Likud campaign in south Tel Aviv targets migrants and Arab-Israelis

Posters in Jaffa warn of ‘city of infiltrators’ and Islamic Movement.

"It's us or them - the Hebrew city OR city of infiltrators" Likud poster for Tel Aviv elections, October 4, 2018 (photo credit: AVNER GVARYAHU / BREAKING THE SILENCE)
"It's us or them - the Hebrew city OR city of infiltrators" Likud poster for Tel Aviv elections, October 4, 2018
Campaign posters put up by Likud’s Tel Aviv faction in south Tel Aviv ahead of the October 30 municipal elections depicting African migrants and Islamists under the slogan “It’s us or them” have drawn accusations of racism and incitement.
One poster depicts a split screen, one half with a masked Islamist waving a Palestinian flag above the words “the Islamic Movement in Jaffa.” According to the campaign Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s choice is that or the image depicted on the other half of the poster – an Israeli flag under the words “the Hebrew city.” Along the bottom of the poster the words read “only the Likud, the Right of Tel Aviv.”
Another Likud faction campaign poster, with the same “it’s us or them” slogan juxtaposes an image of African migrants waving an Eritrean flag above the words “city of infiltrators” with the same Israeli flag image and “Hebrew city” banner seen in the aforementioned poster.
Joint List MK Nivin Abu Rahman responded to the campaign on Wednesday saying, “Only this morning it was published that an appeal was filed to the Attorney General to prevent [Avi] Elkabetz from running for mayor of Afula and here we find another example of a nauseating and racist campaign which incites racism and violence against the Arab public in Jaffa and against the Yafa party list which is participating in the current elections, this time from the Likud house. We will urgently ask the Attorney General to reject the racist campaign.”
The Likud faction in Tel Aviv is headed by Tel Aviv deputy mayor of Tel Aviv Arnon Giladi, who told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday: “There is no racism.” The campaign was not targeting Arabs in general, he said. “Arab citizens are residents of Jaffa, and we love them and we embrace them. But the Islamic Movement is infiltrating it and trying to change the face of Jaffa... We are not prepared for the character of Tel Aviv-Jaffa to be changed by the Islamic movement.”
Addressing the other poster, he said: “I am a third generation resident of Tel Aviv. My grandchildren are fifth generation. Entire neighborhoods are being chased away by illegal infiltrators... We demand to expel everyone who came illegally and send them back to their homelands. We in Likud are trying to preserve the Jewish Zionist traditional character of this city. What is wrong or racist about it?”
Tel Aviv mayoral candidate Assaf Harel, who heads the “We Are the City” list, slammed the Likud campaign. Harel’s number 2 is council member Amir Badran, who is a leader of the Arab community in Jaffa. His number 3 is Shula Keshet, a leader of the pro-migrant camp in south Tel Aviv.
“Likud, being the Likud, is following the tactics of the boss [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] – incitement and division. It’s nothing new,” said Harel. “What is surprising here is that in Tel Aviv, Likud sits in the coalition with [Mayor Ron] Huldai, Asaf Zamir and Meretz – who prefer to ignore racist expressions of this kind, as long as they hold on to their chair.” Harel said that his party will not sit with parties who incite against others.
“Tel Aviv-Jaffa is a mixed city and could serve as an example to the rest of the country,” Harel added. “Unfortunately, the current leadership of the city is not interested in that. We will work together, Jews and Arabs, to change this and make Tel Aviv-Jaffa a city of all its residents.”
The Likud party used the “It’s us or them” slogan in the 2015 national elections against Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni who ran together as the leaders of the Zionist Union party and whose own slogan was “It’s us or him.”
Netanyahu is remembered for his campaign tactics that year, when he warned right-wing voters that Arabs voters were going to the polls “in droves.”