Cross-posted from In These Times
Israel has always had issues with space, displacing Palestinian populations and carving out new settlements. Now, a growing migrant population has evoked a fresh wave of xenophobic rage. Last month, Tel Aviv was the site of rabid attacks on shops and residents in African migrant communities.
Israeli protesters chanted slogans such as “infiltrators get out” and “Tel Aviv: A refugee camp”. Three members of the right wing Likud party–part of the governing coalition–were among the politicians who attended. One of them, Miri Regev, was quoted as saying that “the Sudanese are like a cancer in society.”
Amin, an Eritrean migrant whose business, a local bar, was destroyed by rioters, told the Jerusalem Post in bewilderment, “They just smashed the place up. They destroyed everything. Why? What for? What have we done to them?”
In this nation built by refugees of war and genocide, the protesters seemed oblivious to the historical refraction of this display of mob terror and smashed glass. If anything, their hatred for migrants living and working among them resonated with bigotry overseas, particularly anti-Latino jingoist campaigns in the United States.
Haaretz quoted a shoe seller in the Hatikva neighborhood who seemed inspired by America’s legacy of racism.
“It will become Harlem here,” Kuzarov warned. “You walk here on Shabbat and you don’t see anyone our color. This was the happiest place in the world; now it’s become a black grave.” Read the rest of this entry →