The“race riots” in Tel Aviv last week — a mass demonstration that turned into a pogrom against about 60,000 asylumseekers, an overwhelming majority of them from Eritrea, the rest mostly from Sudan (Darfur and South Sudan) and a few other African countries — gives a revealing glimpse into Israeli realities under the current fascist government.
The predominant speakers at the demonstration in the poor southern part of Tel Aviv, where most of the asylum seekers and migrant workers are concentrated, were two Knesset members: Michael Ben-Ari (of the far-right National Union), who urged the Jewish rabble to take law into its own hands (“the time for words is over”), and Miri Regev (Likud), who described the “Sudanese” (contrary to the facts, many ignorant Israelis subsume all Africans under “Sudanese”) as“cancer.”
Obviously, fascism always deflects public discontent by turning it against helpless minorities. But the alliance between the two Knesset members is revealing: whereas Regev is a coalition member, Ben-Ari is officially part of the opposition. Israel’s fascist coalition is in fact even wider than the 94 (out of 120) Knesset members it now includes, as it can rely on the support of the far-right opposition to carry out its policies. Netanyahu uses this quite often. When regulations or tradition stipulate the appointment of an opposition member to some official function, Netanyahu appoints someone from the far right, marginalizing the small liberal opposition even further.