“Pogrom” On African Refugees in Tel Aviv

A protest against African refugees in South Tel Aviv last week descended into what one member (MK) of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, called a “pogrom.”

Last Wednesday, a rally was held demanding the expulsion of the 60,000 Africans now in Israel. It followed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying that Israel needed to prevent “illegal infiltrators flooding the country.”

Following the rally, people with dark skin were attacked in the streets, cars were attacked and shops selling to Africans had their windows smashed and were looted. Rioters threw firecrackers at police horses and attacked journalists, calling them “traitors.”

One woman posed for a photographer wearing a white tank-top on which she had written the words “Death to the Sudanese.”

The rally had been addressed by a number of government MKs. One, Miri Regev, said the refugees are “a cancer in our body.” Another MK, Danny Danon, head of the Knesset caucus “for dealing with the problem of the infiltrators,” said: “the infiltrators have to be expelled. We shouldn’t be afraid to say that word – expulsion, now.”

It has followed politicians at the highest levels, including Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and including the mayors of five other cities, calling for the imprisonment and expulsion of the refugees.

Yair Lapid, a former television journalist and emerging opposition leader, said:

When I see a pogrom led by inciters … I wonder how they have the nerve to call themselves Jews.

They don’t understand the meaning of Jewish morals or collective Jewish memory, nor do they understand the meaning of Jewish existence.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres said that “hatred of foreigners contradicts the foundations of Judaism.”

A counter-protest by hundreds of Tel Aviv residents happened on Thursday (pictured) and others have been trying to protect the refugees from attacks, such as walking African children home from school.

Wenesday’s riots were not an isolated incident. Groups working with refugees have been threatened and three weeks ago buildings used by refugees, including a center with a kindergarten, were hit by Molotov cocktails.

Blogger Yossi Gurvitz writes of attending a rally by MK Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of Meir Kahane’s racist Kach party, the day before the riot where his non-white girlfriend was subjected to viscious racist and sexist slurs, and violence by middle-aged women and children after daring to challenge Ben-Ari.

Gurvitz points out that the reason South Tel Aviv remains poor and lacking in services is because the government’s policy for 35 years has been to “create a welfare state – in the West Bank.”

The government of Greater Israel does not have the money for welfare in old Israel, it is busy making facts on the ground beyond the Green Line. And if you want to make facts on the ground, you need settlers. The ideological base is limited. You need to entice people to go there. You want a welfare state? Better move to Beit El.

Like the other inciters – with Netanyahu, long-time national champion, in the lead – Ben Ari doesn’t want the national conversation to turn in that direction. It’s so much better to stir hatreds and resentments.

Crimes by refugees receive maximum media attention. MK Regev, who spoke at Wednesday’s rally about “a cancer in our body,” told Haaretz:

I condemn any violence from any side, but I understand the rage and hurt of the residents, of the families that live there. They tell us: ‘Help us. We are being humiliated, look how we live, we are afraid to leave the house.’

Notes the Jerusalem Post:

Though the crime rate among African migrants is lower than among the general population, according to figures compiled by the Knesset in 2010, this fact is generally lost on the residents of these working class neighborhoods.

Page 2: Read more about the refugees >>

Almost all of the refugees are fleeing persecution, in particular from Eritrea. Many are killed as they endure kidnappings, rape and torture, even allegedly being targeted for body parts as they cross Sinai for the relative safety of Israel. On Friday, Eritrean refugees protested, claiming that Israel maintains relations with the extremely repressive regime as an ally and ignores its human rights abuses.

Asked about the South Tel Aviv riots, protesters told Haaretz:

We do not blame the residents of the neighborhoods, but the politicians who come out with untrue allegations that we came here to work. Everyone sees the pictures of torture in Eritrea and the Sinai. Would someone go through this to work in Israel?

One Eritrean said:

Over the last few days, the demonstrations have created a lot of hatred, and when we try to explain that we fled murder and torture no one is interested. We did not believe that things like this could happen in a democracy like Israel.

In an editorial, Haaretz said:

A dangerous campaign of incitement is now underway in Israel. Our elected officials are trying to profit politically out of people’s misery and at the expense of a poor and helpless group. Human rights activists have also become a target. The history of the Jewish people – rife with instances of incitement, persecution and pogroms – does not resonate with the inciters.

The problem of migrants, which impacts many people who live in poor areas and who bear the burden of the government’s failure to deal with the matter, deserves a serious and comprehensive solution. Meanwhile, it is becoming a badge of shame on an entire society.

Israel is building a fence along almost all of its Egyptian border and an enormous camp to house the refugees. They are given temporary residency, though almost none receive actual asylum. They are not supposed to work but the government generally turns a blind eye.

Removals to Sudan and Eritrea, where almost all come from, are not possible and there is no third country offering to take refugees. Arrivals are dropping and according to William Tall, representative in Israel of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a fence, with crossings where officials grant fair hearings to people’s appeals for asylum, and a properly run refugee center may allow a fair and decent solution.

Related stories:

Israel Passes Harsh Immigration Law (Video)

Israel Proposing Indefinite Detention of Refugees (Video)

Migrants in Egypt Targeted For Body Parts

Picture of Israeli anti-racist protest by Sasha Y. Kimel

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Huber F.
Huber F.2 years ago

This kind of exodus is normally contained. Why does Israel the land of dreams seem to be any different. Violence against minorities is fun for the master but only propels more discord amongst the faithfuls. Don't give up on your faith way to easy and as for the affected, invaluable credetion is worse than resolving conflicts. Thx.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago


Antuan G.
Antuan G.3 years ago

while it may not mean much in what i say and no Israel may read this, but i would like to ask a Israeli, just where did their grandparents come from and what did they go through to get into Palestine, which is now Israel. How much property did their grandparents still, how much personal property did Israel still when they evicted more than 5 mill Palestinian Arabs from their traditional family land.

When a group of people who went through hell fail to show another group the same empathy that was shown to them, well it will make the world wonder why they sacrificed for others in the first place. Karma is a Bitch

Phyllis Baxter
Jennifer Ward3 years ago

Everybody MUST agree with Fadi !!

If you do not agree with Fadi on everything you are a murderous Jew, a scheming Zionist banker, an Israeli (?) have no right to live in Australia, the USA, Canada, blah, blah, blah.

There is no point of law he is not correct on, and nobody who call themselves a Palestinian is ever to be questioned or held accountable for any act of terror, murder, or any other heinous crime according to Fadi.

All hail Fadi the infallible !!

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K.3 years ago

Well the israelis are starting to realise that they are not the only ones in this diverse world and of course its time to realise that no part of this planet belongs/owned by any individual group but is there for all humanity to enjoy. Get rid of Bankers, politics and religions and you will see a world on its way to immortality and enlightenment.

stan b.
Stan B.3 years ago

Cont. " The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.

Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The securi

stan b.
Stan B.3 years ago

Cont. " beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.

In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel, where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts ... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from di

stan b.
Stan B.3 years ago

I know I'm wasting my time trying to convince people like Fadi and Will R and Frank M but this article from the New York Times shows just how wrong and bigoted you are.

"THE Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or be

Fadi M.
Fadi M.3 years ago

I bet none of you here understand this simple fact:

ISRAEL IS NOT FOR THE JEWS, IT WAS CREATED BY ZIONISTS FOR THE ZIONISTS. It was only given the Jewish depth in order to justify its existence. Jews were duped, brainwashed in kibbutzim and brought up to believe Israel is the Promised Land.

Still in doubt? watch the following video:

Former Israeli soldier talks about 1948 war atrocities

SHAME ON EVERYONE WHO DEFENDS ISRAEL, you stand not against me but against HUMANITY!!!

Fadi M.
Fadi M.3 years ago

Again Gillian, attacking human rights in other countries does not make Israel look good, it is still an ugly racist lunatic state that was found on deception and domination. I'll repeat this 20,000 times, IRRELEVANT TOPICS, try to defend Israel only without referring to other countries! Can you look Rachel Corrie in her eyes and tell her Israel is a democracy??? Or tell that to her parents who are still grieving over her!!
Here's the democratic state you are in love with, please explain the following links to me (If you can):
Zionist Thugs Beating Up Jewish Rabbis:

Israeli soldiers beat Jews for supporting the enemy:

Israeli brutality against Religious Jews (Anti-Zionists):