Netanyahu previously used family story of anti-Semitic attack to justify expelling African asylum seekers from Israel

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments


On October 1, at the conclusion of a lengthy speech demanding prolonged sanctions against Iran and pledging Israel’s willingness to take unilateral military action against Iran’s nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned back to the nightmare of 19th century Europe. He told of how an anti-Semitic mob brutalized his grandfather, Natan Milikovsky and his younger brother, Judah, using the story to present Israel as the only sanctuary for Jews in an eternally hostile world:

Ladies and gentlemen, one cold day in the 19th century, my grandfather Nathan and his younger brother Judah were standing in a railway station in the heart of Europe. They were seen by a group of anti-Semitic hoodlums who ran towards them waving clubs, screaming death to the Jews. My grandfather shouted to his younger brother to flee and save himself and he then stood alone against the raging mob to slow it down. They beat him senseless. They left him for dead. And before he passed out covered in his own blood, he said to himself, “What a disgrace. What a disgrace. The descendants of the Maccabees lie in the mud powerless to defend themselves.” He promised himself then that if he lived, he would take his family to the Jewish homeland and help build a future for the Jewish people. I stand here today as Israel’s prime minister because my grandfather kept that promise….

Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit described the moment as “chilling,” citing the story as proof that Netanyahu “meant every word” of his threats against Iran. But Bibi has deployed the harrowing tale at least once before, and in a far less dramatic setting than the UN General Assembly.

In January 2011, at the July 2011 Manufacturers Association Conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu described his grandfather’s beating during the conclusion of a diatribe in which he demanded the mass expulsion of non-Jewish African asylum seekers to save Israel’s Jewish demographic majority and declared his refusal to remove an illegal settlement outpost.

Complaining that Israel has ”turned into almost the only first-world country that refugees can walk to from the third world,” Netanyahu warned, ”A stream of refugees threaten to wash away our achievements and harm our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Currently, Saharonim Prison in the Negev Desert holds around 2000 African migrants and asylum seekers, including women and children who have fled genocide and war. Under an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Act, which Netanyahu supported and signed into law, but which was recently overturned by Israel’s Supreme Court, the state was authorized to arrest any non-Jewish African resident without charges or trial and hold them in prisons like Saharonim for as long as three years. Reuven Rivlin, the former speaker of the Knesset, has called the prison a “concentration camp[].”

Netanyahu brought his speech to the Manufacturers Association Conference to a close with the story of his grandfather’s beating. According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu recalled:

“[My grandfather] said that once he was at a train station with his brother, and rioters yelled ‘Yid’ at them and beat them with clubs. They threw his brother into the mud, and he jumped in the mud to save him. Then, my grandfather said to himself – what an embarrassment that the descendants of King David and the Maccabees are stuck in the mud. If I live, I will move to the Land of Israel.”

This post originally appeared at maxblumenthal.com. Blumenthal’s book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is out now. 

24 Responses

  1. OlegR
    October 2, 2013, 10:30 am

    And this is some how invalidates his argument ?

    There is some unspoken rule that you are only allowed to mention antisemitism in the golah only a certain amount of times when you want to make a point.
    The same point btw “Jews need their own independent state”.

    • justicewillprevail
      October 2, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Perhaps you are oblivious to the hypocrisy and double standards he displays, which may well invalidate his ‘argument’, such as it is – really just an unsubstantiated claim. I fear the distinction is lost on you.

    • W.Jones
      October 2, 2013, 1:11 pm

      The terms golah and galut… enjoy controversy within Jewish literature and Jewish politics, as they have become most prominently used since the 20th century within Zionism in its ideological promotion of the Negation of the Diaspora.
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      What is the opposite of “golah”? “Zion”?

      • OlegR
        October 2, 2013, 4:34 pm

        Golah literally means exile.
        Exile from your home your country your sovereignty .
        So yes the opposite of Golah is Zion , at least for me and a good many
        other Jews.

    • Hostage
      October 2, 2013, 1:44 pm

      The same point btw “Jews need their own independent state”.

      Nahum Sokolow claimed that the enemies of the Zionists had invented that idea. So which version of this lying Zionist bullshit are we supposed to believe?

      Sokolow personally presented the Zionist’s case for incorporation in the Mandated State of Palestine at the Versailles Peace Conference and held the Presidency of the World Zionist Organization after Weizman’s departure. The same year that he made that Palestine proposal, he published his “History of Zionism (1600–1918) Volume I”. On pages xxiv–xxv he explained the Jews didn’t need their own independent state:

      The object of Zionism is to establish for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.” . . . It has been said and is still being obstinately repeated by anti-Zionists again and again, that Zionism aims at the creation of an independent “Jewish State” But this is fallacious. The “Jewish State” was never part of the Zionist programme. The Jewish State was the title of Herzl’s first pamphlet, which had the supreme merit of forcing people to think. This pamphlet was followed by the first Zionist Congress, which accepted the Basle programme – the only programme in existence.

      link to books.google.com

      *See also Sokolow’s proposal from the Minutes of the Council of Ten Meeting in the FRUS: link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      The membership of the Zionist Organization that Weizmann and Sokolow represented, opted instead to exercise the Jewish national right of self-determination through incorporation in the Mandated State of Palestine and the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship.

      The Declaration On Principles Of International Law Friendly Relations And Co-Operation Among States In Accordance With The Charter Of The United Nations stipulates that the right of self-determination is not synonymous with independent statehood:

      integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people.

      Your people opted to merge into the new state in Palestine in accordance with the terms of Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne, Article 7 of the Palestine Mandate, and the terms of The Palestine Citizenship Order in Council and Immigration Ordinance (1925). See the texts of:
      * The Treaty of Lausanne link to wwi.lib.byu.edu
      * The Palestine Mandate link to avalon.law.yale.edu
      * The Palestine Citizenship Order-In-Council link to books.google.com

      And this is some how invalidates his argument ?

      Surely, that and the fact that it’s based upon faulty circular reasoning. The grandchildren of Khaled Mashal, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, and every other Palestinian that the Israelis have either tried to assassinate or succeeded in murdering could just as easily regale us with similar “rock, scissors, paper” stories about the descendants of Abraham, Ishmael, and the prophet Mohammed and their own determination to stay-on in their “ancestral homeland”, while making similar painful concessions to the outnumbered and oppressed Polish and Russian minority groups living in their land.

      • OlegR
        October 2, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Another irrelevant piece of copy paste by Hostage.
        Yawn.
        /Nahum Sokolow claimed that the enemies of the Zionists had invented that idea. So which version of this lying Zionist bullshit are we supposed to believe?/

        The ones that won that debate and established a state.

        /The grandchildren of Khaled Mashal, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, and every other Palestinian that the Israelis have either tried to assassinate or succeeded in murdering could just as easily regale us with similar “rock, scissors, paper” stories about the descendants of Abraham, Ishmael, and the prophet Mohammed and their own determination to stay-on in their “ancestral homeland”, /

        Well sure they can and they do and they have the right to do so.
        Our right to self determination and our particular history in principle does not negate their rights and their history.

        In reality the two rights came into conflict and our right won.
        Deal with it.

      • RoHa
        October 2, 2013, 8:24 pm

        “Our right to self determination ”

        If you mean “the right of the Jews to set up a state”, there is no such right.

      • Hostage
        October 2, 2013, 8:26 pm

        The ones that won that debate and established a state.

        Correction: You’re simply proving that the Zionists were a bunch of liars and wolves in sheep’s clothing. There was no such “debate”. Israel was established through the unilateral use of force in violation of the UN Charter and the applicable UN resolutions.

        The ICJ advised that the Palestinian people and their territory are still the subject of a sacred trust of civilization that was codified in the post-WWI peace settlements, including the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Palestine Mandate. Neither of those instruments nor the San Remo resolution ever provided for any Jewish state. Here is some more copy paste about that for you. Current History, Volume 13, 1921 reported:

        The publication on Feb. 4 of the mandate over Palestine allotted to Great Britain by the Supreme Council of the Allies at San Remo threw a flood of light upon a hitherto dark spot of diplomacy and straightened out a question which was rapidly becoming involved in serious complications. The text embodies, aside from the articles of procedure, the famous San Remo resolution and the no less famous Balfour declaration. Although approved by the Supreme Council at San Remo it has yet to be submitted to the Council of the League of Nations. It makes it clear that while the mandatary is expected to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” it is not the intention to create a “Jewish State,” as had been charged in certain quarters.

      • Hostage
        October 2, 2013, 9:06 pm

        Well sure they can and they do and they have the right to do so.
        Our right to self determination and our particular history in principle does not negate their rights and their history.

        In reality the two rights came into conflict and our right won.
        Deal with it.

        I am dealing with it.
        1) The act of establishing a new state on the territory of another people, without their consent and excluding them from participating in the political process and government, was defined as a wrongful act by the International Law Commission during deliberations on the Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States, 1949.

        2) The notion that a minority racist regime can claim “the right to exist” as a legitimate State, simply because it “wins-out” and subjugates others by force was rejected by the UN Security Council in Resolution 216 (1965) regarding the case of Southern Rhodesia.

        In any event Israel wasn’t established all over again in 1967. The right of any state to exist or exercise self-determination does not imply that it is entitled to commit or is justified in committing unjust acts against other UN member states, like Jordan.

    • ziusudra
      October 3, 2013, 6:39 am

      Greetings Oleg,
      …. Jews need their own state……
      You had it, that one in the 3 range mountains betw the black & caspian seas.
      The glorious Khazarian Kingdom of King Bulan. You should have ne’er left.
      Pssst, the concept Semite springs up in Europe’s universities ca. 1860.
      Just like Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, in Prague of the 16th C, who conceptualized Golem. Lol to the Yarmulka in Judaism coming from the
      Tartars via the Khazarians into Judaism! It was not known betw. 1200BC
      & 740AD or 740AD to the 12thC in Europe. Now even the Mizrahi & Magreb
      Jews Sport it. What a farce, pathetic.
      ziusudra

  2. seafoid
    October 2, 2013, 10:52 am

    King David was also a Milikovsky, was he?

    • Ellen
      October 2, 2013, 10:59 am

      He was and Benjamin Milikovsky, King of Israel, land of the Maccabees, has the ring to prove it!

      • W.Jones
        October 2, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Benjamin “B. B” Netanyahu’s ‘finger ring’ – given to him by the Department of Antiquity – is 2900 years old, found at the Temple Wailing Wall, a “signet” ring, with the “Official Seal” of the nation, of King David.
        link to ministers-best-friend.com

        I had assumed it had a hexagram on it when it mentioned a seal, but this is what it looked like:
        link to archaeology.org.il

      • seafoid
        October 2, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Israel has a Department of Antiquity and a Department of Modernity but nothing for the time in between.

  3. Dan Crowther
    October 2, 2013, 11:20 am

    And now his great grandchildren yell “kushi” and beat black people senseless, they yell “missionary” and beat christian clergy senseless and on and on it goes……congratulations

    • seafoid
      October 2, 2013, 11:45 am

      Jews need the freedom to beat the crap out of minorities just er like the Poles in Old Europe. It must be written in the Bible. Maybe therefore antisemitism was god’s work. In the same sense that Judas was following scripture. I must have a lie down.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 2, 2013, 2:19 pm

        “just er like the Poles in Old Europe.”

        Well, ‘yahoo’s grandpappy was from around Minsk, so if this story is true and not merely a story an old man told to justify stealing someone else’s land (which, given the nature of the tale, it’s likely a lie, in my opinion), they were more likely Belorussians or Lithuanians, altough they could have been Poles. But, then again, the nationality of fictitious people is a tricky business…

  4. Walid
    October 2, 2013, 11:38 am

    What’s in store for the African refugees being expelled?

    From Haaretz:

    “Around a quarter of a million refugees currently live in Uganda, mainly Rwandans, Sudanese and Congolese. Most recent arrivals have fled the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The migrants from Israel will most likely be sent to the camps run by the United Nations Refugee Agency. “There are terrible conditions in these places,” says Nkunda. “They are basically large prisons and the refugees are not allowed out without permission from the authorities. We call them ‘warehouses for human beings.’

    From the US State Dept on Human Rights Human Rights Report on Uganda:

    “The three most serious human rights problems in the country were a lack of respect for the integrity of the person (including unlawful killings, torture, and other abuse of suspects and detainees); unwarranted restrictions on civil liberties (including freedom of assembly, the media, and association); and violence and discrimination against marginalized groups such as women (including female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), children (including victims of sexual abuse and ritual killing), persons with disabilities, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

    Other human rights problems included harsh prison conditions; arbitrary and politically motivated arrest and detention; incommunicado and lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on the right to a fair trial; restrictions on freedom of press; electoral irregularities; official corruption; mob violence; trafficking in persons; and forced labor, including child labor.”

    Not a very bright future for the 60,000 mostly Sudanese and Eritrean refugees that came to Israel for a better life.

  5. hophmi
    October 2, 2013, 1:19 pm

    “In January 2011, at the . . . Manufacturers Association Conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu described his grandfather’s beating during the conclusion of a diatribe”

    You’re such a goddamn liar, Max. He told the story in a part of the speech where he talked about haredi soldiers serving in the IDF, not in reference to the asylum seekers.

    • Woody Tanaka
      October 2, 2013, 2:39 pm

      “You’re such a goddamn liar, Max. He told the story in a part of the speech where he talked about haredi soldiers serving in the IDF, not in reference to the asylum seekers.”

      You’re such a goddamn moron, hoppy. The entirety of the speech was a racist diatribe, including the part about putting the African refugees in concentration camps and the part about the haredi soldiers.

    • talknic
      October 2, 2013, 2:56 pm

      @ hophmi

      “You’re such a goddamn liar, Max. He told the story in a part of the speech where he talked about haredi soldiers serving in the IDF, not in reference to the asylum seekers”

      link to jpost.com

      • hophmi
        October 2, 2013, 3:01 pm

        I read it. The speech covered several topics. Max’s implication was that the story was told in relation to the asylum seekers issue. That’s BS.

      • tree
        October 2, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Max said this:

        In January 2011, at the July 2011 Manufacturers Association Conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu described his grandfather’s beating during the conclusion of a diatribe in which he demanded the mass expulsion of non-Jewish African asylum seekers to save Israel’s Jewish demographic majority and declared his refusal to remove an illegal settlement outpost.

        The rant against asylum seekers and the refusal to remove an iilegal settlement built on private Palestinian land were in fact the two primary elements of Netanyahu’s speech in Tel Aviv, as reported by the JPost, and the anecdote was told at the conclusion of that speech. You are being disingenuous again hophmi.

  6. W.Jones
    October 2, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Back in 19th century Russia a whole village would beat itself up. They would form two teams and meet and then just go at it with clubs. They did this for fun.

    Does that help give perspective?

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