The long shadows of Donald Trump’s racist deportation policies surely darken the hopes of some 40,000 asylum-seekers in Israel, labeled as “infiltrators” by Israel’s government and media. They’re facing forced deportation to Africa. It seems like the Israeli government is practically following in Trump’s footsteps by deporting people back to what the American clown president surely would call “sh*hole” countries– places that have no safety margin; where any chance of a safe relocation, threatened by myriad dangers, is marginal at best.
The move to deport Black Jews and non-Jews back to Africa buys Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plenty of credibility with his country’s far-right voters. He even added a couple of words to the label to make these poor African natives, many of whom gave birth to children in Israel, sound terrible. He labeled them, “illegal labor infiltrators.” Netanyahu even took the time to blame advocacy for the soon to be exported “infiltrators” on NGO’s funded by billionaire philanthropist, George Soros.
BREAKING: Netanyahu blames billionner George Soros for funding Israeli NGO’s which campaign against the deportation of African Asylum seekers from Israel to Rwanda
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) February 4, 2018
While he is highly disputed for his business practices in many circles, Soros quickly denied being the kingpin behind acts of kindness toward the Black Israeli refugees.
“It is wrong to forcibly send asylum seekers back to countries where they might be persecuted or killed.”https://t.co/rJsyd8Kv6e
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 5, 2018
Israelis Don’t Support Asylum Seekers
Jewish people have always faced persecution and violence, but the idea of a Jewish state forcing undue hardship onto other Jews… that is unexpected. A Voice of America News article, quotes Colette Avital, head of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, saying, “We have always asserted that the world was silent” during World War II. She warned that Israel should not be silent, and instead lend a “helping hand” to all people who are in need. In fact, Holocaust survivors in Israel have shown a great deal of support for African asylum-seekers.
It’s easy to assume that Israeli people only want good for others, including the African refugees, the majority of whom hail from Eritrea and Sudan, and that the villain in this story is the Israeli government. The unfortunate truth though may exist in a headline from a Haaretz article, titled, “Two out of three Israeli’s support deportation of African asylum-seekers, poll finds”. It states in regard to the poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, “The survey also found that most Israelis do not believe that the Jewish people, who suffered persecution throughout history, have a special obligation to help African asylum-seekers.”
Apparently, racial prejudice outweighs religious identity in Israel, which is sending thousands of African Jews into peril. The Netanyahu government is in total denial over the matter, saying the “infiltrators” (Man that term pisses me off) are being deported to countries that will accept them, and not an ounce of truth exists in his words. More on that in a moment.
One asylum seeker from Eritrea in Tel Aviv, Teklit Michael, told the AP, Israel’s contested plan is akin to “human trafficking and smuggling,” adding, “We don’t know what is waiting for us [in Rwanda and Uganda].”
A Huffington Post article by David A. Love, “Netanyahu’s Holocaust Revisionism and the Racism Overtaking Israel,” discusses the Prime Minister’s tactics in coloring his political and racial opponents with a hateful brush, comparing it to the decades of abuse legally exploited under Jim Crow laws.
In order to effectively oppress a people, it is necessary to create the ‘other,’ to paint, with broad brush strokes, a group of people as the source of your problems — as the foreigner and not like us, as a criminal element, as inferior, or the moniker of one’s choosing. And in scapegoating that group, the dominant force in society is able justify, to rationalize all forms of punishment that follow. For African Americans, the notion of a genetically inferior, permanent class of criminals was reflected in white attitudes and codified into law, helping to undergird slavery and Jim Crow segregation.
The idea of calling people who fled ethnic cleansing in insufferable places like Eritrea, “infiltrators” is maddening. One might assume that after horrors of the Holocaust, Israel would at least have a soft side toward other Jews, not the case. Israel also added the word “voluntarily” to the program even though not a single person being exported was given a choice.
Just so you know, according to Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres’ RSF), Eritrea has been ranked at the bottom of their Press Freedom Index for eight out of the last nine years, leading to a new designation for Eritrea, now dubbed “Africa’s North Korea”—one thing is sure, the East Africa totalitarian dictatorship is no place Dorothy would want to return home.
Israel Fails to Protect Expelled Jews
Now, unspeakable horrors: stories of these expelled Jews trying to cross the Sahara desert, packed 30 to a Toyota pickup bed, only to be robbed, raped, beaten and murdered… this is their reported reality. Crimes against these suffering people are rampant. In Libya, Hebrew-speaking Eritrean people forced to flee Israel, have been sold into slavery, which was originally reported by CNN.
Refugees, according to statements, had their travel documents and money stolen in Rwanda. The country also denied them legal status. They say they were trafficked into Uganda, where they were held captive, threatened and robbed once more. From Uganda, they fled into South Sudan, where they were jailed for not having proper documentation. In fear of being returned to Eritrea, they fled to Libya, which required transversing the Sahara Desert. Those who survived described the suffering and violence as being “beyond words.” All report witnessing beatings, executions, and rape. One survivor named Kidane (a pseudonym) recounted that they “see you as animals, not people.” A refugee called Tesfay (also a pseudonym), said, “every day one person died, two people died.”
Many of the deported African Jews went through a full immigration process in Europe in order to sojourn to Israel. Asylum seekers have been told by the Israeli government that they will be sent to prison indefinitely if they don’t leave. One such prison is the Holot Detention Centre.
It seems fair to ask, what kind of a declaration is that? Are human lives that valueless?
There are also problems in Israel’s foreseeable future from having to imprison the thousands of Africans who simply will not leave and instead opt for a life in an Israeli prison. Well, the truth is that Israel has limited prison capacity and their cells are packed with Palestinians of all ages serving lengthy sentences for crimes such as throwing rocks at Israeli troops.
Israeli Website Publishes Hard Details
The Israeli Website +972 Magazine is following the story closely, along with other international agencies, though US mainstream media, which consistently fails to report crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians, is fairly silent, particularly about the details of this massive humanitarian problem.
+972 Mag and a couple of other progressive Israeli news agencies are leading the charge. They include The Forward and at times, Haaretz. They are inspired by proactive progressive Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based independent non-profit organization, which credibly reports Israel’s violations of international law.
Israeli Report: Israel is Sending Asylum-Seekers to Their Deaths
“Horrific” barely begins to describe the terrible ordeal facing thousands of expelled refugees, according to a trio of Israeli researchers. Lior Birger, Shahar Shoham, and Liat Bolzman. They issued a damning report detailing the intense suffering under Netanyahu’s program to rid Israel of African Jews and non-Jews…
“The conclusions of this report are clear, the promises made to those ‘voluntarily’ departing are not kept, and more so, the implementation of the ‘Regulation of Removal to Third Countries’ gravely endangers the mental health, safety and life of men, women and children, and has already cost the lives of an unknown number of human beings. The testimonies brought to the fore in this report are a call to stop the planned deportation policy and to regularize the status of the asylum-seekers residing in Israel.”
[In Uganda] they take all that we had…3,500 dollars…clothes, cellphone, they take everything…and we don’t know what to do.”
“You want to die? Then go back. If you don’t want to die, stay in Israel.
Rwanda Denies “Secret Deal” With Israel
The most glaring problem is Israel’s claim that the deportees are being sent to Rwanda and that an agreement between the two countries ensures the safety of the refugees.
Rwanda says it made no such agreement and has no such policy.
#ISRAEL RIGHT NOW: Dep Foreign Minister @TzipiHotovely recorded saying: “We have no way of monitoring what happens to Africans that Israel deports to #Rwanda & #Uganda“. No monitoring, no accountability, no regard for refugee life & dignity. @RwandaMFA @UgandaMFA @onduhungirehe
— Stop Deportation Now (@No2Deportation) February 6, 2018
The New Times in Rwanda carried a statement from Rwanda’s government spokesperson, Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, “In reference to the rumors that have been recently spread in the media, the Government of Rwanda wishes to inform that it has never signed any secret deal with Israel regarding the relocation of African migrants.”
While he hasn’t answered to the charges of fabricating rumors about Rwanda’s government’s willingness to accept refugees, Netanyahu did respond to the protests over Israel’s forced deportations of asylum-seekers Sunday, by calling the campaign to halt the program “absurd”. He won’t say where he is sending the frightened refugees but described “the country” as one of the safest in Africa.
Hmmm, Rwanda, land of one of the worst Genocides in modern history?
Uganda… where gay people are openly persecuted by the national government?
As far as Jim Crow laws go, just remember that they were laws that enforced racial segregation after the Civil War, nothing more and nothing less. The victims were Black people just as the victims of Israeli policy are… Black people. Israel’s use of the word infiltrator is an excellent example of labeling for political and racial control.
Sadly, this is not the first time Israel has been called out over racism toward Black citizens. In one event, Israel was exposed for injecting African women living in Israel with mandatory contraceptive injections. The controversial practice affected mostly women from Ethiopia, a steep decline in births was attributed to forced sterilization. An article by Forbes particularly relates that the forced sterilizations are shocking, as the practice was widely used by the Germans during the Holocaust, “While the scale and effects of these operations cannot be compared, Israel’s implicit intent to limit ‘burdensome’ (read: undesirable) portions of the population recalls the dark eugenics experiments of World War II.”
As a parting thought, Israel gives each refugee $3500 as it boots them from the land of milk and honey, which only makes them targets for violent thieves. In fact, knowledge that refugees are packing that kind of money long precedes their arrival, over and over again.
It sure does kill the old line, “Never again.”