We all know the scenario: An essential Israeli industry needs workers. It offers inducements, bonuses and special conditions to attract Israelis to fill the ranks. Nothing works. There are just some jobs that the natives simply will not do — just like in European countries and even America. As a last resort, the industry gets permission to import and use foreign workers.
Welcome to the ‘social justice’ industry, version 2014.
Back in 2011, a consortium of left-wing activist groups, backed by tons of euros, hit on a great idea to destabilize the Israeli government, maybe even knock it out of the game.
Drawing on the widespread Israeli discontent with the relative high cost of living, these activists organized street rallies in Tel Aviv and other cities. There was no lack of budget for professional organizers, t-shirts, banners, transportation, PR, entertainment, and even a tent camp to maintain a permanent presence. The European backers and the New Israel Fund were only too happy to pour money into events which would embarrass what they perceived to be a right-wing, anti-democratic government.
Well-trained and scripted spokespersons were always available to speak to the media in terms which appealed to the average Israeli’s sense of justice and equality. Only rarely did the real agenda slip out of someone’s mouth.
In the course of the summer of 2011, these organizations managed to draw and transport crowds whose numbers were matched only by funerals of ultra-orthodox rabbis. Warm summer nights, a friendly, party-like atmosphere, free rock concerts — and the understanding that they were marching for more money in their pockets — helped keep the numbers huge.
As the summer ended, the government appointed a special committee to come up with suggestions to meet some of the grievances of the demonstrators. The organizers rejected this, since their end game was not reform but regime change. Their own committee recommended more radical changes which would have had a disastrous effect on Israel’s growing economy. The average Israeli citizen seemed to understand this. When the “social justice” activists tried to keep up the momentum, the Israeli public wasn’t buying. Demonstrations called for the winter months and then through the summer of 2012 drew only several thousand people, mostly the left-wing radicals themselves, even though the sympathetic media trumpeted each event as the “return of the social justice movement.”
By the end of 2012, all attention was turned to the coming Knesset elections, and in January 2013, those parties which stood behind the radical demands of the social justice campaign did not receive a mandate from the voters to implement that program. On the contrary, those parties which stood for incremental social change were kept in power. The remaining social justice activists tried again during the lovely summer nights of 2013 to bring the masses out on to the streets. They failed miserably. In the end, the organizers broke into splinter groups, trading mutual attacks and recriminations.
Facing the prospect of never obtaining the confidence of Israeli voters or of getting the masses back on to the streets, the left-wing organizations and their Knesset allies searched for another cause to promote their agenda.
The answer was tried and true.
If Israelis don’t want to join the demonstration industry, get foreign workers instead!
There are about 55,000 Africans in Israel who entered illegally through the Egyptian border, most coming from Sudan and Eritrea. These have been adopted, or co-opted, by Israeli left-wing NGOs who now call themselves “pro-human rights” instead of “pro-social justice.” These groups have long promoted a policy of allowing the migrants to freely work and live in Israel.
They call on the government to do research into the background of each migrant to determine if they are refugees from persecution or just work-seekers. Israel is bound by treaty commitment to accept the former, but can decide to reject and deport the latter. These NGOs know that such research on each of the 55,000 migrants is not possible, and that Israel would be forced to accept every migrant’s declaration that he or she is a refugee.
The massive street demonstrations of recent days followed the pattern of the 2011 social justice rallies: Printed shirts, placards and banners, transportation for the demonstrators, polished public relations activity, carefully trained spokespersons who reiterate the same points in the same language — “We are refugees. We are not criminals. We want our human rights and justice.” Those well-spoken Africans who know Hebrew appeared on the Israeli media, which was only too happy to feature them as the lead item. Those who know English were used to address the foreign media. The demonstrators were brought to the gates of foreign embassies so that the whole world would know that the Israeli government is racist, xenophobic and heartless, and not deserving of being in power.
A recent Jerusalem Post editorial (January 7) surmised that the “human rights NGOs” are promoting a post-Zionist agenda which in fact favors the dilution of Israel’s Jewish population, aimed at transforming the “state of the Jews” to a “state of its citizens.” This may well be the case.
However, what is more certain is that these NGOs are using the African migrants the same way they used Israeli citizens. From a core of what is true dissatisfaction, they have built a mass movement which aims to pressure our democratically elected government to embrace policies which go against the will of the majority. Only this time, they have built it without Israelis, depending entirely on foreign workers.