].'
'We can transport them afterwards to those same places that we're building, the camps. Let them work there.'
According to Shamalov-Berkovich, 'There are human rights organizations which, if you'd allow them today to take planes or buses and carry out a 'transfer' on Haredim and settlers, they would – all of them – be the first to load them onto the buses.'
'They'd be the first to give them a sandwich with bread and chocolate and transfer the Haredim and settlers out of the state of Israel.'
'There are leftist MKs who speak about Haredim and settlers in an atrocious manner,' she continued. 'This is incitement and bottomless self-hatred. They'd be delighted to carry out a transfer [forced expulsion] of Haredim and settlers, and to leave the infiltrators here.'
Shamalov-Berkovich's call to imprison leftists comes one week after Regev called African migrants a "cancer." Following backlash from Holocaust survivors and cancer patients, yesterday Regev issued an apology (in Hebrew) on YouTube. In the video the minister said she did not intend to compare the "infiltrators [African migrants] to people."
Today the Alternative Information Center published a translation of the explanation:
'Infiltration is a phenomenon spreading throughout every place in Israel. South Tel Aviv, Arad, Eilat, Or Akiva, Pardes Hanna. I spoke about the phenomenon of infiltration spreading like a cancer in the human body. God forbid, I was not talking about people or comparing them to people. If someone feels hurt from this declaration or misunderstood my words, or my words were not interpreted correctly, I apologize for that. I repeat, infiltration is a phenomenon that we must limit. We must deal with it because it represents a demographic threat to the state of Israel and constitutes an infringement of the personal security of our citizens.'
Yet, unlike Regev, Shamalov-Berkovich does not have remorse for her inflammatory language. Yesterday, speaking to Arutz Sheva the Knesset minister affirmed, "Those organizations severely harm Israel and so I will continue to treat them in a negative way and expose their hypocrisy and their true nature."