‘Nazi stuff’: The Israeli government takes on African refugees

Middle East
on 44 Comments

Following Israel’s Supreme Court decision last week, limiting the state’s ability to imprison African asylum seekers indefinitely if they do not accept deportation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Culture Minister went to visit southern Tel Aviv in order to “give it back to the Israeli residents.”

“We are here on a mission to give back south Tel Aviv to the Israeli residents”, Netanyahu said.

Following the court decision, Netanyahu promised to find other ways of dealing with the “infiltrators” (as the court also calls them):

“We’ll have to enact new laws that will enable us … to send the illegal infiltrators out of our country”, he said. 

The court ruling has caused considerable outrage from the right. It brought Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to drop all Zionist masks, and say:

“Zionism should not – and I’m saying here that it will not – continue to bow its head to a system of individual rights interpreted in a universal manner”. 

Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy summarized her claim:

“Thus Shaked believes, as do so many around the world, that Israel is built on foundations of injustice and therefore must be defended from the hostile talk of justice. How else can the repulsion to discussing rights be explained? Individual rights are important, she said, but not when they are disconnected from ‘the Zionist challenges.’ Right again: The Zionist challenges indeed stand in contradiction to human rights.” 

So what were Netanyahu and Regev doing in south Tel Aviv in their recent “mission”? They were inciting against the refugees for political gain, making them the scapegoat for a general neglect of the area, that has nothing to do with refugees as such. 

Regev has already called refugees a “cancer in our body”, during a pogrom on refugees in 2012. Now, she applied a reversal of victim roles:  whilst saying that the refugees are “not refugees” but rather “infiltrators”, she went further, to say that

“[T]he residents of south Tel Aviv are the ones who became refugees in their own country”.

Netanyahu incited against the refugees saying they were “lawless infiltrators”. That is, he implied that they are simply all criminals:

“Together with the foreign, culture and interior ministers we will enforce a much stronger enforcement vis-á-vis employers, the lawless infiltrators and everything we need to do to increase enforcement”, he said.

As for the interior minister, Aryeh Deri, he already expressed his ‘care’ for the residents of Tel Aviv versus the refugees, saying, “We have to care for the citizens of Israel, the residents of south Tel Aviv and other cities where residents’ lives are unlivable.” Yesterday he added to this, further accentuating the ‘Israeli victimhood’. From Haaretz:

“When you see the atmosphere there, on a pleasant day with everyone outdoors, it’s nice to see,” said Dery. “But when you look at the buildings and streets and you know what Neve Sha’anan, Levinsky and HaGdud HaIvri Streets and the park used to look like, everything has been wiped out. You hardly see any Israeli in the dark hours and it wasn’t even that late. You see those families and their children. When you hear police reports on what goes on there at night and you realize that Tel Aviv residents still live there, Israelis and Jews who found a place for themselves there. Why are they to blame?”

The official bigotry toward refugees has not escaped some Israelis. “This is Nazi stuff that creates the tension and hatred against them,” said Itamar Zigler, a 40-year old local resident. “I think it’s just for political gain,” he added (as noted by Jerusalem Post).

“What happens is that very angry and frustrated people from these neighborhoods – whose frustration I do understand, are pointing fingers in the wrong direction, which is at people who fled violent countries,” Zigler said. He added that the refugees were not the problem: “Before the Africans came, we had the same problems: pollution, junkies and prostitution.”

Inbal Egoz, who runs an NGO called Power to the Community (she was born and raised in the area), said that “the government and media talk about all the crimes the refugees are supposedly committing here, but they are not to blame for the situation. When the refugees first came, the government sent them to Tel Aviv because south Tel Aviv is the backyard of Israel. This area was neglected for many years before they came, but the government wants to make it look like they are to blame for the conditions here, and that if we deport them everything will be fine, and that’s not true”, she said.

Yes, it’s an awfully familiar pattern, isn’t it? Where have we experienced such scapegoating before? This is Nazi stuff.

P.S. I remember southern Tel Aviv very well from my childhood. The old bus central station in its midst, covering a rather large area, was replaced with a new one near to it (opened in 1993), but the old station remained, and it still is more or less what it was – perhaps the porn magazine industry and the closed pornographic cinema “Merkaz” (meaning “center”) have suffered from the advent of internet, but otherwise the drugs and prostitution are there, and in general, Southern Tel-Aviv has been neglected for many decades by the municipality. But this has been going on long before the recent waves of refugees from African countries.

About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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44 Responses

  1. DaBakr
    September 5, 2017, 8:05 pm

    The portion of 5% tel aviv arabs living in south are just as disgusted with municipal services and want “their” city “back” as well from illegal economic immigrants.

    ofir can make as much hay as he likes about shakids statement but there is no implicit directive to treat individual rights the same way they are treated in declining european nations or even the United States (which, btw, the far left progressive would very much like to limit individual rights as they see fit. so it’s takes a lot of gaul to hear such hysterics from the progressive fringe

    • RoHa
      September 5, 2017, 9:55 pm

      “a lot of gaul”

      Two parts, at least, if not all three.

      • DaBakr
        September 5, 2017, 10:47 pm

        @r

        I might have said chutzpah but didn’t want to give moosr a heart attack

      • Jonathan Ofir
        September 6, 2017, 2:21 am

        And two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • RoHa
        September 6, 2017, 9:31 am

        Instead, you summoned Caesar’s ghost.

        Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.

    • Emory Riddle
      September 7, 2017, 8:14 pm

      Wow. You are actually defending this? I guess. Kind of hard to say.

      You apparently are deflecting this blatant racism away from the ruling elites who actually made these racist statements and shifting it onto the powerless Palestinians living in Tel Aviv (Arabs in your Zio influenced language) with no quotes or even anecdotal evidence.

      Then you sort of admit that different groups are not equal under Israeli law and custom …but then seem to present this as a good thing, asserting nations that do adhere to (at least officially) this most just of worldviews are “declining” (unlike Israel I guess?) — but then immediately shift gears again to proclaim those nations would like to limit this basic right in any event.

      All very confusing and filled with contradictions.

      I think this is called throwing as much shite at the wall as you can to see what sticks.

      The problem with that, of course, is whether it sticks or not it’s still nothing but a pile of shite.

  2. eljay
    September 5, 2017, 8:18 pm

    Ayelet Shaked:

    … She said that individual rights are important, but not when they are “disconnected from our national goals, from our identity, from our history, from our Zionist challenges.” And finally, she issued a threat: “Zionism should not – and I’m saying here that it will not – continue to bow its head to a system of individual rights interpreted in a universalist manner.” …

    Individual rights are great except for when they get in the way of Jewish supremacism in/and the colonialist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” construct.

    Zionists truly are hateful and immoral people.

    • DaBakr
      September 5, 2017, 10:39 pm

      @ej

      I lost count of the number of times you use “jewish supremacism ” and’jewish is a choice’ like a lifestyle choice I imagine since so many jews are secular, buddist, atheist etc.

      China, which is no longer considered a pariah nation by you mondoweissers does not consider the rights of the individual compared to the state but I know, nobody or no thing can compare to the evil of zionism except for german nazis. 2 peas in a pod. nobody is going to convince you otherwise. and china didn’t steal land either. well, maybe just little tiny tibet but whos counting tibet when zionism is on the rampage? all of us are so so hateful. so immoral. it’s killing us to hear us described such.ouch.

      Individual rights get in the way of a lot of things and your fooling yourself if you think your living in a state where your individual rights are not compromised for the state in some ways. you are just twisted up in knots obsessing over israel

      • eljay
        September 6, 2017, 8:41 am

        || @Br @ September 5, 2017, 10:39 pm ||

        The list of countries the “moral beacon” and “light unto the nations” state of Israel isn’t quite as bad as continues to grow: Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hell-holes”, 19th-century America and, now, China.

        It’s strange how Zionists take tremendous pride not in being just or moral but simply in being less shitty than other, shittier people.

      • John O
        September 6, 2017, 8:51 am

        @DaBakr

        “China, which is no longer considered a pariah nation by you mondoweissers”

        Since you introduced the subject of China (which I don’t recall being a major, or even a minor, topic of conversation here), perhaps you might like to provide some evidence for your assertion.

      • Talkback
        September 6, 2017, 10:58 am

        Contrary to JSIL and it’s Nazi like differentiation between nationals and citizens China considers all Tibetans to be Chinese nationals, doesn’t it?

      • Elizabeth Block
        September 6, 2017, 11:19 am

        Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever described China as the only democracy in the Far East – or as a democracy at all.

        Yes, we Jews do tend to obsess over Israel. And so we should. Berthold Brecht said that everyone should speak about his own disgrace. Israel is ours.

      • Misterioso
        September 6, 2017, 11:27 am

        The subject under discussion is Israel and Zionism, not China. Diversion is so “old hat.”

      • Mooser
        September 6, 2017, 1:35 pm

        “(which, btw, the far left progressive would very much like to limit individual rights as they see fit”

        You bet, the right to discriminate, the right to abuse, the right to deny civil rights on the basis of race and other things has sure been under pressure!

      • catalan
        September 6, 2017, 5:08 pm

        “Berthold Brecht said that everyone should speak about his own disgrace. Israel is ours.”
        I don’t see why younger Jews (I was born in the early 1970s) should bear any responsibility for what Israel does or does not do. Should Chinese-Americans be responsible about the ugliness of the communist regime in China? The point is not whether Israel is the best place or the worst place, it’s neither really; but why should a four year old Jewish kid born in the the United States have to own up to any “disgrace” related to Israel. I am all for a negotiated settlement in Palestine, realizing how difficult that would be. But American Jews have nothing to do with this, unless they want to be involved. American Jews are actually safe of course – not because we are so loved, but because we are one of a hundred nationalities, religions, cultures, and creeds living here. We could go against each other, like in a prison riot, but unlikely that all the strains would combine against anyone (Armenians, Jews, Muslims, whatever).

      • Mooser
        September 6, 2017, 5:52 pm

        “I don’t see why younger Jews (I was born in the early 1970s) should bear any responsibility…”

        If you don’t want to bear some of the responsibility, don’t want to make a contribution to Israel’s upkeep, don’t expect Israel to be there when you need it. Do you think an ancestral homeland comes cheap?

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 6, 2017, 5:56 pm

        catalan:

        “But American Jews have nothing to do with this..”

        Your country gives annually about 3,8 billon dollars to support the Israelian regime and the IDF. Without that money the Israelians would have had to negotiate about the peace for a long time ago. So as long as your regime is this deeply involved in the conflict, you will be too (want it or not).

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 6, 2017, 6:14 pm

        Catalan:

        I don’t remember from where I wrote this down, but:

        “We are not responsible for the past, but we are responsible for the present and for the future.”

        You can’t run away from that.

      • amigo
        September 6, 2017, 7:00 pm

        “I don’t see why younger Jews (I was born in the early 1970s) should bear any responsibility for what Israel does or does not do”catalan

        So wtf are you doing spending so much time (company ,no doubt)making excuses for Israel. 679 posts so far You are part of the problem.

        ” But American Jews have nothing to do with this “catalan.

        Wouldn,t that be nice if it were so.Israel would have dropped out of sight long ago.Let,s hope your wishes come true.

      • echinococcus
        September 6, 2017, 8:08 pm

        Kaisa,

        …would have had to negotiate about the peace … a long time ago

        Negotiate? The Zionist entity couldn’t last a full week without Sugardaddy. Even Saudi wouldn’t dare save them.

      • eljay
        September 6, 2017, 8:16 pm

        || catalan: … I don’t see why younger Jews (I was born in the early 1970s) should bear any responsibility for what Israel does or does not do. … ||

        Zionists should bear all responsibility for what Israel’s actions. Non-Zionist Jews should not bear any responsibility. The problem is that Zionists insist on anti-Semitically conflating Israel and Zionism with all Jews. More cannon-fodder for when the blowback hits.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 6, 2017, 10:07 pm

        Echi:

        “Negotiate? The Zionist entity couldn’t last a full week without Sugardaddy.”

        Yes, I know.. For some reason, I did not want to sound so “harsh”..

      • catalan
        September 7, 2017, 12:24 pm

        “Zionists should bear all responsibility for what Israel’s actions. Non-Zionist Jews should not bear any responsibility.” eljay
        Several questions – who is a Zionist? Someone who says “I am a Zionist”, or someone who acts like a Zionist as defined by someone else? Who gets to distinguish Zionist vs. non-Zionist Jews, i.e. is it possible that some are in the middle?
        Also – when you say bear responsibility, what do you mean? Do we want to say that anyone that subscribes to a creed “bears responsibility” for all its shortcomings? So if the democrat Clinton bombed Serbian civilian cities, do all democrats “bear responsibility”, or just those that approve. If just those that approve, that why all Zionists “bear responsibility”; why is it not possible to be a Zionist and not approve of a specific action.
        Finally, what is the “bear responsibility” practically – you mentioned ones that you think I should be kicked out of the United States because I was once illegal, even though I have lived here for 20 years, paid taxes, worked, and have a kid who is an American citizen. What in your mind should be done to Zionist Jews, let’s say in America – should they be deported, hanged, made to pay money?

      • Mooser
        September 7, 2017, 8:09 pm

        “Several questions – who is a Zionist?”

        A Jewish person who does not give of his income to Zionist causes, who does not make repeated visits to Israel, who does not make Aliyah (or her sister), who does not buy property in Israel or invest in Israel, who does not practice Judaism exactly as it is practiced in Israel, yet professes to be a Zionist, is called a “sentimental Zionist”.
        And if this person harbors some fantasy about Israel being ready to take them in and hide them out, they’re called something else.

      • Emory Riddle
        September 7, 2017, 8:16 pm

        “I lost count of the number of times you use “jewish supremacism”.

        I read the comment and that term was used once.

      • eljay
        September 7, 2017, 9:42 pm

        || catalan: … Several questions … ||

        A Zionist is a person who believes that people who choose to hold the religion-based identity of Jewish are entitled to a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. All Zionists bear some degree of responsibility for the past and on-going (war) crimes committed on behalf of Zionism. Some bear a greater degree of responsibility than others. Responsibility could (and IMO should) include prison time, reparations, etc. – the sorts of things you think “younger Jews” shouldn’t have to bear.

        Speaking of which, I have a couple of questions for you. The implication of your comment “I don’t see why younger Jews … should bear any responsibility for what Israel does or does not do” is that older Jews should have to bear that responsibility.
        1. Why do you want to hold older Jews and not Zionists responsible for the actions of Israel?
        2. What sort of responsibility do you think older Jews should have to bear?

        || … you mentioned ones that you think I should be kicked out of the United States because I was once illegal, even though I have lived here for 20 years, paid taxes, worked, and have a kid who is an American citizen. … ||

        No, I did not say you “should be kicked out of the United States”. You wrote:

        … Many break immigration laws, myself included. …

        And I replied:

        And they and you should be held accountable – not celebrated or rewarded- for your unlawful behaviour.

        I did not specify what form that accountability should take. Do you think it should be less than, comparable to or greater than the responsibility you feel older Jews should bear?

      • catalan
        September 7, 2017, 10:13 pm

        “I did not specify what form that accountability should take. Do you think it should be less than, comparable to or greater than the responsibility you feel older Jews should bear? ” Eljay
        I don’t think that people have any responsibility to hold a set of beliefs or not to hold one. I think that the majority of us would like to live in a society where any belief is permissible, including morally questionable ones. For example, there is no responsibility to NOT be a white nationalist, a Muslim or Jewish fanatic, anything really. I think that the expression of these beliefs should be free too, although there might be some benefit to excluding some very extreme ones like the advocating of rape, invasion of privacy, stuff like that. Voting, in my opinion should also be free and we should be able to vote for candidates who hold some very offensive opinions, like David Duke, Le Pen, whatever. Our “responsibility” is not to commit crimes, real crimes. I don’t think that housing an illegal immigrant is a crime even if it is against the law. Anything that doesn’t break the law is personal business. So I don’t see any responsibility that Jews in America have regarding what beliefs they hold about Israel. Being a Zionist does not make one responsible for anything. Likewise, Americans don’t have a responsibility to be against communism, even though my own experience with communism was much less than perfect.

      • eljay
        September 8, 2017, 6:35 pm

        || catalan @ September 7, 2017, 10:13 pm ||

        First, I need to correct something I wrote:
        – In my reply to your original comment I wrote “Zionists bear all responsibility” for Israel’s actions.
        – In response to your follow-up comment, I mistakenly wrote “All Zionists bear some degree of responsibility” for Israel’s actions.

        I stand by my original assertion that Zionists bear all responsibility for Israel’s actions. And I will add that some Zionists bear more responsibility than others.

        || … I don’t think that people have any responsibility to hold a set of beliefs or not to hold one. … ||

        That’s nice, but the discussion wasn’t about the right to hold beliefs, it was about who should be responsible for Israel’s actions. You say that it shouldn’t be younger Jews (but you don’t say that it shouldn’t be older Jews). I say that it should be Zionists (Jewish or not).

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2017, 10:13 pm

        That’s nice, but the discussion wasn’t about the right to hold beliefs, it was about who should be responsible for Israel’s actions.

        before we get too carried away here, i thought i’d point out “who should be responsible for Israel’s actions”, originally, was catalan’s divert from the “conversation”. because Bertolt Brecht’s comment ‘let everyone speak about his own disgrace’, is not about (primarily or otherwise) taking responsibility per se. it’s about being fearless (in ones own introspection).

      • catalan
        September 8, 2017, 7:25 pm

        “I say that it should be Zionists (Jewish or not).” Eljay
        Eljay,
        I think we have to clarity the word responsibility. If you are talking about moral responsibility, of course, everyone has moral responsibility for their actions. I don’t know that there is any moral responsibility for beliefs. For example, I can fantasize about rape or murder or theft, but that’s just my fantasies. Where do we draw the line? Do people have moral responsibility for their dreams?
        Then, there is the issue of criminal responsibility. In the United States, beliefs and ideals are not subject to criminal responsibility as far as I know. You can support the genocide in South Sudan, the murder of Tutsis, or any sort of abhorrent regimes or people. That’s not against the law unless you take actions that are prohibited, like trading with North Korea or paying bribes to foreign officials.
        It seems to me that the people who you call Zionists, those that like Israel and say publicly that they support Israel are not in violation of any current law. As far as moral responsibility, I don’t think that liking or not liking something has anything to do with morality. If they take actions, beyond expressing an opinion, like let’s say if they give money to the Israeli army, then surely they have a moral responsibility. But they would say that they are doing the moral thing and that you are immoral. Who gets to be the ultimate judges of this morality?

      • eljay
        September 9, 2017, 1:46 am

        || catalan: blahblahblah ||

        How is it that you – according to your comments archive – can be in some measure responsible for America’s defence budget, but Zionists cannot be in any measure responsible for the actions of their colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state?

        More to the point: What responsibility were you referring to when you said that younger Jews (but not older Jews) shouldn’t bear responsibility for Israel’s actions?

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 9, 2017, 2:20 am

        catalan:

        About responsibilities:

        Could you clarify your theory a bit more for me?? So if there was a group of Neo Nazis who would repeatedly harass and violently attack Jewish people and f.ex. synagogas, I would have no resposibility what so ever, even if I was actively supporting their ideology and defending their actions by speaking and writing about it in public, just as long as I did not give them any money or physically join them in their actions?

        Wouldn’t that also mean that in 2nd WW all of those people who supported Hitler, Holocoust and anti-semitic ideologies, but only did it by speaking or writing, not joining any actions, had no responsibility what so ever in what eventually happened in the consentration camps?? Is this what you are meaning?? So defending and speaking for violent ideologies is just part of freedom of the speech and the responsibility comes only to those who then carry through the actions? (I wonder if Hitler personally then was quilty of anything?? Did he actually ever act violently towards the Jews or was he just speaking and supporting his own ideology and encouraging others to act??)

        As I see it, by speaking and defending any ideology, you are part of “it’s” actions, but feel free to make me understand your point of view!!

      • catalan
        September 9, 2017, 10:20 am

        “but feel free to make me understand your point of view!!”
        My point of view is clear – holding beliefs and expressing an opinion should be free regardless of how offensive they are. One can hold the belief and write articles about how pedophilia should be allowed or torture should be allowed or Blacks should be send back to Africa. Indeed, many do so. Hitler was a statesman and his orders to invade Russia or Holland were actual actions. However, the regular German who voted for the Nazi party or supported its actions was not deemed a criminal by the allies after the war. Ultimately, I sense that you feel that I should be put in jail for what I believe in – a two state solution. But then you would have to put in jail most of the world. Or maybe you think I should rot in jail for not supporting a boycott. That is kind of why I chose to live in these great United States. Here I can do and believe and say whatever I want and I don’t need to justify and defend myself for it. It’s an academic debate. In truth, it is perfectly legal in the US to not support a boycott.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 13, 2017, 9:43 pm

        catalan:

        “Ultimately, I sense that you feel that I should be put in jail for what I believe in ..”

        Well, better not to trust your senses then..

        I don’t care if it is one, two, three or what ever amount of states, just this madness you constantly keep defending here ends.

        You have your right to your opinion ofcourse, but do not expect me to be tapping on your back for that..

      • catalan
        September 14, 2017, 11:11 am

        “I don’t care if it is one, two, three or what ever amount of states, just this madness you constantly keep defending here ends.” Kaisa
        I don’t defend any “madness” as you put it. I have zero impact on the Middle East, Israel or world politics. I am my own person and have my own thoughts about things. Sometimes they converge with yours, sometimes they diverge.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        September 14, 2017, 1:35 pm

        catalan:

        “I don’t defend any “madness” as you put it..”

        Have you read your own comments??

        Your words are your sword and there are no words which would not matter at all.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2017, 5:05 pm

        .” I am my own person and have my own thoughts about things”

        Then why don’t you keep them to yourself?
        Once you post them on a blog, they belong to everybody.
        And the reactions you get are hardly extreme, considering you are at pains to portray yourself as a tiresome sociopath. Alternating with kvetching about your dendrites melting.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 14, 2017, 5:56 pm

        catalan just blathers away as all hell is about to break loose. http://mondoweiss.net/2017/09/rightist-smotrich-apartheid/ he’s disgusting.

  3. jsinton
    September 5, 2017, 11:50 pm

    Everybody needs a boogyman to point the finger at. Africans dirtying up “our fair city” very familiar to us Americans. No surprises here.

  4. Ronald Johnson
    September 6, 2017, 8:27 am

    “Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est”

    • John O
      September 6, 2017, 8:52 am

      Not for long – they have a magic potion.

      • DCM
        September 6, 2017, 3:32 pm

        John Obelix, is that you?

      • John O
        September 7, 2017, 4:24 am

        @DCM

        Oui!

    • Mooser
      September 6, 2017, 2:22 pm

      Very true. I usually delineate them as “Chutzpah”, “brass”, and “huevos”. But there are others.

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