June 18, 2012

The Soul of Israelis?

Here's a curious headline in the New York Times:
Crackdown on Migrants Tugs at Soul of Israelis
The first paragraph sets the scene for for an article which couldn't be postponed for much longer:
TEL AVIV — One by one, immigration inspectors escorted the migrants out of a dilapidated building into an alley teeming with African-run stores and hair salons. Then, they were led onto a waiting bus, in the first steps on the way to deportation to their native South Sudan.
Israel's treatment of migrants has been in the Israeli media for some time now but then one good thing about Israel is that it doesn't have an Israel lobby. When hasbara cannot speak well of Israel, the hasbaristas rely on silence and this has been the case with Israel and the "infiltrators". So here's the NYT breaking the mould, or is it? The headline alone sticks its neck out for Israel. It suggests that Israel has a moral rather than a practical problem here but it gets worse, look:
Critics say that Israel, a nation largely founded by refugees, lacks a proper immigration policy.
"A nation largely founded by refugees"?  Ok, many, even most early Israelis were refugees but might there be a precedent for the forced removal of people whose ethnicity didn't fit the state's desired profile? If the NYT wrote more about the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, its readers might understand how this "nation founded largely by refugees" can treat refugees so badly.


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