This was not allegedly shouted in a redneck town in the southern USA or in a deserted eastern German village, or in a football stadium in Poland, but in a nation created for a persecuted people.
Israel has an immigration problem, or, as Benjamin Netanyahu says, "a problem with infiltrators". This tiny Middle Eastern country has become a destination for Africans, mostly from South Sudan, fleeing conflict, poverty and the other list of maladies that accompany political upheaval. Last year, South Sudan split from Sudan, after decades of war.
These infiltrators are amongst the thousands of Africans that no country wants. After all, they don't speak the language, they can't do much but live off the state and are technically not Israel's or anybody else's problem, right? Besides, the war in Sudan is technically over, why can't these people just stay where they are?
How to deal with it? Round them up, arrest them, interrogate any African on the street and ask to see his papers, publish statistics showing how crime rises when African immigrants infiltrate Israeli borders (be sure, however, to distinguish that Jewish Ethiopians do not carry these dangers) and be sure to impress upon the idea that a tiny nation can not possibly accommodate even more people.
Many countries have taken similar measures and xenophobia towards immigrants is not unique to Israel. However, while editorials have often pointed out the historical irony in Israel's immigration policy, I find it even harder to stomach the current audacity of the Israeli government building illegal settlements on Palestinian land and then talking about African "infiltrators".
Infiltration of Africa was possible, legal and acceptable for European people for centuries, yet now there are laws that protect those same pioneer infiltrators and their economic and social interests. We can't turn back the clock and give back Africa all the riches stolen through colonial rule, but shouldn't there be laws requiring a minimum investment in economic aid in Africa for every infiltrator that is deported from Israel, Italy, Spain or Germany?
I'm not talking about dumping unwanted subsidized grains into African countries, but agricultural development programs, job creation programs and things that actually lead to sustainable living. While there is an abundance of NGOs doing all sorts of great things in Africa, there are still inhumane practices that keep poor countries poor.
Why, for example, should stock market junkies living in rich countries be allowed to speculate on prices of staples like grain and rice, thereby causing food price instability in poor countries? Just one example. . .
Why is modern day exploitation of Africans perpetuated then we sit back and ask, "What do the Africans want here?"