On racism, Israel’s foreign ministry worried about image, not reality

Yossi Gurvitz writes: Our Foreign Ministry finds itself in a quandary. Israel brutally expels refugees from South Sudan, and runs a vicious and racist campaign against refugees from Sudan. Ministers and MKs are competing to see who can lead a more beastly campaign of hatred. The current winner is Madam MK and former IDF Spokeswomen Miri “I did not intend to compare the refugees to human beings” Regev, but the race is far from over.

This, reports activist Rotem Ilan (Hebrew), is how the Oz Unit (refugee headhunting unit, dregs of Israeli society so low they couldn’t even get in to the police) sounds in action: “Do you want me to fuck you in the ass? You like it, it shows” (Oz officer to an activist); “The father said he does not love you anymore, and you can fly for all he cares” (Oz officer to a mother and daughter held in custody, asking to say their goodbyes to the child’s father); “If you need to go to the bathroom, just piss in your dress” (Oz officer to a priest in traditional African garb, who actually had a residency permit); “What am I, a bell boy? Do I have to carry your luggage? You don’t want to [carry it], see if I care” (Oz officer during an arrest of a family with three children, yesterday).

Veteran journalist Yael Gvirtz described (Hebrew) some of the deportees: “A girl with hideous burns (whose mother and brother are already detained), [to be deported] to a country with no medical infrastructure… A person seriously ill with diabetes, who knows deportation consigns him to death, because there is no insulin to be gotten there. Just two of the stories, because this night is so difficult as it is. And what would the next picture be? The disaster area (and then the Israeli government will surely send an IDF flying hospital, to show the world how humane we are…)”

Oz’s activity has been described by one of its officers, Asaf Khayoun – every criminal has a name – as follows (Hebrew): “Coming into a house, there’s excitement in that. You want to find them. I just love enforcement. A few weeks ago we went to a house in Savion to check information about an illegal nanny. The owner denied it, but we knew she was there, hiding. She was hiding behind a wall. Holding a little boy, three years old. The baby kept mum, but then she started crying. She knew she had to go home. For me, catching her is an achievement.”

What for Khayoun and the rest of the Oz Unit is “excitement,” is quickly becoming a headache for the Foreign Ministry. Its officials complain (Hebrew) that Eli Yishai, Danon, Regev and the rest are causing “irreparable damage” to the public image of Israel in the United States. They report that for the first time ever, the American media used the term “race riots” in order to describe what happens in South Tel Aviv. Israel’s image, complain the diplomats, suffered a heavy blow in the black community and among American liberals.

And if the diplomats are afraid of what will happen to the Hasbara campaign in the United States – to the glittering lie that claims that the only Jewish state in the Middle East is a democracy, not an ethnocracy with strong theo-fascist elements – this is nothing compared to what will happen to Israel’s image in Africa. Many Africans may remember how Israel connived to help two fading colonial powers in their last attack on Africa, that there never was a dictator that it didn’t like, that it sold weapons to all the darkest regimes, that it was about the only ally of the Apartheid regime, Zionism’s twin. The next time our diplomats bemoan a staunch African anti-Israel position in the UN, maybe they should remember Eli Yishai and his “land of the white man” comment. [Continue reading…]

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