Israeli right-wingers have it rough. After last week’s Tel Aviv riot against African immigrants, likudniks like MKs Danny Danon (who said, “The infiltrators are a national plague”) and Miri Regev (who called immigrants “a cancer” and then backed off… sort of) came under fire for their inflammatory rhetoric.As well they should—but they’re hardly the only ones guilty. The same Jerusalem Post article that contains Danon’s “national plague” remark itself refers to the Africans, repeatedly and casually, as “infiltrators.” Nor it just the Post—”infiltrator” is also used by the Israeli news site Ynet and by the Religious Zionist Arutz Sheva.
The term, of course, is highly prejudicial. The first use of “infiltrator” to describe people was in World War II, in reference to military enemies; after the war, it was often accompanied by the adjective “Communist.” It suggests concealed hostile intent and the attempt to destroy from within. So why is it now mainstream among Israeli politicians and media outlets?
To find out, read the rest.