Ethiopian Jews Riot in Israel


You arrived in Israel in the mid-1980s, and now, 38.5% of families from Ethiopia live below the poverty line, against an average of 14.3% for all Israeli Jews . You are only 2% of the Israeli population, yet you are 40% of prison inmates. You’re pejoratively called the “Falasha”. Since your childhood, you have suffered mockery, beatings and moral violence because your skin color is not the same. Because you’re “bad Israelis” and “bad Jews”. But these days, you are no longer simply collateral damage of the old dreams of the movement of “national liberation” or Zionist expansionist Israel today; you are no longer mere victims – you hurt fifty cops, attacked the town with stones, and although the mounted police fired stun grenades to disperse you and to protect the municipality of Tel Aviv, you blocked one of the main motorways. It’s not so much the actions that count, but your determination to break the silence in which nationalism, capitalism and its various determinisms keep you. The interior minister (Yitzhak Aharonovitch), explained that scattering the “mob” was complicated, because there was no leader to turn to, and that’s where all your strength and courage was. Leftists have already abandoned you even after having supported you in the past [1] as in all cases of leaderless revolts throughout the world. There are quite a few self-appointed leaders of the Ethiopian Jewish community who condemn the riots and who talk about an “anarchist” conspiracy [2].


This is the video which set alight the powderkeg which propelled you into the streets by the thousands – we see an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin being beaten for no reason (though he didn’t acquiesce) in the street by two racist police testing their Krav Maga. Images that inflamed the streets as others ignited American streets in recent months. Images that refer to everyday racism and exploitation that many non-Jews also face: Israeli Arabs, migrants from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


As with Ferguson and Baltimore recently, you decided to stop suffering in silence and shame. Armed with your courage you clashed with the police regime that oppresses you after having “hosted” you, confronting the shame in which they would like you to drown. As with Ferguson and Baltimore recently, you attempted to recover your dignity with rage, and hopefully with hope.


For once in Israel the United States is imitated for something other than for the blatant bullshit of its leaders (and their democratic militarism) and of a good part of its population … With this there is something to celebrate, there’s something in it to find a bit of hope, that we can add to the hope that’s expressed every day by those who refuse to serve in the IDF [3], those who every day, individually revolt against Israel’s militarist and colonialist regime and against the Palestinian Authority from the inside.


As we often say, our revolts create our solidarity and our solidarity create our revolts. Our hearts are with you, far from theirs. Against all authority, for the spread of revolt.