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Help journalist David Sheen write the first book on anti-African racism in Israel

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If you know about the rising Israeli racism against African refugee neighborhoods in Tel Aviv it’s likely because of Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen. For the past three years, Sheen has tirelessly captured the growing anti-asylum seeker movement that hit a fever-pitch in 2012 when members of the government called to expel and even “rape” Africans. His video reports have been instrumental in documenting hate-speech from average Israelis to high-ranking officials, and making this dangerous trend accessible to international audiences.

Now Sheen is writing a book, compiling his research into the first large-scale reportage on anti-African racism. He’s asking for support. You can see his crowd source pitch above.

Some highlights of Sheen’s previous work include rallies in Tel Aviv where masses chanted that they are “proud” to be “racist” against Africans. One of the protesters expresses rage over looking out her window and seeing “shit and spit and psychopaths,” a euphemism for Africans. She closes her rant declaring I’m proud to be a racist! And it’s our right to be a racist!” To this the crowd goes wild breaking into a chant of “it’s our right! It’s our right to be racist!”

Then the demonstration breaks into song belting out HaTikvah, Israel’s national anthem. With the lyrics the self-described racists liken historical Jewish servitude and oppression to their contemporary plight of residing near black people.

In another video Sheen films Knesset member and child of Tunisian immigrants Eli Yishai speaking about a court case where a foreign worker had filed to get time off to give birth. Yishai said that if it were up to him, non-Jews wouldn’t be allowed to have children in Israel. “I would have ordered her to be sent back to her country of origin.” Then like a case of rapid amnesia, Yishai went on to say, “There’s no place in the world as good for foreign workers as it is here in the State of Israel”

You can support Sheen’s work here.

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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9 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    November 5, 2013, 9:51 am

    Much about this strand of Israeli racism in GOLIATH, and Blumenthal’s source or guide for it (as I recall) was David Sheen himself. (Of course, the major strand of Israeli racism addresses Palestinians.)

    I think that Israeli racism is hard for Americans and especially American Jews to believe/accept/fail-to-deny/accept-evidence-of and the reasons are two: [1] the entire story of racism against Jews (and Jewish help in America’s Civil Rights movement in the 1960s) makes Jews as a class seem to be enemies of racism generally, as many Jews believe, so Israeli racism produces “cognitive dissonance”, and [2] to the extent this Israeli racism comes from RABBIs, as much indeed does, it makes it appear that racism is PART-AND-PARCEL of (orthodox) JEWISH RELIGIOUS BELIEF, something American Jews and their friends would be especially desirous of denying (whether it is ever true or not, and whether it is universal in Jewish religious teaching or not).

    Therefore there will be DENIAL followed by BAD-APPLE-ism. Just as American military and pols use denial and bad-apple-ism to deal with the undeniable undue viciousness and worse of many American soldiers and CIA agents, of entire attacks, as at Falluja, and of methods (the collateral-damage prone DRONEs and massive bombings).

    Be interesting to see if Israeli racism against black Africans will be more palatable to Americans, American media, American pols, than Israeli racism against Palestinians has been.

  2. seafoid
    November 5, 2013, 10:09 am

    Done. I thought there might be a thug in an olive green uniform screaming “anti-semite” on the credit card page but then I remembered they have no power over the internet.

    • annie
      November 5, 2013, 10:34 am


      me too!

      • seafoid
        November 5, 2013, 11:24 am

        There is something different about spending money on things like this project. Not made in China, decent work conditions, super topic.

      • LeaNder
        November 5, 2013, 5:23 pm

        I joined you. Agreed. Worth supporting. I remember now that I saw some of his work before. Didn’t connect it immediately with the name David Sheen apparently. Seems Max made the name stick.

        Thanks to Allison for alerting us to his project.

        One of the protesters expresses rage over looking out her window and seeing “shit and spit and psychopaths,” a euphemism for Africans.

        I found this lady quite startling too. So she sees it in these “psychopathic” eyes that they want to rape and kill her? Hmm??? Do they dare to meet her eyes, not lower their heads? Really, really odd.

        The term psychopaths seems to be quite helpful to project one’s missing empathy for “others” on “others”, the “unfeeling others”, the people without empathy out there.

      • seafoid
        November 6, 2013, 3:21 pm

        Shit and spit. Like jews don’t defecate in their holy land. Is this true?

  3. OlegR
    November 5, 2013, 10:23 am

    / 2012 when members of the government called to expel and even “rape” Africans./

  4. lysias
    November 5, 2013, 10:30 am

    Slightly OT, Andrew Sullivan has picked up on the outrageousness of Eric Alterman’s attack on Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath here: Blumenthal vs Alterman. Blumenthal’s book deals at length with Israeli anti-African racism, and the language Sullivan quotes from Blumenthal’s response to Alterman makes it clear that the chapters in Blumenthal’s book whose titles Alterman particularly objected to (“The Night of Broken Glass” and “The Concentration Camp”) deal with Israeli anti-African racism. I learned about the Sullivan piece from Glenn Greenwald’s tweet here.

    • annie
      November 5, 2013, 10:33 am

      thanks lysia. yes, we know about that. chris hedges wrote and incredible review as well. we’ll get to them!

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