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The difference between Greece's refugee pogroms and Israel's

The difference is that Greek society has been driven to desperation, while Israeli society is living the good life.

When I read a few days ago that refugees were being beaten by masked, club-wielding goons in Greece, I felt less distressed about what was going on in Israel. If it’s happening in the “cradle of democracy,” why shouldn’t it happen here? Hey, every country, even the most liberal, has had its bouts with racist violence; what’s happening in Israel isn’t anything out of the ordinary, we’re not so bad, we’re no worse than anybody else, so have a little perspective.

But then I remembered – Greece’s economy is in ruins. The whole society is panicking, and for very good reason. Such conditions, of course, have routinely produced xenophobia and strains of fascism in societies, so what’s happening in Greece is actually normal and predictable. Desperation created the poison that’s there now in Greece’s bloodstream; the society is under abnormal, life-threatening pressure.

But what’s Israel’s excuse? Netanyahu is right: Except for the haredim and Arabs, Israel’s economy is in great shape compared to just about every other country in the world. Terror has never been less of a threat; Israelis have never been so safe. The only real danger on the horizon is a war with Iran – which will only happen if we start it ourselves.

No, those international happiness surveys that show Israelis being among the world’s happiest people are telling the truth – the economy’s good, terror has disappeared, the price of cellphones is way down, people are planning summer trips overseas, the restaurants, bars and clubs are full – and we’re ready to murder the African refugees, as well as the human rights activists who help them, and this, of course, is on top of the Arabs who we can’t ever murder enough.

The better our quality of life, the more decisively we triumph over our enemies, the meaner we become.

But this isn’t unique, either. In apartheid South Africa, the whites lived like kings, the blacks and other non-whites didn’t dare give them any trouble, yet white society did nothing but devour the “kaffirs” for decades on end. Same thing with the segregationist American South – life for white folks was good, the blacks did just as they were told, and none of it softened those rednecks’ hearts one bit.

One other thing that today’s Israel has in common with apartheid South Africa and the Jim Crow South – the absence of a liberal opposition that can threaten the white (or Jewish) supremacists’ power. In real democracies, you have liberals and conservatives, a left and a right fighting it out, switching back and forth between the government and the opposition. Not in apartheid South Africa, not in the segregationist South, and not in 21st century Israel, where the hardasses rule without challenge.

I don’t think it was inevitable that Israel would become the rabidly ultra-nationalistic country it is. Until the second intifada in 2000 destroyed the “peace camp,” liberalism was actually a living force in this country, and lots and lots of people who genuinely hated the notion of Jewish supremacism held positions of political power. But while Israel’s moral degradation wasn’t inevitable, I wouldn’t say it was happenstance, either. This is a proudly, officially ethnocentric state, and ethnocentrism can very easily turn ugly if you’re not careful. Israel was not careful – and Israel has turned ugly. Prosperous, secure and ugly.

The only thing that cured apartheid was its dissolution. Same with Jim Crow. Is the only cure for the horrible excesses of Israeli ethnocentrism, i.e. Zionism,  the dissolution of Zionism? I still don’t think so – I still think it would lead to endless civil war. But neither do I see any other realistic chance of Israel being cured. When Miri Regev said the Sudanese are a “cancer” in this country, she was wrong about the Sudanese. But about this country having cancer, she was dead on the money.

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    1. aristeides

      Sometimes cancers just can’t be cured. Sometimes the patient dies. Especially if it denies there is anything wrong with having the cancer.

      Israel is a Cancer Pride society.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Rehmat

      Sorry Larry – the difference is Israel is spoon-fed by the US taxpayers while Greek taxpayers are being sucked by the Zionist vampires.

      Last year when Athens agreed on a unity government – pro-Israel Jewish groups had objected to the inclusion of the LAOS party, headed by Georgios Karatzaferis, in the unity government. Why, not only Georgios Karatzaferis believes that Greece has been bankrupted by the Zionist-controlled WB, IMF and Wall Street – but also questions the Jewish power in Greece.


      Reply to Comment
    3. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Larry, I think you’re looking at this with too low resolution. Israel may be doing fine, but south Tel Aviv neighborhoods being flooded by Africans are not doing fine. Are the violent residents of those neighborhoods really better off than the violent Greek thugs? I don’t know. But this violence, in Israel at least, is not driven by statewide problems. Compare Israeli thugs to Greek thugs, fine, but the statewide situations in Israel and Greece shouldn’t be compared here if you’re looking for motivations.

      Reply to Comment
    4. max

      Larry, your reference to Greece is completely off the mark as Greece as the cradle of democracy has only anecdotal relevance to modern Greece. For all practical perspectives Greece has been neither democratic nor Western until very recently.
      Further, democracy – for whatever it’s worth – isn’t a B&W state, and what you suggest is that _liberalism_, for which democracy is a good environment, is weak within the Israeli democratic context.
      I don’t think that Israel, facing continuous existential challenges (though not always acute) can survive without a strong internal cohesion, which can’t – I believe – exist without liberalism and social justice.
      So – jumping a logical step – I am convinced that Israel will have a liberal society applying social justice.
      I wonder whether liberalism is needed in order to solve many of Israel’s problems or whether solving the problems will foster liberalism.
      “In real democracies, you have liberals and conservatives, a left and a right fighting it out, switching back and forth…”
      Are you sure that Israel had less right/left switches than all democracies? Sweden? France? I’m afraid you got this part wrong, even within the “… and not in 21st century Israel” time frame

      Reply to Comment
    5. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Rehmat, corection: You mean JEWISH vampires, not ZIONIST vampires. Try to use accurate language. By the way, are you the same Rehmat that posts those mindless anti-Semitic rants in comments at Kevin MacDondald’s website, Occidental Observer? If so, why don’t you go back and join your retard friends.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Suzanne Sapir

      And you are “dead on the money” with your analysis of Israel, sorry to day

      Reply to Comment
    7. caden

      Lets see, Jews are vampires and cancers. Aside from MURDERING Arabs, Africans, “human rights activists”, and all the rest. Before breakfast I guess.

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    8. Alan

      Larry– Do you really think that the government in the South Africa of the apartheid era would have tolerated magazines like 972 and other media that relentlessly criticize the government? Do you really think that Israeli activists are treated as brutally by their government as white opponents of apartheid were treated in South Africa? My questions are rhetorical; of course you know that the answer is “no.” The real question, then, is why such important differences don’t register with you? The only answer I can come up with is that you don’t want to complicate your reductive comparison between Israel and South Africa.

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    9. Alan, you’re right that Israel has a lot more free speech than S. Africa did – but it’s not as if there were no S.A. protest movements, no anti-apartheid writers, organizations and even one or two elected officials. It’s a difference of degree. And if you want to focus on comparisons with S.A. in which Israel comes out ahead, and tell yourself that shows Israel cannot be compared to S.A., go ahead. I think the occupation is much, much, much more similar to apartheid than dissimilar, and as the saying goes, Yesha is here.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Elisabeth

      You can really blow people away. With your anger, but also with the sadness of it, as it did not have to be this way.

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    11. Most and probably all the actions against African emigrants in TLV has been seen in most of the western countries. The counter voice against it is loud and clear.
      And Larry talking about mordering the way you did is realy, way out of contest and worth suing you. (See CADEN)

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sherri Munnerlyn

      Last weekend, there were airstrikes in Gaza that destroyed a dairy factory and other civilian structures and airstrikes that even attacked a kindergarten. There were injuries to civilians in Gaza, too, including children. I am addressing the attack on the kindergarten here, as I am seeing no current articles addressing these airstrikes in Gaza by Israel.

      Are airstrikes that hurt and kill and destroy property in Gaza completely not news items in the Israel of today? It seems Reliefweb is the only one addressing the strikes, that killed 3 members of the Palestinian resistance and wounded 3 others in the Gaza Strip, and that also wounded wounded 10 civilians, including 7 children. (That is from weekly human rights group report.)

      Israeli raid, ‘Land of the Children’ kindergarten damaged Report Missionary International Service News Agency

      “We are very surprised by what happened because the kindergarten was announced in Israel, in short, they know we’re there, we opened the facility on March 19″: thus said to MISNA the President of the NGO ‘Wind of the Earth’, Massimo Annibale Rossi, which together with the Italian Cooperation and the Italian episcopal Conference (CEI), has funded and built the Umm al-Nasser kindergarten, damaged in an Israeli air raid last Saturday night.

      “The ‘Children of Earth’ – the first children’s center in Gaza, which derives all its energy from solar panels – regularly hosts approximately 130 children between the ages of three and six, as well as organizing activities for the women of the Bedouin community next village,” explained Massimo Annibale Rossi.

      “In an area with unemployment rates of 80%, with 9 out of 10 children suffering from intestinal parasites and the living conditions of a Sub-Saharan African country, despite being located just 30 kilometers from Tel Aviv – insists Rossi – you cannot target a rare oasis of fun and normalcy for children born and raised during a conflict and under embargo


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    13. Woody

      “Except for the haredim and Arabs, Israel’s economy is in great shape”

      Derfner FAIL. Unless of course when he says the economy isn’t in great shape for “Arabs” he was referring to the Jewish-Arabs in neighborhoods like HaTikva, Shapira, Kiryat Shalom, and Holon who are precisely the ones lashing out against the refugee population. I sort of doubt that is what he meant though.

      “the second intifada in 2000 destroyed the “peace camp,” liberalism was actually a living force in this country, and lots and lots of people who genuinely hated the notion of Jewish supremacism held positions of political power.”

      Yet more fantasy. The country has been racist almost non-stop from the beginning. It’s continued to be so, regardless of the Intifada, my friend. Furthermore, the racism that screws over the Mizrahi residents of South Tel Aviv and then therefore the refugees there…it has nothing to do with Rabin or Intifada II (forget about the fact that Israel was the CAUSE of the intifada). I think the article is great for awareness raising, but seeing these liberals who don’t really have a very good analysis of the situation in Israel become disappointed and begin to trace back when their vision lost…it’s so Kibbutznik. Your vision was always a failure, at best a delusion that served you amidst the mass inequality.

      It’s like “first they came for the Palestinians, then they came for Bedouin, I said something, but they didn’t listen, so don’t blame me when they come for the others”

      Reply to Comment
    14. Rehmat

      Aaron the Fascist Troll – For your great ignorance – there is a huge difference between “Zionists”, “Jews” and “Semites”. You should check it at some objective source.

      YES – I’m the same Remat who posited at Occidental Observer, to challenge all those White and Zionist suremacists – that Israel doesn’t represent the true follwers of ‘Moses Law’.

      Do you know Last Israeli Rabbi Baruch Efrati told a questioner last year that Jews are permitted to pray in mosque but not in a church as the later houses idols….


      Reply to Comment
    15. Sherri Munnerlyn

      I was reading these hateful statements made by a Rabbi last month, I do not know if they have been discussed on 972 Magazine or not. I am wondering how widespread these ideas are in the Israel of today.

      The spiritual leader of the United Torah Judaism party, Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, called the world’s eight billion non-Jews murderers, thieves and senseless at a conference held in Beit Shemesh on Wednesday, according to the founder and chairman of the Hiddush religious pluralism organization, Rabbi Uri Regev.

      Regev issued a statement quoting Shteinman as having said: “Today they say there are eight billion people in the world. And what are they all? Murderers, thieves and senseless. Did God create the world for these murderers? The world was created for the righteous people who study Torah. That is the purpose of creation … The nations of the world have no redeeming qualities


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    16. Alright, I’ve trashed two comments on this one post. If somebody wants to argue with another commenter, fine, but if they just want to come on and snipe at people, forget it.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Alan

      @sherri–” Regev issued a statement quoting Shteinman as having said: “Today they say there are eight billion people in the world. And what are they all? Murderers, thieves and senseless. Did God create the world for these murderers? The world was created for the righteous people who study Torah. That is the purpose of creation … The nations of the world have no redeeming qualities

      In the link you provide, Rabbi Regev condemns these comments. I don’t leaving this out was an oversight on your part. It’s nice to know that a Christian in Arkansas, as you describe yourself on your Mondoweiss profile, is so interested in tracking the comments of a nearly 100 year old rabbi. Any thoughts about the “pogroms” in Syria, Sherri?

      Reply to Comment
    18. Sherri Munnerlyn

      Alan, What is happening in Syria does not justify Israeli Apartheid, nor does it justify the Occupation, nor does it justify Israeli pogroms against African refugees. People of conscience all over our world are going to keep speaking about these abuses as long as they continue, in particular the abuses related to the Occupation that have been ongoing for over 45 years now. Further, what I am reading is US Special Operations are working in Syria, have been since last summer, that is what I am reading, how much of the violence and killing in Syria are they responsible for?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Caden, this is the second comment of yours I’ve trashed on this post. (I also trashed a comment by someone who attacked you in a particularly offensive way.) I’ve banned one commenter from my channel for anti-Semitism – he’s the real thing – and now I want to caution you that if you go on accusing ocmmenters who clearly are not anti-Semites of being that, I’m afraid I’m going to ban you too – and I don’t want to do that, so do us both a favor and stop taking potshots at commenters.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Alan


      You didn’t address your dishonest use of the site you referenced. Rabbi Regev cited Sheinman’s offensive comments in order to condemn them– but one would never know this from your post. This suggests to me that you’re more interested in vilifying Israel than in truth or the facts. Your use of the word “pogrom” is a prime example of this. Pogroms were the brutal and murderous campaigns carried out against Jews in Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thousands of Jews were murdered in pogroms. Not a single African refugee has been murdered in Israel. The only reason to use the word “pogrom” in this context is to demonize Israel. Unfortunately, when writers like Larry D. use words like “pogrom” and “apartheid” he attracts Israel haters like you.

      Yes, yes, all those Syrian children are really being murdered by American Special Operations forces. I can only imagine the level of collusion that exists between the American government and the media to hide this fact from people gullible enough to believe that Assad would butcher his own people.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Alan, if Jews had been on the receiving end of something like the south Tel Aviv riot and gentiles had been dishing it out, Israel wouldn’t have called it a pogrom, we would have called it Krystallnacht. Likewise, if anybody did to Israelis what we do to Palestinians, Israel wouldn’t call it an “occupation,” we’d call it Auschwitz.

      Reply to Comment
    22. caden

      Larry, if you think that this is in the same galaxy has Auschwitz your’re in dire need of a screening of Shoah. Or the World at War. Or maybe the book, “The war against the Jews”

      Reply to Comment
    23. Caden, I said Israel would call it Auschwitz, not me.

      Reply to Comment
    24. There will not be an end to Israeli Apartheid before the Israeli left (or whatever’s left from it) will join forces with Palestinians to abolish it, in concert with outside pressure in the form of BDS.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Laurent Szyster

      On June 8, refugee pogroms in Greece can be “explained” by the dire economic situation there but attacks on african refugee in wealthy Israel must be symptoms of a widespread vicious racism ?

      On June 1 however, you asked your reader to “Stop excusing the ‘have-nots’ for racism and violence” in south Tel-Aviv.

      Go figure …

      Reply to Comment
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