When is it Enough?: Racism in Israel

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 In an article released by The Nation, a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute states that ‘one-third of Israelis say that unlawful, vigilante violence against non-Jewish African immigrants is fine with them’.

It is estimated, 60,000 African asylum-seekers migrated to Israel since 2006, in attempts to flee unrest in their home countries. For these men, women and children, the journey to their Zion is a trying one as majority of the asylum seekers walk by foot through the Egyptian and Sinai deserts. Mind you, these desperate migrants all stem from the regions of Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea who have paid smugglers to get them across the Sinai. When they finally arrive in Israel, and that is if they have not been trafficked to Bedouins are faced with another form of a nightmare, in the hands of the Israeli government. As they are viewed as “cancers” of the Israeli society, and are faced with anti-migrant violence.

As the Israeli government denied their work permits, as they have been branded as “threats to public safety”. Therefore, these inhuman actions are justified such as their incarceration indefinitely under the amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration law, which went into effect in June. This law allways the state to hold migrants for up to three years, regardless of whether they qualify for asylum.

For the lucky ones, they are offered a temporary visa — called the 2(A)5 – that must  be renewed every three months, however it does not permit asylum seekers to work.2 (A)5 are not provided with social assistance, and so many become cheap labor for various service industries, working, for instances, as hotel housecleaners and groundskeepers all while remaining under constant threat of arrest and detention.

Last year, the right-wing politicians who have deems these migrants as “infiltrators” built new detention facilities, which they have made clear are not jails however thousands of men, women and children are cramped into crowded conditions all while being exposed to the harsh desert, without medical care, education or recreation facilities, and they are not allowed visitors.

Out of the 60,000 non-Jewish African asylum seekers living in Israel, Israel has approved only one application. The one African women that was accepted was an albino woman from the Ivory Coast. Sending the very clear message that black Africans are not wanted in Israel.

Last Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that the construction of a border fence has been completed to effectively prevent any more African asylums seekers from entering the country. He also announced that the government would now focus on expelling the 60,000 or so African asylum seekers who are already in the country.

Israeli government has clearly violated international norms in this situation, not to mention the reported  ethnic cleansing of Palestinians  and the associated events within the nation now. Every piece of legislation violates Human Rights regulations, and yet nothing is being done. How much longer will the international communities turn a blind eye to the actions of the injustices being committed at the hands of the Israeli. The xenophobic justification that these immigrants threaten the state’s “Jewish character” is utterly disgusting.  As Martin Luther King, Jr states, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” An injustice to one should be viewed as an injustice to all of humanity.

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