"Politicians say these things in the morning, and by the afternoon we get bomb threats made to our office." - Nic Schlagman, African Refugee Development Center
May 24, 2012 7:56 AM   Subscribe

A night of broken glass in Tel Aviv. A few weeks after a series of racially-motivated firebombings against the disproportionately Christian African refugee community in South Tel Aviv, and days after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned of "illegal infiltrators flooding the country”, a protest of more than 1,000 Israelis grew angry and violent, following inciting speeches(potentially NSFW, racism) from Knesset members, including members of the ruling coalition. A violent race riot ensued. Journalists reported difficulty covering the riots, due to threats, attacks, and inadequate police protection, forcing some to flee from angry mobs.
posted by markkraft (67 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: I think once you're telling people to "deal with it" for disliking the "hey remember that thing the Nazis did" opening of your post about something complicated and touchy we're really into the territory of this being something you should be using your own blog, not the front page of Metafilter, to do. -- cortex



 
(Note: The NSFW warning is specific to the fact that the people who posted the YouTube video in question showing the speeches and several of the incidences of violence were themselves members of the protest.

The video headline text used "The Sudanese F*ck Back To Sudan ! Israel - For Israelis !" isn't suitable for the workplace. I debated a similar warning for this video, as it is listed as searchable by YouTube under the keyword "niggers", but the keyword listing does not come up by default.)
posted by markkraft at 8:04 AM on May 24, 2012


This situation is sickening; wasn't it about 65-70 years ago that another group was spouting hate towards them? Has history taught them nothing about the dangers of hate mongering?
posted by Jaymzifer at 8:05 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kristallnacht (on the 'night of broken glass' reference.)

I don't know what to make of these Jews. This is disgraceful.

I'm beginning to think Operation Exodus was a really, really bad idea.

posted by snuffleupagus at 8:08 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This situation is sickening; wasn't it about 65-70 years ago that another group was spouting hate towards them? Has history taught them nothing about the dangers of hate mongering?

The generation who faced death in the concentration camps and fought hard for the survival of Israel are disappearing rapidly. The protestors are likely a generation or two removed from these original Israelis and have no idea what it was like 65-70 years ago.

Still no excuse for this, of course.
posted by tommasz at 8:12 AM on May 24, 2012


Yah, maybe the Israeli government can have Sudanese immigrants wear a little patch in public or something so it will be easier to persecute them.
posted by spitbull at 8:13 AM on May 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


From the second link:

While [asylum seekers] are allowed to stay, Israel does not give these asylum-seekers work visas.

That seems like a willfully obtuse move on Israel's part, basically establishing a permanent underclass.
posted by Panjandrum at 8:14 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Panjandrum:That seems like a willfully obtuse move on Israel's part, basically establishing a permanent underclass."

Well, there is some precedent there.
posted by The White Hat at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Israel already has a permanent underclass.
posted by spitbull at 8:18 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think comparing this to Kristallnacht is a shitty way to frame this (is this really the same as sending 30,000 Jews to concentration camps and burning 1,000 synagogues?) With that said, it's a despicable and shameful event. I'd like to know more about why the Sudanese and Eritreans are migrating to Israel in the first place. The journey itself seems horrific:
The migrants make their way by foot, paying Beduin traffickers to smuggle them across the Egyptian border with Israel. According to testimony given by migrants in Israel, the traffickers often hold them in "torture camps" where they torture them in order to extort money from their relatives in Africa or Israel. There have also been reports of organ theft and systematic rape of female migrants by the Beduin traffickers.
Is it because it is harder to seek asylum in the Europe? Easier to reach? Better chance for work? Or is it for religious purposes?
posted by gwint at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Disproportionately" Christian is an odd choice of words - it seems to suggest that they shouldn't be Christian, or there are too many Christians or something.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called African asylum-seekers “infiltrators” who are a “concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country”.

This is precisely, precisely an outgrowth of the poisonously racist climate and the targeting of the Palestinians. It's no coincidence that the journalist who was attacked was [falsely, insanely] accused of throwing stones at the checkpoint.

It has nothing to do with "the Jews" or Judaism; it has to do with Israel, it has to do with how a Jewish state is a bad solution to anti-semitism, and how a Jewish state in the middle of the Middle East might be the worst solution possible to imagine. The only way for Israel to survive as a Jewish state is to act in a violent, disgusting, racist manner, to militarize itself, to be a client state of the US, to be a researcher and creator of new military technology. (Which Israel does very well, and then exports.) It could have been predicted back in the fifties. It's horribly sad. It's horribly corrupting. All you have to do is look at the photos of the Israelis shelling Gaza with white phosphorus to know that this is a state whose citizens have been emotionally deformed and misshapen by politics.*

Every time I think of the Jewish radicals who went to Israel in the 20s and 30s, I think that they would probably rather have jumped in the sea than turn Israel into this.

*The worst photo I have ever seen, which didn't get wide distribution and in fact was sent me by a connection of the man who took it, was a photo of a Palestianian guy among a crowd of Palestinians in a destroyed street, holding up the corpse of a baby who'd been burned to death - the body was so burned that it was nothing but meat. Think about living in a country where you are so close to those acts of violence that they are part of your constant knowledge. It's not the biggest reason to change Israeli politics, but it's important - it's corrupting and destructive and soul-killing to do those things to others, to see them done. When the white phosphorus was being dropped last time, people pulled out their lawn chairs and watched. That's the harm to the Israelis, and it's real though less deadly than the harm to the Palestinians.
posted by Frowner at 8:21 AM on May 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


The generation who faced death in the concentration camps and fought hard for the survival of Israel are disappearing rapidly. The protestors are likely a generation or two removed from these original Israelis and have no idea what it was like 65-70 years ago.

Still no excuse for this, of course.
posted by tommasz at 8:12 AM on May 24 [+] [!]


I dunno, I'm not totally sure that the Shoah generation really cared for non-Jewish refugees that much, if you catch my drift.

Also, lol to the self-godwinning post.
posted by Avenger at 8:22 AM on May 24, 2012


A tragic series of events.

And sadly this is indicative of the underlying intolerance and anger among many Israelis after years of violent, intolerant and extreme rhetoric. Israel is a tragic example of a progressive state ruled by irrational ideologues and a deeply out of touch minority given preferential status.

There are many working for change, though. Let us hope the younger generation of Israelis will do better than their parents in working towards reconciliation and peace.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (borrowed from Unitarian Minister and Abolitionist Theodore Parker)
posted by iheijoushin at 8:22 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


60,000 people? We're talking about 60,000 people? That does not seem like a particularly large population for a country of nearly 8 million to absorb or to allow to live like human beings. It certainly is tiny compared with what other countries around are dealing with in terms of absorbing refugees from various Middle Eastern conflicts.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:22 AM on May 24, 2012


Is it naive to think that Israel could allow systematic ethnic atrocities and the U.S. government would turn its head - and continue to deliver billions in aid?
posted by incandissonance at 8:23 AM on May 24, 2012


In addition to the list by Seth Freeman, you also have to point out MK Danon and MK Regev of the ruling Likud Party, who were at the protest rally, and helped to incite the crowd. They are on that video I linked to, I believe.
posted by markkraft at 8:24 AM on May 24, 2012


This is, amongst other things, .. pour encourager les autres.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:25 AM on May 24, 2012


I don't know what to make of these Jews.

Then maybe you should check the linked article, which says

"At the end of the day, we must remember that most of the people in our southern neighborhoods largely live together in peace. Many try to bridge gaps and find solutions. Many on both sides know that their enemy is not the asylum seekers or the local Israeli population but the government – which is both creating this impossibly flammable situation and throwing burning matches into it."

People who have a problem with the current Israeli government should talk about the current Israeli government, not "Israelis," or worse, "Jews," only a tiny fragment of whom have any use for politicians like Ben-Ari.

Also, the reference to Kristallnacht is not, as far as I can tell, in the Haggai Matar article to which that phrase is linked, and I don't think it's very good post-making to suggest that the reporter on the scene saw the riots as reminiscent of 1930s Germany, even if that's how OP sees it.
posted by escabeche at 8:26 AM on May 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


I am getting Semite fatigue. From the constant bickering of Jews and Muslims to the civil wars spawned by the Arab Spring. It gets harder and harder for me to support any cause or work up righteous indignation. This has been going on my whole adult life. It seems inconceivable to me that nothing has been resolved in all this time. Voicing this frustration will get you branded as an anti-Semitic.
posted by pdxpogo at 8:27 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haaretz reporter narrowly escapes mob.
posted by gwint at 8:27 AM on May 24, 2012


Right wing Israelis ≠ Jews
posted by unSane at 8:29 AM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Is it because it is harder to seek asylum in the Europe? Easier to reach? Better chance for work? Or is it for religious purposes?


1. Reaching Israel doesn't require attempting a crossing of the Mediterrenean.
2. Israel does not deport anyone to Sudan or Eritrea. European countries do.
posted by ocschwar at 8:31 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right wing Israelis ≠ Jews

I completely agree. Just like the mad and evil government of Iran does not reflect its population or Shi'as generally. What terrifies me is that there is exactly one mad and evil government in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and full US backing.
posted by howfar at 8:34 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aren't uprisings like the Arab Spring the best long term antidote to the broader regions role in the Israeli-Palistinian conflict? New leadership is the only route to new ideas, reduced corruption, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:42 AM on May 24, 2012



People who have a problem with the current Israeli government should talk about the current Israeli government, not "Israelis," or worse, "Jews," only a tiny fragment of whom have any use for politicians like Ben-Ari.


No, you may not tell me what I should talk about. I'm a Jew, I have a problem with these Jews. As Jews. I'm not an Israeli. Get it?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:44 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


>>I don't know what to make of these Jews.

> People who have a problem with the current Israeli government should talk about the current Israeli government, not "Israelis," or worse, "Jews,"


Perhaps snuffleupagus can clarify his original comment, but to me, the use of "these" distinguishes these people from others in exactly the manner you suggest is necessary, and in fact implies that other Jews are not this way.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:45 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quite.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:45 AM on May 24, 2012


Argh, beaten to it by snuffleupagus!
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:46 AM on May 24, 2012


Aren't uprisings like the Arab Spring the best long term antidote to the broader regions role in the Israeli-Palistinian conflict? New leadership is the only route to new ideas, reduced corruption, etc.

No. Israel ending its apartheid policies, giving land back to Palestine, and and end to the systemic economic strangulation of civilians is the best long-term antidote.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:46 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


it's corrupting and destructive and soul-killing to do those things to others, to see them done.

There's an argument that it's more nationally soul-killing when a government does those things to others and the people don't see them done.
posted by escabeche at 8:46 AM on May 24, 2012


60,000 people? We're talking about 60,000 people? That does not seem like a particularly large population for a country of nearly 8 million to absorb or to allow to live like human beings. It certainly is tiny compared with what other countries around are dealing with in terms of absorbing refugees from various Middle Eastern conflicts.


Those 60,000 are concentrated in very small neighborhoods, whose blue-collar and often put-upon residents have a borne the brunt of it.
posted by ocschwar at 8:47 AM on May 24, 2012


"I'd like to know more about why the Sudanese and Eritreans are migrating to Israel in the first place. . . Is it because it is harder to seek asylum in the Europe?"

I saw a video interviewing a refugee. What it basically comes down to is that the whole process of applying for immigration / asylum elsewhere is very, very corrupt in Sudan, with violent organized middlemen handling the process, facilitating the transport, greasing the right wheels, etc. Most of the refugees actually have to be smuggled a considerable way through Sudan itself, just to get to safety.

Trying to get formal asylum is not only expensive... it's also a crap shoot, with a long wait involved, quotas, etc. The alternative, though, is staying in a war zone -- over two million dead over the last decade -- that's suffering from extreme famine. Hostilities and shelling have started up again on the border between North and South Sudan, and a lot of people expect that war to get hot again, quite soon.

Staying in Egypt isn't much of an option, either, as there's very little access to food or jobs. It's also very common for refugees to fall prey to criminal elements there, with some pretty horrific stories of what they do to them.

In short, it's cheaper to be smuggled to Israel than the process of obtaining amnesty in Europe, North America, South Africa, etc. It's actually in the best interest of the world community in general to create programs to provide these refugees jobs and an education, as well as a system of getting them from Israel to other nations willing to grant them asylum. Despite being a signator to numerous international agreements, Israel does not have much of a formal system in place for asylum seekers, and has only approved about 200 people for asylum in their entire history. This is especially unfortunate, I think, as there are certainly those who would welcome Christian settlers, as most of the Palestinian Christians have been increasingly cut off or forced out, leaving a historic community in danger of disappearing entirely.
posted by markkraft at 8:49 AM on May 24, 2012


This situation is sickening; wasn't it about 65-70 years ago that another group was spouting hate towards them? Has history taught them nothing about the dangers of hate mongering?

I think people can always take different lessons from any given experience. If your group is subjected to racist violence, a conclusion you can reach is "racist violence is bad". Other conclusions you can reach from the same experience are "the world is full of bad people who have it in for our group", or "our group needs to do whatever it can to protect itself". It would be great if people always learned the "racism is bad" lesson, but sadly it doesn't seem to always work that way.
posted by ManInSuit at 8:52 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges: Aren't uprisings like the Arab Spring the best long term antidote to the broader regions role in the Israeli-Palistinian conflict? New leadership is the only route to new ideas, reduced corruption, etc.

Jon_Evil: No. Israel ending its apartheid policies, giving land back to Palestine, and and end to the systemic economic strangulation of civilians is the best long-term antidote.

Both are going to help, and both should be pursued and supported as a way to bring peace to the region.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:52 AM on May 24, 2012


In short, it's cheaper to be smuggled to Israel than the process of obtaining amnesty in Europe, North America, South Africa, etc.

On the one hand, I think that racist violence is obviously a problem in Israel - it doesn't matter that refugees should have someone else to go, that doesn't justify mobbing people. *

On the other, yeah, it shows that basically an injustice in one place really is an injustice everywhere - if people don't have livable conditions at home, and you won't let them in, then you'll be forced to do violence to keep them out. The root injustice of colonialism, compradors and poverty can't be hidden away or contained.

*The US is a settler state, like Israel, and like Israel we are corrupted by the violence that is perpetrated within our borders. It's just that we're bigger, so it's more possible not to see what's really going on.
posted by Frowner at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2012


"Israel does not deport anyone to Sudan or Eritrea."

Misleading. Most European countries do not deport Sudanese refugees back to Sudan.

As for Israel, their government certainly supports doing so, if possible, and their AG just said it was legal to do so, regardless of Israel's international agreements which suggest otherwise.

The only thing putting a temporary hold on the process is a judicial decision.
posted by markkraft at 8:56 AM on May 24, 2012


Right wing Israelis ≠ Jews

Try telling them that, and see how long you last.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:57 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This situation is sickening; wasn't it about 65-70 years ago that another group was spouting hate towards them? Has history taught them nothing about the dangers of hate mongering?

Obviously this is not the same situation, but Ireland wasn't and isn't too welcoming of many immigrants during the Celtic Tiger and now, and we're a nation that is defined by emigration. Some of my family will, without batting a eyelid, repeat the exact same things about immigrants that were said about Irish people in England and elsewhere.

Those 60,000 are concentrated in very small neighborhoods, whose blue-collar and often put-upon residents have a borne the brunt of it.

To be honest, I was thinking more about what the politicians have said; that rhetoric is always out of place, but it's even more out of place when talking about such a relatively small number.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:58 AM on May 24, 2012


Isn't Israel reforming their policies direct progress, not merely an antidote? I'd imagine that sensible democratic Arab governments would apply diplomatic pressure against Israel reasonably effectively. Isn't for-example the border between Gaza and Egypt closed because the U.S. tells Egypt to close it? You'd make enormous progress in both humanitarian and political terms simply by opening that border for refugees, supplies, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:58 AM on May 24, 2012


I hadn't looked for a pattern until now, but in the last decade: Race riots in France, Spain, Italy... all focused on African immigrants.

So Sudanese refugees have a better chance for escape and a new life in Israel than anywhere in Africa or Europe. And a small, right-wing, xenophobic minority of Israelis are acting despicably in opposition to that. But the situation is framed in this post as an African Kristallnacht?
posted by gwint at 9:00 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


The use of "broken glass" which can be seen as a comparison to Kristallnacht was hardly something anyone would have to stretch to make. Numerous sites, such as the Jerusalem Post, have done the same, and +972 magazine, which I cited, RTV, The Guardian, etc. have actually compared the event to Kristalnacht.

Oh, and +972 Magazines writers were there watching the events unfold -- when they weren't being chased by mobs -- so they should certainly be in a position to make that uncomfortable comparison, I suspect.
posted by markkraft at 9:08 AM on May 24, 2012


> Israel already has a permanent underclass.

Exactly! So why make a new one when the first is already working out so well. Is denying work visas to African asylum seekers just collateral damage from policies towards Palestinians?
posted by Panjandrum at 9:10 AM on May 24, 2012


So Sudanese refugees have a better chance for escape and a new life in Israel than anywhere in Africa or Europe. And a small, right-wing, xenophobic minority of Israelis are acting despicably in opposition to that. But the situation is framed in this post as an African Kristallnacht?

You know, one of the things about Israel is that it - like the US - has an explicitly moral narrative about itself (I'd argue that it goes something like this: "As victims of the Holocaust and violent prejudice, we need and deserve a Jewish state here in Palestine/Israel, a historical home of the Jewish people"). And like the US, when there are race riots or other things that seem to dramatically contravene the narrative, it's a pretty potent thing. Now, I think there are certainly right-wing Jews who do not feel that anti-semitism is a prejudice like racism, sexism, or homophobia and that it's okay to be racist, etc, if you're not anti-semitic, but in general I think the whole "anti-semitism is bad" narrative is spun as "all religious and racial prejudices are bad" - that's certainly the way the story got told when I was in school, anti-semitism as a variant on racism. And you have only to look at the many liberal/radical/reform Jewish intellectuals who make a similar argument to see that this has traction in Jewish thought as well.

So yeah, when I think of Italy I think of political corruption, hatred, violence, pogroms, profound inequality, the Northern League - I expect shitty anti-roma policies, for example. They're tragic, but they're precisely what Italy has always done and always talked about doing.

When I hear of race riots in Israel it, you know, rings much sadder and more horrible precisely because I grew up reading about kibbutzim and so on, and because Jewish intellectuals have led so many of the political struggles I've been inspired by. And then there's the whole "if you think it's okay to be racist, where is your traction for complaining about anti-semitism?" thing!
posted by Frowner at 9:11 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, the per capita crime rate has actually fallen sharply since the refugees arrived in South Tel Aviv. Several Knesset reports cite police data that suggests that despite their lack of access to work permits, the crime rate for the refugees is between 3 and six times lower than for the average Israeli.

Meanwhile, this video is apparently an official US Embassy response to the refugee crisis.

*facepalms*
posted by markkraft at 9:16 AM on May 24, 2012


[If you want to be able to discuss issues like this you absolutely need to act like adults and not turn this into a competitive hatefest. No predooming, no devolving into antisemitic remarks. It's on your hands. Handle it. markkraft, do not threadsit.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:21 AM on May 24, 2012


The original Kristallnact was perpetrated by a small minority of militant Germans the scale of which might compare favorably to this outrage against black poor Christians in Tel Aviv. I agree that Israel is not 100% racists or Zionists but their government has for sometime not tried to resolve problems. There is a slow land grab going on, some tracts of land are purchased from Palestinians and then incorporated into a creeping Israeli border. The courts have ruled against illegal settlements but their is no political will to enforce the law. You can bet if it was a Palestinian area that was declared illegal there would be no hesitation in clearing it and respecting the "rule of law". Israel practices a form of apartheid that is not spoken of enough.
posted by pdxpogo at 9:24 AM on May 24, 2012


Incidentally, the per capita crime rate has actually fallen sharply since the refugees arrived in South Tel Aviv

markkraft, where are you getting those stats? I went looking and only found this:
According to statistics presented to the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers by the police in March, there was a 54 percent increase in crime by African migrants last year, with the number of cases rising from 790 in 2010 to 1,223 in 2011. Police said that migrants from Eritrea account for 47 percent of all cases involving Africans and 24 percent of all cases involving foreigners, while Sudanese migrants account for 38 and 19 percent of such cases, respectively.

However, police acknowledged, they have no reliable data on the size of the foreign population, so it's impossible to tell whether migrants are disproportionately involved in crime.
posted by gwint at 9:25 AM on May 24, 2012


The use of "broken glass" which can be seen as a comparison to Kristallnacht was hardly something anyone would have to stretch to make. Numerous sites, such as the Jerusalem Post, have done the same, and +972 magazine, which I cited, RTV, The Guardian, etc. have actually compared the event to Kristalnacht.

Well, that's what I was trying to find. The +972 article you linked didn't make that comparison, unless I missed it. +972 has covered the riots extensively, and the only mention of Kristallnacht I was able to find was this, from Dalia Scheindlin:

The photos of smashed windows were reflexively associated in many Jewish minds with Kristallnacht, as many people on social networks pointed out.

which at least to my eye seems to be holding the comparison at arm's length. In general, the tone of the coverage in +972 seems to be "there was a racist riot and toxic elements in the current governing coalition have a lot to answer for," which is pretty far from "this is Israel's night of broken glass" as far as I can see.

But the truth is, gabbing about the quality of the post is better suited for Meta than the blue, and this is obviosuly not worth a Meta, so I'll stop.
posted by escabeche at 9:27 AM on May 24, 2012


Here's a story from early February, saying that now South Sudan is a (dysfunctional, famine-stricken, facing border clashes) government, the Israeli government expects all the Sudanese refugees to go home, offering incentives to leave before the end of March... $1,300 dollars for those who leave voluntarily before March 31st.

And now, it's near the end of March, with just one week left in the incentive program... and, from the top down, the ruling Likud Party in Israel and its coalition members incite the mobs to violence.

So, what *should* people in the rest of the world who try to be fair yet reasoned about such things think?
posted by markkraft at 9:32 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Er... May. Not March. But still, the general gist is the same. The carrot didn't work. Time for the stick.)
posted by markkraft at 9:34 AM on May 24, 2012


The 3rd largest voting city in an Israeli election is New York City.
There are that many American Jews in NYC that have gotten Israeli citizenship,
that the NYC vote has a dramatic impact on their politics.

And the Jews in NYC, they do not have to live with the bombs and the hate -
which makes it so easy for them to vote for the extreme right wing candidates.

New York City voters are a key factor in maintaining the Israeli right.
posted by Flood at 9:40 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very upsetting, and let's not forget that the *root* of this problem lies within the fact that we have let Sudanese thugs and killers run roughshod over their own people, as the West and UN has permitted China and a few other to frustrate taking out the Sudanese leadership. Two million dead? That's insane! And it's heating up again! And, all the while we "play nice" with the corrupt and immoral Chinese government, and some others. This is not going to end well.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2012


So, what *should* people in the rest of the world who try to be fair yet reasoned about such things think?

That multi-party parliamentary democracy often produces coalitions that are held hostage to small parties with extreme views?

I very much doubt that the median Netanyahu supporter applauds racist riots. The median Netanyahu supporter might support deportation (though this isn't obvious to me), but "Israel plans to deport undocumented Sudanese immigrants, which by some accounts contravenes international agreements Israel is party to" would be a pretty different post, one which merits comparison to Arizona, not Nazi Germany, and one which would probably have a good thread attached to it.
posted by escabeche at 9:47 AM on May 24, 2012


I think it's extremely frustrating that whenever some Israelis act like normal humans behaving badly (as we can observe, being racially intolerant is something essentially every group on earth does) there are the inevitable "Jews = Nazis" metaphors. It's enough to condemn these acts for what they are, and they are assuredly wrong.

There's absolutely no need to bring the Holocaust into it as a cheeky way of suggesting that all Israelis and Jews are obliged by history to behave like saints or else be considered as evil as the Nazis. That patently offensive false equivalence, which some people seem very eager to promulgate, is not nearly as clever as its proponents must believe, and it only serves to muddle and complicate a discussion about specific current events by casually tossing out rhetorical bombs.
posted by clockzero at 9:50 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sending everyone back to wartorn, famine-stricken South Sudan ignores the fact that not everyone came from South Sudan in the first place, that many came from Darfur, and that South Sudan's creation might just make the humanitarian problem worse.

That's why the UN unanimously extended it's Sudan panel, the the US Government has extended its asylum program, and many other nations have done the same.

It does little good to try to push homeless, broke people back to where they came from, especially when they quite possibly didn't come from there.
posted by markkraft at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2012


It has nothing to do with "the Jews" or Judaism; it has to do with Israel, it has to do with how a Jewish state is a bad solution to anti-semitism, and how a Jewish state in the middle of the Middle East might be the worst solution possible to imagine.

Israel was and is, like South Africa a settler state and an apartheid state, both products of western colonalism. South Africa, though it has its problems and the legacy of apartheid is only slowly disappearing, managed to break with its racist and colonial past; Israel so far has not.

Israel's problems really have nothing to do with it being a Jewish state, or much with anti-semitism: Israel could survive as a state, even a Jewish state in the Middle East, just not as a Jewish supremacy state.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2012


Meanwhile, just last week, Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) insisted that we just need to get Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat to restart peace talks.

Sharon and Arafat were unavailable for comment.
posted by JackFlash at 9:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


This incident was awful and disgusting, but comparing it to Kristallnacht is beyond the fucking pale.

Enough with the Israeli Jews as Nazis rhetoric, please. If you are that astonishingly incapable of keeping an appropriate perspective on this and any other issue dealing with Israel or Jews, you truly shouldn't be posting about them.
posted by zarq at 10:03 AM on May 24, 2012


(Israel's problems really have nothing to do with it being a Jewish state, or much with anti-semitism: Israel could survive as a state, even a Jewish state in the Middle East, just not as a Jewish supremacy state.

Just in case there's a clarification issue - by "Jewish state" I did not mean "a state where there are many Jews and where Judaism plays a major role in the life of the citizens and some partial role in government", which is of course quite reasonable and the only possible just state of affairs; I meant pretty much a Jewish suprematist state, as you say, where the Palestinians' history in Palestine is denied and they are disenfranchised, and where a racist ideology is created".)
posted by Frowner at 10:04 AM on May 24, 2012


Israel was and is, like South Africa a settler state and an apartheid state, both products of western colonalism

That would be news to the majority of Jews in Israel, given their descent from Arab countries.
posted by ocschwar at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2012


New York City voters are a key factor in maintaining the Israeli right.


Except that Israel does not allow absentee balloting.
posted by ocschwar at 10:08 AM on May 24, 2012


I never once compared it to the Kristallnacht, period.

However, like many Israeli journalists, I find it uncomfortably reminiscent, in the same way that I have found some events in modern US history uncomfortably like past moments of national shame.

Is this event uncomfortable to you, to the point that you would've done the same?!

Good. Deal with it.
posted by markkraft at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2012


slow down a bit: the illegal population has been a problem for some time, including two raes a few days ago...as for Sudan: that is where arms are being smuggled from into Sinai via Egypt--this documented. Legal immigrants? my son;s girlfriend will soon be at work helping legal immigrants to adjust to new land...but that said...comparing this to Krisollnacht is plain dumb!
ristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass, or Reichskristallnacht, About this sound Pogromnacht (help·info), and About this sound Novemberpogrome (help·info), was a pogrom or series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938, carried out by SA paramilitary and civilians. German authorities looked on without intervening.[1] The attacks left the streets covered with broken glass from the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues.[2]

At least 91 Jews were killed in the attacks, and a further 30,000 arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps.[2] Jewish homes, hospitals, and schools were ransacked, as the attackers demolished buildings with sledgehammers.[3] Over 1,000 synagogues were burned (95 in Vienna alone), and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.[4][5]
posted by Postroad at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2012


It's not about an equivalency. At least for me. (That's kind of laughable.) It's about a deep discomfort with seeing other Jews reflexively express what may be a common enough intolerance, or in even more anodyne terms a response to a problematic population influx, through a kind of mob behavior that's merely evocative of the treatment that Israel was founded to end, etc. I feel that without the conduct needing to come anywhere near an equivalency. Relevancy will do. But, yes, probably best left alone.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:10 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, elsewhere in Israel:

Sheikh Mohammed Nimr, the imam of the Ashuhada mosque on the eastern edge of Kafr Manda, where many of the Sudanese men come to pray, is concerned. "When they first came here and found work, we welcomed them. After all these are people who suffered persecution and are looking for shelter and we as Palestinian Arabs and Muslims view it as our moral duty to help them." But Nimr says concern over their numbers is growing. "What started out as a few dozen is now many hundreds," he says.

Nimr said religious and community leaders called a meeting in the mosque where they explained to the refugees "that we would not tolerate social problems or God forbid behavior that does not conform to our values as Arabs and Muslims. Nimr said, "No doubt the issue now requires the central government to step in."


Which is just to say that suspicion of and hostility towards refugees, and a desire for the government to "take care of the problem," is not limited to Jews, or for that matter to Israelis.
posted by escabeche at 10:11 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That would be news to the majority of Jews in Israel, given their descent from Arab countries.

Regardless of where they're from it's hard to argue that Israel as a state is not a product of Western Colonialism given that it was carved out of the British Mandate in the 40's.
posted by Aizkolari at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2012


I never once compared it to the Kristallnacht, period

You mean except for the opening words of your FPP, where you described the link with the words "A night of broken glass in Tel Aviv," which description doesn't appear in the linked article? Or are you saying that by "night of broken glass" you didn't mean to refer to "The Night of Broken Glass," and you just meant, you know, there were some windows, they were made of glass, they got broken?
posted by escabeche at 10:15 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


markkraft: I never once compared it to the Kristallnacht, period.

Dude, your first link is "A night of broken glass in Tel Aviv."
posted by Aizkolari at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


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