Maybe the huge internet petition that begins "We are all Good Samaritans - we're stopping the expulsion of the Sudanese and Eritreans," was meant to be ironic. After all, the Samaritans were objects of hostility by the Jewish religion in ancient times.
But it's more likely that the petition's headline was an innocent translation from a western language. The myth of the Good Samaritan is Christian, even anti-Jewish. If that's the case, this slip of the keyboard discloses an important dimension of Israel's human rights community: Its dialogue, not just its funding, is linked to the west.
This is also the source of the opposition's weakness. Not only does it, from the start, write off religious Jews, who one assumes might be more familiar with the source of the Good Samaritan concept, but it is unable to identify the mechanism of Israeli racism. This racism requires political opposition, not just Good Samaritans who go to Berlin or London and come back, and go again to recharge their conscience batteries.
It's true, the right is inciting against African migrants, adopting the neo-fascist style of Western Europe. It's also true that a large portion of those inciting and being incited would not be able to pass through border control in Europe without somehow being humiliated. Anyone who stands in airport lines in the west understands how those with darker skin are pounced upon. Israelis don't like to talk about what some of them go through in airports where they're treated like black people. Western racism divides people first and foremost by the color of their skin, and that's how it's always been.
But in the heat of the arguments about the horrible cruelty of the expellers, it's forgotten that Israel is a racist state by law, including its Basic Laws that constitute the central body of the state's legislation. On the basis of this racism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, National Union MK Michael Ben Ari, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and MK Ofir Akunis of Likud can join together and speak of "the danger to the Jewish state."
Israel's citizenship laws, those that forbid entry and those that enable immediate citizenship, have always been based on the distinction between Jew and non-Jew. There's no way to make this distinction without religion. That's the primary job of the rabbinate: to act as a separation fence between Jews and non-Jews.
This context, and in particular the Law of Return, sparks the recurring debate over "Who is a Jew." But those making the arguments never criticize the racist Law of Return. Anyone who would dig through newspaper archives would find that even respected "post-Zionists," more than a decade after the discourse on "Zionism as racism" received backing from the United Nations, took pains to defend the Law of Return among the intelligentsia. Their argument - that the Law of Return is a type of "affirmative action" - is total hypocrisy.
But the true picture of Israeli racism emerges from the citizenship laws and its budget. The expulsion of the African migrants, cruel and immoral as it may be, is "only" a festering sore; underneath it a daily toxicity of mechanisms and language, which not only enable the expulsion but quickly turn it into something normal.
Israeli state racism is not typical western racism, meaning hostility to the dark-skinned or an irrational fear of them. Israeli racism and its famous weapon - demographic statistics - assume that Arab natural growth is "a cancer in the body of the nation." It posits that educating Arab children is dangerous, which is why they receive a lot less education than Jewish children get; it's why Arabs are discriminated against regarding water quotas for agriculture; it assumes that the higher infant mortality rate among Arabs is because "they're slow," and this "slowness" of theirs hasn't changed in 64 years, because "that's the way it is."
Israeli racism is part of the daily politics of every state body: the National Roads Company, the Water Authority, the welfare, education, academia and health authorities (name one public hospital in an Arab town ), and so on.
It would behoove those who are shocked by the barbaric expulsion of the Africans to take even one hour to examine the statistics about the lives of the Arab minority in Israel - and to go into politics, not just philanthropy.