By Hama Tuma
I wanted to write this article since last week but put it off due to lack of time. Netanyahu accepted a UN plan to end the deportation threat on 37,000 African refugees and I almost abandoned the idea of writing this article. Thanks to the extremist consistency of the prime minister (who rejected the UN plan ) here I go with my article.
Shame on you Mr. Netanyahu for staining the history of your people. I have never been a sympathizer of right wing Israeli governments and the recent wanton killing of at least 32 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and the wounding by live fire of more than 2000 has solidified my stance. Netanyahu,I still dare to hope, has not much to do with the ethical and moral standard of the people of Israel . The planned deportation of some 40,000 African asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda is pure and simple and crude racism. African asylum seekers were called infiltrators and like cancer, a wall built to keep them out (why are people like Netanyahu and Trump obsessed with building walls to divide people?), hoarded into a desert camp, and treated like less than dirt. The more the insult against the refugees the more the ones uttering them bring to mind the Nazi enemy of the Jews . Israel had earlier shown its naked racism while dealing with Ethiopian Jews or Bette Israelis. An incident that brought the Nazis to mind was when the blood of the Bette Israelis was deemed impure. The coarse side of Israel has been highlighted by hardliner Netanyahu who is egged on by none other than the racist buffoon in the White House.
There is no question that Sudanese and Eritreans are deserving refugees who should be given asylum rights. The chief Rabbi did call them monkeys but they are actually human beings if the vulgar person really wants to know. How can a chief Rabbi stoop to such low racism? How can such people resemble the Nazis? In other words, sad to note how soon they have forgotten history. Persecuted Jews were among the first refugees in the world. The majority of Israelis do want to throw out all Africans and probable all Arabs too. The American Jewish Community also kept silent for years as Africans were brutalized and subjected to racism in Israel. Now, Netanyahu has gone further to state that African refugees are worse than the Jihadists who are considered anti Israel. It is claimed that the presence of African refugees in Israel will create imbalance in the makeup of Israeli identity. The chosen race will be tainted black? The pure blood will become impure? Contempt for Africans can only besmirch the Israeli soul but it is the driving factor for Netanyahu's measure. Thanks to continued pressure, first among which by Israelis themselves, Netanyahu accepted the UN plan of sending half the refugees to the West and to give the other half temporary papers. It was not long before his right wing and hardliner allies cried foul and forced him to retract. Which means the deportation plan is once again on and refugees will either be deported or imprisoned. It is a crime.
Racism in Israel is nothing new. Jews from the East and West are not treated equal. Israel resisted to recognize Bette Israelis, black Ethiopians, as Jews. They were only accepted in 1984 for political reasons and then subjected to racism mistreatment ever since. There is a region in Israel that has banned all Africans from its soil. Bette Israeli women have been given birth control pills to impede their giving birth and increasing the black population. Netanyahu has become so emboldened that he now insults and boasts against Africans in English. He had been seen walking hand in hand in Southern Tele Aviv with racist gangs and anti African group leaders. Canadian journalist and film maker David Sheen has been documenting for years the ethnic cleansing of Africans by Netanyahu's Israel. Here is what he wrote:
"Since 2012, the number of non-Jewish refugees from African countries in present-day Israel has shrunk from a peak of approximately 64,000 to fewer than 46,000.
Israel’s successful efforts to reduce the number of Africans living in territory it controls must be recognized for what it is: ethnic cleansing."
" For unlike in the case of Israel’s protracted conflict with non-Jewish Arabs, which is often framed as a hard-to-understand and harder-to-solve war over territory, here there is no narrative that can convincingly shield the Israeli government from accusations of base racism.
The phenomenon of non-Jewish immigration — called, simply, “immigration” in the rest of the world — is new to Israel, having only reached quantities of any significance between 2006 and 2012. During those years, about 60,000 Africans fleeing political persecution, military dictatorships and ethnic cleansing — mainly from Eritrea and Sudan — sought asylum in Israel. Every one of them crossed into Israel by foot and immediately surrendered themselves to IDF soldiers patrolling the border, as required by international law: the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
While many countries make efforts to limit the number of asylum-seekers breaching their borders, millions have managed to refuge in Africa, Asia, Australia, America, and Europe. The Netanyahu government has sought not to constrain the number of non-Jewish asylum-seekers in Israel, but to reduce their number to zero. Outside of Israel, 70 percent or more of Eritreans and Sudanese are granted refugee status. By contrast, Israel has granted refugee status to only two Eritreans, and it has not granted refugee status to even a single Sudanese.
In a transparent attempt to maintain the appearance that it is not deporting refugees back to more of the horrors that they fled from, the Israeli government’s policy is, in the words of former Interior Minister Eli Yishai, to “make their lives miserable,” until they give up and agree to self-deport. To that end, it does not permit almost any asylum-seekers to work, so that they have no legal way of providing for their own sustenance. In December, the government began to round African asylum-seekers out of Israeli cities and into a vast desert detention center, for an unlimited period of time, so as to further immiserate them.
(Sadly enough--HT) one of those Ethiopian-Israelis, Member of Knesset Shimon Solomon, is complicit in the government’s war on African asylum-seekers. All the members of his Yesh Atid party present at the Knesset plenum voted with the rest of the government to strip African asylum-seekers of their freedom and lock them up in the desert detention center.
A sustained propaganda campaign by top political officials has branded the African asylum-seekers in the eyes of the Israeli people as spreaders of disease, and even as a threat on par with nuclear bombs. Although official police statistics continually demonstrate that Africans have a far lower crime rate than native Israelis, the entire community is tarred in the media as inherently criminal, inflaming grassroots racism. As a result, a January poll revealed that 80 percent of Jews now want the government to physically remove all African asylum-seekers from Israeli population centers.
After a Sderot rabbi boasted that he successfully shut down an African church, convinced locals not to rent apartments to Africans, and patrolled city streets in order to drive the Africans out of town, he was invited by a government faction to repeat his ‘successes’ in Tel Aviv, and given a budget to do so. After a ruling Likud Party member of Knesset incited a thousand-person anti-African race riot in Tel Aviv by calling Africans a “cancer” — and then apologizing, not to Africans, but to cancer victims, for comparing them to Africans — Prime Minister Netanyahu promoted her to head the committee that decides the fate of those same Africans.
None of these facts are hidden from the Israeli public as they are hidden from the American public. Just the opposite: in Hebrew, the government proudly announces each new anti-African measure, since they have broad popular support and can be converted into political capital."
Pure and simple racism . The land grab and recent killings of Palestinians in the Gaza do not make the Israeli face any more presentable.Racism is ugly. Netanyahu is enjoying the full supportof the racist in the White House and this means that the suffering of the Afrian refugees/asylum seekers is going to increase to no end. Rwanda and Uganda should publicly stop their nefarious work and agreement with Israel . The civilized world,as Netanyahu and his allies lack this qualification, should put pressure on Israel to stop the racist crimes against Africans. Racism and xenophobia are a curse on all those who espouse them. Allying with the devil and criminals to achieve one's narrow purposes is also a crime. Israel should respect the asylum rights of black Africans.
There is a proverb in Hebrew which says shame induces on us to fear sin. I say to the sinners, Netanyahu and his allies, shame on all of you. בּוּשָׁה וְחֶרְפָּה [וּכְלִמָּה]; חרטה עמוקה