Israel whips up mass hysteria to deny refuge

Noted British author and television script writer, Donald James, who wrote under several pseudonyms including Dresden James, is often quoted to condemn imperialism and the military interventions the West and the United States undertook during the past decade and half. He, we believe, said, "When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."

We do not know what was the context in which Dresden James said this. But it perfectly describes the situation which is now prevailing in Israel. A wave of hate mongering is under way in the Zionist land targeting African asylum-seekers and the NGOs that are supporting them.

Lies, damned lies and chilling hypocrisy are polarising society in Israel pushing the nation towards a dangerous point of implosion. A sinister propaganda saying refugees and asylum seekers from a few African nations including Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea are pouring into Israel as a part of a conspiracy to undermine the Jewish character of the state is fast gaining traction. Clashes, targeting these refugees and asylum seekers have already started taking place.

The unfolding situation in Israel is explosive and infinitely toxic. And the worst is the constant incitement being added to the rising hatred both by the government and right wing Jewish media stepping over the red line of decency and forgetting where their provocation may lead the country and society to.

In Israel, politics and pluralism—the basic principle of liberal democracy, have never been complimentary to each other. And to that the government and parties in power at present are adding venoms setting the society ablaze.

The fear that African migrants in Israel are trying to upset the Jewish character of the country is a calumny, absolutely unfounded, but is circulated with a sinister intention both by the government and a section of the media. A panic is being created to justify the draconian measures Israeli government has taken against non-white and non-Jewish refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and elsewhere.

They are constantly persecuted and criminalised. Israel, much to our shock and anguish, approved a law last month allowing arrest and incarceration of asylum seeker up to one year without trial and detention in 'Holot', an open air detention centre in the middle of a scorching Sinai desert.

Hundreds of them have already been rounded up from all over Israel and trashed into the holot separated from their families.

Semi fascist fanatics are regularly attacking refugee settlements in Southern Tel Aviv hounding men like wild animals and targeting women and children for carnal pleasures.

A section of the Israeli politicians, despicable and reactionary, are exploiting the situation to feed fat to the mass frenzy of their constituencies. Miri Regev, a member of Israeli parliament, Knesset, for the right wing Likud party, went to the extent of describing the hapless and persecuted African refugees as 'cancer' in Israeli society and called for immediate cleansing.

Her incitements provoked violence; hundreds of neo-fascists poured down in south Tel Aviv torching the refugee settlements, smashing their shops and beating up people.

But why are these refugees and asylum seekers hounded? Why is Israel whipping up such national phobia against the African refugees? And how exactly what Dresden James said fits to describe the Israeli shenanigans?

At the root of all the evil that plagues life and living of the African refugees in Israel, especially those from Sudan and Eritrea, is a growing paranoia among white Jewish Israelis that these African asylum seekers are eating into their livelihood by offering cheaper labour.

Even in business, especially in running restaurants and eating houses, white Jewish Israelis are fast losing out to the Africans in competition. African eateries are offering better food and at a cheaper rate.

White Jewish Israelis, therefore, don't want competition. A move is thus on to weed out the last of their competitors. And naturally, their government and politicians, have stepped in support by whipping up the phobia. And as the flames of chilling xenophobia rage across Israel authorities are chipping in shamelessly adding more fuels to rid Tel Aviv of its African residents.

Dresden James rings true and absolutely contextual. To rid Tel Aviv of its African residents well-packaged web of lies are being sold gradually to the masses. And the lie is the conspiracy theory that asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea are trying undermine the national character of Israel.

Member of Israeli parliament Rabbi Dov Lipman, prior to his election, had written in Times of Israel, "I believe that as Jews we absolutely must accept human beings who flee to our midst to seek refuge. That is the price that we must pay for establishing such a wonderful, democratic state based on Jewish values." He was referring to the situation of the African asylum seekers.

Indeed, those were inspiring words which raised hopes among the African refugees and right-thinking Israelis. But Lipman belied them all. He fell silent after his election to the parliament offering his complicity to the national crime against humanity.

In its Machiavellian persecution of Sudanese and Eritrean refugees, in whipping up an appalling xenophobia against the African migrants who poured into the country in search of security and a future for their posterity Israel has forgotten that not too long ago the Jews themselves were in a similar situation seeking compassion, equality and freedom. Today, when time has come for reciprocation Israel and its neo fascists are showing how despicable and uncivilised they are. Oh what a shame!

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman.


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