African immigrants demonstrate against racist policies of the Israeli regime.
For more than six decades since its creation in 1948, the Israeli regime has hidden its crimes against native Arab people with the façade of “national security”.
The Israeli usurpers have systematically stolen land from the native Palestinians, killed them, brutalized them, and pushed millions into exile or into squalid ghettos.
Yet when charged with these blatant crimes against humanity, the Israeli regime defends its racist genocidal conduct in terms of security against “Arab terrorism”. It has gotten away with this despicable charade and affront to international law and morality in large measure because of the cynical indulgence of its patron in Washington.
American presidents repeat the mantra of “Israel’s right to security” – even as that regime shoots down Palestinian children, as it did again this week, and launches air strikes on family homes, schools and hospitals.
Nevertheless, this outrageous distortion is now being laid bare from a surprising quarter, as impoverishing African refugees residing in Israel rise up to expose its barbaric policies. And the Israeli regime is dealing with this mounting African refugee problem in the only way that it knows how – through ruthless racist repression.
Tens of thousands of Africans who fled to Israel for political asylum in recent years have this week taken to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest at the inhumane conditions being imposed on them.
In the past five years, Israel has seen a wave of refugees from Africa. Most of them have entered by crossing the Egyptian border, often after enduring hazardous journeys and running the gauntlet of smugglers and armed gangs.
There is estimated to be some 60,000 Africans – mainly from Sudan and Eritrea – seeking asylum in Israel. Officially, Israel is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees and is therefore legally obligated to offer asylum to these people.
However, with the Israeli regime grappling to deal with record levels of poverty and unemployment among its eight million population, it is responding to the African refugees with draconian measures.
Last month, the Israeli parliament gave the go-ahead to round up all Africans and put them in detention centers, pending their deportation back to countries of origin. On returning to their countries, the refugees will almost certainly face persecution or death.
Such a callous move is in direct contravention of international law. Faced with imprisonment in specially built Israeli jails in the Negev Desert and subsequent forced repatriation, the Africans are embarking on protest marches to gain international attention. “We are human beings, not animals,” read banners held by protesters, who marched outside the embassies of the US and European states in Tel Aviv, appealing for international help.
The African demonstrators were reportedly taunted with racist slurs by Israeli crowds. “Infiltrators”. Go back to Africa.” “You are taking over our land.”
The irony of such vilification could hardly be less bitter. Racist attacks in Israel against Africans have soared over the past year, with women and children assaulted in the streets by angry white mobs. Most of these racist attackers are themselves newcomers to Israel, brought in from the US, Russia and South America, and given fast-tracked Israeli citizenship simply because they are Jewish. These settlers live on lands that the Israeli regime has illegally usurped from Palestinians.
This week as Africans were pleading for refugee status, the Israeli regime announced new plans to construct hundreds more settler units in the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank. This was while US Secretary of State John Kerry was on a visit to Jerusalem, allegedly to promote “peace talks” between the Israeli regime and the Palestinians, whom the Israelis have been dispossessing unabated for six decades.
Many people around the world are waking up to the fact that the Israeli regime is nothing less than an abomination. For too long, its persecution complex, ably assisted by American administrations, has distorted international perception. But not anymore, it seems.
The growing boycott movement against the Israeli regime marks a tidal shift. This year has been declared the International Year of Solidarity with Palestine. People are realizing the truth that the regime is a sectarian “Jewish-only state” that has constructed itself on apartheid laws of discrimination against native Palestinians.
Campaigners against illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands have compared the regime with the criminal South Africa apartheid. They say that international sanctions must be likewise brought to bear on the Israeli regime in order to bring its systematic crimes against humanity to an end.
Israeli racial oppression of Palestinians more than qualifies the regime as an apartheid state deserving of censure and pariah status.
For too long, though, Israeli and American government propaganda has shielded the racist illegal occupation of Palestinian land with a bogus narrative of “security” and “defence”.
This narrative, always threadbare, is now being seen as a flagrant lie through the barbaric mistreatment of African refugees.
What security threat could women and children from poverty-stricken African countries pose to the Israeli regime? Their gross mistreatment in violation of international law just proves the real and only nature of the Zionist entity – it is a racist state of oppression that must be abolished.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
By Finian Cunningham