African asylum seekers fear for safety with racism on the rise in Israeli society

Israel/Palestine
on 96 Comments

Tekrit Michael lets out a sigh as he speaks, “It could be me next,” he says his words heavy, filled with a mix of anger but also a very palpable worry. “If it was not Habtom it was me, it is just a matter of skin color. I feel I am not safe in Israel, not safe at all.”

Michael, an Eritrean asylum seeker, speaks with sadness when mentioning the name of Habtom Zarhum, a fellow countryman and asylum seeker who was shot eight times and then lynched by a mob at Be’er Sheva bus station on October 19th after being mistaken for a Palestinian.

“He was shot, on the ground, and then they started crushing his head. It is just a matter of skin colour,” he repeats again, “It’s not a matter of anything else.”

The brutal killing of Zarhum has sowed seeds of fear in the asylum seeker and refugee community. With the recent escalation in violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories – being hyped by some as a third intifada – individuals like Michael now fear, more than ever, that they will become the target of an increasingly angry and militarized Israeli society.  

“The soldiers are trigger happy now, most of them are nervous, it is a worry for me. If something happened, if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a soldier or Israeli feels insecure, the first thing they will do is shoot me. If they are frightened of something they can just shoot me. I know this, just because of the colour of my skin.”

Michael talks at length about the incitement and discrimination against the asylum seeker and refugee community in Israel. The description of the community by politicians as a ‘cancer’ in society, along with the use of the word ‘infiltrator’ – commonly used by politicians and in Israeli media to describe non-Jews in the country – appears to hurt him deeply.

Such deep seated rhetoric, incitement, and racism, along with the current trigger happy nature and militarization of Israeli society has, for Michael, put anyone who is not white at danger of being a potential target – Eritrean, Ethiopian, Palestinian, Sudanese.

“And now I am doing things differently, I am not just taking care when walking during the night, but also during the daytime too. I try to avoid security guards, soldiers at the bus stations.”

Michael now worries that the current escalation in violence will be a catalyst for further incitement and violence against the asylum seeker and refugee community.

“I can see attacks increasing on our community, like what happened to Habtom. It’s like a catalyst, you go to the bus station now, and if Israelis feel insecure they can do whatever they want, this makes it more dangerous for us than before. I could just be reaching for my phone and someone could think it’s a knife. Because of the colour of my skin, I will be shot, no questions asked.”

Walking around Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park, an area that Michael frequents daily, and which has become a de-facto meeting place for the city’s asylum seeker and refugee community, his thoughts are echoed by many others. Staying in groups, and not making yourself a potential easy target by walking alone has now become a common precaution. While trying to keep a low profile in busy city areas such as bus stations, and avoiding walking close to soldiers and police, has become a matter of safety.

The words Je Suis Habtom Zarhum are scrawled on a wall near Tel Aviv's bus station in homage to the murdered Eritrean asylum seeker. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)

The words Je Suis Habtom Zarhum are scrawled on a wall near Tel Aviv’s bus station in homage to the murdered Eritrean asylum seeker. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)

Along the roads and alleys that flank the park, Je suis Habtom Zarhum is scrawled on one of the alleys running off the main road. There is a real feeling amongst the refugee and asylum seeker community here that Zarhum could have been any of them.

“The issue of safety is a difficult one for the community,” Adi Drori-Avraham, Advocacy Coordinator at Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, tells Mondoweiss. “A lot of them didn’t feel safe immediately after the murder and thought they could be at danger on the streets. But really xenophobia is a big problem in Israel, and has been for years. Sometimes it can be mild, very small things, sometimes it’s extreme violence.”

Adam Ahmad makes notes in his book, The Nightmare of the Exile, a book where he documents the racism he has experienced in Israel as a Sudanese refugee. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)

Adam Ahmad makes notes in his book, The Nightmare of the Exile, a book where he documents the racism he has experienced in Israel as a Sudanese refugee. (Photo: Matthew Vickery)

Adam Ahmad, a Sudanese refugee knows all too well the xenophobia and racism problem in Israel – he’s experienced racism daily for years since seeking refugee in Israel a decade ago.

Sitting in a coffee shop beside Levinsky Park, Ahmad lets out a huge grin as he takes out his self-published book, The Nightmare of the Exile, which documents his life in Darfur, Sudan, through to his life as a refugee in Israel. Flicking through the book at a speed that allows only one or two words to be caught per page, Ahmad suddenly stops thumbing the pages, “Here, look what I write here,” he says,, “I write, ‘I don’t feel safe on the streets here in Israel.’ I feel this still, maybe more than ever now.”

Ahmad left Sudan a decade ago fleeing Janjaweed violence, a militia comprised of ethnic Arab tribes with Sudanese government backing that has attempted to systematically ethnically cleanse parts of Sudan of its Sudanese-African population. With the Sudanese government’s sour relations with the state of Israel, Ahmad thought he would find safe haven in the country. He was wrong. Ahmad has faced daily racism and discrimination for years. He has never felt truly safe he says, however within the last few months that feeling has increased.

“Now, from 11 at night, if I’m somewhere, it doesn’t matter where, I just won’t move from there, I wont leave. I’m not going to go out on the street at all.”

Ahmad believes as an African Sudanese man he won’t be mistaken as a Palestinian, and so doesn’t fear revenge attacks by Israelis, however he feels that the current atmosphere in Israel is one that encourages incitement against all non-white individuals, and that the recent escalation in violence is only stoking that atmosphere further.

“After the attack on the Eritrean, it is even more in my mind now to be careful, I don’t think that attack will be the last one. It may not be in the same way, it may be in another way. You know it could be anyone they [Israeli society] decide to take their anger out on.”

About Matthew Vickery

Matthew Vickery is an independent multimedia journalist based in the Middle East with a focus on the Levant and Iraq. Vickery has extensively covered the Palestine/Israel conflict on the ground, and has been published by numerous media outlets in the US, Europe and the Middle East. He holds a Master of Arts, Research Masters, and is a graduate of Qasid Arabic Institute. Follow Matthew on Twitter: @MMVickery

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96 Responses

  1. Qualtrough
    January 15, 2016, 10:20 pm

    I feel sorry for people so desperate that fleeing to a country with racial purity laws seems like a good option.

    • echinococcus
      January 16, 2016, 7:16 am

      Qualtrough,

      I feel almost (but not quite) more sorry for people so hopelessly messed up that emigrating to a country with racial purity laws favoring themselves looks like an improvement over the freedom they enjoyed in their own country.

    • Misterioso
      January 16, 2016, 10:19 am

      Israel’s Jewish citizens of Ethiopian ancestry also suffer from racism and discrimination:

      link to haaretz.com
      “Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots” Ha’aretz, January 27/13.
      Excerpt: “A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.“

      “The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.”

      link to middleeastmonitor.com
      “Even in death, Ethiopian Jews face racism from other Jews”
      Middle East Monitor, December 28, 2010.
      Excerpt: “An Israeli newspaper has claimed that the racism prevalent between Israeli Jews extends to Ethiopian Jews even after their death. According to Ma’ariv, graves in a Jewish cemetery are separated according to the colour of the corpses; a fence has been built between the graves of Ethiopian Jews and the others in the graveyard.”

    • Jackdaw
      January 17, 2016, 12:04 am

      @Qualtrough

      So sponsor him and bring him to your country. Time to prove your progressive bona fides.
      I challenge any one of you to help bring these migrants to your country.

      • Qualtrough
        January 17, 2016, 2:11 am

        @Jackdaw

        Find racial purity laws offensive = Progressive.

        Good to know.

        As if an American needs to prove anything to you on immigration intake. Risible.

      • talknic
        January 17, 2016, 2:38 am

        @ Jackdaw

        E.g., Australia sudanese refugees? link to google.com.au

      • Jackdaw
        January 17, 2016, 3:06 am

        @talknic

        You genuinely want to help this guy? Do it right. Go down to the local immigration office and declare that you want to sponsor this guy.
        Don’t cop out and tell me about the government. Do something yourself more than talk.

      • Froggy
        January 17, 2016, 5:47 am

        Jackdaw :: “I challenge any one of you to help bring these migrants to your country.”

        We’re waiting for the refugee family we’re sponsoring to arrive.

      • John O
        January 17, 2016, 7:14 am

        Why do you want to get rid of him?

      • talknic
        January 17, 2016, 7:52 am

        @ Jackdaw You’re hilariously and predictably right on track with Ziotactics 101. Trying to make it personal and demonstrating the stupidity I’ve come to expect of your kind

        “I challenge any one of you to help bring these migrants to your country”

        Sure you do pal, on a discussion thread where nothing can be publicly proven in anonymity you’re gonna do what as your part of the challenge? Post more drivel?

        “You genuinely want to help this guy? Do it right. “

        That would be thru my government, its agencies and various NGOs who facilitate tens of thousands of refugees over and above those who’ve already been under my roof over the past three years

        Tell me Jackdaw, how many refugees have or do you currently sponsor and what hard evidence are you willing to reveal about yourself to prove it?

        “You genuinely want to help this guy? Do it right. “

        Say, that’d be Israel’s job, that’s where he is, in his Jewish homeland state. Wanting others to do it appears to be an admission on your part that Israel ISN’T doing a very good job of it

      • eljay
        January 17, 2016, 9:01 am

        || Jackdaw: … I challenge any one of you to help bring these migrants to your country. ||

        Why? They’re already in what should be the safest, most compassionate and most welcoming place in the world: The “moral beacon”, “light unto the nations” and “Western-style democracy” state of Israel.

      • Jackdaw
        January 17, 2016, 9:53 am

        @Froggy

        Good for you, Froggy. I totally respect what you’re doing and I hope that the refugee you are helping find a better life. I wish there were more people like you in this world.

      • Jackdaw
        January 17, 2016, 10:02 am

        @Talknic

        Yeah. I’m making it personal. Froggy is twice the man you’ll ever be. You’re just bag of wind. Not a real doer.

        I don’t sponsor Eritreans. I’ve seen them commit one too many street crimes, thank you. I’m not crazy about Sudanis, since one stole my heirloom jewelry while moving furniture. The Eritreans who helped move me the last time, were honest guys and I tipped them well.
        Still, I wish all the Eritreans would leave Israel and not come back.
        The Sudanis are a different matter. They’re home is an actual war zone.

      • John O
        January 17, 2016, 1:37 pm

        @Jackdaw

        “I don’t sponsor Eritreans. I’ve seen them commit one too many street crimes, thank you. I’m not crazy about Sudanis, since one stole my heirloom jewelry while moving furniture.”

        So, you judge a whole group of people by the actions of a few. You need to go on a racism awareness training day.

      • Mooser
        January 17, 2016, 2:10 pm

        “I don’t sponsor Eritreans. I’ve seen them commit one too many street crimes, thank you. I’m not crazy about Sudanis, since one stole my heirloom jewelry while moving furniture .”

        Aww, c’mon, Moderators! Am I supposed to believe “Jackdaw” is for real, and not a very bitter ex-Zionist, with a nasty, nasty sense of humor, doing some kind of web ‘performance’ exploiting the negative stereotypes about, of…uh,…”Zionists” ?

        Oh, and the heirloom jewelry? You shouldn’t have left it in the Crackerjacks boxes. They might have just needed a snack.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 17, 2016, 5:26 pm

        i thought about deleting that mooser but it was so unbelieveable i thought i’d leave it in so people could tear it apart. jack just happens to be around to witness them committing street crimes over and over. uh huh. and leaves his heirloom jewelry hanging around when he hires sudanese to move his furniture. yeah, right.

      • Mooser
        January 17, 2016, 2:37 pm

        “Tell me Jackdaw, how many refugees have or do you currently sponsor”

        Doesn’t Jackdaw live in Occupied Jerusalem? How could he sponsor any refugees into Jerusalem?
        I mean, he’s pretty much a sponsored refugee his own self.

      • Mooser
        January 17, 2016, 6:09 pm

        “jack just happens to be around…”

        Well, nobody wants to replace him, and nobody on his end can keep him away from a keyboard, so there he is, in all his precious glory.

      • talknic
        January 17, 2016, 6:46 pm

        @ Jackdaw

        IOW You don’t sponsor anyone and it seems you have something against non-white Jews. Why am I not surprised?

        BTW link to mondoweiss.net

      • Mooser
        January 17, 2016, 7:22 pm

        “i thought about deleting that mooser but it was so unbelieveable” –

        Oh, it’s perfectly believable !

      • Jackdaw
        January 18, 2016, 12:05 am

        I don’t sponsor Eritreans because they are not refugees.

        And none of you, save Froggy, will step up and actually try to help anyone.

        Why? Because you are all hypocrites.
        Mooser. Annie. John O. Look into the mirror, real hard.

      • talknic
        January 18, 2016, 12:15 am

        @ Annie Robbins “i thought about deleting that “

        Best left as another clear demonstration of the vile types Zionism appears to attract.

      • Mooser
        January 18, 2016, 12:49 pm

        “Mooser. Annie. John O. Look into the mirror, real hard.”

        I did that, this morning. And then I prayed at the Wailing Wahl.

      • Froggy
        January 18, 2016, 2:19 pm

        Jackdaw :: “And none of you, save Froggy, will step up and actually try to help anyone.”

        No. I’m the only one here who has admitted to helping anyone. Neither you nor I have a clue what others are doing.

      • MHughes976
        January 18, 2016, 5:46 pm

        The complaint, right or wrong, was not that too few individual Israelis sponsor immigrants but that too many maltreat immigrants on arrival. In any event, refugees in fear of their lives should be admitted everywhere without question of individual sponsorship. Those admitted should be treated reasonably and certainly not put in renewed fear on racial grounds. I admit I’m not sure that we honour these principles in London or Reading much better than they do in Tel Aviv.

      • talknic
        January 18, 2016, 7:06 pm

        @ Jackdaw “And none of you, save Froggy, will step up and actually try to help anyone”

        Tried reading ? link to mondoweiss.net

        “Why? Because you are all hypocrites”

        Says the hypocrite who demands others do what he won’t

  2. JLewisDickerson
    January 16, 2016, 9:04 pm

    RE: “Michael talks at length about the incitement and discrimination against the asylum seeker and refugee community in Israel. The description of the community by politicians as a ‘cancer’ in society, along with the use of the word ‘infiltrator’ – commonly used by politicians and in Israeli media to describe non-Jews in the country – appears to hurt him deeply. “ ~ Matthew Vickery

    MY COMMENT: The term “infiltrator” is very useful for propagandists, demagogues, etc. Because of its inherent ambiguities, a speaker can claim to use it in a fairly benign sense even though most of the target audience will assume a far more ominous meaning (on some level, if not consciously). There are many ambiguous words that can in this way [SEE: Dog-whistle politics @ Wikipedia].
    Most benignly, an “infiltrator” is something (whether beneficial , harmless or benign) that has passed into or through something else. For instance, in human digestion, water and beneficial nutrients routinely pass through (i.e., infiltrate) the semipermeable membranes of the intestines to provide nourishment for the body. (Far less routinely, a harmful virus like HIV might likewise “infiltrate” the body and pose an “existential threat”.)
    So, when the term “infiltrator” is applied to a person it can theoretically just mean that the person is originally from outside Israel’s physical boundaries (to the extent Israel has physical boundaries). In that sense, refugees can technically be considered “infiltrators”.
    Historically though, refugees have not been referred to as “infiltrators”, probably due to the negative connotations of the term “infiltrators” as it has commonly been applied to people in the past. Specifically, “infiltrator” as applied to people in the past presumed that the “infiltration” had occurred for nefarious purposes (to spy, subvert, etc.).
    In the case of refugees in the past, nefarious purposes were not presumed. That said, under certain conditions/circumstances, nefarious purposes might have been suspected (and as a consequence, screened more rigorously than normal).

    FROM MERRIAM-WEBSTER (infiltrator):

    infiltrate
    verb in·fil·trate \in-ˈfil-ˌtrāt, ˈin-(ˌ)\
    Simple Definition of infiltrate
    : to secretly enter or join (something, such as a group or an organization) in order to get information or do harm
    : to cause (someone) to secretly enter or join a group, organization, etc.
    : to pass into or through (something)

    Full Definition of infiltrate
    in·fil·trat·ed in·fil·trat·ing
    transitive verb
    1
    : to cause (as a liquid) to permeate something by penetrating its pores or interstices
    2
    : to pass into or through (a substance) by filtering or permeating
    3
    : to pass (troops) singly or in small groups through gaps in the enemy line
    4
    : to enter or become established in gradually or unobtrusively usually for subversive purposes

    • Froggy
      January 17, 2016, 1:40 pm

      Wrt Israelis referring to refugees and asylum seekers as ‘infiltrators’, isn’t that how many gentile Americans felt about Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi oppression in Europe who applied for entry to the US only to be refused asylum?

      Those Jewish refugees hoping for asylum in the US were considered infiltrators and turned away by the authorities of what was then called a ‘Christian nation’. (Note: The term ‘Judeo-Christian’ didn’t come into common use until sometime in the 1950s.)

      There is something ludicrous, and pathetic, about those Jews who point the finger of blame at the gentiles for not coming to the aid of Jewish refugees back in the 1940s, but who themselves now act with no more compassion than the gentiles they continue to criticise. Hypocrites.

      An enduring peace can be built only upon Christian principles. To such a consummation we dedicate all our resources, both spiritual and material, remembering always that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. […T]he valiant pioneers who left Europe to establish settlements here […] declared their faith in the Christian religion and made ample provision for its practice and for its support. The story of the Christian missionaries who in earliest days endured perils, hardship—even death itself in carrying the message of Jesus Christ to untutored savages is one that still moves the hearts of men. As a Christian Nation our earnest desire is to work with men of good will everywhere to banish war and the causes of war from the world whose Creator desired that men of every race and in every clime should live together in peace, good will and mutual trust.
      Harry S Truman – 28 August 1947

      • echinococcus
        January 17, 2016, 6:27 pm

        Froggy,
        You are opening another can of Grade A worms there: the responsibility of the US (and in some measure GB) refusing European Jewish refugees is in large part that of the Zionist organizations of America, a coalition headed by the very liberal Rabbi Wise. It’s their extremely intensive (and of course public and well-documented) lobbying *against the US accepting European Jewish refugees that was instrumental (along, of course, with diverse isolationists, etc.; not much Christian stuff there.) Check it out. The bastards wanted the young, able-bodied to go to Palestine shoot Arabs and terrorize the English –the less-able or less wealthy remainder, who were not exactly assisted by the Zionist agencies, could rot under Nazi occupation.

    • Mooser
      January 17, 2016, 6:52 pm

      If I am not mistaken, when the US stopped the open immigration policy, and restricted the flow if immigrants, the quotas were by ‘countries’, and not by religion.

      The quote “Harry S Truman – 28 August 1947” is from his “Exchange of Messages With Pope Pius XII.”

      • Froggy
        January 18, 2016, 1:45 am

        Mooser :: “If I am not mistaken, when the US stopped the open immigration policy, and restricted the flow if immigrants, the quotas were by ‘countries’, and not by religion.”

        Sadly, you are mistaken. Take the issue of the US accepting Jewish children as refugees.

        The Wagner–Rogers Bill was proposed United States legislation which would have increased the quota of immigrants by bringing a total of 20,000 German children (there was no sectarian criteria) under the age of 14 (10,000 in 1939, and another 10,000 in 1940) to the United States from Nazi Germany. The bill was sponsored by Senator Robert F. Wagner (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Edith Rogers (R-Mass.) in the wake of the 1938 Kristallnacht attacks on Jews in Germany. The bill had widespread support among religious and labour groups, but was opposed by patriotic organizations. It never came to a vote because it was blocked by Senator Robert Rice Reynolds of North Carolina, who held a powerful position because of his seniority. Reynolds was an anti-Semite and Anglophobe who was among those whose support President Roosevelt needed for American rearmament.

        American Jewish organizations did not challenge the decision for fear of stirring domestic antisemitism.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Evacuation of children from areas of danger or persecution. This objective has a long, if somewhat controversial, history in international law, and the United States experience has both reflected and helped to shape international views. The earliest attempt to breach the national quotas on behalf of refugees, the Wagner-Rogers Children’s Bill, would have permitted 20,000 German children aged 14 or younger to enter the United States as immigrants outside of the annual German quota each year during the two year period 1939-1940. The Bill required that these children be supportedand cared for by private agencies and individuals, and a NonSectarian Committee for German Refugee Children began to compile offers for the children’s placement and support.

        The program was proposed in the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms and the promulgation of Nazi racial laws, but it was not explicitly limited to Jewish children. At the time of the Bill’s introduction, numerous children had lost parents to Nazi violence, concentration camps, or suicide, and all Jewish children were barred from German schools.3 5 Opponents attacked the Bill on a variety of grounds: that the German children’s circumstances did not require their removal; that any such aid should go to poor American children; that the German children would eventually compete with Americans for jobs; that the Bill would violate the sanctity of the national quota system and its numerical restrictions; that there would later be pressure to admit the children’s families also outside of normal quotas; and that children should not be separated from their parents. The likelihood that most children admitted under the Bill would be Jewish also motivated some of its opposition, according to some later observers. In the face of likely defeat and unwilling to accept an amendment giving children first preference within the existing German quota-thereby disadvantaging the tens of thousands of adult refugee applicants-the sponsors did not press the Bill. The onset of war in September 1939 ended the effort, though several hundred unaccompanied children did enter as quota immigrants in the next few years.

        link to digitalcommons.law.yale.edu

        Ok, Mooser. Now read on, and then compare and contrast Americans’ attitude between the German Jewish children who were in danger, and the British children who were in danger. Please note that there was none of that concern about British children being separated from their parents as there was with the Jewish children.

        Proposals to evacuate children from Great Britain to the United States for the duration of World War II fared differently. The 1940 air attacks on Great Britain caused an outburst of American support for evacuation of English children to the United States, resulting in the formation of the United States Committee for the Care of European Children, with Eleanor Roosevelt as honorary president. In response to the favorable public sentiment, the departments of State and Justice modified visitor visa requirements to facilitate the children’s entry. In addition, Congress quickly passed the Mercy Ships Bill, amending the Neutrality Act to permit American ships to transport the children from a war zone. But a combination of factors, including the British government’s loss of enthusiasm for the project and the sinking of a ship evacuating British children to Canada with the loss of 79 of the 90 children on board, soon ended the evacuation program.

        link to digitalcommons.law.yale.edu

        None of this is surprising when you consider that a 1939 survey conducted by the American Institute of Public Opinion found that more than 60% of Americans were opposed to accepting Jewish refugee children, who were the most in need of asylum.

        link to usuncut.com

        Nativist and isolationist groups vociferously opposed the Wagner-Rogers bill. Typical of their perspective was a remark by FDR’s cousin, Laura Delano Houghteling, who was the wife of the US commissioner of immigration. She warned that “20,000 charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”

        link to aish.com

        To be blunt, the Americans were happy to welcome British children, whilst barring entry to the Jewish kids. It really was that simple (and that vile).

        As a result of Roosevelt’s administration’s policies, the United States offered refuge to fewer Jewish children–about 1000 from 1934 to 1945–than Belgium, France, Britain, Holland, or Sweden.

        link to holocaustchronicle.org

        President Truman was no anti-Semite. However, in that message to the Pope he made it clear that he saw the US as a Christian country.

      • tree
        January 18, 2016, 7:25 am

        No, Froggy, it is you who are mistaken, and if you read your own quoted passage you will realize that Mooser was right in saying that the quotas set in 1921 and then toughened in 1924 were quotas by country.

        What you are citing is a bill to MAKE AN EXCEPTION to the country (or “national”) quota for immigrants from Germany based on the suffering of Jewish German children, allowing them to come to the US regardless of the numeric limitations of the quotas. It didn’t pass but that didn’t mean that German Jewish refugees weren’t allowed into the US in excess of the country quota for German immigrants.

        I’ll quote an earlier post of mine rather than rehash yet again what I said earlier on this subject:

        The US never barred foreign Jews from entering the country on the basis of their religion.

        It did erect quotas in the 1920’s which severely limited immigration from Southern and Eastern European countries, enacted during a post WWI era of WASP nativism and anti-communist hysteria. It was just as much of a blow to Catholic immigrants as it was to Jewish ones in the 1920’s. German immigration was limited as well, but not as much as Southern and Eastern European immigration. Asian immigrants were barred completely and earlier Chinese immigrants to the US were barred from ever obtaining US citizenship. Its totally Judeocentric to describe the US immigration policy at the time as particularly biased against Jews. It wasn’t.

        And as I have mentioned before, despite the quotas and restrictions, here and elsewhere during the Great Depression, between 1933 and 1940 some 432,000 German Jews, nearly two thirds of the Jews in Greater Germany (Germany and Austria with over 700,000 Jews) were able to immigrate to other countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. It should be noted that up until late 1939, the only Jews who were believed to be in danger from the Nazis were the ones in Nazi Germany. Few if any thought that Nazi Germany would soon control much of Europe outside of its own borders.

        The US alone took in at least 126,000 German Jews during this time. Some 90,000 were admitted from 1934-1939, with nearly half of those coming in 1939 (with numbers in excess of the US quota for German immigrants) and with an additional 36,000 in 1940. In fiscal year 1939, Jewish immigration to the US totaled 44,000 out of a total of ALL US immigrants from any country or religion, of 83,000. In other words, more than 1 out of every two immigrants to the US in 1939 were Jewish. In fiscal year 1940, US allowed in a sum total of 71,000 immigrants, and 36,000 of them were Jews.

        Data on number of Jewish immigrants to the US and elsewhere found here, from the American Jewish Committee, which kept records on Jewish immigration:

        link to ajcarchives.org

        link to ajcarchives.org

        Please, this idea that the US didn’t allow in Jews is false. The US certainly could have done more, but it didn’t do “nothing”, and it did more for Jewish refugees prior to and during WWII than it did for any other of the millions of refugees of the time. Jews were not the only ones suffering during this time.

        – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

        (I might suggest reading some of my other posts under the same link, as they elaborate somewhat on this topic.)

        As for your example of the planned evacuation of British children in 1940, it should be noted that Great Britain had the highest immigration quota under the 1924 Immigration Act, and bringing British children into the US in 1940 did not require upping that generous quota, as did the proposed Wagner-Rogers Bill. And yet in actuality a small number of German Jewish children were brought to the US, but no British children were.

        Again, during the 1939-1940 time frame the number of Jewish refugees allowed into the US exceeded the country quotas, and with 80,000 Jewish immigrants out of a total of all US immigrants of 154,000 , 52% of the all US immigrants in these two critical years were Jewish.

      • tree
        January 18, 2016, 7:45 am

        late edit:

        “And yet in actuality a small number of German Jewish children were brought to the US, but no British children were” is incorrect. Should read, “In actuality the number of German Jewish children brought to the US was roughly equivalent to the small number of British children brought here”,

      • Mooser
        January 18, 2016, 11:24 am

        Thank you “tree”. Much appreciated.

        But I am at a loss as to one thing. Why is it important to “Froggy” to portray US immigration as antisemitic?

        Why on earth, or rather, who on earth has an interest in portraying the defeat of a bill to grant an exception for Jews in immigration as some kind of antisemitism?

      • Froggy
        January 19, 2016, 8:56 pm

        Mooser & tree : I don’t have the time to do a full rebuttal. I apologise for that.

        My point wasn’t that Jewish refugees were barred from entering the US (as per the quotas for their countries of origin), but that the US was unwilling to increase the quotas when those seeking refuge were Jews whose lives were endangered.

        “More than 60 percent of Americans polled in 1939 opposed resettling 10,000 mostly Jewish refugee children in the U.S.

        link to thinkprogress.org

        link to deadstate.org

  3. Palikari
    January 17, 2016, 12:07 pm

    If they don’t like Israel, they should leave then.

    No one is forcing them to stay in Israel!

    • echinococcus
      January 17, 2016, 3:09 pm

      That’s up to the owners of the country, the Palestinian people. You don’t want to guess who, of the refugees or your pirate ilk, is to be accepted.

    • talknic
      January 18, 2016, 12:26 am

      @ Palikari “If they don’t like Israel”

      You have evidence of their not liking their Jewish homeland State, Israel?

      There’s plenty of evidence that Netanyahu & the Zionist Federation have never liked Israel, they insist on illegally acquiring more and more of Palestine

      “No one is forcing them to stay in Israel!”

      No one is forcing Israel to stay in non-Israeli territories in breach of International Law and the UN Charter

  4. MHughes976
    January 17, 2016, 12:19 pm

    It’s a sad story. I can’t immediately think of any incident here like the bus station murder but the simmering atmosphere doesn’t seem so different from what we find in the UK that I won’t be looking on Israelis with any special smugness.

  5. diasp0ra
    January 17, 2016, 5:01 pm

    In the end, the fate of these asylum speakers are intertwined with the Palestinian cause. Even if they don’t know it.

    The only way these people will ever be treated better is when Zionism ceases to be the xenophobic ideology of Israel. Justice for the Palestinians automatically translates to justice for any non-Jew living inside the region of historical Palestine.

    • talknic
      January 18, 2016, 12:34 am

      @ diasp0ra “Justice for the Palestinians automatically translates to justice for any non-Jew living inside the region of historical Palestine”

      … while Zionism appears to automatically translate to injustice for anyone living anywhere if they won’t serve the land slut Zionist pyramid scheme

  6. Kate
    January 18, 2016, 11:58 pm

    Anyone remember this crime against an Eritrean baby two years ago?

    link to haaretz.com

    Eritrean Family Whose Baby Was Stabbed by Israeli Receives Asylum in European Country

    An Eritrean family whose baby was stabbed in Tel Aviv two years ago left Israel last week for a European country.

    The baby, Kako Yamena, was seriously wounded when an Israeli stabbed her in the head with a pair of scissors near Tel Aviv’s central bus station. Though she survived and is now about three and a half years old, she suffered serious motor disabilities and still needs therapy.

    The assailant, Michael Zaretzky, said God had told him to stab a black baby. He was ruled insane and therefore unfit to stand trial.

    Despite the circumstances of the attack, the state refused to recognize Yamena, who was born in Israel, as the victim of a hate crime. Then-Interior Minister Gilad Erdan did grant her legal residency in Israel on humanitarian grounds, but refused to award the same status to her family, which made her own status useless: Since her parents had no legal status, the National Insurance Institute wouldn’t finance her medical treatment.

    Erdan’s successor, Silvan Shalom, also refused to grant her parents and older sister legal residency. The case was referred to the interministerial committee in charge of awarding residency for humanitarian reasons, but that panel never made a decision.

    Kako’s mother Yordanes, who was holding her when she was stabbed, was traumatized by the incident and now rarely leaves her house. Her father, Muli, was summoned to the open detention facility in Holot sometime after the stabbing, but managed to get the summons canceled.

    For the last two years, the family has lived mainly off donations from individual Israelis and help from human rights activists. Donations also paid for Kako’s expensive medical treatment, which cost thousands of shekels a month. A relative who is also in Israel moved in with the family in their tiny Tel Aviv apartment to help them on an ongoing basis.

    Recently, responding to an appeal by human rights activists who had despaired of getting the family proper treatment in Israel, a European country agreed to accept the Yamenas as a humanitarian case and grant them housing, medical and psychological treatment and social benefits. However, the country conditioned its assent on its name not being publicized, to avoid conflict with Israel.

    The country also refused to take in any members of the extended family, including the relative who moved in with the Yamenas. Thus the parents’ siblings and their children will remain in Israel.

    “On the one hand, the family is very excited. On the other, they understand they’re going to a place where all their friends and community, including the Israelis that embraced them, won’t be there,” said Sigal Avivi, a human rights activist that has accompanied the family since the stabbing.

    “This is very upsetting for them. The girls grew up speaking Hebrew, and to them, Israel was home. The oldest daughter did not want to leave at all.”

    Avivi added: “I am very happy for the family, but it’s hard for me, because it was the State of Israel and Israeli society’s obligation to help and support this family.”

    • Kris
      January 19, 2016, 12:35 am

      Despite the circumstances of the attack, the state refused to recognize Yamena, who was born in Israel, as the victim of a hate crime. Then-Interior Minister Gilad Erdan did grant her legal residency in Israel on humanitarian grounds, but refused to award the same status to her family, which made her own status useless: Since her parents had no legal status, the National Insurance Institute wouldn’t finance her medical treatment.

      You have to hand it to Israeli Jews. Every time they seem to have become about as hateful and vicious as humanly possible, they push their special aptitude for cruelty to an even higher level.

      • RoHa
        January 19, 2016, 1:16 am

        “Every time they seem to have become about as hateful and vicious as humanly possible, they push their special aptitude for cruelty to an even higher level.”

        Is this because of the general shared values with the USA in particular and the West in general, or does it come from that deep well of Jewish ethics we hear about?

      • Sibiriak
        January 19, 2016, 4:48 am

        RoHa: [Kris:]”Every time they seem to have become about as hateful and vicious as humanly possible, they push their special aptitude for cruelty to an even higher level.”

        Is this because of the general shared values with the USA in particular and the West in general, or does it come from that deep well of Jewish ethics we hear about?

        ——————-

        You can rule out the anti-Semitic notion that Israeli Jews have a “special aptitude for cruelty” which comes from “Jewish ethics”, can’t you?

      • RoHa
        January 19, 2016, 10:02 am

        And suggesting that Israeli cruelty comes from Western values (perhaps those best exemplified by the tendency of the USA, Britain, France, and Australia to bomb and slaughter non-Westerners) is anti-what?

      • Mooser
        January 19, 2016, 12:19 pm

        “You can rule out the anti-Semitic notion that Israeli Jews have a “special aptitude for cruelty” which comes from “Jewish ethics”, can’t you?”

        You bet you can! As soon as the Zionists rule out Jewish history, Jewish religion, and “the Jewish people” in justifying their claims.

        After all, one man’s “special aptitude for cruelty” is another man’s patriotic and religious devotion, and a mystical devotion to ‘G-d’s plan for the Jewish people’ or insanity defense.

      • hophmi
        January 19, 2016, 3:24 pm

        “Is this because of the general shared values with the USA in particular and the West in general, or does it come from that deep well of Jewish ethics we hear about?”

        I mean, clearly, when some deranged guy stabs an Eritrean in the head, it comes from Jewish ethics, just as when a white guy walks into Bible study in a black church in South Carolina and guns down nine people, it comes from Christian ethics.

      • Kris
        January 19, 2016, 3:27 pm

        @Sibiriak: “You can rule out the anti-Semitic notion that Israeli Jews have a “special aptitude for cruelty” which comes from “Jewish ethics”, can’t you?”

        Israeli Jews obviously have developed a special aptitude for cruelty, as evidenced by their increasingly inhumane treatment of the Palestinians since 1947.

        Israeli Jews are guided by rabbis, many of them paid by Israel; presumably these rabbis teach “Jewish ethics.” Yet merely stealing Palestinian land and resources is not enough for the Israeli Jews, who also enjoy inflicting countless smaller horrors and humiliations on the defenseless Palestinians: calling elderly Palestinian women “whores,” terrifying Palestinian children who are walking to school, preventing Palestinian students from leaving Gaza in order to study abroad at universities that have awarded them scholarships, bulldozing shacks and tents that are the only shelter that Palestinian families have, etc.

        How is it “anti-Semitic” to recognize reality?

      • amigo
        January 19, 2016, 4:12 pm

        “I mean, what label do you apply to the African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism? Do you characterize it that way? I’d say it’s firmly based in historical experience.” hopknee

        So your advice to African Americans is to go find themselves a country , (someone else,s ) and steal their land, murder, ethnically cleanse and generally oppress them and that will change their historical experience.

        What label does one place on that logic .Come on hoppy –entertain us.

      • Mooser
        January 19, 2016, 6:24 pm

        “I mean, what label do you apply to the African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism? Do you characterize it that way? I’d say it’s firmly based in historical experience.”

        What label do you apply to “Hophmi” speaking for the “African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism“?
        He is indeed, just the man to relay to us the state of African-American “belief in white racism”.

      • RoHa
        January 19, 2016, 6:35 pm

        “when some deranged guy stabs an Eritrean in the head, it comes from Jewish ethics, ”

        But I am talking about the calculated actions of the state, not just some deranged guy. And the state in question declares itself to be Jewish and to take its inspiration from the Jewish prophets.

        The actions of the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union and the Marxist-Maoist PRC led some people to doubt that Marxism was quite as good an idea as it seemed at first blush. Can we not entertain similar doubts about Jewishness?

      • RoHa
        January 19, 2016, 6:41 pm

        As a side note, perhaps I should point out that the USA, Britain, France, and Australia have not shown excessive reluctance towards slaughtering other Westerners.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 19, 2016, 7:19 pm

        You can rule out the anti-Semitic notion that Israeli Jews have a “special aptitude for cruelty” which comes from “Jewish ethics”, can’t you?

        that might be a trick question. just because someone thinks something is ethical doesn’t mean it is by everyones standards. i read something about mercy once (that i think may have been in the torah tho i don’t recall specifically) that i didn’t think sounded very merciful or ethical. and certainly there’s some stuff in the kings bible that sounds awful (the killing gentile babies part). do i think a religious community, nationalist or a political community could develop an aptitude for cruelty? of course. anyone can be abused or brainwashed under the guise of being “ethical” to act cruelly.

        ethics, “jewish ethics” included, can be used to justify and carry out despicable acts. christians too obviously. certainly during the inquisition the christian church demonstrated “special aptitude for cruelty”. one could argue, after decades of occupation and structural oppression carried out, systematically, against the palestinian people — that this is an act of cruelty. now if one wanted to argue that cruelty was not informed by jewish ethics (which clearly it is not for many jews) have at it. but chances are for as many people who reject that cruelty because of their jewish ethics, there are likely as many who justify it under the same pretext.

      • Sibiriak
        January 20, 2016, 3:52 am

        RoHa: … the state in question declares itself to be Jewish and to take its inspiration from the Jewish prophets.

        —————————
        So what?

        The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declares itself to be Islamic and to take its inspiration from Islamic values and ethics–so can we say, in fairness and without prejudice, that that ISIL has a “special aptitude for cruelty” that comes from “Islamic ethics”?

        I don’t think so.

        “Islamic ethics” covers a wide range of ethical ideas–including many opposed to ISIL actions.

        To conflate “Islamic ethics” as supposedly practiced by ISIL with “Islamic ethics” in general, and to claim that “Islamic ethics” is at the root of a “special aptitude for cruelty”–that would be widely recognized as anti-Islamic prejudice (aka “Islamophobia”).

        Why should then the conflation of “Jewish ethics” as supposedly practiced by the Israel with “Jewish ethics” in general , and the claim without qualification that “Jewish ethics” is at the root of a “special aptitude for cruelty”–why should that not be labeled anti-Jewish prejudice (aka “ant-Semitism”)?

      • MHughes976
        January 20, 2016, 5:06 pm

        I share the view that anything we say along these lines should be considered and put in context and that chucking a few ‘proof texts’ around without thought about context, background etc, usually proves nothing. I’m thinking especially of some of the Islamophobes. This should be remembered when it comes to statements associating religious traditions with cruelty in an absolute and unqualified way, but then the contrary statements – traditions from old times have nothing at all to do with cruelty now – are also unqualified statements. Some unqualified statements may in the end be true.
        I remain concerned about some of the texts which as a Christian I am supposed to regard as sacred.

      • Shmuel
        January 20, 2016, 5:25 pm

        I remain concerned about some of the texts which as a Christian I am supposed to regard as sacred.

        MHughes,

        You may find this book interesting. It deals precisely with the subject of these “painful verses”, from (in chronological order) Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives:

        Les Versets douloureux : Bible, Evangile et Coran entre conflit et dialogue

        I haven’t read it yet, but am currently reading another excellent book co-authored by Meyer on Jewish, Christian and Muslim attitudes to land (especially “holy” land) and power.

      • gamal
        January 20, 2016, 5:44 pm

        “You may find this book interesting.”

        I see one of the contributors is Bencheikh, Grand Mufti of Marseilles, here he is interviewed

        link to en.qantara.de

      • Shmuel
        January 20, 2016, 6:10 pm

        I see one of the contributors is Bencheikh, Grand Mufti of Marseilles

        Thanks for the link, gamal. The Muslim co-author of the book on land and power (La vocation de la Terre sainte) is Tareq Oubrou, Grand Imam of Bordeaux.

      • RoHa
        January 20, 2016, 10:26 pm

        “can we say, in fairness and without prejudice, that that ISIL has a “special aptitude for cruelty” that comes from “Islamic ethics”?”

        Of course we can’t say that without an evidence-based argument.

        What we can do is ask the question. The relationship between Islamic ethics and the cruelty of ISIS is just as legitimate a field of inquiry as the relationship between Western values and the cruelty of Israel and Marxism and the cruelty of the Soviet Union.

      • Philemon
        January 24, 2016, 9:31 pm

        Annie: “of course. anyone can be abused or brainwashed under the guise of being ‘ethical’ to act cruelly.”

        Are you basing that judgment on these:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        Of course, you know, those experiments weren’t conducted double-blind or anything like it. They knew what results they wanted, whatever the participants did. I’m highly skeptical of the results not only because the only reports are those of the ones running the “experiments” but even more because they seemed to have the object in mind of proving that anyone and everyone would be psychopathic given the right circumstances.

        Many intelligent psychopaths go into psychology. It is understandable.

        Those experiments have not been repeated and are scientifically worthless.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 24, 2016, 11:28 pm

        no philemon, i was using common sense. and i wasn’t intending to imply any people could change in a few days. i meant over the course of a childhood. with few exceptions, cruelty is a learned behavior. as is cruelty for so called “ethnical reasons”. an example of that is avi shavits in his book, justifying the cruelty inflicted during 48, for the benefit of his family’s future or the survival of the jewish people or whatever. he learned that frame of mind, it’s brainwashing. and anyone reading that logic who believes it and accepts it as rational is also brainwashed, because any human should know you do not blow up a mosque full of people and justify it as some moral imperative for the future generations of your kin. another example is the hannibal directive. only a truly brainwashed individual could accept that as rational. stuff like that. it’s learned over a lifetime. it’s not jewish per se, it could happen to anyone who is brainwashed to a certain extent. and the stuff soldiers do in war, the army teaches them to kill and to think of the enemy as the other. it’s brainwashing.

      • Sibiriak
        January 25, 2016, 1:30 am

        Annie Robbins: i meant over the course of a childhood. with few exceptions, cruelty is a learned behavior. as is cruelty for so called “ethnical reasons”.
        ——————–

        That’s definitely true. On another level, some manifestations of cruelty and oppression derive in part from, or are rationalized by, logical ethical thinking that is fallacious due to false premises.

        For example the brilliant thinker Thomas Aquinas argued that the killing of witches and heretics was morally justified and a positive good because a single witch or heretic, possibly possessed by demons, could causes hundreds of people to turn against God and suffer eternal damnation. Killing the witch or heretic saved all those people from unimaginable suffering.

        The deductive reasoning wasn’t so bad; the problem was in the fallacious premises.

        The work of Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century was instrumental in developing the new theology which would give rise to the witch hunts….

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        (Biblical commands were also in play: Exodus 22:18 “, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live ” and “Leviticus 20:27, ” A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”)

      • YoniFalic
        January 25, 2016, 8:30 am

        @annie robbins

        an example of that is avi shavits in his book, justifying the cruelty inflicted during 48, for the benefit of his family’s future or the survival of the jewish people or whatever. he learned that frame of mind, it’s brainwashing. and anyone reading that logic who believes it and accepts it as rational is also brainwashed, because any human should know you do not blow up a mosque full of people and justify it as some moral imperative for the future generations of your kin.

        In The Nazi Conscience Claudia Koonz uses the term “ethnic fundamentalism” to describe the mentality of true-believing German Nazis.

        In The Jewish Radical Right Eran Kaplan, who seems to be aware of Claudia Koonz’s analysis, uses the term “ethnic monism” to describe the Revisionist mentality and apparently to imply that the Revisionists were even more extreme than true-believing German Nazis.

        The Revisionist mentality is today the norm in the State of Israel.

        Either the description “ethnic fundamentalist” or the description “ethnic monist” seems appropriate to apply to Ari Shavit.

      • Philemon
        January 25, 2016, 9:16 pm

        Annie, the thing is it really isn’t that easy to get normal people so twisted up that they go along with psychopathic stuff forever. Yeah, they might have grown up in a cult, but “…[h]ow ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’.” Children of cultists generally have a good chance of getting out of the cult. Their parents might have joined out of whatever psychological need, but the kids don’t have that. They grow up seeing the show and the pretences, and think, “this is all so mishugenah, not to mention fakakta!” Well, they might not know the Yiddish words, but they get out because that is in essence what they think. Even the offspring of KGB officials did it by defecting.

        The thing that worries me about Israel is that the propaganda there is so pervasive and the fear, (you can’t do it without the fear) and the fear-aggression it inculcates is so pervasive that lots of the, in large part self-selected, population there is prone to brain-frozenness when it comes to thinking like a normal person. And then of course the government educational system, and as you point out, the military is involved. It’s nice to see Shmuel and YoniFalic rising above it. (Although, you know, Sibiriak, Aquinas is so 13th century! Of course, the list of heresies is quite interesting.)

        In a way, it’s worse than Japan was pre-WWII. The Japanese were thoroughly propagandized and isolated, but the fear wasn’t so pervasive, and the vast majority of the population wasn’t privy to any of the psychopathic stuff going on.

        Israel, on the other hand…

      • Shmuel
        January 26, 2016, 1:42 am

        Philemon,

        “Forever” is a long time. I don’t know if you’ve read Michael Sfard’s latest column in Haaretz (posted at MW in one of the comments). I don’t share Sfard’s optimism that Israeli apartheid will suddenly collapse, but I think he’s right that (if and) when it does happen, everyone will have “been in the resistance”.

        A while ago, we had a couple of friends over, both Italian university professors (history and geopolitics), and they were discussing the oath of loyalty to the Fascist regime, required of all Italian university professors beginning in 1931. The question was: Do you think you would have signed (of some 1200 professors, at the time, only 15 refused — and lost their jobs)? Both profs were pretty sure they would have (although both are leftists, one a very convinced and politically-active communist).

        Back to Sfard. I don’t know whether his assertion regarding the “rhinoceros not being in danger of extinction” came through in English, but the common Hebrew expression “lehitkarnef” (to become a rhinoceros) refers to Ionesco’s play, in which all of society, with the exception of one man (and not a particularly brave or deep one at that) eventually “joins the herd”. There is nothing easier, and nothing more “natural”. The current dynamics in Israel (bad to worse) shows exactly how it happens (e.g. the Council for Higher Education’s catering to and anticipation of Education Minister Bennett’s every whim) . I don’t see a swing in the other direction on the horizon, but if and when it happens, it will be hard to imagine that things were ever different.

        link to haaretz.com

      • talknic
        January 26, 2016, 4:14 am

        @ Philemon “… they might have grown up in a cult, but “…[h]ow ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm/After they’ve seen Paree’.” Children of cultists generally have a good chance of getting out of the cult. Their parents might have joined out of whatever psychological need, but the kids don’t have that. They grow up seeing the show and the pretences, and think, “this is all so mishugenah, not to mention fakakta!”…”

        None of Herzl’s family immigrated to Palestine. In fact, neither did Herzl, though in his lifetime there were no restrictions

      • Annie Robbins
        January 26, 2016, 7:37 am

        Annie, the thing is it really isn’t that easy to get normal people so twisted up that they go along with psychopathic stuff forever.

        i didn’t mean to imply a sense of ease. when i claimed anyone could “be abused or brainwashed under the guise of being “ethical” to act cruelly.” i meant under certain circumstances it could happen to anyone — and that there was no “special aptitude” by any particular people based on race or ethnicity (vs circumstance or belief system) that could make them more prone to being cruel.

        my primary point was that cruelty (for the most part) is a learned behavior. “aptitude” is a natural ability. cruelty is not natural unless it’s learned.

      • eljay
        January 26, 2016, 7:54 am

        || Shmuel: … the common Hebrew expression “lehitkarnef” … refers to Ionesco’s play, in which all of society, with the exception of one man … eventually “joins the herd”. There is nothing easier, and nothing more “natural”. The current dynamics in Israel (bad to worse) shows exactly how it happens … . I don’t see a swing in the other direction on the horizon, but if and when it happens, it will be hard to imagine that things were ever different. ||

        “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”

      • Shmuel
        January 26, 2016, 8:27 am

        “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”

        Exactly, eljay. And for an explanation of how the mechanisms work, maybe some Fromm or Arendt.

      • Philemon
        January 27, 2016, 10:42 pm

        Annie: “i meant under certain circumstances it could happen to anyone — and that there was no ‘special aptitude’ by any particular people based on race or ethnicity…”

        Of course, there is no “special aptitude” for cruelty, and what the hell does race or ethnicity even mean. But, I don’t agree that it could happen to anyone, for the simple reason that it doesn’t. Some people seem to be resistant whether via belief system, circumstances, education, a strong constitution, or conscience.

      • Philemon
        January 27, 2016, 10:49 pm

        Shmuel:

        “…Ionesco’s play, in which all of society, with the exception of one man (and not a particularly brave or deep one at that) eventually ‘joins the herd.'”

        I remember the plot. Somehow, I had it classified in my mind as a Twilight Zone episode. Or maybe a Roald Dahl short story. And then there is the question of whether rhinoceroses, or humans for that matter, are “herd” animals.

        “…and they were discussing the oath of loyalty to the Fascist regime, required of all Italian university professors beginning in 1931. The question was: Do you think you would have signed (of some 1200 professors, at the time, only 15 refused — and lost their jobs)? Both profs were pretty sure they would have (although both are leftists, one a very convinced and politically-active communist). ”

        Actually, knowing me, I would have refused to sign, just out of sheer cussedness, and would have been patting myself on the back for it just when the pink slip was delivered. And then I would have been out of a job and all to seek. Blast it! But that’s my life. Never mind.

        “I don’t share Sfard’s optimism that Israeli apartheid will suddenly collapse, but I think he’s right that (if and) when it does happen, everyone will have ‘been in the resistance’.”

        Well, I don’t know, but I’d guess there would be people going both ways when it happens, some saying, well, what did you expect, and some saying we should have done more to prevent it. Sorta like U.S. American views on Vietnam in the aftermath.

        Like you, I don’t share Sfard’s optimism about Israel suddenly collapsing, either, in that it will be very unpleasant for a whole bunch of people most likely. However, I can see how it might happen fairly quickly, or suddenly, for those Israelis with dual passports.

        It might depend on your perspective, of course.

    • RoHa
      January 19, 2016, 1:17 am

      “a European country agreed to accept the Yamenas as a humanitarian case and grant them housing, medical and psychological treatment and social benefits. However, the country conditioned its assent on its name not being publicized, to avoid conflict with Israel.”

      !

      • Bumblebye
        January 19, 2016, 3:45 am

        I would also be concerned that the family has been prevented from speaking out about their appalling treatment at the hands of Israel (in this new country) for the very same reason – protecting Israel from any adverse consequences.

      • MHughes976
        January 19, 2016, 9:51 am

        Anti-Semitism to me, Sibiriak, is anti-Jewish prejudice. We have recently noted, with the aid of Shmuel commenting on vandalism, Isaiah 34, whose Greek translators introduced the unforgettable term ‘day of judgement’, which has so much influenced Christianity. There’s a very good note on this passage by R. Coggins in the Oxford Bible Commentary, mentioning the horrific portrait of a human community made into a huge sacrifice and the way in which the atmosphere of the piece anticipates the modern genre of. science fiction. Margaret Barker in the Eerdmans Commentary regards the victims as supernatural beings fallen from heaven.
        What are we, fairly and without prejudice, to say of ‘Judaeochristian’ or ‘Abrahamic’ ethics if they are influenced by this passage or poem and by others like it?

      • Shmuel
        January 19, 2016, 2:28 pm

        What are we, fairly and without prejudice, to say of ‘Judaeochristian’ or ‘Abrahamic’ ethics if they are influenced by this passage or poem and by others like it?

        Or if they actively seek out such passages in order to justify their own hatred and violence. Who cares whether it’s from Isaiah 34 or Judges 16, a past war or a future apocalypse? The important thing is that it contains the word neqamah — “revenge”.

      • Keith
        January 19, 2016, 2:58 pm

        MHUGHES976- “Anti-Semitism to me, Sibiriak, is anti-Jewish prejudice.”

        Anti-Jewish prejudice and nothing more? When Hophmi calls someone an anti-Semite he is saying that they are prejudiced and nothing more? How would you relate anti-Semitism to Jew hatred? What label (if any) would you apply to Jewish belief in eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism?

      • hophmi
        January 19, 2016, 3:26 pm

        “What label (if any) would you apply to Jewish belief in eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism?”

        The Jewish belief? It’s not a Jewish belief. It’s a belief among people who have been persecuted a whole lot. They tend to believe that if it happened all those other times, it’s likely a long-term problem.

        I mean, what label do you apply to the African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism? Do you characterize it that way? I’d say it’s firmly based in historical experience.

      • MHughes976
        January 19, 2016, 3:47 pm

        If there was such a thing as belief among Jewish people that non-Jewish people were inveterately anti-Semitic, what about labelling it ‘paranoid antipathy to non-Jews’? Not very snappy, perhaps. Saying how you would label something if you found it is of course not the same thing as saying that you have found it or that it exists, which is another matter.
        And one might use ‘irrational antipathy against white people’ in parity. Again, the claim that this sentiment actually exists is another matter.
        Definitions are words about words. They are not descriptions or words about the world.

      • tree
        January 19, 2016, 5:13 pm

        I’d say it’s firmly based in historical experience.

        So hophmi, does that mean that if a Palestinian believed in eternal and irrational Israeli Jewish bigotry against them you wouldn’t be the first one to cry “Anti-semite!” or even claim that the belief was anti-semitic at all?

        After all, it would be “firmly based in historical (as well as personal) experience”.

      • Keith
        January 19, 2016, 5:40 pm

        HOPHMI- “The Jewish belief? It’s not a Jewish belief. It’s a belief among people who have been persecuted a whole lot.”

        Do these people have a name? Zionist Jews don’t more-or-less believe these things that I am saying?

        HOPHMI- “They tend to believe that if it happened all those other times, it’s likely a long-term problem.”

        It happened a lot, did it? Relative to other groups? Related in any way to their social position? Jeez, you make it sound irrational. Not eternal merely long term? And in spite of all of this, Jews, being the noble creatures that they are, don’t hold any of this against their Jew hating, murderous brethern, do they? No anti-Gentilism here folks!

        As luck would have it, you have provided the perfect opportunity for me to quote Norman Finkelstein.

        “Two central dogmas underpin the Holocaust framework: (1) The Holocaust marks a categorically unique historical event; (2) The Holocaust marks the climax of an irrational, eternal Gentile hatred of Jews. Neither of these dogmas figured at all in public discourse before the June 1967 war; and, although they became the centerpieces of Holocaust literature, neither figures at all in genuine scholarship on the Nazi holocaust. On the other hand, both dogmas draw on important strands in Judaism and Zionism.”

      • Keith
        January 19, 2016, 6:01 pm

        HOPHMI- I see that I forgot to reference the Finkelstein quote. It is from “The Holocaust Industry,” page 41.

      • Mooser
        January 19, 2016, 6:10 pm

        “I mean, what label do you apply to the African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism?”

        And, “Hophmi” I’m sure will tell us, the existence of this “African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism” is proven by all that civil-rights agitating they do and the civil rights laws passed. I mean, if they didn’t think we were racist, why would they bother about trying to get civil rights and stuff?

      • Keith
        January 19, 2016, 6:25 pm

        MHUGHES976- “…what about labelling it ‘paranoid antipathy to non-Jews’?”

        Better yet, why not call it anti-Gentilism, the mirror image of anti-Semitism?

        MHUGHES976- “If there was such a thing as belief among Jewish people that non-Jewish people were inveterately anti-Semitic….”

        You are unfamiliar with what I have described? You have not seen this occur on Mondoweiss frequently? Perhaps, like Hophmi, these commenters refer to centuries long rather than eternal. And perhaps they don’t explicitly say irrational, however, anyone who attempts to provide some historical understanding runs the risk of being accused of anti-Semitism. You haven’t noticed any of that? Does not Hophmi’s comment to me imply eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism while studiously avoiding these words? Is my Norman Finkelstein quote also about something that seems untrue? (I see that I forgot to reference the Finkelstein quote. It is from “The Holocaust Industry,” page 41)

        MHUGHES976- “Definitions are words about words. They are not descriptions or words about the world.”

        My, what an interesting thing to say! So your definition of anti-Semitism as anti-Jewish prejudice is merely words about words and not a description or words about the world? If your definition was merely a word game, why bring it up? It seems to me that you have gone to a lot of trouble to avoid answering a few simple questions which came to mind in regards to your comment regarding what anti-Semitism means to you.

        I have come to believe that the belief in eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism permeates Jewish Zionist ideology and discourse and is the primary motivator of Jewish Zionist solidarity. Jewish Zionist belief in eternal and irrational Gentile anti-Semitism is demonstrably irrational, yet totally logical from the perspective of Zionist group ideology. Zionism is inherently anti-Gentile.

      • Keith
        January 19, 2016, 6:44 pm

        HOPHMI- “I mean, what label do you apply to the African-American belief in eternal and irrational white racism? Do you characterize it that way? I’d say it’s firmly based in historical experience.”

        You have got some chutzpah comparing the history of Blacks to the Jews. If Blacks had anywhere near the success of the Jews, they would be praising whites rather than whining about their gilded victimhood. Racism against Blacks, Muslims, immigrants and other people of color is obvious to those with eyes to see. On the other hand, Jewish success and power is also obvious, cries of anti-Semitism irrational yet logical from the perspective of Zionist ideology and internal solidarity. You wear your Zionist anti-Gentile bias on your sleeve.

      • talknic
        January 19, 2016, 9:13 pm

        @ hophmi “It’s a belief among people who have been persecuted a whole lot. They tend to believe that if it happened all those other times, it’s likely a long-term problem”

        Like the Zionist Greater Israel project appears to Palestinians and, thanks to the internet, a growing number of people who’re at last getting a peak at over a hundred years of Zionist deceit and over half a century of vile Israeli propaganda

      • MHughes976
        January 20, 2016, 8:29 am

        Heaven knows where this will end up in the sequence.
        All logic depends on distinguishing definitions from descriptions, but that doesn’t make definitions (words about words) unimportant. They are essential if we are to use descriptions effectively.
        I think that prejudices do indeed exist among all groups but claiming that they exist is a different matter than using a term to apply to them. ‘Anti-gentilism’ perhaps – though I find the word ‘gentile’ and its derivatives deeply unpleasant and like to avoid them.

      • Philemon
        January 25, 2016, 9:56 pm

        “…though I find the word ‘gentile’ and its derivatives deeply unpleasant and like to avoid them…”

        My, my! How genteel of you!

  7. MHughes976
    January 19, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I didn’t say ‘and nothing more’. I suppose that in anything I (and you, I expect) would call ‘Jew hatred’ there would be a major element of prejudice: which had better be true, or there would be such a thing as ‘Jew hatred’ which was unprejudiced in any major degree and therefore somewhat rational.
    If you cross the line into prejudiced, therefore not rational, negative ideas about Jewish people the term ‘anti-Semitic’ applies to you, as far as I’m concerned, whether or not you proceed into hatreds and hostilities.
    Anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitic in my opinion because it expresses reason and not prejudice.
    If you wanted a term for ‘prejudice with no further expression” maybe ‘limited anti-Semitism’ would be suitable.
    I’m saying how I use this term. No one owns words and others may use it differently. I think that one of the problems is that people don’t explain what they mean, do not take much care with emotionally loaded terminology and speak inconsistently. The term ‘anti-Semitc’ is certainly canvassed and exploited by those who will not say clearly what they mean by it.
    I still ask what is the unprejudiced assessment of ethics influenced by the remarkable poetry of Isaiah 34.

    • Keith
      January 19, 2016, 7:58 pm

      MHUGHES976- “I didn’t say ‘and nothing more’.”

      No, I did. I was asking a question, was that not clear? My concern is that a casual application of the label “anti-Semite” is not how the label will ultimately be interpreted by Zionists like Hophmi. The charge of anti-Semitism is usually considered much more serious than mere prejudice which is why I asked for a clarification. I am a little surprised that this comment of yours is so out of sequence with the rest of the discussion. I almost missed it.

  8. MHughes976
    January 20, 2016, 7:50 am

    Perhaps we’re close to an understanding on this point,,Keith, and I hope I have, by now at least, made myself clear about my use of ‘anti-Semitism’ to mean ‘anti-Jewish prejudice’. Making ourselves clear is all that any of us can do to prevent Zionists or others from ‘twisting of our words’.
    I seem to have responded in the wrong tone to your question and I quite understand your concern. It’s true that I am applying the term to some thoughts that have no major consequences, so if I call something anti-S I am not thereby saying it has terrible effects, just that it is in itself an example of prejudice – even though no political prejudice is completely trivial.
    I wanted to mention to you why I would not call anti-Zionism anti-Semitism.
    It might help me, not that helping me is a major objective of Mondoweiss, if others would give their definitions too.

    • Kris
      January 20, 2016, 12:34 pm

      If “anti-semitism” were to be defined in a clear way, then it would lose its value to the people who like to sling it around, because then we would know what it is, and isn’t.

      Defining terms is important only when people want to be able to understand each other; this is clearly not the case with those who trade in this term.

      • MHughes976
        January 20, 2016, 4:44 pm

        Defining terms is very important when people are trying to mislead.

  9. rugal_b
    January 27, 2016, 11:32 pm

    How many white Americans harbor pathological racist views towards potential refugees who haven’t even reached the country? Certainly just as much, and even more than the Israelis. Not only that, most white Americans are racist towards their own countrymen that they share a flag with for over 500 years, which is even more pathetic.

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