Israeli President Shimon Peres, in a statement condemning this sort of violence against African immigrants:
On Wednesday night, around 200 people gathered in south Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood, chanting “The Left is a cancer,” “Deport the Sudanese” and “Leftists to Sudan.” The rally came about a week after Israelis ran amok in the Hatikva neighborhood, smashing African-run storefronts and attacking asylum-seekers following an anti-migrant protest that around 1,000 people attended.
Peres is right, of course, about the Torah.
But the problem isn’t limited to some racist Israeli citizens in Tel Aviv who ought to spend more time in synagogue. In fact, the racism on the streets looks a lot like it’s being directed — or at least very strongly encouraged — from above:
A Knesset Interior Committee meeting descended into a shouting match on Tuesday as MKs competed with one another over who could take a harder line on African migrants.
The meeting on violence by migrants was called by Likud MKs Danny Danon and Miri Regev, who participated in last week’s anti-migrant demonstration in south Tel Aviv.
Danon slammed the “bleeding hearts” who ask him how he dares suggest that migrants be deported, saying that forcing them to leave Israel is the real solution.
The Knesset should pass a bill setting a minimum amount of migrants to be deported each month, he added.
It’s not sufficient for Peres to issue a condemnation about this sort of thing. When politicians are openly advocating deportation policies and citizens are attacking immigrants on the streets in the course of racist rallies, everyone needs to stop for a moment and take a good long look at themselves. More than simply condemning what everyone should already know is worthy of condemnation, Peres needs to make clear that the country must move in the exact opposite direction from the one proposed by these Likud MKs. It’s time for action against racism in Israel, not simply outrage.