Israel's racism is particularly galling
(“Nothing particularly Israeli about xenophobia”, June 8).
The reality is that there is racist discrimination in Israel against Palestinians, blacks (Jews and non-Jews) and Sephardic Jews; and 23 new laws (as documented by Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) discriminate against Palestinians.
Saks no doubt is right when he states that discrimination against foreigners is a global phenomenon. But in the case of Israel it is uniquely ironic: Israel was created to provide a refuge for Jews persecuted in Europe, and it actively encourages immigration – for Jews, persecuted or not. Yet it has no place for African immigrants who are persecuted in their home countries and often face death or torture.
The exclusion of them is based on the notion that they threaten the Jewish nature of the Israeli state. Israeli leaders’ racist statements on this would not be countenanced elsewhere.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “If we don’t stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60000 could grow to 600000, and that threatens our existence.”
Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai said that African immigrants “think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man”.
An Israeli parliamentarian compared Sudanese people to “a cancer in our body”. She later “apologised”, but not to Africans: “When I compared the migrant worker phenomenon to cancer, I was referring to the way the phenomenon had spread ... I surely did not intend to hurt either Holocaust survivors or cancer patients.” – Rasimeni Manjezi, Cape Town