Black Migrants in White Israel


by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

The race riots in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem pointed up the virulently anti-Black nature of Israeli prejudice. Carrying sticks and stones, the crowds shouted “Blacks Out!” and “Infiltrators get out of our homes.” A veteran reporter said only a strong police presence prevented lynchings. Some of the hate speech sounded quite “American” – such as the Interior Minister’s statement that Israel belongs to “the white man.”


Black Migrants in White Israel

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

Male and female protesters variously shouted: ‘A Sudanese man will rape you in the ass;’ ‘May your daughter be raped.’”

In the early morning hours of April 27, 2012 a spate of racist violence began against African asylum seekers in Israel. Witnesses in Tel Aviv described a coordinated progrom (see photostream here). Using Molotov cocktails, attackers firebombed four apartments – one of which housed a mother and her four children – and a kindergarten.

The attacks were followed by several anti-African rallies and even more attacks. On May 23rd, a rally in Tel Aviv of about 1000 people quickly turned into a mob rampage through areas populated by Africans. Carrying sticks and stones, the crowds shouted “Blacks Out!” and “Infiltrators get out of our homes.” In one video of the protests, an Israeli woman proudly wears a “Death to Sudanese” t-shirt. An 11th grader whose father is from Eritrea and mother from Ethiopia, expressed shock at seeing these same words graffitied on store windows. “The last thing you’d expect,” she said, “is that it would happen at the hands of someone who went through it himself, in Europe.” And just two days ago, on June 4, arsonists set fire to an apartment building housing Eritrean refuges – this time in Jerusalem. Ten people were trapped inside and four sustained injuries from smoke and burns. Graffiti found at the scene read “leave the neighborhood.”

Hareetz journalist, Ilan Lior, described his narrow escape from one of these protests in these words:

I’ve covered terror attacks, funerals, car accidents, and protests. I’ve seen fury, frustration, despair, and sadness in a variety of places and forms. But I’ve never seen such hatred as it was displayed on Wednesday night in the Hatikva neighborhood. If it weren’t for the police presence, it would have ended in lynching. I have no doubt.”

Indeed “lynching” is a significant description of the brute verbal force of mobs, violence, and coordinated attacks aimed at the vulnerable African population. It also points to the specificity of anti-Black racism in Israel, for even Ethiopian-Israeli Jews are caught up in the dragnet. And while anti-Black racism is not new to Israel, its current iteration is especially vitriolic.

If it weren’t for the police presence, it would have ended in lynching. I have no doubt.”

In this many have accused prominent Israeli officials for legitimizing and inciting this racist rage against African asylum seekers. The most vocal of these have been the Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, who consistently argue that the country must solve the “problem of the infiltrators.” He has, like many protesters, accused African asylum seekers of spreading disease and raping Israeli women. In fact, the May 23rd rally in Tel Aviv was addressed by several leading Israeli politicians, many from the ruling Likud party headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. Likud Member of Parliament, Miri Regev, told the crowd that “The infiltrators are a cancer in our body. The infiltrators must be expelled from Israel! Expulsion now!” In addition, parliamentarian Ben-Ari (who used to be a member of the Meir Kahane Movement, which was banned in Isreal and placed on the US State Department’s Terror List) demanded that all “African infiltrators” be deported. Meanwhile, Knesset member Aryeh Eldad of the National Union said, “anyone that penetrates Israel’s border should be shot.”

Isreali Prime Minister Netanyahu has argued that Africans threaten “the social fabric of society” and the “Jewish and democratic character of the country.” While claiming to denounce the recent anti-African violence, his official response was to order the swift deportation of 25,000 African asylum seekers, as well as the acceleration of the building of a large detention facility, and a border fence between Israel and Egypt. Moreover, a new law went into effect a few days ago that allows the Israeli government to hold African asylum seekers – including women and children – for up to 3 years without charge.

Likud Member of Parliament, Miri Regev, told the crowd that ‘The infiltrators are a cancer in our body.’”

African asylum seekers in Israel number between 50,000 and 60,000, most of them from Sudan and Eritrea. While this makes them less than 1% of Israel’s total population, their status as “illegal” as well as their Blackness has triggered backlash. Many of the protesters – and politicians – also blamed Africans for benefitting from Israeli social services, or for taking away opportunities from Jews, especially the working class communities in south Tel Aviv. It is important to note, however, that because Israel refuses to grant asylum status, the majority of African refugees are not allowed to work, and hundreds find themselves in political and economic limbo, and often homeless. This is significant for Israel, itself a nation of refugees. It supported the founding of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, becoming a signatory to the Convention in 1954, and actively participated in the development of the international refugee system. Yet UNHCR reported that during the year 2011 Israel approved only 1 out of 4,603 asylum applications. In addition, a recent US human rights report castigated the Israeli government for negatively referring to “asylum seekers as 'infiltrators' and periodically characteriz[ing] asylum seekers as directly associated with rises in crime, disease, and terrorism."
 Even the Anti-Defamation League has cautioned that some of the “inflammatory public statements made by certain Israeli officials,” have “veered into racism.”

To be sure, many Israelis have spoken out against this physical and verbal attack against Africans. But it seems that many of these voices are getting increasingly drowned out, while others have been attacked. In fact, we can get a better sense of the vitriolic nature of anti-Blackness by seeing the responses of Israelis to other Israelis who protest against anti-African violence. For example, in this video shot right after an Anti-African rally, a lone Israeli woman who disagreed with the racism and xenophobia of the protestors is brusquely insulted and threatened by the crowd. In front of children, male and female protesters variously shouted: A Sudanese man will rape you in the ass;” “May your daughter be raped;” “May your mother be raped;” “She wants some nigger dick.” Similarly, Israeli human rights organizations assisting migrants have received threats of arson and rape.

During the year 2011 Israel approved only 1 out of 4,603 asylum applications.”

Those who defend the anti-African progroms or the Isreali government’s increasing verbal and draconian legal attacks on this vulnerable population often assert that immigration is a global phenomenon, and that Isreal is acting in similar ways to other western states. And it is true that European and US immigration have their own racist variants. However, as Hareetz journalist Gideon Levy asserts, the best way to understand how this anti-Africanness is also about a claim to whiteness is to look at Israeli government’s handling of Russian asylum seekers: “Israel had absorbed one million immigrants from Russia. Half of them were not Jewish. But they were white.”

Thus, as we see the marshaling of the typical anti-Black stereotypes of hypersexuality, criminality, and disease, we also see the implicit and explicit claims that the weight of Jewish identity lies in a presumed white racial superiority – and purity. As Eli Yishai recently told reporters: “This country belongs to us, to the white man.”

Black people in Israel, along with Palestinians, know only too well what that means.

Jemima Pierre can be reached at [email protected].


Likudniks / AIPACers Love Playing the Anti-Semite_Holocaust Card

As if its impossible for {white} Jews to also be racist bigots. This race riot was stoked by racist rhetoric from Hard core Israeli Gov't Officials- not just ordinary street thug bigots.

So these folks are having a fit over 50,000-60,000 African asylum seekers, YET have absorbed 1,200,000 - 1,500,000 Russians [= 1/5th of Israel's population] over the past 15 - 20 yrs- as the article notes- half of whom don't even pretend to be Jewish [FYI: Also in recent yrs Israeli Gov't policy is to phase out immigration of bona-fide JEWS from Ethiopia- some of who've also been targets of some acts of racism]. And its common knowledge in Israel that Russian mafia elements are involved in couterfeiting & international drug & prostitution trafficing rings. Plus A few yrs ago some Russian youth w full Israelis status- even painted Swastikas on a Jerusalem Synagogue. Yet Russian's have NOT seen any-where near this kind of venomous hatred. 

Also note-worthy is the fact that most of the victims of Israel's race-riots are Sudanese- Yet last yr South Sudan was cheering & waving Israeli & US flags as their supposed 'best friends' & supporters RE: S.Sudan's protracted war of so-called 'independence' vs Khartoum's Gov't [w friend's like these...].

And I see that the US' Lame-stream media has generally failed to even mention this story. Because it would challenge to the standard lame-stream narrative from hard-core Likudnik / AIPACers of Holocaust victim-hood via 'alleged' Anti-Semitism of anyone who dares question the policies of Likudnik / AIPACers.

Now a few years ago the

Now a few years ago the website Africana was deactivated and wiped off the internet map when they reported on these incidents of racism by Israeli citizens in the early 2000's. The editor in chief Phillipe Wamba died in a car accident in Tanzania (not many details came forth about that incident) and then in short order Africana was bought by AOL and became Black Voices. Black Voices was recently added to the Huffington Post lineup which is also owned by AOL. Today if you type in the url africana [dot] come, you will be redirected to THAT other site. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions. These are indeed facts about the site.

I have to say that its about time that this is getting the exposure that it deserves. I also want to say just because these particular whites are Jewish, doesn't mean they aren't racists. I believe that the Jewish ideology makes them moreso because they believe that they are 'Chosen' by God and everything should go their way and that they are never wrong.

Great piece!

My comment.

I comment because I have recently posted that I am a Jew.  No doubt, some will be expecting a comment, so I will for that reason.  Israeli and Jew, as in Jews  around the world, are not interchangable.  Shocked by the vitriol, as the author puts it.  Yet, being 72, a lifelong observer, I have watched as from the outside, growing up in Brooklyn, moving to Manhattan, spending 2 years (and it seemed so long) in NOLA working for a civil rights law office, while first spouse worked as a community organizer in the antipoverty program,  (why we went down), then one in Denver - always the observer.  I took heat in NOLA from a visiting Black Nationalist for being a Jew, who I met in the CORE office, adjacent to the LCDC, Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, office where I worked pt time.  He was pissed at me for Israel policy, in 1967.  I didn't learn about Israel until Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis forced me, their work, to look, in the early 1990s(mostly WBAI -Note: I support   (I be short as the workers are about to start drilling and hammering on the outer walls of my building, the new way to raise rents for rent stabilized while harrassing us, and the noise will make thinking even harder than illnesss),  - one thought I have had for many months:  If it is true that, being born a Jew means I have the "right of return" (to Israel, where I've never been), I have decided that I would turn over that "right of return" to a Palestinian so she could return - would it be allowed?  I make the gesture, rather than "turn it in" as some American Jews have done in protest.

     My grandmother, Bubbie in Yiddish, who I mentioned in an earlier comment recenlty, brought over as many relatives as she could between the time she got here from Warsaw near 1910, until it was too late, people crowded in her various tenement apartments around Manhattan, with her kids, as she worked her pushcart, etc.  Her last friend, made when she had to move out of her Borough Park, Bklyn apartment, to a studio apartment in Flatbush, was an African-American woman, a retired social worker, a neighbor.  My wonderful grandmother, who said you couldn't be rich by honest means, died wihout leaving anything, other than a chair that had been my grandfather's (zadie, in Yiddish, a stepgrandfather, but the  one I knew and adored) and a sense of justice, in 1968.  She hoped Israel would be a refuge for Jews, having knowledge of the pain of WWII. 

Afric-1:thank you. A very kind person. May I add

that the Nazis killed first, disabled people, with the co-operation of doctors. I am disabled by illness. Not to seem picky, but I think it's spelled Judaism.  Again, thanks.

I just remembered an interview with Hans J.

Massaquoi, on the radio, when his autobiography was published, Destined to Witness.  He was born in Germany, mother was German and father was a diplomat from a country in Africa.  And I also remembered hearing that Afro-Germans were killed in Germany.   And that the U.S.A. aided some Nazis in coming to the U.S. for various reasons, such as scientists.  The spelling of Judaism is not how I have ever pronounced it .... (I'm not a good speller in old age.)

Israel was birth on injustice.

She hoped Israel would be a refuge for Jews, having knowledge of the pain of WWII.

The problem with sanda_artistNYC remarks to this article is that sanda_artistNYC offers no empathy to the people who bear the injustice of Zionism.  Jews began settling Palestine in the late 1800's for the expressed purpose of building a racist state and the expulsion of the native Palestinians.  sanda_artistNYC also expresses the typical Jewish chavanism regarding the causualiies of WWII while the Palestianian bear NO responsibilities for the Jews that died in WWII yet is billed as the justificiation for Israel.  Such justification is an INJUSTICE and one cannot find justice from  injustice.

Also the history of Germany that led to WWII ignores the fact that Jews were instrumental in the defeat of Germany in WWI and the implementation of the Treaty of Versalles that starved Germany and debased its currency.  When Germany began to turn itself around New York Jews declared WAR against Germany and supported boycotting and sanction against Germany.  Many Gernmans faced starvation during the post-WWI years and to have Jews call for sanctions against Germany in 1933 caused a major backlash against German Jews.

In other words people were not "quietly" allowing Jews to be perceuted in Germany. International Jewry declared itself to be against the German people and even calling for a "final solution" against the German people.

What is occuring to Blacks in Israel is the natural course of a racist state against non-Jews and Blacks as is taught to Jews via the Talmud.  American Blacks need to wake up to Israel, Zionism, and International Jewry especially since THEIR AMEICAN TAX DOLLARS are going to support this racist Zionist entity.

sanda's comment did express

sanda's comment did express empathy for the victims of Zionism, didn't contain any Jewish chauvinism, she did not try to blame the Palestinians for the Holocaust nor did she try to justify the disposession of the Palestinians that occured when Israel was founded.

sanda was only referring to the fact that many countries including the United States were restricting Jewish immigration after World War II and those countries tried to steer Jewish refugees from the Holocaust to Palestine rather then accepting them in their own countries. I'm sure that her grandmother wouldn't have supported the expulsion of the Palestinians and wanted Jews and Palestinians to be partners in a Semitic federation rather then to be pitted against each other by foreign powers.

I don't know what your sources are for Jews being responsible for Germany's defeat and the Treaty of Versailles. Jewis German were strongly integrated into German society. Jews considered themselves to be loyal Germans and overwhelmingly supported their country during the war. 10,000 German Jews volunteered for the German armed forces and a 100,000 served in total during World War I out of a Jewish population of 550,000.  During the war Jews, including Zionists were divided on which side they suppored and many supported Germany against Tsarist Russia.

By Germany turning itself around, are you referring to the Third Reich?  The Jewish boycott was in response to attacks on Jews by the Nazi government and encouraged by the Nazi government, anti-semitic legislation and boycotts of Jewish shops. The boycott was a legitimate response to these measures and the boycott organizers thought that they could cause the young Nazi government to fall. If they had succeeded World War II would have been prevented.  Jewish organizations were not at war with the German people and none of them proposed a "final solution" to the German problem.  Why do you keep using cap locking words?


First it was lynch mobs the new, "free" (Muslim) Libya and now it's anti-Black race riots in Zionist Israel. There have been similar mass attacks on Blacks in the recent past in Russia and in China as well. Blacks were allegedly dating the wrong people, etc. In all of these cases, when the media bothered to cover it at all, it downplayed the scale of the riots. The only universal belief among humanity in the 21st century appears to be that Black people are less human than all others and, that it is always open season on them. As long as Blacks and Africans believe that the solution to their problems is to flee to some other country, especially those with White dominated societies, instead of staying put and fighting to build better places for their people in their own countries, they will be forever isolated, powerless, and subject to outbursts of violence from lynch mobs and other forms of individual and institutional racial harassment.

I forgot to mention

Israel ain't the only one promoting racism:

Tea Party Republicans (USA)

Golden Dawn (Greece)

National Front (France)

Freedom Party of Austria

Vlaams Belang (Belgium)

Fidesz (Hungary)

Jobbik party (Hungary)

Northern League (Italy)

Lega Nord (Italy)

Sweden Democrats (Sweden)

People's Party (Denmark)

Freedom Party (The Netherlands)

True Finns (Finland)

Progress Party (Norway)

Swiss People's Party

National Democratic Party (Germany)

Freedom (Germany)

Pro-NRW (Germany)

"Norway Attacks Put Spotlight on Europe's Right Wing-Parties"

Who Are They?

Part 1: The Likud Connection

Europe's Right-Wing Populists Find Allies in Israel


Part 2: Allied with the Settlers


If you need a real challenge this weekend, visit the online websites of the mainstream media or Google this topic. You will be amazed at how difficult it is to find ANY links to articles on the race riots. In many of the few articles which one can find, it is obvious that the writers believe that both the riots and the deportations were justified in some way by the mere presemce of Africans in Israel. Long the live the racist free press!