Racism Report: Africans in Israel

on 13 Comments

From the African Refugee Development Center:

On 30 January, the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

This report demonstrates that Israel continues to ignore its international obligations towards asylum seekers and refugees and that various laws, policies and practices are racially discriminatory at their basis against this vulnerable population. 

ARDC documents, among other things, how Israel maintains its harsh policy of detention; tolerates segregation in the education system in Eilat; tacitly condones discriminatory edicts by state-employed rabbis; allocates temporary group protection to over 90 percent of the asylum seekers who arrive; and has reluctantly granted refugee status to only 140 individuals. 

The root of this discrimination stems from the tension created by Israel’s sensitive political-demographic status as a Jewish state. Several of Israel’s high-ranking politicians have demonstrated an apparent lack of commitment in protecting the human rights of asylum seekers and eliminating racial discrimination. The coalition government, elected in 2009, is dominated by ethno-religious and extreme right wing parties and key positions are held by politicians openly hostile to asylum seekers.

Racially discriminatory, provocative and even inciteful language by influential public figures—wholly adopted by the mainstream media—is at least partially responsible for generating a community-wide backlash against the asylum seekers. The rise of this community hatred, partly fueled Members of the Knesset and councilors, towards the new population is closely recorded in this report.

You can download a PDF of the report here.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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13 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    February 1, 2012, 4:26 pm

    sent this to y’all the other day – not sure if you guys saw it:


  2. W.Jones
    February 1, 2012, 6:39 pm

    When the lady at the beginning shouts about “what is going on here?”, talking about the refugees selling goods, part of me feels that I would do something similar, meaning look how poor these poor refugees are, our good society should be helping them so they don’t live on the streets.

    Doesn’t anyone else here feel that way? When you want to have a nice modern society and you see people being very poor and selling things on the street, doesn’t it make you feel that the society should be doing something to organize the poor sellers and help their economic situation? Part of me even feels that’s what she could mean, saying it’s worse than Gaza and Nablus, meaning it’s morally worse to have people living within your own borders and being very poor. But I don’t think she means that.

  3. Real Jew
    February 1, 2012, 8:52 pm

    Umm…..is anybody really surprised to hear of racism in Israel? Racism is required in order for them to maintain a Jewish state Whether its coming from her citizens, settlers, rabbis, public officials, education system, transportation systems, current legislation, pre existing laws. Did I miss anything?

    • dimadok
      February 2, 2012, 7:39 am

      Several things Adam “forgets” to mention: ARDC is run and supported by the Israelis, predominately Jews, secular and middle to upper class. But half of the truth is always better for the narrative? Also he forgets to mention that the majority of the refugees are male, aged between 20-45, who are coming from the Egypt border, where they are abused, robbed and if it is a woman, often raped. The reasons for then being there is mostly economical and that is why it makes people angry. Same as the illegal immigration in US, UK or France for that purpose. Apropo France, when they’ve detained 5000 Tunisian men and sent them back, everyone where OK with that. Italy did the same with Libiyans and the list goes on.

      • Chaos4700
        February 2, 2012, 10:02 am

        So? The ARDC is to Israel what people like me (anti-war activists) are to my country.

        The article has very little to do with who gets to enter Israel, versus how they are treated if they are let into Israel. Take your straw man somewhere else.

      • Real Jew
        February 2, 2012, 2:32 pm

        Dim, typical zionist response. You justify the horrendous actions of countless Israeli govornmental institutions (and civilian ones as well) by citing other countries’ bad policies. We aren’t talking about the US, France, UK or whoever. We are talking about Israel.

        Please refer to Chaos’ comment above.

      • dimadok
        February 6, 2012, 4:05 pm

        Please read carefully my post and post your comment once again, that it would make a coherent and factual response to my statement.

  4. Daniel Rich
    February 1, 2012, 10:54 pm

    Rhetoric versus Reality – as per usual, the ‘winner’ is reality.

  5. The Hasbara Buster
    February 1, 2012, 11:25 pm

    Yet the fantasy has prevailed that Israel is a compassionate heaven for assylum seekers. Fabulous accounts of Israel’s treatment of refugees, verging on the hagiographic, are part and parcel of the most recent wave of Hasbara efforts. The most frequent claim is that the Jews, themselves having been refugees so many times and in so many places, cannot deny shelter to other people who are also refugees. The reality, as reported by the refugees themselves, is quite different.

  6. Chaos4700
    February 2, 2012, 12:17 am

    Gee, yeah, I’m totally shocked by this article, right? Too bad I haven’t been drilling down on this point on almost a weekly basis.

  7. kalithea
    February 2, 2012, 1:42 am

    Zionists have deprived Palestinians of their rights for decades; you think they’re suddenly going to change their spots and give these refugees rights? Israel has created MILLIONS of Palestinian refugees. It’s become anesthetized to the plight of refugees. Apathy is an Israeli pastime.

    • Hostage
      February 2, 2012, 6:07 am

      The reason that Israel has never adopted any enabling legislation for the refugee convention is pretty obvious – it would be obligated to allow these people and the Palestinian refugees to enter the country.

      Israel lobbied to exclude persons who are receiving assistance from UNRWA from the definition of the term refugee in Article 1 of the 1951 Convention. In the years afterward, Israel conducted a vigorous propaganda campaign to shutdown UNRWA and make the UN stop treating the Palestinians as refugees. But the Convention stipulates that when the UNRWA:

      protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons being definitively settled in accordance with the relevant resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, these persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefits of this Convention.

      Contrary to the claims contained in hasbara talking points, the responsible UN officials have explained that All refugee communities, whether those under the care of UNRWA or UNHCR, have their refugee status passed through the generations while their plight remains unresolved. — See Chris Gunness, Don’t blame UNRWA, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4082176,00.html

      The use of snipers or landmines to kill refugees is obviously a crime against humanity that is a violation of Israel’s international obligations.

  8. patm
    February 2, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Note: This has come to me through my Toronto newsgroup. I take it as being very important.

    The Praver Plan is now a new bill: Confiscation of Bedouin Lands Bill – to be passed soon in the Knesset.

    By Dr. Yeela Raanan.

    On January 3rd the Government of Israel published the memorandum of a bill named “Regulation of the Bedouin settlement in the Negev”, in which in states the steps to be implemented in order to relocate the overwhelming majority of the residents of the unrecognized villages and confiscate about 2/3s of the land remaining in their possession. As can be expected, the Government of Israel is anticipating resistance to this new bill, so within the bill are violent measures to ensure its implementation. This bill is currently going through the legislative process in the Knesset, and soon will become law.

    You can read about the bill in more detail in the attached file. In the meantime, in a nutshell, this is what the Bedouin are now facing:

    · The bill’s main aim is to force the Bedouin to give up the little land they are still holding onto.

    · In order to do so, the bill spells out an intense, violent and destructive process, utilizing family pressure, bulldozers, and incarceration.

    · The bill is written in a confusing manner, so that the majority of the Bedouin community are incapable of even understanding what the government is putting before them. Ironically, they are expected to give their comments via the web…

    · The government is spending a very large amount of money in order to send emissaries to “convince” the Bedouin that accepting this bill is in their benefit. At the same time the media is cooperating with the government and remaining silent regarding all protests and criticisms against this dangerous bill. Thus, the two amazing demonstrations of the Bedouin – of over 10,000 in Beer Sheva and another 6,000 in Jerusalem was not covered at all by the Hebrew media. The media machine the government is utilizing of course also covers the Jewish community, so that even the friends of the Bedouin do not understand why the Bedouin community is not accepting this new bill with open hands…

    Demonstration against the Praver plan and the new bill. Beer Sheva, January 25th, 2012.

    Just a couple of items from the bill will show you the monstrosity of it:

    1. Cynically utilizing family pressure in order to force more Bedouin to accept the bill:

    Members of the Bedouin community are not interested in monetary compensation for their lands, they want the land itself. A person can receive up to 50% of his land in land compensation – IF – he convinces ALL his siblings and cousins to enter the process of the bill and sign that they are giving up their land claims too (again for 50% in land compensation.) however, if any of the siblings feels that he does not wish to play along with the government’s plans, and is not willing to sign his land over to the government, then ALL other siblings will receive less land in compensation, and instead some insignificant monetary compensation.

    What does this mean? It means that there will be strife in all the Bedouin families. As all Bedouin are people… they will not always agree. Therefore one person will receive far less land because his brother will refuse to sign his land away. From this point on, they will not speak to each other for generations… and to think that the government is creating this kind of strife within families – is horrendous.

    2. According to the bill, when it is time to “clear” a piece of land from Bedouin this is the process:

    · The prime minister signs that this specific area is now to be cleared.

    · The Bedouin have two weeks in which to clear out everything: structures, animals, trees, people and movables.

    · The government may then demolish anything in the area and incarcerate for two years anyone remaining in the area.

    · The bill also prevents the intervention of the courts, as it states that there is no need for a court injunction to demolish the structures, and that the court may at the most postpone the “clearing” by one week.

    This process will be implemented upon the entire area of the unrecognized villages within five years.

    Where will the people go to? It is not specified. Does the gov’t need to provide those it is clearing out with another place to go to? It is not specified. Do the residents of the villages, as they are being cleared off, have any say in where they will have to move to? It is not specified…

    Nowadays the Bedouin do not have sufficient land in order to live their lives in ease. A stark statistic is that each Bedouin that lives in an agricultural community has an average of 1/2 acre of land for agriculture. In comparison every Jewish person living in an agricultural community in the Negev has over six acres. And it is important to remember that many more members of a Bedouin agricultural community actually make a living from agriculture than of the Jewish communities. This bill, if it succeeds, will reduce the 1/2 acre of agricultural lands to 0.001 of an acre per person … meaning this is an end, a total destruction, of Bedouin traditional life and the ability to live off the land. Taking into consideration that about 20% of the Bedouin today live from agriculture… it is devastating.

    Demonstration against the Praver plan and the new bill. Beer Sheva, January 25th, 2012.

    What can you do to help?

    1. First of all – contact your representatives, and ask them to ask Israel difficult questions regarding the policies towards the Bedouin. You have quite a lot of information here and in the file attached. Please feel free to use it.

    2. Help spread this information. Since the Bedouin are a weakened community, the government of Israel feels it can do anything it wishes to this community, and no one will care. Let’s show them we care!

    3. Start bombarding the government officials with your faxes, emails, phone calls… Here are the important figures right now:

    · Minister Binyamin Begin. He is the person the gov’t assigned to listen to the community and make amendments to the bill according to the needs of the community. (Unfortunately, all he is doing is trying to convince the Bedouin that this is the best deal for them and they must join the process, and officially forgo their land claims…) Email: bbegin@knesset.gov.il ; Tel: 02-6408022, 02-6703382; Fax: 02-6703386

    · Yehuda Bahar, the one in charge of implementing the plan, head of the Authority for the settlement of the Bedouin. Tel: 08-6268735; Fax: 08-6268729; Email: YehudaB@moch.gov.il

    · Our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, tel: 02-6705512; fax: 02- 5664838

    · The Israeli Ambassador in your area.

    · Your Ambassador in Israel.

    We call to the Government of Israel to take measures concerning the integration of the Arab-Bedouin community of the Negev into the region based on the principles of partnership, equality, human rights, and a future of prosperity for all the Negev residents.”

    For more information: Dr. Yeela Raanan, negevbedouin@gmail.com

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