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.