Jerusalem Day carries with it the sentiment of violence, which easily becomes real. Israeli authorities annually facilitate and allow thousands of Rightists to march through the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem, to remind the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem - as their movement is restricted for the day - that the city belongs to the Jewish people alone. Stickers and signs make clear marchers' support for Jewish supremacists such as Meir Kahane, as racist chants and physical violence fill the space.
Tonight in Central Tel Aviv hundreds gathered to call on Israel to hear the claims of African asylum seekers escaping genocide and dictatorship. Police refused to give the organizers a permit and held them in a barricaded zone to the side of the square. At the same time, a group of counter protesters, calling on Israel to force asylum seekers out of Israel, were given the center of the square chanting racist chants that African 'infiltrators' should be forced out. Police allowed the counter protesters freedom to move around the square yelling things like "they aren't refugees, they're infiltrators, send them back [to Africa]", "Leftists are Anti-Semites", and more.
Later, police dispersed the anti-racist group from the square and escorted the counter protesters on a march - with no permit - through Central Tel Aviv back to in South Tel Aviv. On the way marchers stopped to chant and yell at diners, walkers, and bikers in the upscale neighborhoods they passed through. They told the upscale patrons that South Tel Aviv is dangerous because Africans are there, that Africans brought aids to Israel and much more racism. They occupied intersections on major streets, and police facilitated it.
Many of the anti-refugee protesters are working class, Mizrahi, residents of South Tel Aviv. They have suffered decades of state racism, and are enduring the growing divide between rich and poor in this country. Other than imprisoning and deporting some asylum seekers, Israel has ignored its responsibility to hear asylum seeker claims and settle them in economically sound and socially just ways. So thousands have found living space and homes in South Tel Aviv. Some residents of South Tel Aviv - encouraged by racist politicians - have taken up cause against refugees, here to seek asylum, instead of organizing to oppose the oppressive class and the racism in this system.