Russian-Israeli neo-Nazis. Again.

Well, it took a while — about six months or so — but I suppose it was really only a matter of time before Israeli police arrested some of the young neo-Nazis living and organising among the Russian diaspora in Petah Tikva, Israel. Typically, the group (allegedly) specialised in assaulting vulnerable individuals: foreigners, ‘gay’ people, religious Jews, and punks. Although — again, typically — attacks on the latter group are barely reported; this despite the fact that the punks in question come from the same background, but are anti-fascist, and are therefore probably in the best position to tackle the problem. Unlike say, Melbourne fashion punks. Quite the reverse, in fact. For example, on September 29, No Idea, Sewer Cider and The Worst will be scabbing on a boycott of local neo-Nazi venue The Birmy, on this occasion as part of the annual Melbourne punk pub crawl (to neo-Nazism). Coincidentally, at the same time as Moti Katz was writing about the Russian-Israeli punks in question — We’re not Nazis, we’re punk-anarchists, Ha’aretz, February 28, 2007 — other scabs (The Blurters, Charter 77, PBG and Slick 46) were also preparing to play The Birmy. Thus on the one hand, punks in Israel battle stereotypes that Russian immigrant youth are all violent racist thugs — and are assaulted by the thugs in question for their troubles; on the other hand, Melbourne punks support a venue which for many years has happily played host to violent racist thugs — and the thugs in question sit back and laugh.

And I for one can’t blame them.

Interior Minister: I’ll consider revoking neo-Nazis’ citizenship
Roni Singer-Heruti
September 10, 2007

The Interior Ministry said Sunday that it would consider revoking the citizenship of eight teens suspected of running a neo-Nazi cell in Petah Tikva, if they are convicted.

The suspects, aged 17 to 19, confessed to assaulting dozens of people, mainly foreign workers around Tel Aviv’s central bus station and Carmel market, causing many of them serious injury. The eight were arrested a month ago, and a gag order on the arrest was lifted Saturday.

According to police, the neo-Nazi cell comprised individuals who have distant ties to Judaism and nonetheless immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return, which grants all Jews the right to immigrate.

Police have seized 5 kilograms of explosives, a pistol, and an M-16 assault rifle belonging to the group of neo-Nazi youths. Police believe the group intended to use the weapons against punk rockers in the city, with whom they often clash violently.

Six of the eight suspects have confessed to the charges against them, while two reported ringleaders of the group have professed their innocence. One of the reported leaders Eli Boanitov was quoted by police as saying, “I won’t ever give up, I was a Nazi and I will stay a Nazi, until we kill them all I will not rest.”

Police confirmed that the majority of the suspects were enrolled in Israeli public schools, and at least one was drafted into the army. Police suspect that the youth who was drafted fled the country after giving his army-issue M-16 to a member of the cell.

Police uncovered the cell a year ago, while investigating vandalism at the main synagogue in Petah Tikva, where neo-Nazis sprayed swastikas and Adolf Hitler’s name on walls and prayer books. Computers seized from two suspects arrested in that case led police to dozens of video files documenting brutal assaults on foreign workers.

Superintendent Revital Almog… said that the teens would deliberately select victims who they deemed too weak to complain. Most of them were foreign workers who the teenagers would attack, telling them that because they were not white, they would be harmed.

    ‘Victim of white supremacist abuse returns to join protest chorus’
    Marika Dobbin
    Melbourne Times
    October 18, 2006

    A LOCAL woman who was intimidated and racially abused by a group of men last month will attend a protest against neo-Nazism outside a Fitzroy pub. A coalition of local groups is organising the “peace movement” in response to a neo-Nazi concert at the Birmingham Hotel on Saturday, September 23, held to commemorate the death of British white supremacist Ian Stuart. Blondien (not her real name) says she was walking alone to her car on Johnston Street the same night when she was surrounded by about seven men. She says the men screamed abuse at her, calling her a black c..t and forcing her to repeat the insults. “It’s disgusting that people would single out one person and you have to say stuff about your race to get out of it,” Blondien said…

One video shows some of the teens surrounding a young Russian heroin addict, who admits he is Jewish. Later they order him to get down on his knees and beg forgiveness from the Russian people for being Jewish and a junky. They beat him mercilessly, along with another man who comes to his aid.

The group was also reportedly planning to celebrate Hitler’s birthday at Yad Vashem.


Suspected neo-Nazis remanded; indictments expected Monday
Roni Singer-Heruti, Anshel Pfeffer and Yair Ettinger
September 10, 2007

Eight young men suspected of neo-Nazi activities were remanded to custody for another three days by the Ramle Magistrate’s Court Sunday. They are expected to be indicted Monday in the Tel Aviv District Court.

The eight cannot actually be charged with neo-Nazi activities, because, paradoxically, such activities are not illegal under Israeli law. However, they will be charged with incitement to racism, causing grievous bodily harm and various other crimes.

Handcuffed and covering their faces, the eight arrived at the court Sunday to find a large crowd waiting, shouting abuse and spitting.

“It is not us in the photos,” shouted Arik Bunyatov, who is suspected of being the leader of the neo-Nazi cell, in response. “I am not a Nazi!”

The other suspects, however, have admitted to being involved in neo-Nazi activities, police investigators said. They are Iliya Bondenko, 21, from Petah Tikva; Alex Flich, 19, from Karnei Shomron; Kyril Bolenko, 18, from Holon; Vladimir Nizovadze, 18, from Bat Yam; and three minors aged 16 and 17 from Petah Tikva, whose identities are protected by law.

The police investigation into the alleged neo-Nazi cell began a year ago, following two incidents of vandalism against Petah Tikva synagogues. The investigation focused on two main suspects: Bunyatov and Bondenko. Police detectives found neo-Nazi materials on both their computers, and this expanded the probe into new directions.

“The materials we found were difficult to watch,” the head of the investigation, Superintendent Yigal Ben Shalom, said Sunday. The video clips found on the computers showed the suspects, along with other people dressed in typical [bonehead] clothes, in the process of assaulting their victims.

These videos led detectives working on the case to suspect that the gang had attacked dozens of people in the Tel Aviv area, mostly foreign workers and drug addicts. In one video, they are seen approaching a foreign worker as he is talking on a public telephone, punching him in the face and breaking a bottle over his head. Violently loud music accompanies each clip, and between segments, the suspects spliced swastikas and other Nazi symbols…

Note also:

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, said that the case illustrated the absurdity of Israeli laws which give extensive rights to newcomers from Russia while denying them to Arab residents who had lived in the region for generations. ~ Israeli neo-Nazi ring caught after attacks on synagogues, Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem, The Guardian, September 10, 2007

Hmmm. All of which sounds strangely familiar. In Perth in 2005, a small gang of neo-Nazis called the White Devils also vandalised a synagaogue (in addition to a Chinese restaurant and a war widows’ retirement village), but stopped short of assaulting anyone. They also denied being neo-Nazis; most spectacularly, Ben Weerheym denied being a member of Jack Van Tongeren’s Australian Nationalists Movement, and it was this lie which was one of the factors which helped him — unlike his comrades — receive a non-custodial sentence. As for videos of racist violence supplemented by a soundtrack, local boy James Newman done that, taking video footage of the Cronulla pogrom and adding some God-awful tunes by Skrewdriver. Speaking of Skrewdriver…

On October 13, REAL! LIVE! neo-Nazis will be assembling in Melbourne to commemorate the death of its vocalist Ian Stuart Donaldson. Now, you might think that, with the recent apparent upsurge in anti-Semitic assaults in Melbourne, the appearance of a cluster of neo-Nazis at the APEC summit protest in Sydney, the upsurge in (long-standing) violent fascist movements in Germany and Russia (accompanied, in the latter case, by the filmed ritual beheading and shooting to death of two unlucky non-Slavs), the support of a number of local ‘punk’ bands for a neo-Nazi venue (which, like the group of unlucky boneheads were only planning on doing, was actually the venue for a party and a gig to celebrate Hitler’s birthday), the actual celebration of Hitler’s birthday in Wellington by a band from Newcastle (organised, incidentally, by the same networks that are organising the gig on October 13 in Melbourne, one of which, Blood & Honour, is banned in Germany and Spain), the extremely belated recognition in an article in The Age last week that neo-Nazis use music and events such as this gig to recruit followers, or even the fact that both Myspace and Youtube are crawling with neo-Nazis and neo-Nazi propaganda, or the fact that a local right-wing ‘skinhead’ band has a bona fide neo-Nazi playing drums… that all of this might elicit some further public scrutiny and perhaps even media attention.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anarchism, Anti-fascism, Collingwood, Music, State / Politics, War on Terror. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Russian-Israeli neo-Nazis. Again.

  1. vents says:

    @ndy (or anyone else) has anyone actually contacted these bands or are they aware that there is a boycott of the Birmy for providing a venue and platform for racists? Just curious.

  2. @ndy says:

    Hey vents,

    Yeah man. In the past, but not on this occasion. Still, it’s a good idea, and I’ll drop them a line asking them for comment tomorrow — feel free to do the same. But to be honest, I’d be genuinely shocked if they didn’t know, I’d expect them to dispute The Birmy’s status as a neo-Nazi venue, and I’d also expect them to argue that ‘I ain’t got no right’ and ‘You’re the fascist, not us’.

    Or something like that.

    ‘Cos… like… they’re ‘punks’… and, like… ‘punks’ do what they want… ‘n’ stuff… (Kinda makes me miss the old school punks.) Anyway, as I’ve argued elsewhere, it’s a strong indication of the depoliticising effects corporate and yuppie punk has had on the sub-culture that whether or not to support neo-Nazi groups and venues is even an issue — especially when the (ahem) ‘burning’ issue in previous years would’ve been whether or not one should a) lock the doors or b) leave them open when burning the fucker down… (cf. Sore Throat).

    Anyway, much discussion on this issue was had in the following threads: (September 2006) (October 2006) (February 2007) (February 2007) (June 2007) (June 2007) (June 2007)

    And I’ve written to most if not all of the bands that have scabbed on the boycott: —

    — but have received replies from only a handful (including Distorted Truth and Final Warning). None, as yet, have been willing to declare their agreement with the boycott, and the only bands that have responded positively thus far — even canceling a scheduled gig, to their credit — have been Speartackle and Tenth Dan. I also understand that Bastard Squad is supportive of the boycott, at least insofar as Jason (vocals) is concerned. And most of the more switched-on punks I’ve spoken to seem to agree that it’s not even worth bothering arguing over; the only real point of contention is how the gig was able to go ahead at all.

    Further, since September last year, I’m aware of only 6 punk gigs in total taking place at the venue — on Oct 7, Nov 11 and 18, 2006, and on Mar 2, Apr 25 and Jul 7, 2007 — so apart from a handful of local Tory punks and right-wing skinheads — Marching Orders, Slick 46 and The Worst being the main offenders — there’s a de facto ban on the pub anyway.

    Finally, word on the street is that the windows have been bricked at least once, the walls spray-painted at least once, and at least a handful of patrons harassed (but not bashed) by locals. So, y’know… the boycott is not fully effective, but word’s definitely getting around. In fact, The Birmy’s had a reputation among locals (including the police), as being a fascist venue for some years now, and it surprises me just how far the story has spread, having encountered a number of people from very different walks of life who are familiar with its status…

  3. vents says:

    Word up! Cheers. I know it’s hard for bands to find venues to host gigs (I speak from experience watching venue after venue turning away hip hop after violence or dudes continually bombing the place) so I could kind of understand if… nah fuck it they are cunts. Up the bands that refused to play there.

  4. @ndy says:

    Yeah, totally. It sucks. But y’know… sometimes ya gotta take a stand (I reckon). I mean, we’re talking neo-fucking-NAZIS… in Fitzroy! (As it happens, The Birmy’s loss has been The Barleycorn’s gain.) And I dunno, but I kinda think that opposition to racist scum also means — and actually proceeds from — a desire to look after each other / support the scene / respect the venue, and just generally being committed to having a good time (minus all the bullshit)… as for hip hop, I’m a bit less familiar with that, and about the only venues I’ve seen it at have been at squat parties, or Revolver — and The Bouncers are mean and Charge Like A Bull (arf arf)…

  5. anon says:

    Shocking as it is, the Israeli neo-nazi thing needs to be looked at in the context of incredible, and quite acceptable mainstream racism directed towards ‘foreign’ workers by Israelis. (Not to mention racism directed towards Palestinians/Arabs.) It seems entirely too convenient for the Israeli government to be able to disavow that racialised thinking when it erupts within a neo-nazi cell.

  6. @ndy says:

    Yeah. Actually, what it does seem to have triggered is a public debate over the virtues of the Law of Return. After all, despite the mystical presence of ‘Jewish blood’ in a person’s body, there’s no guarantee that as a result they’ll be good Jews, good Israelis, or even decent human beings, let alone violent neo-Nazis; a conclusion which a case like this makes inescapable. And I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to move from the absurdity of this Law to a comparison with the prohibition on the return of former Palestinians who, however emotionally, psychologically or spiritually faithful they are to their homelands, have zero ‘right’.


    As for The Birmy thing, I’ve written to the bands, but only gotten a reply from one, No Idea, which says that they don’t know what I’m talking about (‘Gig? What gig?’), so either Sewer Cider is lying — which is pretty fucking weird — or No Idea is — which is also pretty fucking weird. Hopefully, someone else will set the record straight!

  7. Lumpen says:

    Does that mean they (No Idea) would scab otherwise?

    It kind of surprises me that No Idea would be such arseholes about it. I used to go see them back in the day in Ballarat, and they usually (and happily) shared a stage with über-camp goth band Immaculata. I guess the implication being they wouldn’t truck with a fascist venue. Then again, like you say, it’s an indication of piss-weak convictions if they’d support a pub that hosts fascists who wouldn’t have a problem bashing people in bands like Immaculata. It’s easy to pretend to be neutral if you think you’ll be left alone.

    Hopefully they’re be more anarchist-initiated hip-hop gigs in the next twelve months in Smellbourne. Looking around, there’s easily as many people into hip-hop as there are punks.

  8. @ndy says:

    My guess is ‘yes’, given that they’ve done it before, aren’t interested in discussing the issue, and for whatever reason, Sewer Cider (which, incidentally, was the name of a punk band from Sydney a few years ago what wouldn’t be caught dead scabbing) thinks they’re gonna be playing on the 29th. But I’m not that surprised. Taking a stand can sometimes be inconvenient, and who wants that? And yeah, I’m not sure, but I’m kinda suspecting that, as the yuppie invasion and occupation of punk consolidates itself locally, and the environment becomes increasingly hostile to freaks and misfits, the kids interested in more radical and more fun stuff will naturally gravitate towards hip hop. On the other hand — and ideally — if the punk resistance can organise itself and remove or otherwise negate the influence of the neo-Nazi sympathisers and political reactionaries (it’s been done before), maybe the two can combine — and together destroy the music industry.

    Which would be like, cool.

    I also tend to think that these things are cyclical, and in a few years the twenty-something Tories will be displaced by a younger mob of punx, less interested in pandering to bigots, and more interested in the traditional punk values of getting fucked up AND fucking shit up…

    I hope I live to see it.

  9. SCUM says:

    Seriously man, i don’t stand for racism, but what the fuck can you do. Let it go.
    The Worst, Sewer Cider and No Idea, i know these guys, you really think they stand for racism? They just aint getting involved. For fuck’s sake The Worst’s lead singer is Asian?
    It’s all well and good for you to have your beliefs, but don’t preach and attack others for their decisions, they have the right to play there if they want. Get over it man, it’s fucking sad. Don’t fucking tear apart the Melb scene because of your fucking views, if “neo-Nazi” bands want to fucking play, they will. Nothing you can do!

  10. @ndy says:

    G’day SCUM,

    I’ve got no idea who you are, obviously, or what you think or feel about racism. I don’t particularly care much either. Your advice to “Let it go” means nothing to me; why should it? As far as I can tell, your argument is that ‘I am tearing apart the scene in Melbourne’, and I shouldn’t, especially over something as trivial as neo-Nazi bands playing gigs in Fitzroy. Naturally, I disagree, not only inre what I’m doing and why, but its effects as well.

    The Worst, Sewer Cider and No Idea are three bands that have scabbed on a boycott of The Birmy. I’ve written to each of them via myspace. I’ve received no reply from Sewer Cider. I’ve corresponded with Carl from No Idea and I believe we’ve arrived at an understanding, and that is that the band will no longer be playing gigs there (although I’m still waiting on confirmation of this).

    As for The Worst, in response Chunga has made two blogposts, neither of which are especially coherent, both of which claim that I believe he and the band to be ‘racist’ in their opinions. I’ve responded to his first comment on his blog and here:

    And to his second post here:

    And here:

    Briefly, I haven’t claimed any of the three are ‘racist’; I’ve claimed that they’re scabs for having played The Birmy. Given that Sewer Cider have not responded (publicly), I’ve no idea what they think. Chunga’s response I’d classify as being fairly infantile. Thus according to him I’m a “tosser”, a “crusty wanker”, a “Nazi”, “superior”, “intolerant”, a “cocksucker”, a “stalker”, people hate me, yadda yadda yadda. Best of all is his comment that “anarchy is a fag”. I confess that I’m not quite sure what he means by this — is being a “fag” (gay?) a bad thing, in Chunga’s opinion? Does he mean to suggest that anarchists are all “faggots”, and therefore beneath contempt?


    Of course, in his second post, Chunga also refers to me as “Mr Moran”, and adds “See how fast words travel my friends? Be careful what you write on the internet… Coz you never know when some stalker is gonna put it on there website.”

    Again, I’m not exactly sure what Chunga’s getting at here. To begin with, this information was first touted by neo-Nazis, and one in particular: Ben Weerheym. You can read lots more about him on my blog.

    Weerheym’s recently gone into retirement from political ‘activism’ (that is, scribbling racist nonsense online, threatening to hurt me and my cat, etcetera etcetera etcetera), but before he did he established a blog called ‘leftywatch’, in which he published profiles of people like myself; journalists who wrote what he considered to be nasty articles about racists; individuals involved in multicultural associations, et al.

    Weerheym first came to the public’s attention after being convicted of being part of a campaign of vandalism to drive Asians out of the state of WA (his comrades all went to jail — he escaped) and via his membership of Jack Van Tongeren’s Australian Nationalists Movement, an organisation — now defunct — which in the 1980s embarked upon a bombing campaign to drive Asians out of WA. Van Tongeren only got out of jail last year, one of several members of his group to do time (and one of whom, incidentally, was murdered on suspicion of being an informer).

    Such is the nature of Chunga’s sources.

    Presumably, in relaying what he assumes to be my name, Chunga is attempting to intimidate me into silence, just as Weerheym and others before him have thought was possible via this tactic. Perhaps, if Chunga were a little bit brighter, he’d have noticed that whereas Weerheym is no longer ‘active’, I am.

    I accept that Chunga is of Asian descent. So what? So was Jack Van Tongeren (his father was from Indonesia). Chunga’s still a scab. (Besides, as Trav hopefully points out “you don’t have to be white to be a racist”.)

    I don’t dispute that bands have a ‘right’ to play The Birmy, and apart from taking note of the fact when they do, I really can’t stop them. At the same time, I can call them scabs for so doing. I can also contact bands and ask for their support. And the fact is that not everyone is as hostile as Chunga. When I contacted a number of the bands scheduled to play a gig at The Birmy on June 22, some — No Love Lost, Speartackle and Tenth Dan — actually cancelled. Since then, a number of other bands — ABC Weapons, Final Warning, Pisschrist, Schifosi, The Focus, The Resignators, Vae Victis, Vents and Yidcore — have declared that they, too, won’t be playing The Birmy. Of course, a number of other bands I’ve contacted haven’t bothered to respond, but unless they appear on a bill, I’m guessing that they won’t be playing The Birmy any time soon.

    As it stands, then, there are only a handful of bands that have placed The Birmy ahead of any other consideration, and of these handful, probably the worst offenders are Marching Orders, Slick 46 and The Worst. Naturally, none of these bands are known for their willingness to take a stand (unless it’s posing for the camera).

    Beyond the issue of The Birmy, neo-Nazi infiltration of the local punk scene won’t be stopped by me alone, and I’d be stupid to think otherwise. However, acting collectively, punks, skinheads and herberts have in the past placed very serious limits on the ability of the scum to do so; whether or not others are willing to act collectively now and in the future isn’t up to me…

    As I see it, on the one hand, over the last decade or so, punk has been under sustained, corporate-sponsored assault by yuppies and chickenshit conformists, and attitudes such as those espoused by Chunga and yourself have to some extent been allowed to flourish. On the other hand, there is now and there’s always been a number of people for whom punk is more than just a fashion, and which at the very least means having little or no tolerance for neo-Nazis. (Note that by “little or no tolerance” I don’t simply mean wearing a patch or talking shit on stage…) And unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that The Birmy has been used by B&H and the Hammerskins as a place to hold gigs and meetings for the better part of a decade. As far as I’m concerned, this must stop. Further, the best way of ensuring that — again, at the very least — is withdrawing support for The Birmy by not playing or drinking there and encouraging others to do the same.

    Lastly, to urge a boycott is both legal and peaceful. The most discomfit that Chunga might experience is being called what he is: a scab. The same goes for the yuppies in punk drag who drink there, whether today as part of their crawling, or at any other time. On the other hand, members of B&H and the Hammerkins have been beating and killing not only punks and skinheads, but gays, lesbians, blacks, Asians, the homeless, anarchists, leftists and anyone else they don’t like or who they believe is ‘in their way’ for the better part of twenty years. They’re murderous, neo-Nazi thugs in other words, and deserve absolutely no support whatsoever from any other group or person — and the same goes for institutions like The Birmy, which are happy to provide a platform for these arseholes to spew their racist, sexist, homophobic and fascist filth (providing they can make a little money out of it).

    Or as the old saying goes:

    Nazi Punks?


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