Regular readers of The Electronic Intifada are familiar with the shocking and escalating racism in Israel against people from countries in Africa.
Our extensive coverage of the incitement and attacks on Africans, thanks in large part to the work of David Sheen, demonstrates that this phenomenon is not marginal, but is incited by Israel’s top political leadership.
When Israeli government ministers incite angry mobs, calling Africans “cancer,” they are simply expressing another face of the racism that Palestinians have always experienced.
Solicited, then rejected by The New York Times
Yet rarely does this knowledge make it into mainstream media.
The example of the video above, Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land, produced by David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, helps us to understand why.
Blumenthal explained to Consortium News how The New York Times commissioned the 11-minute video, but after the paper’s editors saw it, refused to publish it:
I was asked to submit something by The New York Times op docs, a new section on the website that published short video documentaries. I am known for short video documentaries about the right wing in the US, and extremism in Israel. They solicited a video from me, and when I didn’t produce it in time, they called me for it, saying they wanted it. So I sent them a video I produced with my colleague, David Sheen, an Israeli journalist who is covering the situation of non-Jewish Africans in Israel more extensively than any journalist in the world.
We put together some shocking footage of pogroms against African communities in Tel Aviv, and interviews with human rights activists. I thought it was a well-done documentary about a situation very few Americans were familiar with. We included analysis. We tailored it to their style, and of course it was rejected without an explanation after being solicited. I sent it to some other major websites and they have not even responded to me, when they had often solicited articles from me in the past.
Eventually, The Nation – which has also typically been quite timid in airing criticism of Israel – agreed to publish it.
While some of the footage in the video has already appeared on The Electronic Intifada, Sheen’s commentary is a good primer for those unfamiliar with the topic.
There is also a previously unseen interview with Michael Ben-Ari, one of Israel’s most notorious anti-African racists and a former member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
Ben-Ari also has a long history of inciting racism and hatred against Palestinians and Christians.
In the same Consortium News interview Blumenthal, author of the bestselling and widely promoted 2009 book Republican Gomorrah, also spoke about the difficulty he has had getting any mainstream media attention for his new book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.
Just like this video, Blumenthal’s new book offers an unflinching look at the racist reality of Israel that America’s establishment media simply does not have the guts to confront.