Israel declares hunting season open against African refugees
Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center
Jews should know what being a refugee means. Throughout the centuries, they were pushed out from the countries in which they were born, either by repression and massacres, or by poverty and hunger. In the Christian anti-Semitic ideology, the Jew was described as the black man of White Europe, until post WW II when he was integrated into the Christian “civilization," leaving his underdog place to the Muslims and the Roma.
Israeli Minister of Interior Eli Yishai, whose family hails from the northern African country of Tunisia, has budgeted for creation of a concentration camp for African refugees in Israel (Photo: Knesset website)
In immigrating to Palestine, European Jews ceased to be the black men of the West, and became the white men of the East. As such they need to protect themselves from blackness, and black immigration. For that, every means is permissible.
"Most of the people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man", said Minister of Interior Eli Yishai, who apparently forgot that his family didn't immigrate to Israel from Europe but from an Arab-African country (Tunisia). He forgot also that his own party – Shas – was established because non-European Jewish orthodox were labeled "blacks" by their European "brothers". Eli Yishai, paint yourself as much as you can, and still you will remain a black in the eyes of those you try to mime!
Eli Yishai, however, is not a private person, but Minister of Interior, and his racist philosophy is translated into state policy. In his suggestions related to the African refugees, he now enters competition with many other racist politicians, all of them proposing measures reminiscent of the darkest days of modern Jewish history. For example, MK Aryeh Eldad, who suggests simply to open fire [sic] on any "infiltrator who penetrates [Israel] borders, rather than only at those suspected of being armed."
The Minister of Interior does not go so far, and promises to open a concentration camp (budget of $167 million, already approved) able to host tens of thousands [sic] of "infiltrators", and to imprison for three years every African who entered Israel illegally.
The use of the name "infiltrator" instead of refugee, is not accidental: in the Israeli collective memory, "infiltrator" was the name given to Palestinian armed groups crossing the borders. By using this concept, the government is transforming a humanitarian issue of refugees into a national security threat. And indeed, the link is made by Yishai: "The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream".
Yishai’s Zionist dream is our nightmare: an ethnic State where every "foreigner", including the indigenous Palestinians, are perceived and treated as an existential threat.
"The problem of the infiltrators must be solved and we will solve it" PM Benjamin Netanyahu declared after the racist riots in the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv two weeks ago. In this statement, the PM used the Hebrew word lehipater, which is from the same root as pitaron (solution) – the very same concept used by the Nazis in the Final Solution of the Jewish question. He didn't say whether the solution would be through the shootings suggested by Aryeh Eldad or the concentration camps of Eli Yishai. In both cases, it is a spit in the face of our elders, who have been the victims of both.
Michael Warschawski is a veteran anti-colonial Israeli activist, author, journalist and co-founder of the Alternative Information Center (AIC).