Incitement in Tel Aviv ‘should disturb every Jew’

Former senior policeman Moshe Mizrahi warns against inciting hatred at anti-Immigrant Tel Aviv rally.

Rally against Africans in south Tel Aviv [file] 370 (R) (photo credit: Amir Cohen / Reuters)
Rally against Africans in south Tel Aviv [file] 370 (R)
(photo credit: Amir Cohen / Reuters)
Knesset members who spoke at Wednesday night’s rally against African migrants incited crowds to hatred of foreigners and exploited legitimate concerns to stoke crude xenophobia, a former senior policeman warned Thursday.
Cmdr. (ret.) Moshe Mizrahi, who heads a Labor Party committee on African migrants and served as the former head of the police’s investigations branch, said he was highly concerned about an escalation of further violence.
The MKs who spoke at the rally “are pouring fuel on an area where residents are already dealing with serious problems,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The worst part is that Sudanese and Eritreans are now being blamed for all [the country’s] ills, though it is this government and its predecessors who are responsible for failing to deal with the entry of migrants.”
During the event, Likud MK Danny Danon, chairman of the “Deportation Now” movement, called the migrants “a national plague” and said that “we must deport them immediately before it’s too late.”
He added that “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an enemy state composed of infiltrators.”
Fellow Likud MK Miri Regev described the illegal migrants as a “cancer.”
“This is really disturbing to any Zionist and Jew,” said Mizrahi. “It is populism of the lowest kind. They are exploiting the real distress of residents.
And I say this without [trying to minimize] the urgency of finding a solution to the migrant problem, which is severe.”
He added that “these same Knesset members belong to the helpless government that abandoned the residents of south Tel Aviv. Now they are fueling the flames instead of focusing on the role they were elected to carry out, finding a tangible solution to the problem.”
Attempting to portray migrants as rapists and thieves is also a dangerous distortion of the facts, Mizrahi argued, saying that Sudanese and Eritrean migrants were not mentioned once during a series of violent crimes carried out by Israelis earlier this month.
Responding to Mizrahi’s comments, Danon said, “I emphatically oppose violence by infiltrators and toward infiltrators, but I am for immediate deportation.”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), who also spoke at the rally, said he would be happy to teach Mizrahi about democracy, and accused the former police officer of forgetting “about the importance of freedom of speech.”
“I am proud that the Knesset is finally paying attention to the infiltrator problem,” Ben- Ari added.