Tuesday, June 19, 2012

African Refugees in Israel - Appel for Change

Concerned and Frustrated about the treatment of African refugees in Israel, US-based organizations working on migration and racial justice have issues a petition, along with allies in Israel.
This blog serves to provide information and updates on the changing situation and repression of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.  We will post new information, analysis, blogs and news media reports that shed new light on the situation.  Please send us your feedback and/comments - we hope to continue to engage you and your voices to leverage change. 
Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network

June 21, 2012 - Haaretz
New Internet site identifies employers who hire African migrants'Blacks - back to Africa' proclaims site; 80 employers and landlords of migrants named so far.
A new Internet site titled "Migrants - Opposing Migrant Infiltration Into Our Country" is disclosing information about employers and landlords who offer work and housing to African migrants.
The site claims to oppose race-baiting and declares that "each of our writers accepts full responsibility for his copy"; however, captions and phrases such as "blacks - back to Africa" set a menacing tone.  

June 19, 2012  - IRIN Global
South Sudan - Israel: Returnees complain of harsh treatment in Israel

Juba - The first batch of 700 South Sudanese have returned to Juba from Israel, as part of a policy to deport Africans and protect the state's Jewish identity. Israel and its military ally South Sudan, which gained independence in July 2011 after decades of civil war, both claim that the process has been one of "voluntary repatriation". 

June 18, 2012 - New York Times
Crackdown on Migrants Tugs at Soul of Israelis
One by one, immigration inspectors escorted the migrants out of a dilapidated building into an alley teeming with African-run stores and hair salons. Then, they were led onto a waiting bus, in the first steps on the way to deportation to their native South Sudan.

June 8, 2012 - Los Angeles Times
Poll: 52% of Jewish Israelis say illegal African migrants a 'cancer' 
Six hundred Israelis were polled, including Arab Israelis, who were much less likely to object to the African immigrants. Only 19% of Arab Israelis agreed that African illegal immigrants were a "cancer" and only 25% backed the Tel Aviv protests against them.

June 8, 2012
Tent camp or deportation: Choice for African migrants in Israel
The Israeli Defense Ministry has announced plans to erect up to 25,000 tents at five detention centers to prevent African migrants from entering cities. The African migrants coming into the country will stay in these centers for an extended period. 

 June 6, 2012
Black Migrants in White Israel
The race riots in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem pointed up the virulently anti-Black nature of Israeli prejudice. Carrying sticks and stones, the crowds shouted “Blacks Out!” and “Infiltrators get out of our homes.” A veteran reporter said only a strong police presence prevented lynchings. Some of the hate speech sounded quite “American” – such as the Interior Minister’s statement that Israel belongs to “the white man.”

June 4, 2012
Haifa threatens businesses that employ African migrants
Municipality tells local business owners they must fire illegal workers or risk losing license. Employer: In the end they'll have to roam Israel like gypsies 

June 4, 2012
Netanyahu orders swift deportation of 25,000 illegal African migrants
Orders acceleration of holding facility construction for citizens of Eritrea and Sudan who cannot be deported due to conditions in their home countries. 

June 4, 2012
Eritrean apartment set on fire in Jerusalem; four injured
The Jerusalem apartment shared by Eritrean asylum seekers was set on fire late last night, Ynet reports. Four were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released for burns and smoke inhalation. Graffiti outside of the apartment read, “Get out of the neighborhood.”

May 30, 2012
Jewish view on refugees
Op-ed: Jewish values, need for Jewish continuity must be integrated in treating migrants
Israel is founded on two counter and often contrary Jewish narratives. One speaks about the continuity of Jewish values and the other the Jewish value of continuity. The first is highly attuned to the moral ideals expressed in the biblical injunction to remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and our duty to leverage our past suffering to create a society committed to the highest level of sensitivity to others, in particular, fellow sufferers.

Incitement Against Refugees leads to Racist Attacks in Israel
In recent weeks, incitement by government officials, rightist settlers, and poor community members against African refugees seeking asylum in Israel escalated into violence. In may Molotov cocktails were thrown into refugee homes, businesses and one kindergarten. The incident did not lead to casualties but inspired a wave of protests leading to a race riot on May 23rd. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky spoke with community members who protested against the refugees, with Mohammad Ibrahim, a refugee from Sudan, Rotem Ilan who volunteers to chaperone refugee children home from kindergartens to avoid violence, and journalist Mya Guarnieri.

May 28th, 2012
What is behind the Israeli mistreatment of African migrants?
 "This week, Yishai asked rhetorically: “So what, the State of Israel, as the Jewish state, in the name of democracy, in the name of honouring UN resolutions, (should accept) a recipe for suicide?” Likewise, when the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the separation of Palestinian spouses, the majority opinion stated: “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”. "

May 24, 2012
Israeli Kristallnacht: Africans attacked in Tel Aviv anti-migrant demo
Thousands of Israelis, including high-profile politicians, attended an anti-African demonstration in Tel Aviv. The rally turned violent, with attacks on Africans and grocery shop windows being smashed.
The gathering, which took place in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, targeted the influx of African asylum seekers and was organized by Michael Ben Ari, a Knesset member from the National Union party, along with far-right activists Itamar Ben-Guir and Baruch Marzel, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.