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African kids in Tel Aviv: They'll do to us what they did to Jews in Germany

Following up on Noam’s report on what’s developing into a night of unprecedented violence against African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv, here is a testimony uploaded onto Facebook after yesterday’s protest, by one of the many community activists who walked home a group of African children to make sure they weren’t attacked.

I accompanied a group of asylum-seeking children to their homes tonight, as we always do on the days of protests with potential racist developments. As usual, we got barraged with swearwords, but policemen advised us about safer routes. The kids sang along the way: “I’m a nigger, I’m a nigger, nigger, and I clean Israeli homes” (“What, you don’t know it, Rami? Look it up on Youtube.) Two 12-year-old girls asked me if I know that pretty soon the Sudanese will suffer the same fate as Jews did in Germany. One asked the other to tell her about that man, Korczak, who saved children. They asked if he was Jewish and if he would have saved all the children. One girl asked me: “What’s the opposite of free?” I had trouble finding the word: imprisoned? shackled? She said: “Ok, whatever is is, say shackled, we were born shackled and we’ll die shackled.” The girls asked me why the Israelis want to deport them. I asked them: If the streets in your country would suddenly fill up with white people that speak in a language you don’t understand, what wold you feel? One girl said: “I’d become a teacher and teach them my language!” Toward the end two 12-year-old girls asked me: “Say, Rami, if you were in our place, what would you have done?”


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    1. According to the logic espoused by a large proportion of the regular commenters here, the fact that the girl said; “Pretty soon the Sudanese will suffer the same fate as Jews did in Germany,” by comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, proves that they’re all anti-Semites and deserve everything they get. There’s at least a dozen regular commenters here who will say with a yawn, “It’s that old Jews equals Nazis thing, can’t you come up with anything new?”

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Israel is fast becoming a scary place to live in. Between Ben Ari and Miri Regev (both of whom would be considered black in some countries), and their mindless foam-at-the-mouth packs of feral dogs that do their bidding, Israel is unrecognizable. I can only imagine how bad life in Sudan is that would cause these poor people to want to stay in such a nasty place as Israel than return there.

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    3. Albie Pabon

      They are children. Sudanese children are being decimated (could be argued that genocide is being committed) in their own nation. How insensitive to suggest that children deserve any inhumane treatment thrown at them; that some group other than Jews are lesser than so the term “holocaust” cannot apply. Those kids are not trying to annihilate Israelis. I would venture to say they are too young to be working as domestics in homes anywhere.

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    4. Jack

      tragic, the israeli society is getting more and more hateful and xenophobic, party due the aggressive stance their political leadership act out almost everyday against the region, sudanese, palestinians. Its a siege mentality.

      Reply to Comment
    5. caden

      Ok I got it, Israel is the new Nazi Germany, worse really. Which I guess would make the Africans the new Jews. Except I thought that was the palestinians. But no matter. Are we done yet?

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    6. Michael W.

      Sensationalist and irrational. If they are the new Jews of Nazi Germany, why aren’t the fleeing? I don’t remember any Jews seeking asylum in Nazi Germany.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      So some 12-year-old kids say some really stupid things. Stop the presses!

      Reply to Comment
    8. Elisabeth

      “Ok I got it, Israel is the new Nazi Germany, worse really.”
      You really have only one trick.

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    9. max

      @ELISABETH, this “trick” is the theme of Dimi’s article, so I guess it’s him you should direct your comment to.
      Instead of saying it himself, he provides a ‘declaration’ of a 12 years old. So now we’re faced with children sentimentality.
      In this hypothetical discussion, why not ask the children: aren’t you glad that your parents made it safely to Israel through the Egyptian Spring? Aren’t you glad you could soon go back home?
      The criminality and bestiality of the act of people who attack innocents is one thing; the cynical use of these events for a narrow personal view is reprehensible.

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    10. Jack

      If the state doesnt do anything about these bigots and actually this have been a problem for quite some time now, what if a palestinian mob over and over again attacked jews in Israel, smashed stores and waved with palestinian flag? I guess people here who trying to play down the situation for blacks, would protest like no tommorow. Hypocrites!

      Reply to Comment
    11. caden

      Liz, honey, Its not me that constantly makes the Israel=Nazi Gemany analogies. But it does seem to be a staple among the the 972 staff and lets exterminate Israel commentators .

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    12. Dimi Reider

      Caden, darling (save condescending sexist endearments for someone else’s blog – first and last warning): http://972mag.com/why-nazi-comparisons-are-almost-completely-useless/33547/. But it’s not me making the comparisons – it’s the kids. And I suppose they’re doing them based on what they learned in their Israeli school, and then experienced from their Israeli neighbours. Have you considered directing your righteous indignation at the latter?

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    13. max

      Dimi, did you just tell us that a post on Facebook has become your definition of Truth?

      Reply to Comment
    14. Dimi Reider

      Did I?

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    15. Dimi Reider

      This post is /reporting/ the fact that African kids who study Holocaust in an Israeli high school and are then subject to racist violence, make this connection. We can agree or disagree about making this connection in a political analysis piece or a history book. But go look /them/ in the eyes and explain they should be thankful, because the people who spit at them, torch their homes, break their cars and attack their parents, are nicer than the Nazis. Lemme know how it goes.

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    16. max

      Dimi “This post is /reporting/ the fact that African kids …”
      No. “This post is /reporting/ the fact that some wrote on Facebook…”
      So indeed, Facebook has become your definition of Truth.
      ” But … in the eyes and … thankful… attack their parents, are nicer than the Nazis”
      Such demagogy isn’t helpful when you have a right cause. It tells people you don’t care about the issue but about insulting them.

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    17. “Instead of saying it himself, he provides a ‘declaration’ of a 12 years old. So now we’re faced with children sentimentality.”
      Children who have to be escorted home by Israelis because it isn’t safe for them to be on the streets by themselves at a time when African-owned shops have just been smashed in and looted, Africans have been physically assaulted in their neighbourhood (including a baby), and a few weeks prior to these events African homes and a kindergarten were attacked with Molotovs. Their fears aren’t ‘sentimental’, they are very real.
      There were no gas chambers when the looting and the vandalism and the physical attacks began in Nazi Germany. The Final Solution hadn’t even been drawn up. It began with accusations that Jews are sexually voracious threats to Aryan womanhood, that they’re dirty, that they carry disease, that they threaten Aryan jobs. Then came the broken windows and the looted shop goods and the people getting beaten in the street. This child isn’t possessed of the special magical knowledge that this situation is Forever Different. She’s too scared for that. And people will dismiss her fears as sentimentality and the fact that she’s been quoted at all as cynical manipulation, because it’s just not convenient to have this girl’s fears intruding on their comfortable political arguments, conducted from the safety of their computer chairs.
      “[W]hy not ask the children: aren’t you glad that your parents made it safely to Israel through the Egyptian Spring? Aren’t you glad you could soon go back home?”
      Why not just walk them home, do your utmost to keep them safe, and listen to whatever they need to say? Their accompanier wasn’t questioning them. The kids were the ones with questions. I wouldn’t dismiss what they ask so lightly.

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    18. XYZ

      Odd that these refugees didn’t stop and settle in Egypt when they had the chance, after all in the LEft/Progressive world-view, it is a FAR more liberal, progressive, democratic society than Israel is. Or why don’t they go live in the Palestinian territories? No doubt the Palestinians would treat them better, too.

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    19. caden

      What can I tell you Dimi, I just find the Israel is the new Nazi Germany thing kind of irritating. Why do you and the rest of the 972 columnists lapse into that on a regular basis. I really am curious

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    20. Certainly no-one here can claim a prize for originality in thei respect, Caden. Somewhere in Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s 1975 collection of essays, “Yahadut, ‘Am ha-Yehudi, u-Medinat Yisrael,” you should be able to find his first published use of the term “Judeo-Nazi.”

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    21. max

      Vicky, you have obviously a big good heart, so I can’t be upset at you, only wish you’d learn to understand what you read

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    22. Dimi, have you forgotten that the article you cite by your good self, “Why Nazi comparisons are (almost) completely useless,” is actually tongue-in-cheek? Hence the “(almost)” in the title. You end up saying:
      “We, should, however, set aside one exception to the rule I just described. The only context in which we not only can, but must compare each and every little thing to Nazism is that of the aforementioned Knesset bill. If the bill passes into law, it will become our sacred duty to compare each and every little thing, beginning with the bill’s Rt. Hon. sponsor, to the jolly 1930s. The bill is Nazi, the MKs slowly raising their right hand to vote for it are Nazis, the neighbours upstairs are Nazis, the public transport – well, goes without saying; the exams are a bloody Holocaust, the weather is as Nazi as it gets, and the alarm clock is a fucking Obersturmführer with three Iron Crosses and Tourette’s.”

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    23. jskaif

      If you’re sick of all the holocaust and Nazi comparisons, maybe it’s time Israel and Israeli’s took a good long look at themselves….

      Through these actions, rhetoric will in fact change and the idea of Holocaust will no longer be relegated to Nazi Germany and the Jews. It is fast over the past decade, becoming entrenched in modern media and becoming a trope in describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so why not the plight of these refugees? If you think that I’m condoning it, you’re missing what I’m explaining here…

      It’s shameful this treatment of refugees, and BLATANT racism. I don’t give a toss for the the source of the quote being from facebook, or made my 12 year olds – or if it’s sentimental/fake/provocative. The bottom line is 1000 people marched, the bottom line is vandalism, threats and pure racsit diatribe is being displayed against them (the refugees).

      I don’t care what your background or politics are, but if you think this kind of behaviour is warranted, shame on you.

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    24. jason humphreys

      Demi, I am reminded of an article of yours I read a few weeks back in which you state that any comparison to Nazism automatically turns any debate away from its original point of discussion. The comments left here by some have validated your point. The real point, as you make clear, is that this is an expression of how the immigrant children are feeling. It doesn’t mean this is going to happen, but it raises the notion that the children are sufficiently traumatised by their experiences to make this connection.

      Max, there is no declaration on the writers or publishers part that Sudanese immigrants will suffer the same fate as European Jews under the Nazi’s, but can we not agree that if children who are educated in Israel are making this assumption then there is clearly an underlying current of tension and fear that needs to be addressed?

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    25. max

      @Jason, I can’t make the assumption that “children who are educated in Israel are making this assumption” based on a Facebook post.
      Dimi and you do make – not an assumption but an assertion – and I’d find it risible but unfortunately you also use it to incite for hate.
      As I wrote, there’s enough to condemn without having to fabricate – or do you want to start comparing Facebook posts to see who’s more racist and who’s fabricating more?

      Reply to Comment
    26. max

      Journalism already switched from reporting about events and people behind events, to reporting about journalists who report about, and now we’re at the age of post-post journalism were we’ll report about Facebook posts as a reflection of reality…
      Should we also use Facebook money and Facebook real-estate and Facebook Likes to address the refugee problems?

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    27. jason humphreys

      Max. If somebody expresses themselves via social media why is this any less relevant than somebody expressing themselves through another forum? It doesn’t teach us about the events but it does teach us about emotional reactions to the events, and these emotional reactions are just as important to the shaping of future events.

      I see and empathise with your frustration, and agree that a lot of journalism at present is in the habit of putting forward opinion as if it were fact. I don’t, however, believe the above article to be guilty of this. The author is clear that this is an expression of how someone is feeling, rather than an expression of fact.

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    28. Uri Orbach wrote this in 1986 in the settler magazine Nekuda, lampooning the sho’ological nonsense that was coming out of the settler camp:
      Oh, what a beautiful shoah. How wonderful it is to use terms from another world in one’s argument. It’s frightening, it’s intimidating, and they’ll never dare. “Do you want Samaria to be Judenrein?” asks the expert on Holocaust and current affairs. “No,” replies another sho’ologist, “we will not go like sheep to the slaughter.” “The government is bringing down a Holocaust on our heads,” another laments, and yet another adds, “The Labor Party wants us to live in a Jewish ghetto within Hebron.” Oh, panic, we have returned to you, you are forever, forever in our hearts. As far as I’m concerned, and I don’t care if I’m not expressing the majority view, I’m tired of this whole affair. What’s this rubbish about “holocaust” and “our little town is burning?” Where does the holocaust come into the story? The first paranoids in our camp were the Yamit setters who were stupid enough to pin yellow badges to their lapels. Then they began denouncing the reparations the government is paying the evacuees. I was ashamed then and I am ashamed today. Those who want to view the world in only two colors, black and black, should keep their color blindness to themselves, and not inflict their world of associations on us. The bitter and horrendous legacy of the holocaust should not be turned into petty, false currency. And forgive me for the heresy, the evacuation of Eretz Israel is not a holocaust. I hereby volunteer nobly and like a sheep led to the slaughter, to be accused of nowism, and of tranquillizing appeasement. Thank you. I prefer that to the thenism which begins and ends with WW2, all of whose analogies are based on speeding trains and ghettos and Holocaust and black umbrellas. Oh, shoah show, how good it is to have you around, the best show in town. Did I say town? “In the town of death”! Intimidate, cry out, deter, compare, and the people of Israel will be frightened, will tremble and will, of course, flock in their thousands to Samaria with certificates of residence in the Jewish street between the ghettos under the rule of Pétain and the Vichy government within the borders of Auschwitz. The mob is hereby requested not to give the Holocaust a bad name.

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    29. Woody

      I used to agree with the criticisms against using comparisons to Germany. However, you have to understand things have completely changed. Even those on the fence who felt this was an issue to be resolved by discussion and community work now see what the fascists have done with the discontent of the neighborhood residents. They have not only bussed in fascist support to create a pogrom, but the government members have joined in. This is now the next step to 1938. Let’s be clear. These are pogroms and these are judeo-nazis. By the way, for those who are confused, Jews also fled Russia to a Germany that then lynched them. Learn history and stop deflecting blame.

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    30. max

      Woody “I used to agree with …” You can only be a liar. Referring to the mob action above as ‘pogrom’, or even comparing the general Israeli attitude towards refugees to that in France, Russia or Egypt (a sample only) is not a result of a sudden change, but that of a deep hate and prejudice.

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    31. Rozzer

      It’s so nice to know we Jews still have a little country in which we can be like everyone else. Just like everyone else. Very elevating for those of us still wandering in the external wilderness. Such freedom, such originality, such a model. Why am I still in the States?

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    32. Elisabeth

      Max said: “Vicky, you have obviously a big good heart, ”

      She always impresses me.

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    33. Michael

      Don’t have much to say about this except the use of the word “African” in this post / article / whatever it is. I would have thought that in this day and age we would be respectful enough in how we describe the diverse set of people that come from a continent that has over 1 billion people in over 50 countries. Cmon, people, they are Sudanese, not Africans!!

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    34. Please feature this video on your website! It is so important that people understand what is going on from the refugee’s perspective!


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    35. Inhumane treatment to children, Is it right…..??

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