Noten bij ”300 Ethiopiers aangekomen in Israel/Rozegeur en maneschijn?/NOS teletekstredactie verzwijgt Israel’s racisme tegen Ethiopische Joden”

NOTEN BIJ/”300 ETHIOPIERS AANGEKOMEN IN ISRAEL/ROZEGEUR ENMANESCHIJN?/NOS TELETEKST VERZWIJGT ISRAEL’S RACISME TEGENETHIOPISCHE JODEN

[1]

COMMENTAREN [ER ZIJN ER NOG VEEL MEER, HIER NIET VERMELD] OP NOS BERICHTGEVING BETREFFENDE HET MIDDEN-OOSTENCONFLICT  EN ANDERE ZAKEN

ISRAEL EN DE GOLFSTATEN BEZEGELEN DEAL/NOS WEER INDE FOUT/COMMENTAARASTRID ESSED16 SEPTEMBER 2020
https://www.astridessed.nl/israel-en-golfstaten-bezegelen-deal-nos-weer-in-de-fout-commentaar/

NETANYAHU FLUIT BOUWMINISTER TERUG/COMMENTAAR OP NOS BERICHTGEVING

ASTRID ESSED

15 NOVEMBER 2013

MILITAIR ISRAEL GEDOOD OP WESTOEVER/NOS TELETEKSREDACTIE VERGEET VOOR HET GEMAK ISRAELISCHE BEZETTING

ASTRID ESSED

12 MEI 2020

HERSENBLOEDING OUD PREMIER VAN AGT/NOS DOET AAN PRO ISRAELISCHE GESCHIEDVERVALSING

ASTRID ESSED

5 JUNI 2019

ZIE ANDERE KRITISCHE [EN EEN ENKELE WAARDERENDE] COMMENTAREN AAN NOS TELETEKSTREDACTIE EN NOS INTERNET 

https://www.astridessed.nl/?s=NOS+teletekstredactie

[2]

HET NOS BERICHT over die ”ceremoniele ontvangst” [dat ik aanvankelijk nergens bevestigd zag] wordt ook

bevestigd door VRT  nieuws:

”Het was een feestelijke ontvangst op de luchthaven Ben-Gurion nabij Tel Aviv in Israël. De nieuwkomers werden er opgewacht door onder meer de Israëlische premier Benjamin Netanyahu en zijn vrouw Sara. ”

VRT.BE

OPNIEUW MEER DAN 300 ETHIOPISCHE JODEN 

OVERGEVLOGEN NAAR ISRAEL, MAAR NIET

ZONDER DISCUSSIE OVER HUN GELOOF

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2020/12/03/opnieuw-meer-dan-300-ethiopische-joden-zijn-overgevlogen-naar-is/

TEKST

In Israël zijn 316 Ethiopiërs aangekomen. De Israëlische overheid wil in totaal 2.000 van die mensen overbrengen in het kader van de “terugkeer” van joden naar het land. In Israël is er echter discussie of die “Falashamura” wel degelijk joden zijn.  

Het was een feestelijke ontvangst op de luchthaven Ben-Gurion nabij Tel Aviv in Israël. De nieuwkomers werden er opgewacht door onder meer de Israëlische premier Benjamin Netanyahu en zijn vrouw Sara. 

De operatie heeft niets te maken met de oorlog die in de Ethiopische provincie Tigray woedt. De Israëlische regering heeft enkele jaren geleden een lijst opgesteld van 9.000 Ethiopische migranten die de volgende jaren naar Israël zouden worden overgebracht. Zeker 2.000 van hen zouden al groen licht gekregen hebben. De migratie gebeurt via een akkoord met de regering van Ethiopië

Sinds de jaren 80 zijn al verschillende van die “terugkeeroperaties” uitgevoerd waarbij tienduizenden joden uit Ethiopië zijn overgevlogen naar Israël. Het gaat dan om de zogenoemde “Falasha’s”, een joodse minderheid in Ethiopië die daar historisch vaak gediscrimineerd en vervolgd werd. Volgens de Wet op de Terugkeer van 1950 heeft iedereen ter wereld die gedeeltelijk van joodse afkomst is, het recht om zich in Israël te vestigen en “aliya” uit te voeren, wat omschreven wordt als de terugkeer naar het land van de voorvaderen.

Voor de duidelijkheid: “Falasha” of “zwerver” is een veelgebruikte denigrerende benaming voor de joodse gemeenschap in Ethiopië, die officieel “Beta Yisra’el” (“huis van Israël”) heet.

Falashamura vallen niet onder de “aliya”

De mensen die nu in Israël zijn aangekomen, vallen strikt genomen echter niet onder die wet. Die “Falashamura” zijn immers de voorbije eeuwen onder druk van de Ethiopische keizers gedwongen bekeerd tot het christendom, de overheersende godsdienst in dat land. Daardoor kunnen ze geen aanspraak maken op die Wet op de Terugkeer, al hebben veel van die mensen in het geheim hun joodse traditie behouden en hebben ze zich in de 20e eeuw opnieuw als jood geuit

Premier Netanyahu brengt die mensen wel over op basis van “familiehereniging” en maakt zich sterk dat over vijf jaar alle mensen van joodse afkomst uit Ethiopië zullen worden overgebracht naar Israël. Een van de grote voorstanders is de in Ethiopië geboren minister van Immigratie Pnina Tamano-Shata, die als kind met haar familie naar Israël werd overgevlogen. 

Haar carrière maskeert wel dat de intocht van Ethiopiërs in Israël geen verhaal van “melk en honing” is. Er zijn nu 140.000 mensen van Ethiopische afkomst in Israël, immigranten en hun afstammelingen. Velen van hen leven in kansarmoede, klagen over racisme en discriminatie op de arbeidsmarkt en vaak is een carrière in het leger een van de weinige uitwegen. De succesvolle integratie die eerder Russische en Oost-Europese joden te beurt viel, lijkt veel minder te gelden voor mensen met een donkere huidskleur. 

Joden en “the lost ark”?

Een echte “terugkeer” is het dan wellicht ook niet. Over hoe het jodendom Ethiopië bereikt heeft, zijn er verschillende versies. Volgens een legende zou het gaan om een Israëlitische stam die via Menelik, de zoon van de bijbelse koning Salomon en Makeda, de koningin van Sheba, via Jemen in Oost-Afrika beland zou zijn. Een andere legende legt de oorsprong bij de “verloren stam van Dan” die via omzwervingen in Ethiopië aankwam.

Historisch streden jodendom en christendom om de macht op het Arabische Schiereiland voor de islam daar ontstaan is. Het jodendom zou via Sheba en Himyar in Jemen over de smalle zeestraat in de Rode Zee Ethiopië bereikt hebben, net als het van het Zuid-Arabisch afgeleide schrift en Semitische invloeden op de taal. 

Nadien is het christendom de overheersende godsdienst geworden en werden de joden in Ethiopië in de marginaliteit gedrukt. Cultureel zijn er wel invloeden: zo beweert de Ethiopische kerk dat de “Ark des Verbonds” met de Tien Geboden van Mozes viavia terechtgekomen is in Ethiopië en nu bewaard wordt in de kathedraal van de stad Axum, ooit de hoofdstad van het Ethiopische keizerrijk en nu gelegen in de provincie Tigray.

EINDE ARTIKEL

[3]

”In de jaren 80 en 90 werden ze met grote reddingsoperaties naar Israël gehaald”


EDEN ZEMRU (23} EIST GELIJKHEID VOOR ETHIOPISCHE ISRAELIERS

https://www.oneworld.nl/lezen/discriminatie/racisme/eden-zemru-eist-gelijkheid-voor-ethiopische-israeliers/

”De uitgangspositie van de eerste generatie was uiteraard heel ongunstig – velen waren arme en analfabete boeren –, maar discriminatie en regelrecht racisme hebben er mede voor gezorgd dat de assimilatie van de Beta Israël heel moeizaam is verlopen.”

HISTORISCH NIEUWSBLAD

HOE ZWARTE JODEN TOEVLUCHT VONDEN IN ISRAEL

TEKST

Al eeuwenlang leefde in Ethiopië een groep zwarte Joden. Ze werden er achtergesteld en vervolgd. Begin jaren tachtig was hun situatie zo schrijnend dat Israël in actie kwam.
‘De vliegtuigdeur gaat open. Eerst worden op brancards twee kinderen naar buiten gedragen. Daarna verschijnen zwijgend, de ene na de andere, in lompen gehuld de Ethiopische Joden in de deuropening. De meesten blootsvoets en met een jerrycan water bij zich. Het grootste goed in een land waar de droogte de rol van Magere Hein waarneemt.’ Zo bracht De Telegraaf op 5 januari 1985 hét wereldnieuws van die dag: de succesvolle evacuatie van duizenden Ethiopische falasja’s naar Israël.

Al jarenlang verschenen er af en toe berichten over de hachelijke situatie waarin deze mensen in hun eigen land verkeerden en over de barre omstandigheden waaronder velen van hen in vluchtelingenkampen in Soedan leefden. Maar het grote publiek maakte pas op dat moment kennis met deze als exotisch ervaren groep: zwarte Joden. Zelf noemen ze zich Beta Israël, ‘Huis van Israël’, en liever geen falasja’s – dat woord betekent ‘bannelingen’ of ‘vreemdelingen’.
Over de herkomst van de Beta Israël doen verschillende verhalen de ronde. Zo beschouwen veel Ethiopische Joden zichzelf als nakomelingen van Dan, een van de twaalf zonen van aartsvader Jacob. Ieder van deze zonen stond aan het hoofd van een van de twaalf stammen van het volk Israël. In 722 v.Chr. werden tien van deze stammen weggevoerd door de Assyriërs; het is onduidelijk wat er met hen is gebeurd. Over deze ‘verloren stammen van Israël’ doen tal van mythen de ronde. 
Maar er gaat ook een verhaal dat de Beta Israël voortkomen uit dienaren van Menelik I. Die heerste rond 950 v.Chr. als eerste keizer van Ethiopië en was volgens de legende een zoon van de Joodse koning Salomo en de koningin van Sheba.

De wetenschap biedt in deze kwestie geen uitsluitsel. Tegenover geleerden die ervan overtuigd zijn dat de zwarte Joden inderdaad op een of andere manier afstammen van het Bijbelse volk Israël, staan wetenschappers die menen dat het gaat om nakomelingen van Ethiopische christenen die zich rond de veertiende eeuw tot het Jodendom hebben bekeerd. Uit recent DNA-onderzoek blijkt dat sommigen oorspronkelijk afkomstig zijn uit het Midden-Oosten, zonder dat een specifiek Joodse afkomst kan worden bewezen, terwijl anderen duidelijk uit het gebied van de Nijl en de Sahara stammen. Genetisch gezien gaat het dus niet om een homogene groep, zodat de theorie dat een gemengde bevolking zich op zeker moment tot de Joodse godsdienst heeft bekeerd het meest plausibel is.  

Mysterieus 

Tot het begin van de zeventiende eeuw bevolkten de Beta Israël een autonoom koninkrijkje in de Gondar-regio in het noorden van het huidige Ethiopië. Hoewel ze toen hun zelfstandigheid kwijtraakten en de Joodse godsdienst officieel verboden werd, wisten de Beta Israël in deze sterk geïsoleerde streek hun identiteit te bewaren.

In de achttiende en negentiende eeuw schreven enkele Europese reizigers over deze mysterieuze zwarte Joden. Toen protestantse zendelingen in dit gebied actief werden, begonnen ook sommige rabbijnen en publicisten zich te interesseren voor deze ‘verloren stam’. Maar volgens verschillende Joodse autoriteiten konden de Beta Israël niet als Joden worden beschouwd, omdat hun geloof en gewoonten afweken van het rabbijnse Jodendom zoals dat zich na de verwoesting van de tempel in Jeruzalem (70 n.Chr.) had ontwikkeld.
Tijdens het lange bewind van keizer Haile Selassie (1930-1974) hadden de Beta Israël te maken met discriminatie. Ze mochten geen land bezitten, maar moesten wel hoge grondbelasting en enorme pachtsommen betalen. Ondertussen beschouwden hun christelijke landgenoten hen als de moordenaars van Jezus en geloofden ze dat waar een Jood gelopen had nooit meer gras zou groeien. Na de militaire staatsgreep van 1974, die een einde maakte aan het bewind van Haile Selassie, kregen de Beta Israël officieel dezelfde rechten als de overige Ethiopiërs. Ook werd een begin gemaakt met landhervormingen.

Ze werden echter het doelwit zowel van de contrarevolutionaire Ethiopische Democratische Unie als van de extreem linkse Ethiopische Revolutionaire Volkspartij. De eerste groep verdacht hen van heulen met het socialisme, terwijl de tweede hen zag als aanhangers van het zionisme. Nadat kolonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1977 de macht naar zich toe had getrokken, stonden de Beta Israël ook bloot aan de terreur van het marxistische regime, dat hun culturele identiteit wilde vernietigen.

 
Grote droogte

Hun situatie werd steeds hachelijker, ook door de telkens terugkerende droogte en hongersnoden. Vanaf 1977 vluchtten kleine groepen Beta Israël naar Soedan, waar ook veel christelijke Ethiopiërs een goed heenkomen hadden gezocht. Wie werd betrapt tijdens een vluchtpoging belandde in de gevangenis en werd gemarteld. Een 15-jarige jongen vertelde in 1983 hoe hij hierdoor voorgoed kreupel was geworden: ‘Ik heb vier maanden in de gevangenis gezeten. Ze hangen je ondersteboven, steken een vuur aan en slaan je met stokken. Ik heb niets gedaan. Ze zeiden dat ik een spion was en bandieten wilde helpen. Wat kan ik nu nog doen? Ik kan niet naar mijn school in Gondar lopen en ik kan ook mijn familie niet helpen bij het werken op het land.’
Sommigen wisten uiteindelijk Israël te bereiken, hoewel ook de Soedanese regering dit probeerde te verhinderen. Israël had halverwege de jaren zeventig de Beta Israël erkend als Joden, zodat zij volgens de Wet op de Terugkeer uit 1950 het recht hadden zich in het Beloofde Land te vestigen. Veel Ethiopische Joden probeerden daarop naar Israël te emigreren. Omdat het Ethiopische regime dit verbood, vluchtten duizenden Beta Israël naar Soedan. Maar daar verhinderde het socialistische én islamitische regime van president Numeiri hun doorreis naar Israël.

Ondertussen begon het lot van de Beta Israël buiten Afrikameer aandacht te trekken. In Israël zelf was premier Menachem Begin zeer met hen begaan. Maar in het geheim onderhield hij een goede relatie met het regime-Mengistu, zodat hij moeilijk iets kon doen. Wel werd kort na zijn aantreden als premier in 1977 een kleine groep Ethiopische Joden naar Israël gehaald – in een vliegtuig waarmee eerst in het geheim wapens waren geleverd. Omdat er officieel weinig gebeurde, nam de kritiek op de Israëlische regering wegens haar vermeend onverschillige houding sterk toe. Ook in Noord-Amerika klonken steeds meer protesten. The New Republic schreef zelfs over een ‘zwarte holocaust’, waartegen Begin blijkbaar niets wilde doen. De American Association for Ethiopian Jews (AAEJ) en haar Canadese zusterorganisatie CAEJ genereerden veel publiciteit en zetten hulpacties op.
Inmiddels had de Mossad, de Israëlische geheime dienst, opdracht gekregen zo veel mogelijk Ethiopische Joden naar Israël te halen. In samenwerking met de CIA werden in alle stilte Joodse vluchtelingen naar Israël gebracht. De geheime dienst van Soedan keek doelbewust de andere kant op – die kon moeilijk toegeven dat er zaken werden gedaan met het ‘zionistische’ Israël. Om geen argwaan te wekken verliep de reis via Kenia, wat uiteraard enorm omslachtig was, zodat het aantal vluchtelingen dat geëvacueerd kon worden beperkt bleef.

Doordat de AAEJ en de CAEJ inmiddels zelf op klunzige wijze Beta Israël uit Soedan probeerden te smokkelen en tegen de lamp liepen – bejaarden en analfabeten moesten doorgaan voor jongeren die in Israël wilden studeren – gingen in de vele landen die Israël vijandig gezind waren de alarmbellen af. Het ‘racistische’ Israël ontvoerde mensen!

‘Zionistenvrienden’

Medio 1984 waren er al zo’n 6000 Ethiopische Joden in Israël gearriveerd. Deze transporten hadden steeds een clandestien karakter, en de Mossad deed er alles aan om onder de radar te blijven. Ondertussen nam de kritiek op de zogenaamd onverschillige houding van Israël steeds meer toe, terwijl Soedan en Ethiopië zenuwachtig werden omdat ze niet graag als ‘zionistenvrienden’ werden ontmaskerd. Tegelijkertijd werd de hongersnood in Ethiopië een steeds groter probleem, zodat nog meer Beta Israël naar Soedan uitweken.

De omstandigheden in de vluchtelingenkampen daar werden ook steeds beroerder. De uit de bergen afkomstige Beta Israël waren slecht bestand tegen de hitte en door de hongersnood konden ze de religieuze voedselvoorschriften niet naleven. In het grootste kamp stierven dagelijks 15 à 20 Joden, terwijl deze groep vluchtelingen ook te kampen had met vijandigheid van hun christelijke lotgenoten en de islamitische bevolking. Een hulpverlener verklaarde: ‘Vluchtelingen die gezond in de kampen aankomen, zijn na drie maanden zo sterk vermagerd dat ze aan concentratiekampslachtoffers doen denken […] Als de Joodse wereld niets onderneemt, kunnen we opnieuw een uitgeroeid volk bijzetten in het Diaspora Museum, naast die andere 52 historische Joodse gemeenschappen die al zijn vernietigd.’
n Israël kwam de pas aangetreden regering-Peres tot de conclusie dat ze snel moest handelen. In de herfst van 1984 besloot het kabinet alle Joodse vluchtelingen in Soedan te evacueren. De snelste methode was per schip via de Rode Zee, maar een dergelijke operatie kon onmogelijk geheim worden gehouden. Daarom gaf het Soedanese regime er ook geen toestemming voor; het wilde ook geen rechtstreekse luchtbrug. Wel ging het akkoord met chartervluchten naar het Belgische vliegveld Zaventhem met toestellen van de Belgische maatschappij TEA.
Ook dit gebeurde zo veel mogelijk in het geniep. Slechts één Belgische minister was op de hoogte van de evacuatie, omdat België zijn goede relaties met Afrikaanse en Arabische regimes niet op het spel wilde zetten. Tussen eind november 1984 en begin januari 1985 werden 35 vluchten uitgevoerd, waarbij ongeveer 8000 hongerige, in lompen gehulde en niet zelden doodzieke Beta Israël na een lange reis via Brussel uiteindelijk in hun nieuwe vaderland aankwamen.

Uiteraard lukte het niet om ‘Operatie Mozes’ – een verwijzing naar de exodus van het Joodse volk uit Egypte – volledig geheim te houden. Nadat Israëlische sensatiebladen hadden bericht over de komst van de exotische geloofsgenoten, moest de regering de evacuatie toegeven. Hierop maakte Soedan terstond een einde aan de operatie, die officieel nooit had plaatsgevonden. Toen op 5 januari het laatste TEA-toestel uit Khartoem vertrok, verbleven er nog een kleine duizend Beta Israël in Soedanese kampen. In de loop van dat jaar werden de meesten van hen door de CIA en de Amerikaanse luchtmacht alsnog naar Israël gebracht.
In 1991 ging het Ethiopische regime van Mengistu, dat zich in het nauw gedreven voelde, akkoord met de evacuatie van ongeveer 14.000 Beta Israël via een luchtbrug naar Israël. Daarna volgde nog een groep Ethiopische Joden wier voorouders zich in de negentiende en twintigste eeuw onder druk tot het christendom hadden bekeerd, maar die inmiddels weer de Joodse godsdienst aanhingen: de zogenoemde Falasj Moera.

Inmiddels wonen er zo’n 120.000 Ethiopische Joden in Israël. Hun sociale en economische situatie is er slechter dan die van de gemiddelde bevolking. De uitgangspositie van de eerste generatie was uiteraard heel ongunstig – velen waren arme en analfabete boeren –, maar discriminatie en regelrecht racisme hebben er mede voor gezorgd dat de assimilatie van de Beta Israël heel moeizaam is verlopen. 
EINDE ARTIKEL
[4]
ONE WORLD

EDEN ZEMRU (23} EIST GELIJKHEID VOOR ETHIOPISCHE ISRAELIERS

https://www.oneworld.nl/lezen/discriminatie/racisme/eden-zemru-eist-gelijkheid-voor-ethiopische-israeliers/

[5]

ONE WORLD

EDEN ZEMRU (23} EIST GELIJKHEID VOOR ETHIOPISCHE ISRAELIERS

https://www.oneworld.nl/lezen/discriminatie/racisme/eden-zemru-eist-gelijkheid-voor-ethiopische-israeliers/

[6]

NOS

JONGE ETHIOPISCHE JODEN REBELLEREN IN ISRAEL

TEGEN DISCRIMINATIE

https://nos.nl/artikel/2292138-jonge-ethiopische-joden-rebelleren-in-israel-tegen-discriminatie.html

In Israël is grote onrust onder de Ethiopisch-Joodse gemeenschap ontstaan sinds een agent een ongewapende jonge man van Ethiopische afkomst doodschoot. Op dinsdag en woensdag kwam het tot felle botsingen met de politie in verschillende steden in Israël. Daarbij vielen zo’n 150 gewonden, voor het overgrote merendeel aan de kant van de politie. Zeker 135 betogers werden aangehouden. 

De al langer levende onvrede onder de Ethiopische Joden kwam tot uitbarsting na het schietincident in Haifa, afgelopen zondag. Een politieagent was daar in zijn vrije tijd met zijn kinderen in een speeltuin, toen hij een groepje ruziënde zwarte jongeren opmerkte. Hij lichtte naderhand toe dat hij de jongeren als een bedreiging voor de spelende kinderen ervoer en hen wilde verjagen door in hun richting naar de grond te schieten. Daar bij werd de 18-jarige Solomon Teka dodelijk getroffen.

De politieman zegt dat hij niet de opzet had om iemand te doden. Volgens ooggetuigen was er geen noodzaak om te schieten, de agent was nooit in gevaar. De man zit vast en wordt ondervraagd.

Discriminatie en politiegeweld

Ethiopische Joden zien het incident als de zoveelste uiting van discriminatie en politiegeweld tegen de gemeenschap.

De familie van het slachtoffer heeft na de gewelddadige rellen aan de Ethiopisch-Joodse gemeenschap gevraagd de rust te bewaren gedurende een zevendaagse periode van rouw. Ook wijzen de nabestaanden erop dat gewelddadigheden en wegafzettingen de zaak van de Ethiopische Joden niet dienen.

Luchtbrug uit Ethiopië

De Ethiopiërs werden eind jaren 80 in het geheim door Israël uit Ethiopië geëvacueerd naar Israël om hen te beschermen tegen honger en oorlog. In Israël, met een bevolking van 9 miljoen, vormen ze een aparte en grotendeels verarmde gemeenschap van 150.000 mensen. Ze hebben te lijden onder racisme, discriminatie bij het zoeken naar werk en structureel politiegeweld. De jongere generatie Joden van Ethiopische afkomst weigert zich neer te leggen bij de situatie en is al vaker in opstand gekomen.

Correspondent Ankie Rechess wijst op de cultuurschok die de immigranten – veelal afkomstig uit het sterk patriarchale Ethiopische plattelandsmilieu – destijds trof bij hun aankomst in het moderne Israël. “Ze moesten uitleg krijgen bij lichtknopjes en wc’s en kwamen in een samenleving terecht waar getornd werd aan het ouderlijk gezag.” Rechess wijst erop dat er wel degelijk Ethiopische Joden zijn die zijn doorgedrongen in de politiek en de medische wetenschap, maar dat blijven uitzonderingen.

De Israëlische regering heeft naar aanleiding van de onlusten erkend dat de groep wordt achtergesteld en zint op maatregelen.

Het is de vraag wat er gaat gebeuren als de rouwperiode zondagavond afloopt, zegt Rechess. Het is sinds woensdag rustig in Israël.

EINDE NOS ARTIKEL 

[7]

NOS

JONGE ETHIOPISCHE JODEN REBELLEREN IN ISRAEL

TEGEN DISCRIMINATIE

https://nos.nl/artikel/2292138-jonge-ethiopische-joden-rebelleren-in-israel-tegen-discriminatie.html

[8]

AL JAZEERA

ETHIOPIAN JEWS: NOT JEWISH ENOUGH

https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/5/4/ethiopian-jews-not-jewish-enough/

“My blood is good enough for army service, but not good enough after,” shouted a woman at a line of riot police last Thursday in Jerusalem.

“My brother is in Golani [an army unit] and so was I, but I can’t get a job; I face racism when I want to move into an apartment,” said another man in Tel Aviv on Sunday night.

They were two voices out of thousands who turned out for two massive, unprecedented, and at times violent, protests against racism and police brutality in Israel. 

In scenes that seemed more reminiscent of police dispersing Palestinian protests in the West Bank, stun grenades and armoured vehicles with water cannons were deployed, along with legions of police wielding truncheons to remove protesters.

It is a momentous point for Israeli society, to see a community that for years has been a mostly silent and tiny minority (around two percent of the population) coming out in the capital city and Israel’s hi-tech metropolis, to block roads and struggle with the police.

‘Police state’

The chants of the Ethiopian protesters were also unexpected from a community that often votes centre and right wing.

“Police state, police state,” many intoned. 

So what happened in Israel? Did “the West Bank reach Tel Aviv”, as 972 Magzine’s Mairav Zonszein noted on Facebook? Or is this “Israel becoming like Baltimore” as protesters told one newspaper.

The immediate trigger for the protests was a video that emerged on April 27 showing two Israeli policemen in an unprovoked attack on an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin. For many Jewish Israelis, the army is a sacred institution, often seen as among the most trusted in a country that is suspicious of government and politicians. For police to beat on a soldier was a trigger like the death of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, it was seen as such a red flag that symbolised years of pent up anger over discrimination. 

It is a reminder that in January 2012, Jewish Ethiopian protesters marched on the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) decrying racism.

The immediate trigger for the protests was a video that emerged on April 27 showing two Israeli policemen in an unprovoked attack on an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian origin. 

“Black and white are equal,” they said. But few listened. During the last government, Knesset member Pnina Tamano-Shata, who was one of two Ethiopian members of the Knesset, often clashed with governing institutions over racism. She raised the issue of why blood donations from Ethiopians are disallowed by health authorities by publicly attempting to donate blood.

It was revealed that Israeli authorities working with Jewish immigrants in Ethiopia had provided them with long term birth control often through pressure or not informing women of their choices. A shocking report revealed that over 40 percent of Ethiopian men serving in the army were being sent to military prison during their service. 

The picture painted was of a broken society and a cycle of discrimination and poverty that was locking Jewish Ethiopians in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in the “periphery” or towns outside the centre. Most of the Ethiopians who came to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the protest were Israeli born, not new immigrants.

Broken society

They had served in the army (all Jewish Israelis are subject to a national draft), some had even served in various police units. They had fought in wars, and frequently referenced this in their discussions with those who asked them why they had come.

But for them army service was economically distressing. Most soldiers are paid around $100 a month for three years. For those from poor families it means they can barely afford a mobile phone bill. Some end up working part time while doing army service full time. And when they show up late or must leave for economic reasons they are sentenced to military prison for being “absent without leave”.

Incarceration rates for those under the age of 18 also rose, so that Ethiopian Jews make up 30 percent of those in juvenile detention.

Racism in Israeli society has a history going back to the 1950s in which each immigrant group and the local Arab minority is seen as “outsiders” by a mostly European Jewish elite. Even in the last elections, Jews from Arab countries were called “neanderthals”. Ethiopians, although portrayed as friendly loyal citizens in mass culture, are stereotyped as uneducated and primitive; expected to take on the lowest jobs and often shunned by elite schools or society.

African migrants

The arrival of non-Jewish African migrants, fleeing wars in Africa, in recent years exacerbated the Jewish Ethiopians’ situation as they felt the need to prove their “Israeliness” more in a Balkanised society that views outsiders with suspicion.  

When the video emerged and 1,000 Ethiopians came to Jerusalem to protest, they didn’t find any support from mainstream politicians. Not one Knesset member came to support them, and the usual groups on the left that speak about racism in society ignored them.

The police showed restraint as these young men and women blocked the major north-south route in Jerusalem and occupied an area near the prime minister’s residence. But the relative quiet of the Jerusalem protest became a melee in Tel Aviv. It wasn’t Baltimore, almost no property was damaged, and it wasn’t like Palestinians protesting, where tactics against them are more harsh.

But it did force Israeli society to look in the mirror and realise a group that has been the most supportive of the country has decided that they won’t accept the situation any longer.  

Discrimination has long been a problem in Israeli society; whether against Palestinians, Jews from Arab countries, Russian immigrants or ultra-orthodox Jews. Ethiopians have shown they can get the public’s attention; but whether they can change entrenched trends in society is less likely.  

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BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER IN ISRAEL

TEXT

Getting caught with marijuana by authorities in country where it is illegal is never a pleasant experience. Even if members of your family back home are able to pull strings and secure your early release, it’s no fun to be behind bars for any length of time, to lose your freedom even temporarily.

But at least one Israeli citizen caught with weed in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula knows well how easy he got off. Though he was released from jail after just a few days and allowed to return home, his seriously injured cellmate, also from Tel Aviv, was left to languish for a lot longer.

The reason for the disparity in their treatment: Elyasaf is a Jew and a citizen of Israel, who had a stamp in his passport attesting to the fact that he had entered Egypt legally. Ablel, on the other hand, is an Eritrean refugee, who was forced from Israel into Egypt against his will and then tortured by human traffickers.

“Now, you hear this story, and you don’t believe it,” Elyasaf said. “It sounds unbelievable. And really, if I wasn’t there, if I didn’t meet the young man and hear it from him myself, with him there in the Egyptian jail, lying next to me, and I see that it’s true, I wouldn’t believe that something like this is possible. What kind of country do we live in? A man is kidnapped in the middle of the day from downtown Tel Aviv!”

Egyptian border guards caught Elyasaf, a 30-year-old graphic designer, with weed as he was heading home after a few days of vacation at a Red Sea resort. When they locked him up in a Taba prison, he was shocked to learn that a fellow Tel Avivan who spoke perfect Hebrew was stuck in the cell with him.

There, Elyasaf became the first person to hear Ablel’s scandalous story.

After Benjamin Netanyahu’s government built a high-tech fence on the Egyptian border in 2013, the influx of African refugees to Israel ended abruptly. So criminal gangs that had made millions in the preceding years from trafficking and torturing for ransom those refugees now needed an alternate source of income. Bedouin brigands figured that refugees who had managed to make it into Israel could be brazenly kidnapped off the streets of Tel Aviv—and then smuggled back into Egypt.

In the summer of 2013, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that hundreds of Eritreans had gone missing in Israel and that the Netanyahu government couldn’t account for them. Now, however, we can account for at least one: 23-year-old Ablel Tsegay, an enterprising Eritrean refugee who ran a successful restaurant in the Neve Shaanan neighborhood.

On the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av in July 2013, Ablel was kidnapped in broad daylight in downtown Tel Aviv, whisked to the border with Egypt and transferred to other captors, who shackled him and other refugees, including children, in a metal shipping container. After months of torture, Ablel managed to escape and reach the Egyptian authorities.

But because he had no passport or paperwork that proved he had been living in Israel, the Egyptians accused him of entering the country illegally and locked him up in jail. Ablel may have rotted away in that cell indefinitely had it not been for his chance meeting with Elyasaf.

In a matter of days after his arrest in Egypt, Elyasaf’s family quietly secured his release. On returning to Israel, he informed Ablel’s sister in Petach Tikvah of the fate that had befallen her brother. Ablel’s family and friends, who had feared that he had been murdered, were happy to hear he was still alive. But Ablel was not allowed to re-enter Israel. Instead, Egypt deported him back to Eritrea and the cruel dictatorship he had orginally fled.

In a three-part series for the Canadian news site Cannabis Culture, I chronicled Elyasaf’s misadventures and the scandal that he inadvertently revealed: that in Israel, in the time of Netanyahu’s war on African refugees, black lives matter very, very little—much less than most of us ever imagined.

Since Ablel was forced out of the country, 20,000 of his fellow refugees have been forced by the Israel government to return to Africa, back to statelessness and suffering. And now Netanyahu is trying to force the final 40,000 asylum-seekers out of the country as well.

In recent months, Israelis from all walks of life—doctors and artists, professors and pilots, students and survivors of the Nazi Holocaust—have expressed opposition to the deportation plan. Up until now, however, no group of Israeli pot smokers has spoken out in solidarity with the refugees.

Admittedly, to take such a step would entail a political cost. In the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv and the greater Gush Dan area, where most of the refugees live, the vast majority of residents oppose Netanyahu’s expulsion plan. But in the rest of the country—where average Israelis have few opportunities to get to know the refugees—the numbers are reversed.

Stressful as it was, Elyasaf says he doesn’t regret going through his ordeal, because it meant that he could play a small but significant role in Ablel’s eventual liberation. “He really gave me a lot of strength. I owe this man so much,” Elyasaf told me soon after his return to Israel. “If I was able to relay a message from this man, then it will have been worth everything.”

Elyasaf helped his fellow Tel Avivan, a refugee from a totalitarian regime and a torture survivor, to escape indefinite detention and ultimately—after a long, tumultuous journey—to reach safe harbor in Switzerland. The testimony I collected from Elyasaf, embedded below, helped convince the government in Bern to grant Ablel full residency rights there, and today he has a new lease on life.

Meanwhile, however, many of his fellow African refugees—those already forced out of Israel and those targeted for deportation—are not nearly as lucky. 

EINDE ARTIKEL 

VIGILANT VIOLENCE REMINDS OF HOW LITTLE

#BLACK LIVES MATTER IN ISRAEL

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/3/2/a-reminder-of-how-little-blacklivesmatter-in-israel
In recent weeks, mainstream Jewish groups in the United States and Canada have finally begun to speak out against the Israeli government’s efforts to deport tens of thousands of non-Jewish African refugees from the country and back to the tortures from which they fled.

Their sudden concern can be partially attributed to the expulsion’s sped-up timetable, which Netanyahu announced in November 2017. At long last, IfNotNow, an activist group that calls itself part of a “Jewish Resistance”, began to post news about the refugee’s plight on its Facebook feed.

The dam of silence had been broken, and within weeks, it became acceptable even for liberal zionist leaders to criticise the Israeli government, for its refusal to fairly evaluate the Africans’ asylum requests and to grant them refugee rights in keeping with international standards.

So much so, in fact, that even some of Netanyahu’s most ardent defenders, such as Alan Dershowitz, took to Israeli TV to urge that the expulsion be annulled.

While the organised American Jewish community’s recent outpouring of concern for African refugees in Israel is to be welcomed, it comes at the stroke of midnight, after Netanyahu has already ethnically cleansed over a third of the refugee community.

What was the reason for their silence until this late hour? Could they have been unaware of Israel’s decade-long war on African refugees up to that point?

Seven years ago, I began publishing viral videos of the regular anti-refugee race rallies though the African neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv.

In both cases, locals tried to justify the lynch by falsely claiming the black male had sexually harassed white females

Six years ago, I published a report to the United Nations‘ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination about the Israeli government’s war on African refugees. These warnings, and many more, were totally ignored by organised US Jewish community.

And since that time, the situation on the ground for African refugees in Israel has only gone from bad to worse.

Whenever Israeli racists have felt that the government is not expelling the Africans rapidly enough, they have physically attacked refugees in the streets, and threatened to make them hurt far worse.

The Israeli authorities, for their part, have continued to treat the perpetrators with kid gloves, sending citizens the message that additional attacks on Africans will be tolerated.

Read more: Israel’s war on African refugees is inspiring white supremacists

In April 2012, a group of Israeli men firebombed multiple homes of African refugees, and even a nursery for the babies of African refugees. Israeli police first kept the news to themselves, explaining later that they didn’t deem the incident to be of any public interest. Authorities then deported the African man who ran the nursery, and never punished any of the Israeli firebombers, save one, who received no jail time at all, only community service.

These warnings, and many more, were totally ignored by organised US Jewish community

The following month, a thousand Israelis spilled out of one of those Tel Aviv anti-African race rallies, fired up by a ruling Likud party member of the Israeli parliament who called the Africans a “cancer”. They spent the night scouring the south of the city in search of black folks, beating any African man or woman they could find and smashing any African shop they came across.

Four years ago, an Israeli man approached an African refugee on a Tel Aviv street and repeatedly stabbed in the head her one-year-old baby daughter who she was holding in her arms. The stabber never served any jail time, as he was determined by the court to suffer from psychological problems. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities refused to cover the medical costs of the African family.

A European country eventually interceded and granted the family refuge status, in part because they had fled the repressive regime of Eritrea, and in part because of how horribly they had been treated in Israel.

Three years ago, an Israeli man approached an African refugee at a bus stop in a Tel Aviv suburb, and without provocation swung a machete at his head, attempting to chop it off. The refugee raised his hand to block, and managed to protect his head, at the cost of his hand, which was lopped off. Doctors were later able to restore some function to the hand, but police never arrested the attacker.

Two years ago, during a terrorist attack at the central bus station of the southern city of Beersheba, a security guard shot an African refugee as he crawled across the ground, fleeing the terrorists’ gunfire, like all the other innocent bystanders. Israelis then took turns kicking him in the head and smashing furniture down on his bleeding body. When first aid responders arrived at the scene, Israelis prevented them from treating the refugee.

And just over one year ago, two Israeli teens lynched an African refugee right outside the city hall of Petach Tikvah, a Tel Aviv suburb, beating and kicking him in the head for an hour and a half. Israeli police characterised the incident as “the definition of sadism” and compared it to the 1971 Hollywood film ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

The murder last November of Darfur refugee Babikir Ali Adham-Abdo in Petach Tikvah, Chicago’s Israeli sister city, bore many similarities to the 1955 murder of Chicago teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi.

In both cases, a black male’s face was pummelled to mush, until he was utterly unrecognisable. And in both cases, locals tried to justify the lynch by falsely claiming the black male had sexually harassed white females, knowing other racists would believe the smears.

CCTV footage from Petach Tikvah City Hall proved that Adham-Abdo couldn’t possibly have sexually harassed the group of white teens he talked to seconds before he was assaulted. And Adham-Abdo’s brother was only able to retrieve his body for burial after identifying him by his missing fingers, which had lost back in Darfur, in the horrors he had fled to Israel to escape.

In both cases, a black male’s face was pummelled to mush, until he was utterly unrecognisable

In response to the racist attack, Petach Tikvah Mayor Itzik Braverman did nothing to reassure his city’s African refugee community that they would be protected from further vigilante violence. Rather, he assured Jewish residents that he would do everything in his power to kick the rest of the African refugee community out of town altogether.

“Their share of Petah Tikva’s crime is small. Most of them are here legally and do no harm,” Braverman admitted to his constituents, but noted that he empathised with their racist reason for wanting all the refugees gone: Resenting having to see non-white non-Jewish people in public spaces. “You walk through Founder’s Square, you see blacks drinking beer. It’s not nice.”

Braverman then followed through on his word, and ordered his municipal inspectors to begin shutting down electricity and water to the apartments of African refugees, in an effort to drive them out of the city limits. An Israeli court ruled that he could continue to cut basic services to the African refugees, who were then forced to travel to Tel Aviv to bathe in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last week, an Israeli court convicted the two young Israelis who beat Adham-Abdo to death of manslaughter and assault causing grievous bodily hard, respectively.

As a result, the older of the killers will serve a maximum of 10 years in jail, and will likely be released far sooner. The younger killer’s sentence has not yet been announced.

The two were able to lynch a black man in the town square, be caught on camera, and still evade murder convictions

Although it was clear that brutal blows from both had snuffed out Adham-Abdo’s life, each killer contended that the other delivered the deathblow. In this way, the two were able to lynch a black man in the town square, be caught on camera, and still evade murder convictions.

The verdict was just the most recent reminder of how little black lives matter in Israel, and how much vigilante violence Israel directs against non-white non-Jews, male and female, young and old. It is also a reminder that the crisis facing non-Jewish African refugees in Israel is so much worse than Zionist groups are making it out to be.

Africans in Israel are put in peril not only by upper echelon Israeli politicians, who smear them as sick criminals and terrorists. They are also put in peril by the widespread racism in Israeli society itself. A recent poll found that a full two-thirds of Israeli citizens support the government’s expulsion plan, and among Israeli Jews, support for it is even higher.

With so much at stake, increased advocacy for Israel’s African refugees is to be welcomed, no matter which quarter it comes from. It will take enormous pressure from all sides, if there is to be even a small chance of annulling the expulsion plan.

But those just-arriving advocates must also insist that the Israeli government not only tolerate the presence of the refugees, but also roll back its decade-long propaganda campaign against them, and even publicly embrace the community, in order to discourage further racist violence against them.

Because as long as Israel’s political leaders instead incite racism against the African refugees, there will be Israeli Jews – some racist, some crazy, and some both of those – who will try to maim and murder them, hoping they will all flee the country in fear.

David Sheen is an independent journalist originally from Toronto, Canada and now based in Dimona, Israel. 

Follow him on Twitter: @davidsheen

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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHDISPATCHES: ISRAEL FAILS AFRICAN ASYLUM SEEKERS
https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/02/25/dispatches-israel-fails-african-asylum-seekers

If you are an Eritrean or Sudanese asylum seeker waiting to hear your fate, statistics suggest that in most countries you’ll get a positive reply: 83 percent of Eritreans and 67 percent of Sudanese going through asylum screening are accepted as refugees.

In Israel, however, your chances are close to nil.

Government statistics just released show that of 3,165 Sudanese asylum applications lodged since 2009, Israel has recognized a grand total of zero. Almost 2,200 of them are still waiting for an answer. Of 2,408 Eritreans who lodged asylum claims, 4 have received positive decisions. Another 1,000 requests have been denied and 1,335 are stuck in limbo awaiting a decision.

So what explains Israel’s foot-dragging and bottom ranking for Eritrean and Sudanese refugees?

A clue might be found in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to Africans arriving in Israel, calling them “a threat to the social fabric of society, our national security, our national identity … and … our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.” The vast majority of the 63,000 Africans who entered the country before the end of 2012 – when a five-meter steel fence sealed off Israel’s border with Egypt – were Eritrean and Sudanese.

The authorities have steadily developed a range of coercive measures to “make their lives miserable” and “encourage the illegals to leave,” in the words of former Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai and current Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, respectively.

They include indefinite detention in remote desert centers – a policy that Israel’s High Court has struck down twice as unconstitutional – and obstacles to accessing Israel’s asylum system: Israel started to allow Eritreans and Sudanese to lodge asylum claims in significant numbers only in 2013. The obstacles also include ambiguous policies on work rights, severely restricted access to healthcare, and, yes, the rejection of a whopping 99.9 percent of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum claims.

As Human Rights Watch documented in a report, these policies have coerced thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese to return to their home countries. This breaches the international legal principle of nonrefoulement by forcing asylum seekers to choose between indefinite detention and returning to a place of feared persecution. As of mid-February 2015, about 8,000 had left, the vast majority Sudanese. Human Rights Watch found that on return, some have faced torture, arbitrary detention, and – in Sudan – treason charges for having set foot in Israel.

As the new shameful asylum statistics were released, the authorities confirmed that almost 2,000 Sudanese and Eritreans are still languishing in the Holot “Residency Center,” the legality of which is being challenged in the High Court for a third time as detention in all but name.

As the Israeli authorities tie themselves in legal knots trying to justify what amounts to a shredding of their responsibilities under international refugee law, Eritreans and Sudanese struggle to survive in Israel’s parallel “asylum” universe.

EINDE BERICHT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

AMNESTY INTERNATIONALISRAEL: FORCED AND UNLAWFUL: ISRAEL’S DEPORTATION OFERITREAN AND SUDANESE ASYLUM SEEKERS TO UGANDA

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/8479/2018/en/

Between 2015 and March 2018, Israel deported some 1,700 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers to Uganda. Upon arrival in Uganda, deportees find a shambolic reception, which leaves them without papers, without protection and without sustainable resources. This pushes many to continue their journeys to other African countries or to Europe. This report argues that Israel’s deportations to Uganda violate Israel’s obligations under international law. Israel’s deportation policy is a way to abdicate its responsibility towards the refugees and asylum-seekers under its jurisdiction and shift it to less wealthy countries with bigger refugee populations. This report argues that Israel’s deportations to Uganda violate Israel’s obligations under international law. Israel’s deportation policy is a way to abdicate its responsibility towards the refugees and asylum-seekers under its jurisdiction and shift it to less wealthy countries with bigger refugee populations. 
ZIE RAPPORT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1584792018ENGLISH.PDF

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHISRAEL: DON’T LOCK UP ASYLUM SEEKERSThousands of Eritreans, Sudanese Face Prison if They Refuse to Leave
https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/22/israel-dont-lock-asylum-seekers

(Jerusalem) – Israeli authorities should abandon a new policy that could lead to the indefinite detention of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals for refusing to leave Israel for Rwanda or Uganda, Human Rights Watch said today. The policy is the latest in a series of coercive measures against these groups aimed at thwarting their legitimate right to seek protection and would almost certainly result in mass unlawful asylum seeker detention.

Eritreans and Sudanese in Israel have been unable to obtain protection because, according to the United Nations refugee agency, Israel’s unfair asylum system has either prevented or discouraged them from lodging asylum claims or has unfairly dismissed their claims. Israeli authorities categorize them, along with all irregular border-crossers, as “infiltrators” and have recognized fewer than 1 percent of asylum applicants as refugees, compared with acceptance rates in the European Union of 90 percent for Eritreans and 60 percent for Sudanese.

“In the latest chapter of its longstanding quest to dodge its refugee protection duties, Israel is threatening to lock up thousands of asylum seekers who refuse to leave,” said Gerry Simpson, associate refugee director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of jailing them, Israel should fairly identify and protect refugees among them.”

On January 1, 2018, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA), under the Interior Ministry, announced plans to indefinitely detain thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese men if they refuse to leave for Rwanda or Uganda by March 31. Although the first phase applies only to some men, later phases could extend the policy to others and to women and children.

There were 27,018 Eritreans and 7,731 Sudanese in Israel as of March 2, 2017, according to the PIBA. Since 2013, about 14,000 have left Israel, including as a result of government measures against asylum seekers involving prolonged or indefinite detention, which Israel’s High Court has twice ruled unlawful.

The detention policy is based on the 1952 Law of Entry into Israel, which says prospective deportees can be detained beyond two months if their lack of cooperation has prevented or delayed their deportation.

However, to date, Rwanda and Uganda have only accepted people who voluntarily agreed to leave Israel, and neither country has confirmed any agreement to accept anyone deported from Israel, meaning anyone removed from Israel against their will. As a result, the Israeli High Court said in August that Israel could not deport Eritreans and Sudanese to Rwanda and Uganda and could therefore not justify detaining them for refusing to cooperate with efforts to deport them there.

Detention is arbitrary under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) if a country detains someone for deportation when there is no realistic prospect of deporting them. Arbitrary indefinite detention may also constitute inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of Israel’s obligations under the ICCPR and the UN Convention Against Torture. Detention Guidelines by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, say asylum seekers should be detained only “as a last resort” as strictly necessary and proportionate to achieve a legitimate legal purpose and that countries should not detain them simply for deportation purposes. Detention is permitted only briefly to establish a person’s identity or for longer periods if it is the only way to achieve broader aims, such as protecting national security or public health.

The government’s plan states that all Eritrean and Sudanese “infiltrators” should leave for “their country or … a third country” by the end of March. It promises US$3,500 to those who agree to leave, less if they leave voluntarily after March.

The same day, the authorities published procedures for some of those who do not leave by March 31. Men who apply after February 1 to renew their permit to stay in Israel will be told to leave Israel within 60 days if their asylum applications are rejected, if they have not applied for asylum, or if they registered as asylum seekers after 2017. Only men with children in Israel or who have been identified as victims of trafficking or slavery are exempt.

The procedures say that an “infiltrator” who “does not voluntarily agree to leave” will face “enforcement and deportation proceedings.” They also say the procedures may be applied later to other Eritrean and Sudanese “infiltrators,” including, but not limited to, asylum seekers who lodged claims before January 2018 that are still pending.

In March 2014 Israeli High Court proceedings, the State Prosecutor’s Office told the court that Israel had “begun to implement … two [transfer] agreements” with African countries, but the authorities have not confirmed the countries’ identities or published the agreements.

Rwanda and Uganda deny any agreements exist. However, nongovernmental organizations and journalists have interviewed dozens among an estimated 1,500 Eritreans and Sudanese who agreed in 2014 and mid-2015 to leave Israel and who were flown to Rwanda or Uganda. UNHCR says that “some 4,000” people were relocated under the program between December 2013 and June 2017.

About 50,000 Eritreans and Sudanese entered Israel through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula between 2006 and 2012, when Israel sealed off its border with Egypt. Israeli officials have said they cannot deport Eritreans and Sudanese home because of human rights abuses in Eritrea and because Israel has no official diplomatic relations with Sudan, which also criminalizes visiting Israel with up to 10 years in prison.

Until early 2013, Israeli immigration authorities blocked almost all Eritrean and Sudanese asylum applications. Between then and mid-2017, 12,295 people managed to lodge asylum claims, of whom 7,437 were awaiting decisions as of June. Almost all the rest were rejected. UNHCR says the low number of asylum claims also reflects widespread distrust in the asylum system and a failure of the Israeli authorities to inform Eritreans and Sudanese of their right to claim asylum or to accord registered asylum seekers more rights than people given “conditional release permits” from detention, the status Israel gives to all Eritrean and Sudanese nationals who entered the country irregularly.

In late December, an Israeli judge heavily criticized the authorities for forcing asylum seekers to overcome significant procedural obstacles to lodge claims, including “lengthy waits in line,” sometimes overnight, characterized by “irregularities, violence and bullying.” The judge said some asylum applicants “wait …in vain because only a few are allowed entry and even for them some … are not allowed to submit their request.”

UNHCR says that Israel has not processed Eritrean and Sudanese asylum applications fairly, which is starkly reflected in the fact that Israel has granted only 10 Eritreans and 1 Sudanese refugee status since 2009. Israeli asylum lawyers have told Human Rights Watch that about 700 Sudanese from Darfur have obtained humanitarian status, a status granted on a purely discretionary basis outside the asylum system.

UNHCR has stressed that a person is a refugee as soon as they fulfill the requirements under the 1951 Refugee Convention, that a country recognizing that fact is “merely declaratory of an existing status,” and that “this is particularly valid in the Israeli context where lack of formal recognition of refugee status of … ‘infiltrators’ is linked to shortcomings in the asylum procedure.”

UNHCR also says that “the protection needs of the majority of Eritreans and Sudanese [in Israel] … are akin to the protection needs of refugees” and that UNHCR “considers them to be in a refugee-like situation.”

The Israeli authorities should urgently carry out a full review, with UNHCR support, of how Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers have been blocked from seeking asylum and how current procedures prevent a fair assessment of their claims, Human Rights Watch said. Those who have not previously filed asylum claims or who were previously denied a fair hearing should be allowed to file claims or have their claims reviewed afresh.

“Now that the UN refugee agency has confirmed that Israel’s asylum procedures for Eritreans and Sudanese are deeply flawed, the Israeli authorities should drop their charade and urgently and fairly re-review all their claims,” Simpson said.

EINDE BERICHT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCHHUMAN RIGHTS WATCHISRAEL: DROP CITY BAN ON RELEASED ERITREANS, SUDANESE
https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/08/31/israel-drop-city-ban-released-eritreans-sudanese

(Tel Aviv) – The Israeli authorities’ declared ban on recently released Eritrean and Sudanese nationals living and working in Tel Aviv and Eilat violates their right to freedom of movement, Human Rights Watch said today. About 41,000 Eritrean and Sudanese nationals live in Israel, most of them in Tel Aviv, Arad, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Eilat, and Jerusalem, although there are no known statistics showing how many live in each city.

Israel’s Interior Ministry announced the ban on August 23, 2015, three days before the Israeli High Court’s deadline for the release of anyone held at the Holot “Residency Center” for more than one year. The authorities released 1,178 Eritreans and Sudanese from Holot on August 25 and 26. Interior Minister Silvan Shalom announced on his Facebook page on August 23 that “infiltrators released from Holot will not be allowed to reach Tel Aviv and Eilat,” giving no reason and citing no legal basis. In a radio interview earlier that day, he vowed to “do everything in my power to prevent them [the released Sudanese and Eritreans] from coming to Tel Aviv.”

“The Israeli authorities have made no secret about their wanting to make Eritrean and Sudanese nationals’ lives so miserable that they leave the country,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Banning the released Eritreans and Sudanese from living in their communities in major Israeli cities simply replaces illegal detention in Holot with illegal movement restrictions.”

Under international law, the Israeli government can restrict the right to freedom of movement – whether of Israelis or foreign nationals – only when necessary to protect national security, public order, or public health. Absent a lawful justification under international law, which it has not cited, the Israeli government should immediately rescind the ban, Human Rights Watch said.

Measures taken by Israel to coerce Eritreans and Sudanese into leaving Israel have included laws authorizing their prolonged or indefinite detention in prisons or at Holot, a remote desert facility where residents are required to check in daily. Israel’s High Court has twice ruled that the laws restricting “infiltrators” to Holot violate their right to liberty under the country’s Basic Law.

In response, in December 2014 the authorities limited detention in Holot to a maximum of 20 months. On August 11, 2015, the High Court ruled that Holot could remain open, but that the Israeli Parliament had six months to reduce the length of detention. In the meantime, it ordered the authorities to release all detainees held for more than 12 months by August 26. 
An Israeli refugee lawyer told Human Rights Watch that immigration officials at Holot issued two-month conditional release permits to the Eritreans and Sudanese released on August 25 and 26 that provide the permit holder “will not work and will not reside in Tel Aviv or Eilat.”

Sections 12 and 13 of the 1952 Entry into Israel Law allow the authorities to detain anyone breaching conditions of conditional release permits. Some of the Eritreans and Sudanese released from Holot told journalists that they had previously lived in Tel Aviv or Eilat and had nowhere else to go. Others said they intended to travel to other cities.

On August 25, authorities in Arad, a city about 70 kilometers from Holot, arrested and briefly detained about 20 of those released from Holot when they entered the city. Earlier, Arad’s mayor, Ben Hamo, stated on his Facebook page that he had ordered police to patrol the city entrances to prevent people released from Holot from entering.

Prior to December 2012, when Israel sealed off its border with Egypt, about 50,000 Eritrean and Sudanese nationals entered Israel via the Sinai Peninsula, where traffickers tortured and abused many of them. Because they entered Israel irregularly – without passing through an official border post – the Israeli authorities call them “infiltrators,” and have said they should all leave Israel.

However, Israeli officials have acknowledged that they cannot deport Eritreans to Eritrea due to the severity of human rights violations there, nor can they deport Sudanese to their home country because Israel has no diplomatic relations with Sudan. In Sudan, anyone who visits Israel faces a criminal penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The country is also responsible for pervasive atrocities and other human rights abuse.

In 2014, Human Rights Watch reported on a series of measures that the Israeli authorities have taken to unlawfully coerce Eritreans and Sudanese into leaving Israel.

Until early 2013, Israel blocked Eritreans and Sudanese from seeking asylum. As of March 2015, immigration authorities say they had registered 5,573 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum claims and processed 2,044, recognizing only 4 Eritreans and not a single Sudanese as refugees. This 0.1 percent recognition rate contrasts sharply with worldwide protection rates for Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers that, in 2013, stood at 90 and 67 percent respectively, reflecting the severity of human rights abuses in both countries.

According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, from January 2013 through July 2015, 5,316 Sudanese left Israel, of whom 4,608 returned to Sudan and 708 left for other countries. During the same period, 3,039 Eritreans left Israel, of whom 1,059 returned home and 1,980 went to other countries.

International law prohibits restrictions on free movement unless “it is provided for by law … and necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals, or the rights and freedoms of others.” According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the international expert body that monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, any such restrictions must be non-discriminatory so that any differential treatment between non-citizens and citizens on the grounds of their citizenship must be strictly justified. Finally, restrictions must be proportionate to the aim sought to be achieved.

“After three High Court rulings ordering an overhaul of an unlawful detention policy, the authorities have now added new illegal restrictions on freedom of movement to the long list of measures aimed at coercing the mass departure of Eritreans and Sudanese from Israel,” Simpson said.
EINDE BERICHT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

[11]

WEBSITE DAVID SHEEN

www.davidsheen.com  

David Sheen

David Sheen began blogging from Israel in 1999, and in 2010 started reporting from the ground on racial conflict and religious extremism in the country, writing for dozens of local, regional and international news outlets. Since 2014, he has lectured on these topics at dozens of US universities and more than half a dozen European parliaments. In 2017, Sheen was recognized for his reporting and named a “Human Rights Defender” by the Front Line Defenders. His website is www.davidsheen.com.

THE INTERCEPT/DAVID SHEEN

https://theintercept.com/staff/david-sheen/

Anti-African racism in Israel

Since 2010, David Sheen has been carefully chronicling the racist attacks against non-Jewish African asylum-seekers in Israel. In 2012, the African Refugee Development Center asked Sheen to author on their behalf a

report to  

the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). After receiving the report in text and video form, the UN committee urged the Israeli government to prevent racist attacks against Africans in Israel. The Israeli government ignored the UN’s call, and the following month, Israelis firebombed a kindergarten for African children in Tel Aviv, igniting a wave of violence against non-Jewish African people in Israel that is still ongoing. Below are links to Sheen’s UN report, published articles about the persecution of Africans in Israel, footage from a decade of anti-African rallies, and extended one-on-one interviews with key players in the unfolding drama.  

ANTI AFRICAN RACISM IN ISRAEL

http://www.davidsheen.com/racism/

ENKELE ARTIKELEN DAVID SHEEN

ARTIKEL DAVID SHEEN

ISRAELI LEADERS STILL ACHE TO DEPORT AFRICAN REFUGEES15 JANUARY 2019

https://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-leaders-still-ache-deport-african-refugees/26431

The year 2018 was one of the most critical for African refugees in Israel. Under threat of imminent deportation, the community and their local supporters took to the streets, pleading for their rights to be recognized.

The mass deportations did not materialize.

First, it became clear that African governments were unwilling to accept refugees who had been forced out of Israel. That prompted Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to reach a deal with the United Nations aimed at resettling African refugees in the West.

Netanyahu scrapped that deal after being criticized by lawmakers in Israel’s ruling coalition who viewed the arrangement as insufficiently tough on refugees. The lawmakers objected to how the deal was contingent on allowing approximately half of African refugees to remain in Israel for five years.

Despite shelving his most merciless anti-refugee plans, Netanyahu continued attacking Africans living in Israel. He remains among Israel’s top 10 leaders in its war against African refugees.

10. Ayoob Kara, communications minister

In January 2018, Ayoob Kara, a government minister, suggested that African refugees were a health hazard.

He used that eliminationist language during a conference of Likud – the party led by Netanyahu – in Eilat, a Red Sea resort. Kara was seeking credit for overseeing a policy – then as a minister for regional cooperation – to fire Africans from that city’s hotel industry.

The policy had been implemented after Africans across Israel went on strike in early 2014. A week-long strike was called as part of protests against Israel’s jailing of refugees.

Hotel owners in Eilat lobbied Israel’s government to substitute African workers with people living in Jordan. Under the plan, permits were issued so that hundreds of workers could enter Israel from Jordan each day and then be bussed back to Jordan in the evening.

The Israeli government insisted that an African be fired each time a worker from Jordan was recruited.

According to Kara, the objective of the plan was to “save tourism in Eilat.” Its effect, he added during his 2018 speech, was that “we expelled the illegal [African] workers that burst in here and were a sanitary nuisance.”

Kara, a member of the Druze religious minority, is now Israel’s communications minister.

9. Nissim Malka, rabbi and politician

As mayor of Kiryat Shmona – a town in northern Israel – Nissim Malka used his position to muzzle anti-racist campaigners.

In March, staff and students at Tel-Hai College were scheduled to hold a comedy evening to raise funds for fighting the deportation of refugees. Right-wing local residents had threatened to converge on the venue – a cooperative bar linked to the local authority – and break up the event.

Rather than condemn those threats, Malka banned the event, accusing its organizers of “trying to create unnecessary arguments and divide our city.”

It was not surprising that Malka would, in effect, side with racist bullies. He has previously campaigned against Africans who fled vigilante violence in Tel Aviv and moved to Kiryat Shmona.

In 2012, Malka announced that the authorities “would carry out major enforcement activities” against “the infiltrators that are living in Kiryat Shmona and are working at businesses in town, especially in the food industry.”

Malka, who is also a rabbi, marked 10 years as mayor in 2018. He no longer holds the post after losing an election later in the year.

8. Gadi Yarkoni, local authority chief

Gadi Yarkoni, head of Eshkol regional council in southern Israel, was instrumental in having Africans moved from accommodations provided to them.

During 2018, 15 students from South Sudan were housed in Avshalom, a short distance from Israel’s boundary with Gaza. They were studying agriculture in Ashkelon Academic College as part of a program sponsored by the Israeli government.

It was something of an exception: Israel had begun deporting refugees from South Sudan en masse in 2012 – less than a year after that state was established. Yet even this rare act of official benevolence was too much for Israelis living in Avshalom, who closed the gate to the village, preventing the African students from entering it.

One resident went so far as to describe the students as “human trash.”

Although the police ordered the gate’s reopening, Yarkoni intervened to urge the college authorities that the students be moved. Deceptively, he suggested that local residents were simply afraid of having 15 young men living in the same house and would have reacted the same way if the students were Israeli.

7. Amir Ohana, lawmaker

Relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia – neighbors at loggerheads, often violently, for more than two decades – may finally be improving. Leaders of the two countries held talks in July, committing themselves to a peaceful future.

Despite the breakthrough, Eritreans – who comprise the majority of Africans living in Israel – would face considerable risks if they were expelled by Israel. Their country remains a dictatorship.

Amir Ohana, a Likud member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has implicitly recognized such concerns are valid by saying that the situation in Eritrea could deteriorate. His “solution” is “removing the infiltrators” before the situation in Eritrea “changes for the worse again.”

Speaking at a Knesset committee meeting during the summer, Ohana said “we’re going to push with all our might” for the mass expulsion of Eritreans.

6. Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, pranksters

Followers of the late Meir Kahane – a notorious firebrand who urged that all Palestinians be expelled from their homeland – are known for their extreme violence. Baruch Goldstein, who committed the 1994 massacre in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque, drew inspiration from Kahane.

Two of Kahane’s most high-profile followers displayed a warped sense of humor during 2018.

As the Netanyahu government announced plans – subsequently dropped – to force 37,000 Africans out of Israel early in the year, some extremists sought to worsen the confusion which the refugees encountered.

Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel, leaders of the party Strength for Israel, plastered signs across south Tel Aviv, in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Africans. The posters offered aid to people facing deportation.

Eritreans who read the notices, which were printed in their native tongue Tigrinya, were led to believe that they were being promised refuge in the homes of Israeli citizens.

But when the Eritreans dialed up the phone numbers on the posters, their calls were answered by Israelis who had no knowledge of what they were attempting to communicate.

It appears that the whole thing was a prank orchestrated by racists, who wished to make fun of people in distress.

5. May Golan, campaigner

May Golan, a political activist in Tel Aviv, once declared she was “proud to be a racist.”

In 2018, the newspaper Haaretz exposed how she had fabricated data about the number of Africans entering Israel for scaremongering purposes.

Golan – another follower of Meir Kahane – conceded as much in a follow-up interview with the TV channel Reshet 13.

Time will tell if being outed as a liar causes any damage to Golan’s political ambitions. She is hoping to be selected as a Likud candidate in April’s parliamentary elections.

4. Oren Hazan, lawmaker

In early 2018, Oren Hazan, a novice lawmaker, received a six-month ban from taking part in Knesset debates. He was punished for a series of insults directed at fellow politicians.

Hazan, who represents Likud, has proven adept at finding platforms other than the Knesset chamber for airing his bigoted views. He is perhaps best known for boarding a bus transporting Palestinians to see relatives in prison during 2017, telling one woman that her son was a “dog” and an “insect.”

Interviewed by an Australian activist in 2018, Hazan described Africans who had come to Israel as “fake refugees,” alleging they “don’t even have culture.”

“In the end of the day, those people that came from the black lands, came from Africa, all the way to Israel, they did it only for one reason. They came here to search for work, for jobs, they came here to search for a future,” he said.

Complaining about how Africans were having babies, Hazan concluded the interview with eliminationist language.

“If you will not deal with the problem right now, you will suffer in the future,” he said. “If you will not kick them out right now, they will kick you out in the future. If you will not wake up, you will wake up not just in a dream – in a nightmare. You need to destroy the problem when it’s still small.”

Hazan is a resident of Ariel, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

3. Moshe Edri, police chief

In late January 2018, just before he stepped down as Tel Aviv police chief, Moshe Edri issued a frightening directive. Expecting that Africans would be rounded up for expulsion, Edri told police officers that they would soon be unleashing physical force against the refugees.

“The scenario that really worries me the most is large public disturbances. We have absolutely no advantage over them, and therefore the swath of police tools must be available to the station. In other words, very quickly we will have to switch to shock grenades, water cannons, exerting force,” said Edri, according to Israel’s Channel 10.

Edri suggested that the police were powerless against the Africans, and that their only option left was to use lethal force. “They take stones, rocks, rods, sticks, and beset you, and the only thing left for you to do is to shoot live fire,” he said.

Fortunately, the plans were not implemented – as the mass deportations were called off.

Later in 2018, Edri took up a top-level post in the public security ministry, which oversees Israel’s prisons and police.

2. Aryeh Deri, interior minister

As interior minister, Aryeh Deri has overseen Israel’s war against African refugees.

He played a central role during the early months of 2018 in trying to push forward the mass deportation plans. Before those plans were scrapped, he went on radio telling refugees that they must go back to Africa, as the continent was their “natural place.”

Deri has dodged accountability. When activists challenged his deportation drive in a religious court during 2018, he refused to cooperate.

He even declined to recognize the court, despite how his party Shas only regards religious courts as legitimate.

Towards the end of 2018, Deri was charged with fraud and tax-related offenses.

The allegations may not spell the end of his career. He has previously proven capable of making a political comeback after being imprisoned for taking bribes.

1. Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister

In March, Benjamin Netanyahu praised the wall that Israel has built along its boundary with Egypt. Without it, he claimed, Israel would face “severe attacks by Sinai terrorists, and something much worse, a flood of illegal migrants from Africa.”

That same month, Israel put into effect part of a secret deal to provide at least one African nation with military aid. Netanyahu wanted that country – which has not been named – to accept refugees that Israel is seeking to deport.

Eventually, Netanyahu was forced to admit failure; no less than five African nations ultimately turned down his demand that they take refugees expelled from Israel.

For the time being, Netanyahu’s efforts to expedite the deportations have been thwarted. But his draconian anti-refugee policies have already had a pronounced effect.

Tens of thousands of Africans have been removed from Israel since Netanyahu became prime minister.

The crisis of African refugees may have fallen from the headlines. That does not mean it has gone away.

If Netanyahu heads Israel’s government after April’s election, it is a tragically safe bet that he will continue pursuing his racist objectives.

David Sheen is an independent writer and filmmaker. Website: www.davidsheen.com. Twitter: @davidsheen.  

END OF ARTICLE

ARTIKEL DAVID SHEEN

BLACK LIVES DON’T MATTER IN ISRAEL

TEXT

Getting caught with marijuana by authorities in country where it is illegal is never a pleasant experience. Even if members of your family back home are able to pull strings and secure your early release, it’s no fun to be behind bars for any length of time, to lose your freedom even temporarily.

But at least one Israeli citizen caught with weed in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula knows well how easy he got off. Though he was released from jail after just a few days and allowed to return home, his seriously injured cellmate, also from Tel Aviv, was left to languish for a lot longer.

The reason for the disparity in their treatment: Elyasaf is a Jew and a citizen of Israel, who had a stamp in his passport attesting to the fact that he had entered Egypt legally. Ablel, on the other hand, is an Eritrean refugee, who was forced from Israel into Egypt against his will and then tortured by human traffickers.

“Now, you hear this story, and you don’t believe it,” Elyasaf said. “It sounds unbelievable. And really, if I wasn’t there, if I didn’t meet the young man and hear it from him myself, with him there in the Egyptian jail, lying next to me, and I see that it’s true, I wouldn’t believe that something like this is possible. What kind of country do we live in? A man is kidnapped in the middle of the day from downtown Tel Aviv!”

Egyptian border guards caught Elyasaf, a 30-year-old graphic designer, with weed as he was heading home after a few days of vacation at a Red Sea resort. When they locked him up in a Taba prison, he was shocked to learn that a fellow Tel Avivan who spoke perfect Hebrew was stuck in the cell with him.

There, Elyasaf became the first person to hear Ablel’s scandalous story.

After Benjamin Netanyahu’s government built a high-tech fence on the Egyptian border in 2013, the influx of African refugees to Israel ended abruptly. So criminal gangs that had made millions in the preceding years from trafficking and torturing for ransom those refugees now needed an alternate source of income. Bedouin brigands figured that refugees who had managed to make it into Israel could be brazenly kidnapped off the streets of Tel Aviv—and then smuggled back into Egypt.

In the summer of 2013, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that hundreds of Eritreans had gone missing in Israel and that the Netanyahu government couldn’t account for them. Now, however, we can account for at least one: 23-year-old Ablel Tsegay, an enterprising Eritrean refugee who ran a successful restaurant in the Neve Shaanan neighborhood.

On the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av in July 2013, Ablel was kidnapped in broad daylight in downtown Tel Aviv, whisked to the border with Egypt and transferred to other captors, who shackled him and other refugees, including children, in a metal shipping container. After months of torture, Ablel managed to escape and reach the Egyptian authorities.

But because he had no passport or paperwork that proved he had been living in Israel, the Egyptians accused him of entering the country illegally and locked him up in jail. Ablel may have rotted away in that cell indefinitely had it not been for his chance meeting with Elyasaf.

In a matter of days after his arrest in Egypt, Elyasaf’s family quietly secured his release. On returning to Israel, he informed Ablel’s sister in Petach Tikvah of the fate that had befallen her brother. Ablel’s family and friends, who had feared that he had been murdered, were happy to hear he was still alive. But Ablel was not allowed to re-enter Israel. Instead, Egypt deported him back to Eritrea and the cruel dictatorship he had orginally fled.

In a three-part series for the Canadian news site Cannabis Culture, I chronicled Elyasaf’s misadventures and the scandal that he inadvertently revealed: that in Israel, in the time of Netanyahu’s war on African refugees, black lives matter very, very little—much less than most of us ever imagined.

Since Ablel was forced out of the country, 20,000 of his fellow refugees have been forced by the Israel government to return to Africa, back to statelessness and suffering. And now Netanyahu is trying to force the final 40,000 asylum-seekers out of the country as well.

In recent months, Israelis from all walks of life—doctors and artists, professors and pilots, students and survivors of the Nazi Holocaust—have expressed opposition to the deportation plan. Up until now, however, no group of Israeli pot smokers has spoken out in solidarity with the refugees.

Admittedly, to take such a step would entail a political cost. In the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv and the greater Gush Dan area, where most of the refugees live, the vast majority of residents oppose Netanyahu’s expulsion plan. But in the rest of the country—where average Israelis have few opportunities to get to know the refugees—the numbers are reversed.

Stressful as it was, Elyasaf says he doesn’t regret going through his ordeal, because it meant that he could play a small but significant role in Ablel’s eventual liberation. “He really gave me a lot of strength. I owe this man so much,” Elyasaf told me soon after his return to Israel. “If I was able to relay a message from this man, then it will have been worth everything.”

Elyasaf helped his fellow Tel Avivan, a refugee from a totalitarian regime and a torture survivor, to escape indefinite detention and ultimately—after a long, tumultuous journey—to reach safe harbor in Switzerland. The testimony I collected from Elyasaf, embedded below, helped convince the government in Bern to grant Ablel full residency rights there, and today he has a new lease on life.

Meanwhile, however, many of his fellow African refugees—those already forced out of Israel and those targeted for deportation—are not nearly as lucky. 

EINDE ARTIKEL 

ARTIKEL DAVID SHEEN

ISRAEL IS RACIST: IT’S DEPORTATION OF AFRICANS 

SHOULD SURPRISE NO ONE

DAVID SHEEN

https://forward.com/opinion/396765/israel-is-racist-its-deportations-of-africans-should-surprise-no-one/

On Thursday, JTA reported that five prominent pro-Israel Americans, including Abraham Foxman and Alan Dershowitz, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of “incalculable damage” to Israel’s reputation if he insists on implementing a plan to deport 40,000 African refugees, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea.

“We, a group of ardent Zionists, who have devoted our lives to defending the good name of the state of Israel and the Jewish people, write with urgent concern about the situation of the African asylum seekers,” they wrote.

The letter was part of a larger movement in recent months, wherein mainstream Jewish groups in the United States have finally begun to issue statements of solidarity with the African asylum-seeker community, joining veteran Israeli activists who have long called upon the Netanyahu government to fairly evaluate their refugee requests and grant the vast majority of them full residency rights, in keeping with international standards. 

While these statements of solidarity are welcome, they come far too late. The organized American Jewish community stayed silent for the last five years as the Israeli government rounded up thousands of African refugees into desert detention centers, and then out of the country altogether. Netanyahu’s government has already evicted over a third of the refugee community.

The problem hinges on whether the African migrants are refugees, as they and their advocates claim, or whether they are migrant workers, as the government posits, even calling them “infiltrators.”

It’s the government’s narrative that has prevailed by and large. As president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society Mark Hetfield explained in Haaretz, “The narrative that the prime minister kept spitting out — that these were illegal work migrants, not asylum seekers — became the prevailing narrative.” Hetfield nevertheless believes that change is on the way. “Israelis are beginning to realize these are people with asylum claims, and they should be given a fair asylum hearing,” he told Haaretz.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Sadly, the vast majority of Israeli citizens continue to support Netanyahu’s efforts to force all African refugees out of the country. An Israel Democracy Institute poll in January revealed that a full two-thirds of Israeli citizens support the planned expulsion. Support for the expulsion is higher among Israeli Jews than among Palestinian citizens of Israel by almost twenty percent.

And the trend is rising, not falling. The last time Israeli Jews were polled on the issue, exactly four years ago, 61% of them supported deporting all the Africans immediately. Last month’s poll revealed that 69% of Israeli Jews support such a plan today.

It’s not just Africans, either. Nearly half of Israeli Jews want to see the country fully cleansed of Arabs, with one-in-five Jewish adults who strongly agree that this would be best.

These numbers underscore an important aspect of this whole awful episode: that anti-refugee racism in Israel is far, far worse than the picture painted by Zionists.

It’s time to admit that Israeli society is racist. That’s what Ethiopian-Israelis have been saying for years. That’s what Mizrahi-Israelis have been saying for decades. And of course, it’s what Palestinians have been saying since there was an Israel.

Just a few weeks ago, an Israeli court convicted two Israelis of brutally beating African refugee Babikir Ali Adham-Abdo to death, right outside of the city hall of Petach Tikvah, a suburb of Tel Aviv. The Jewish teens kicked Adham-Abdo in the head for an hour and a half, until his face was utterly unrecognizable.

The episode brought to mind the beating and lynching of an African American teenager in 1955 — Emmett Till. For like in Emmett Till’s case, Adham-Abdo’s killers claimed he brought on his own beating, because he had supposedly sexually harassed a group of white Jewish girls.

The city hall’s CCTV footage proved that no such harassment had ever even occurred. But those teens knew that. They used the harassment as an excuse most Israeli Jews would buy, who remain mortified by miscegenation. Adham-Abdo was not even the first non-Jewish African refugee beaten to death in a public place by an Israeli mob.

But this was not the only horrific Israeli attack on Africans in recent years, and the threat to the refugees comes not only from vigilante violence. Israel currently has the highest refugee rejection rate in the world, with plans currently underway to deport tens of thousands of African refugees from the

country.

Netanyahu’s immigration officials will soon be hunting black men down in the streets of Tel Aviv and forcing them onto planes that will ferry them to a renewed stateless existence, one that will imperil them as reports have shown to rape, torture, slavery and death.

The bulk of our efforts to stop these deportations must focus not on the symptom — anti-refugee sentiment — but rather on its root cause: widespread racism in Israeli society.

So while Israel’s defenders may be uncomfortable with the actual reality of Israeli racism, it would behoove them to refrain from policing the discourse and punching to the left. They might manage to shame radical activists out of invoking the name of Anne Frank to describe their efforts to hide the African refugees in their homes. But they will find Frank’s name replaced by other, equally iconic victims of racist violence, names like Emmett Till.

Any movement that really aims to end Israel’s war on African refugees and the vigilante violence it incites must admit the true extent of Israeli racism.

In their letter last week, the Jewish leaders wrote that “a mass expulsion could cause incalculable damage to the moral standing of Israel and of Jews around the world.”

Indeed, deporting 40,000 black people from your country is sure to do some reputational damage. But it’s not the PR problem that should irk Jews who care about Israel. It’s the human rights problem, and the racism that causes it.

David Sheen is an independent journalist and filmmaker. Sheen’s website is www.davidsheen.com and he tweets from @davidsheen.

EINDE ARTIKEL 

VIGILANT VIOLENCE REMINDS OF HOW LITTLE

#BLACK LIVES MATTER IN ISRAEL

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/3/2/a-reminder-of-how-little-blacklivesmatter-in-israel
In recent weeks, mainstream Jewish groups in the United States and Canada have finally begun to speak out against the Israeli government’s efforts to deport tens of thousands of non-Jewish African refugees from the country and back to the tortures from which they fled.

Their sudden concern can be partially attributed to the expulsion’s sped-up timetable, which Netanyahu announced in November 2017. At long last, IfNotNow, an activist group that calls itself part of a “Jewish Resistance”, began to post news about the refugee’s plight on its Facebook feed.

The dam of silence had been broken, and within weeks, it became acceptable even for liberal zionist leaders to criticise the Israeli government, for its refusal to fairly evaluate the Africans’ asylum requests and to grant them refugee rights in keeping with international standards.

So much so, in fact, that even some of Netanyahu’s most ardent defenders, such as Alan Dershowitz, took to Israeli TV to urge that the expulsion be annulled.

While the organised American Jewish community’s recent outpouring of concern for African refugees in Israel is to be welcomed, it comes at the stroke of midnight, after Netanyahu has already ethnically cleansed over a third of the refugee community.

What was the reason for their silence until this late hour? Could they have been unaware of Israel’s decade-long war on African refugees up to that point?

Seven years ago, I began publishing viral videos of the regular anti-refugee race rallies though the African neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv.

In both cases, locals tried to justify the lynch by falsely claiming the black male had sexually harassed white females

Six years ago, I published a report to the United Nations‘ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination about the Israeli government’s war on African refugees. These warnings, and many more, were totally ignored by organised US Jewish community.

And since that time, the situation on the ground for African refugees in Israel has only gone from bad to worse.

Whenever Israeli racists have felt that the government is not expelling the Africans rapidly enough, they have physically attacked refugees in the streets, and threatened to make them hurt far worse.

The Israeli authorities, for their part, have continued to treat the perpetrators with kid gloves, sending citizens the message that additional attacks on Africans will be tolerated.

Read more: Israel’s war on African refugees is inspiring white supremacists

In April 2012, a group of Israeli men firebombed multiple homes of African refugees, and even a nursery for the babies of African refugees. Israeli police first kept the news to themselves, explaining later that they didn’t deem the incident to be of any public interest. Authorities then deported the African man who ran the nursery, and never punished any of the Israeli firebombers, save one, who received no jail time at all, only community service.

These warnings, and many more, were totally ignored by organised US Jewish community

The following month, a thousand Israelis spilled out of one of those Tel Aviv anti-African race rallies, fired up by a ruling Likud party member of the Israeli parliament who called the Africans a “cancer”. They spent the night scouring the south of the city in search of black folks, beating any African man or woman they could find and smashing any African shop they came across.

Four years ago, an Israeli man approached an African refugee on a Tel Aviv street and repeatedly stabbed in the head her one-year-old baby daughter who she was holding in her arms. The stabber never served any jail time, as he was determined by the court to suffer from psychological problems. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities refused to cover the medical costs of the African family.

A European country eventually interceded and granted the family refuge status, in part because they had fled the repressive regime of Eritrea, and in part because of how horribly they had been treated in Israel.

Three years ago, an Israeli man approached an African refugee at a bus stop in a Tel Aviv suburb, and without provocation swung a machete at his head, attempting to chop it off. The refugee raised his hand to block, and managed to protect his head, at the cost of his hand, which was lopped off. Doctors were later able to restore some function to the hand, but police never arrested the attacker.

Two years ago, during a terrorist attack at the central bus station of the southern city of Beersheba, a security guard shot an African refugee as he crawled across the ground, fleeing the terrorists’ gunfire, like all the other innocent bystanders. Israelis then took turns kicking him in the head and smashing furniture down on his bleeding body. When first aid responders arrived at the scene, Israelis prevented them from treating the refugee.

And just over one year ago, two Israeli teens lynched an African refugee right outside the city hall of Petach Tikvah, a Tel Aviv suburb, beating and kicking him in the head for an hour and a half. Israeli police characterised the incident as “the definition of sadism” and compared it to the 1971 Hollywood film ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

The murder last November of Darfur refugee Babikir Ali Adham-Abdo in Petach Tikvah, Chicago’s Israeli sister city, bore many similarities to the 1955 murder of Chicago teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi.

In both cases, a black male’s face was pummelled to mush, until he was utterly unrecognisable. And in both cases, locals tried to justify the lynch by falsely claiming the black male had sexually harassed white females, knowing other racists would believe the smears.

CCTV footage from Petach Tikvah City Hall proved that Adham-Abdo couldn’t possibly have sexually harassed the group of white teens he talked to seconds before he was assaulted. And Adham-Abdo’s brother was only able to retrieve his body for burial after identifying him by his missing fingers, which had lost back in Darfur, in the horrors he had fled to Israel to escape.

In both cases, a black male’s face was pummelled to mush, until he was utterly unrecognisable

In response to the racist attack, Petach Tikvah Mayor Itzik Braverman did nothing to reassure his city’s African refugee community that they would be protected from further vigilante violence. Rather, he assured Jewish residents that he would do everything in his power to kick the rest of the African refugee community out of town altogether.

“Their share of Petah Tikva’s crime is small. Most of them are here legally and do no harm,” Braverman admitted to his constituents, but noted that he empathised with their racist reason for wanting all the refugees gone: Resenting having to see non-white non-Jewish people in public spaces. “You walk through Founder’s Square, you see blacks drinking beer. It’s not nice.”

Braverman then followed through on his word, and ordered his municipal inspectors to begin shutting down electricity and water to the apartments of African refugees, in an effort to drive them out of the city limits. An Israeli court ruled that he could continue to cut basic services to the African refugees, who were then forced to travel to Tel Aviv to bathe in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last week, an Israeli court convicted the two young Israelis who beat Adham-Abdo to death of manslaughter and assault causing grievous bodily hard, respectively.

As a result, the older of the killers will serve a maximum of 10 years in jail, and will likely be released far sooner. The younger killer’s sentence has not yet been announced.

The two were able to lynch a black man in the town square, be caught on camera, and still evade murder convictions

Although it was clear that brutal blows from both had snuffed out Adham-Abdo’s life, each killer contended that the other delivered the deathblow. In this way, the two were able to lynch a black man in the town square, be caught on camera, and still evade murder convictions.

The verdict was just the most recent reminder of how little black lives matter in Israel, and how much vigilante violence Israel directs against non-white non-Jews, male and female, young and old. It is also a reminder that the crisis facing non-Jewish African refugees in Israel is so much worse than Zionist groups are making it out to be.

Africans in Israel are put in peril not only by upper echelon Israeli politicians, who smear them as sick criminals and terrorists. They are also put in peril by the widespread racism in Israeli society itself. A recent poll found that a full two-thirds of Israeli citizens support the government’s expulsion plan, and among Israeli Jews, support for it is even higher.

With so much at stake, increased advocacy for Israel’s African refugees is to be welcomed, no matter which quarter it comes from. It will take enormous pressure from all sides, if there is to be even a small chance of annulling the expulsion plan.

But those just-arriving advocates must also insist that the Israeli government not only tolerate the presence of the refugees, but also roll back its decade-long propaganda campaign against them, and even publicly embrace the community, in order to discourage further racist violence against them.

Because as long as Israel’s political leaders instead incite racism against the African refugees, there will be Israeli Jews – some racist, some crazy, and some both of those – who will try to maim and murder them, hoping they will all flee the country in fear.

David Sheen is an independent journalist originally from Toronto, Canada and now based in Dimona, Israel. 

Follow him on Twitter: @davidsheen

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[12]

”Unemployment among Jews of Ethiopian descent is also significantly higher than any other Jews in Israel.

According to a report by Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, the unemployment rate among Ethiopian women in 2000 was 63%. Although this percentage dropped to 26% in 2016, yet it still does not meet the desired percentage.

The unemployment rate for Ethiopian Jewish men also reached 20% in 2016, down from 38% in 2000.ETHIOPIAN JEWS SUFFER RACISM IN ISRAEL

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ethiopian-jews-suffer-racism-in-israel/1526782

JERUSALEM

The fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager of Ethiopian descent has rekindled complaints of racism and discrimination by Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

Solomon Tekah, 19, was killed by an off-duty police officer last week near Haifa, triggering demonstrations among Ethiopian Jews.

Demonstrators blocked roads and set tyres ablaze in several cities including Tel Aviv and Haifa amid clashes with police.

Israeli authorities said scores of policemen were injured and in the violence and that more than 100 people were arrested.

The disturbance, however, has highlighted complaints by Ethiopian-Israelis of systematic discrimination, racism and being treated as “second-class citizens” in the country.

For centuries, Ethiopian Jews were completely isolated from Jewish communities in other parts of the world.

But with the arrival of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to power in 1977, the country’s policy toward Ethiopian Jews changed.

Under Begin, Israel started to organize secret operations to relocate Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

By the end of the 1990s, around 80,000 Ethiopian Jews had arrived to Israel from the Horn of Africa country.

Now, there are more than 140,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel.

Discrimination

Upon their arrival in Israel, Ethiopian Jews faced appalling racism and discrimination from the Israeli establishment.

Many in the religious establishment even dared to question their Judaism.

One of the early incidents that exposed this approach was the revelation in the 1990s that the Israeli national blood bank had routinely destroyed blood donated by Ethiopian Jews for fear of HIV.

Ethiopian Jews also suffer from the highest poverty rate among the Jews in Israel, and suffer much higher levels of police stop-search, arrests and incarceration.

Unemployment among Jews of Ethiopian descent is also significantly higher than any other Jews in Israel.

According to a report by Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, the unemployment rate among Ethiopian women in 2000 was 63%. Although this percentage dropped to 26% in 2016, yet it still does not meet the desired percentage.

The unemployment rate for Ethiopian Jewish men also reached 20% in 2016, down from 38% in 2000.

Another notable point is the significant difference in the monthly income per household for Ethiopian Jews and other Jews.

According to the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, the monthly income per household for Ethiopian Jews is 11,250 shekels, while for other Jews it is 15,575 shekels.

In 2016, 55% of Ethiopian Jewish children were enrolled in primary and secondary schools while the percent among other Jewish children is 77, according to the same institute.

Another report by the Ethiopian Jewish Association in Israel found that there was a 20% increase in the number of cases filed by the police against Ethiopian Jews in the same period, although there was a 6% drop in the cases filed by the police against all Jews in 2014-2017.

In addition, 90% of Ethiopian Jewish youth convicted by the court were sentenced to imprisonment, compared to one-third of other Jewish youth.

This all has left the Ethiopian-Israelis isolated and triggered protests in past years against what they perceive as racism and discrimination against their community.

According to Israeli media, 11 Ethiopians have died since 1997 in clashes with the police.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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