Photos of a white man grabbing and manhandling a black man as he takes selfies with him have sparked outrage.
The incident took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 24, and the photos began to circulate online two days later. In the photos, the black man is seen cringing as the white man laughs while making a mockery of him and grabbing a fistful of his hair.
The man who shared the photos on Facebook said he was passing by when he saw two men bathing at the beach. Then, a large group of men approached them and started to harass the showering men by shoving them, pulling their hair, and making them take humiliating selfies. Jonathan Small said he felt helpless, so he just took photos and went on his way.
After Jonathan shared the photos and the story behind them, social media users were angered by the actions of the men and have termed them “racists”.
Jonathan later told France 24 what happened before and after the moment that he captured with his camera.
I often stroll along the beach in Tel Aviv. This evening, on Tuesday 24 April, it was around 6pm. I saw a group of three people, acting a bit boorishly, who went up to two black men who were using the shower on the beach. I have no idea who the black men were, but I thought they might be migrants in Israel.
One man with a red T-shirt came over to joke around with them. There was something weird about the whole situations: He was mocking and teasing the migrants, who were smiling, but it was more like he was deliberately intimidating them. I was about six or seven metres away and I couldn’t hear what they were saying. But just by looking at how the black men were behaving, I knew that something wasn’t right. So I took out my camera to take a few photos, zooming in.
It was just then that the man grabbed the migrant’s hair in his fist, like an animal. His attitude was strange: He was both friendly and violent at the same time, with a patronising air, as if he was saying to the man, “You are inferior to me, so entertain me”. While this was happening, the two black men were smiling, even laughing.
There were other witnesses. The whole thing only lasted a few minutes. No one, including me, did anything, other than take photos. I didn’t even go to speak to the black men, because they didn’t seem entirely sound, maybe they were high or drunk and didn’t even realise what had happened. I had a feeling that talking with them wouldn’t lead anywhere. So then I went home, and I didn’t feel alright. I decided to publish the photos. No one, homeless or not, black or white, in Israel or anywhere else, deserves to be treated like that.