Opinion |

Opinion | We're Not Colorblind: Racism Is a Lucrative Industry in Israel

We need foreign workers not just because we won't pick cucumbers. We need them to trample on. Once it was Mizrahim, then it was the Russians, always the Arabs and now the blacks

Yossi Klein
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Eritrean asylum seekers wear chains to symbolize the slave trade at a demonstration against the Israeli government's intentions to forcibly deport them to Uganda and Rwanda outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on January 17, 2018.
Eritrean asylum seekers wear chains to symbolize the slave trade at a demonstration against the Israeli government's intentions to forcibly deport them to Uganda and Rwanda outside the Knesset in JeruCredit: Oded Balilty/AP
Yossi Klein

We are not color blind. Black does not appeal to us. It brings out our most repulsive urges. It opens all our racism valves, which are loose as it is. We’re not in Europe of the ‘30s. We won’t hide black neighbors in the attic when the cops come.

Skin color is for them what the yellow patch was for us. We don’t believe anyone but us can wear such a patch. We think they’re taking advantage of us. That the hunger and persecution are but an excuse to be here, to exploit our warm hospitality.

We’ve outsourced labor. As long as we can keep our hands from getting dirty, we’ll always find someone who will get his dirty for us. Labor, which was once our life, is not for us anymore. As long as we like cucumbers we’ll have Thai farmers, as long as we built apartments we’ll have Chinese construction workers, and as long as we go to restaurants, blacks will wash dishes. Hunger, poverty and fear of death are the best unemployment bureau. As long as there’s hunger in the world, the hungry will cross oceans and deserts to escape it.

If you asked me what job I’d wish for my children, I’d say: an importer of foreign laborers. Steady income, big demand, unlimited supply of workers. We need foreign workers not only because we don’t feel like picking cucumbers. We need them to trample on. We’ll always have someone like that. Once it was Mizrahim, then it was the Russians, always the Arabs and now the blacks. With blacks, you don’t have to go into detail. They’re all “infiltrators.” The refugees, the asylum seekers and the work migrants are infiltrators. They all harass girls and steal work places.

There isn’t a single sane country in the world where there’s a difference between foreign workers and work migrants. Workers stay until their visa expires. Not here. We go according to color. It’s simple: “Work migrants” are black, “foreign workers” are white and yellow. The black work migrants we deport, the others we exploit.

It’s not just racism. It’s money. The work migrants throw a wrench into the economy and the foreign workers start it up. What do we get from the blacks? Nothing. Only feelings of guilt. What do we get from the foreign workers? $8,000-$10,000 a head. Call it what you will, broker’s fees or protection money, it’s a steady, dependable cash flow that renews itself every nine months. We allocate them nine months to be with us (construction workers and caretakers get to stay longer). Otherwise they might fall in love, have children and contaminate the race.

After nine months they have to leave. That’s the law. Every nine months the money faucet is reopened. The meter is running. No fewer than 700 workers a cycle – do the math and tell me if that isn’t what you want for your son.

The law forbids charging a broker’s fee, but come on, where does the money to bribe the government clerks, inspectors, Knesset members and ministers come from? (Fine, not to bribe. To give presents to friends.)

Why? To lengthen their stay, to raise the quota, to speed up the expulsion of the ones who don’t put a shekel in your pocket. That’s how it is when corruption is the law and the law is merely a recommendation. The blacks will leave, the yellows will come and the whites will continue to make money.

Racism is color blind. Give them nine months in the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods where the blacks live, and the yellows will become “thieves” and “rapists” too. After two months there, the Israeli residents will say they’re taking all the good jobs and making passes at the girls. After six months in the Shapira Quarter, the Israelis will demand to know why the yellows were all dumped in south Tel Aviv and not the wealthy northside. After nine months the Israelis living around the Central Bus Station will again start missing what they once had.

This time it won’t work. The blacks will have gone and the yellows will still be coming, but the whites making money off them live in the north and there they will stay, and they won’t let anybody kill the goose that lays their golden eggs.

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