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Do Americans want to know that Israel is waging war on Africans?

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In December 2013, the Israeli Knesset circumvented a three-month old High Court ruling, quashing the law that criminalized all African asylum-seekers in the country. In its place, the Netanyahu government instituted a new policy to corral the Africans onto an ethnic-cleansing assembly line that forces them into a dead-end desert detention center, where they are pressured to self-deport.

Since December, tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers in Israel have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to protest the government’s master plan to expel them all by the end of the decade. For all of their considerable efforts, they have not managed to convince the Israeli people or their elected representatives to end the efforts to expel them and examine their refugee status claims instead.

Under these circumstances, it seems that the only possible political development that could force the Israeli government to put an end to its war on the Africans is a massive outpouring of international support for their cause.

On January 22, activists in dozens of cities around the world protested in front of Israeli embassies, in solidarity with the Africans, echoing their demands for freedom. But the plight of the asylum-seekers still remains largely unknown outside of Israel and diasporas African emigre communities.

For the last four years I have been doggedly reporting on this story from the corridors of the Knesset and the streets of south Tel Aviv. In the coming month, I will travel across the United States and Canada, speaking and screening slides at university campuses and community centers across the continent, trying to raise awareness about the ruthless persecution that African asylum-seekers are facing in Israel.

I invite you to come hear  what I have to say and decide for yourself whether these people are deserving of protection, or whether they should be abandoned to their fate.

About David Sheen

David Sheen is an independent journalist and film maker who lives in Dimona. His website is

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64 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    February 23, 2014, 10:25 am

    Does the average american know anything about middle east?

    Blacks, muslims, arabs, who cares seems to be the standpoint by many americans and westerners in general.

    • just
      February 23, 2014, 3:33 pm

      I have to agree, JPB. You forgot the other brown people– Hispanics.

      Racism is alive and well in these United States…So is apathy toward the plight of others, and irrational hatred/fear of others based on ginning up of the masses by our government/selected officials and their many, many lies. Whatever “education” that they provide is deeply & deliberately flawed, imho.

      • Kathleen
        February 24, 2014, 9:30 am

        The majority of Americans do not want to know what Israel is doing to anyone. But that is shifting. Americans are starting to get factual information about the discrimination, racism and crimes against humanity that Israel has been and continues to commit. They are also realizing that that Israel’s decades long horrific behavior has and continues to be a national security threat for the U.S. and ultimately for Israel based on the internationally recognized borders

      • The JillyBeans
        February 24, 2014, 1:30 pm

        The majority of black americans have some left over solidarity to the civil rights movement. However the Jews of the civil rights movement are not the Israeli’s who are color coding in the middle east.

        I wonder at what point the Israeli’s are going to get a clue in their conflicting arguments about who has a right to live where.

  2. amigo
    February 23, 2014, 11:17 am

    You have to wonder if Israel will lock up the whole world eventually.

    Palestinians, guilty or not/Asylum seekers/peace activists/whistle blowers/stone throwers oh and 10 year old children.

    What a light unto the Nations Israel turned out to be.

    Future historians will be compelled to ask at what point did Judaism become Fascism.

    • Citizen
      February 23, 2014, 2:38 pm

      @ amigo
      History will conclude Judaism became Fascism when the unterhund became the uberhund? The test of virtue is power, from Joshua to Netanyahu?

    • Dutch
      February 23, 2014, 8:38 pm

      @ amigo
      Yes, eventually they will lock up the whole world. Actually, they’ve never been doing anything else, paralyzing the whole world in a state of complient silence.

    • Accentitude
      February 24, 2014, 6:37 am

      No Amigo, they’ll only lock up the non-Jewish portion of the world and still claim to be a non-racist, progressive western democracy.

  3. seafoid
    February 23, 2014, 11:20 am

    How is the project coming on ?

    Israel is such a tragedy, I think
    Started off with such hope and turned into such a shoddy kip.
    Take away the hasbara and it’s a real ugly country.

    Sure they have the IDF with its pro GLBT stance but what does that matter when people are shafted left right and center because they aren’t Jewish ?

    • puppies
      February 23, 2014, 12:12 pm

      @Seafoid – “Started off with such hope”
      Like any colonial invasion, like any fake nationalism, it started with the full expectation of invasion, dispossession, war and mayhem. The only tangible “hope” was the same as that of Algeria and the Congo: that of profits if you were a banker. Didn’t take a genius to know that.

      • seafoid
        February 23, 2014, 2:26 pm

        Fair enough puppies but for the Jews who went it was Hatikvah

        As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
        With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
        Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:
        To be a free people in our land,
        The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

        New version

        As long as the Jewish spirit is denied free expression ,
        With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion or West toward DC ,
        Then our hope – the 47 year-old hope – will not be lost:
        To be a cruel people in their land,
        The land of the Palestinians
        Torturing them under the carpet
        Hoping they will go away somehow
        Existentially fearing they won’t
        What will we do then?

      • puppies
        February 23, 2014, 2:53 pm

        @seafoid – “for the Jews who went it was Hatikvah”
        So friggin what? They had eyes, ears and something between them to use for thinking. So let them take responsibility for their stupidity. They deserve the catastrophe that is building up, and I don’t mean a friendly boycott.
        Many people with comparably Jewish ancestry and even many religious Jews of Palestine itself never bought it. They refused to be accessories to such a crime, no matter if all governments on earth, even including those of the socialist countries, were complicit.
        Thank you for the offer of a song, I appreciate the thought but they irritate the hell out of me. And learn to count, it’s 68 years of open war, not 47.

      • seafoid
        February 23, 2014, 5:02 pm

        I think the killing started quite a while before 1948 actually ….
        But yes, it is a catastrophe and it is not the goys’ fault this time

  4. unverified__5ilf90kd
    February 23, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Let’s be honest about it. The Zionists in the US media are trying to keep this information under wraps. They suppress anything negative about Israel and we do not protest. Or even our protests are suppressed by the media. We rarely see anything about it other than here at Mondoweiss.

    • Citizen
      February 23, 2014, 2:46 pm

      @ unverified__5ilf90kd
      Yep. Never in America has a t-shirt gone so unnoticed or unqueried than a MW t-shirt.

  5. Talkback
    February 23, 2014, 12:57 pm

    The root of this problem is, that this state was not established as the state of its citizens like other states. It was established as a state of a certain nation within citizenship who happened to be less than 50% of the citizens.

    This left and leaves only two options for the minority to become and maintain a majority.
    1.) It increases the number of its members by allowing other members of the same collective to immigrate or improving their reproduction and living quality (preventing them to emmigrate)
    2.) It reduces the number of those who are not members of this collective, by deporting or even expelling/denationalizing them or impairing their reproduction and living quality (in hope for a voluntary emmigration). Or, it redraws its borders to chop them off.

    If the chances for 1.) don’t look very promissing, option is 2 is inevitable with all the racist incitement which is necessary to make this option popular.

    The problem is not even Zionism as an abstract national ideology. The problem is that the existing demographic reality of the Zionist state was unfavorable from the get go. And while other states are demograhically far away from a ‘threatening threshold’ that could change its ‘national character’, because they started out with 100% citzens = 100% nation (see the US), Israel has never achieved and probably will never achieve to distance itself significantly from this threshold by option 1. While other states could allow to change their national character slowly over many generations, Israel will always have a problem, because it wants to preserve the same national character eternally and finds itself increasingly running out of time to rely only on option 1. The same racism can occur in other countries which want to preserve a certain character eternally and are close to the threatening threshold. This has nothing to do with Zionism as such or allegations of supremacy, etc.

    But unlike in 1948 when the world after the Holocaust allowed Israeli Jews to literally get away with murder, it will no longer accept Israel’s crimes against equality and humanity. And unlike in 1948 when the world didn’t know what was going on, Israel today can no longer hide its actions and its character which are not Jewish, but simply racist and inhumane for the above mentioned reasons.

    Zionism is doomed to fail in our times.

    • American
      February 23, 2014, 2:13 pm

      @ Talkback

      The root of the problem is that you cannot establish “a nation” period…anywhere…. without the majority consent of the population living in/on that land. There was no consent by the majority in Palestine at the time.
      We’ve seen already established countries still battling over whether they want to want to be for instance Georgia-Georgia or Russia-Georgia or a Russian Ukraine or a EU Ukraine or an Iraq Kurd or a Kurd-Kurd.

      “The problem is not even Zionism as an abstract national ideology.””

      Yea it is…..the concept and problem with any ethnic or religious rule, whether it allows minority religions and rights or not, is the same problem of any state that has ‘official’ policies of maintaining a majority population of that ethnic or religion because the point of maintaining that ethnic majority is to maintain ethnic rule.

      • seafoid
        February 24, 2014, 5:41 am

        “The root of the problem is that you cannot establish “a nation” period…anywhere…. without the majority consent of the population living in/on that land”

        Even if it is your Ancestral WTF Homeland

        “The time has come
        To say fair’s fair
        To pay the rent
        To pay our share
        the time has come
        A fact’s a fact
        It belongs to the Palestinians
        The bots have to give it back ”

        (or else pay massive reparations)

        One comment on youtube is pretty much how Israeli Jews think about Palestinians

        Angel Eyes1 week ago

        Ive been to Oz…dont give those fucking Abos anything..they ae fucking monkies …just like the Ojibway in Canada dont give them anything they will just drink it away

      • Talkback
        February 24, 2014, 8:43 am

        The root of the problem is that you cannot establish “a nation” period…anywhere…. without the majority consent of the population living in/on that land. There was no consent by the majority in Palestine at the time.

        Even if there had been consent, the root would be same and like I described it.

        Yea it is…..the concept and problem with any ethnic or religious rule, whether it allows minority religions and rights or not, is the same problem of any state that has ‘official’ policies of maintaining a majority population of that ethnic or religion because the point of maintaining that ethnic majority is to maintain ethnic rule.

        Again no. If Zionism had established a state in which 100% of its citizens had been 100% of its nationals (for example in the Sinai desert and everyone was Jewish) than this state wouldn’t have a problem with a certain amount of immigrants or asylum seekers. Like other countries don’t have this problem as long as the number of immigrants don’t threaten the national character. So the problem is not Zionism as an abstract national ideology. The problem is REAL existing Zionism (in Palestine).

      • American
        February 24, 2014, 9:28 am

        “” So the problem is not Zionism as an abstract national ideology. The problem is REAL existing Zionism (in Palestine).””…talkback

        oh plezze, …….you’re spewing babble.
        Your zionism ‘abstract national ideology” is being *practiced*.in Israel….its obviously *bad*…..
        So what the hell are you talking about when you say the ideology isnt a problem—-the IDEOLOGY is EXACTLY what has caused the problem.

      • Talkback
        February 24, 2014, 4:02 pm

        What I mean by “Zionism as an abstract national ideology” is the simple idea of a state for Jews. The ideology in itself is not the problem. The problem is where and under which circumstances this ideology was and still is implemented.

  6. James North
    February 23, 2014, 1:09 pm

    David Sheen. A moral giant. Thanks for your post, and for your work. (Anyone who wants to learn more about David Sheen should look into Max Blumenthal’s book, Goliath.)

  7. Citizen
    February 23, 2014, 2:50 pm

    Has the NAACP or the Black Caucus said anything on Israel’s treatment of the Africans in its midst?

  8. Obsidian
    February 23, 2014, 3:00 pm

    Aren’t Ethiopian Jews Africans? Hasn’t Israel made extraordinary efforts to bring Ethiopian Jews to live in Israel?

    • just
      February 23, 2014, 4:12 pm

      They are Jews first, Africans second according to Israel.

      puh-leeze– you are not communicating with the uninformed here.

      • joemighty
        February 27, 2014, 12:04 am

        wanna bet?

    • Light
      February 23, 2014, 11:40 pm

      Hasn’t Israel made extraordinary efforts to bring Ethiopian Jews to live in Israel?

      Yes Obsidian, truly extraordinary efforts as described by Haaretz below:

      • Walid
        February 24, 2014, 12:11 am

        Also the conflict involving barring Obsidian’s Ethiopian cousins from attending schools in Petah Tikva in 2010. These were eventually imposed on the schools but one of them will not allow them to take exams with the rest of the students to not lower the class average results.

        From Haaretz Oct 2013:

        “Ethiopian children in Israel given ‘fake grades’ to hide educational gaps
        Students permitted to attend private religious school but not take exams.

        … Darchei Noam is considered one of the most prestigious religious schools in Petah Tikva, and its graduates can expect to continue on to the best junior high schools. This week, some students explained that during test times children of Ethiopian descent are told to leave the classroom. Generally they go to the library to do worksheets while their classmates take the tests. ”

        Bringing the Ethiopians to Israel was just another Zionist PR gimmick not very different from the ones by which they had also pulled-in the Iraqi and few Yemeni Jews.

  9. Citizen
    February 23, 2014, 3:18 pm

    No, Americans don’t want to know more about Israel’s character. Have you heard anyone in the US news talking bout Israel’s nukes, or how it was such a buddy of apartheid S Africa it offered to sell the Afrikkaners nukes? This news came and went in America without a sound:

    • Walid
      February 24, 2014, 12:39 am

      Citizen, Israel isn’t alone with its 50,000 illegals that it’s working at expelling or imprisoning; there are 2 million illegals in Saudia in the same predicament; 1 million have already left voluntarily in the past year. There’s a difference between actual refugees fleeing for their lives like the 2.5 million Syrians now in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and so on, and those that enter into a country illegally for a better economic opportunity. These illegals end up in shitty jobs that locals aren’t usually interested in. Saudia is saying that it wants to create jobs for its 12% unemployed by expelling illegals but it’s doubtful Saudis would accept to take over jobs involving cleaning the streets. Probably the same with shitty jobs in Israel being done by Africans.

      • seafoid
        February 24, 2014, 5:43 am


        I was looking at the Economist books of Stats. The Saudi population grew by 30% in 10 years to 2012. 28 m now I believe

        How many people can that land support in reality? Maybe 2 million

      • Walid
        February 24, 2014, 12:54 pm

        “How many people can that land support in reality? ”

        Until the oil lasts, a heck of a lot. It’s sponsoring 70,000 students in American colleges this year.

  10. just
    February 23, 2014, 5:40 pm

    Americans have been excused from caring about black/ brown people since they ended slavery and the civil rights movement kinda, sorta “won”.

    Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan… eh, so sad, too bad. But Israel is a shining beacon of democracy just like us!/cough. They should emulate us/NOT. We are both examples of the new Imperialism and long-time oppressors. Military might, regional hegemony, and rampant corruption makes right the new acceptable, and to hell with the masses.

  11. giladg
    February 23, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Hey David, don’t forget to tell everyone that many, many of these “refugees” actually boarded an aircraft from Sudan and flew to Cairo. They purchased a ticket with their own money and flew to Cairo. From Cairo the Sinai Bedouin enjoyed a lucrative business moving them north. Another fact not emphasized is that most of the Sudanese are Muslim. And don’t forget to tell everyone that most of the Africans in Israel are there to work and not because they have been politically persecuted at home. And David, don’t forget to tell everyone that that many of these Africans received and continue to receive medical treatment from Western trained doctors, for the first time in their lives, who then called home on their cellphones to tell their families what wonderful treatment they received. And David, don’t forget to tell everyone that in Sudan and Eritrea, there are 20 million more, just like them, who would follow at a moments notice. And David, don’t forget to tell everyone that just 10 years ago there were about 2,500 job seekers in Israel from Africa, and the David Sheen’s of the world said, “What’s 2,500, let them stay”. Today there are over 100,000 in Israel.
    Africa has some major, tragic problems. Africa has a huge number of impoverished people. Israel cannot solve the problems of Africa. It can only drown trying, but hey, what do you care, we can always move to the other Jewish country.

    • eljay
      February 23, 2014, 7:33 pm

      >> Africa has some major, tragic problems. Africa has a huge number of impoverished people. Israel cannot solve the problems of Africa.

      True. Hell, Israel can’t even solve its own problems:
      – hateful and immoral Jewish supremacism;
      – a seemingly incurable addiction to land and resources theft, and to occupation and colonization;
      – its refusal to honour its obligations under international law;
      – its refusal to hold accountable its past and current (war) criminals;
      – its refusal to engage in sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      • giladg
        February 24, 2014, 3:15 am

        Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq reflect the stable region Israel is in. Wonderful, stable, law abiding, moral and loving countries these are, hey eljay? All of the listed countries have helped the Palestinians wage war with Israel, multiple times. Iran is continuing to use Sudan to transport large amounts of weapons into the Sinai and Gaza. Many of us see and know that the larger problem is not with Israel, and it is the larger problem that would need to be resolved in order for Israel to believe that the Arabs want peace with the Jews and reconcile with the need for a Jewish State. And you know something eljay, they don’t.
        So until they do, please, enough with your shallow cynical canned comments.

      • eljay
        February 24, 2014, 10:00 am

        >> Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq reflect the stable region Israel is in. Wonderful, stable, law abiding, moral and loving countries these are, hey eljay?

        When it suits your needs, you Zio-supremacists always drop the “we’re just like all the other great Western democracies!” line and fall back on “hey, we’re no worse than the next country”. It’s a bad joke. You’re a bad joke.

        >> All of the listed countries have helped the Palestinians wage war with Israel, multiple times.

        And it’s unfortunate that they haven’t yet managed to put a stop to your supremacist “Jewish State’s” 60+ campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder.

        >> Many of us see and know that the larger problem is not with Israel, and it is the larger problem that would need to be resolved in order for Israel to believe that the Arabs want peace with the Jews and reconcile with the need for a Jewish State.

        1. Israel remains an unrepentant aggressor, a thief, an occupier and a colonizer. It refuses to honour its obligations to its indigenous refugees. It refuses sincerely to seek peace. The problem is very much with Israel.

        2. There is no need in this world for a supremacist “Jewish State” (or for any supremacist state). But you can’t accept this, because you’re a hateful and immoral Zio-supremacist, and justice, equality and morality mean very little to you.

      • talknic
        February 24, 2014, 10:07 am

        @ giladg “Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq reflect the stable region Israel is in. Wonderful, stable, law abiding, moral and loving countries these are, hey eljay?”

        The total number of UNSC resolutions against those countries for breaking the law is overshadowed by far by the hundreds of UNSC resolutions against Israel for breaking the law.

        ” All of the listed countries have helped the Palestinians wage war with Israel, multiple times”

        False. They have helped the Palestinians fight the Occupying Power over Palestinian territories. Quite legal.

        On the other hand, for an Occupying Power to claim for itself the territory it occupies is quite illegal.

        “Iran is continuing to use Sudan to transport large amounts of weapons into the Sinai and Gaza.”

        Seems by Israeli reports they’ve been doing that for years, yet there are only scant reports of the Palestinians ever using them. How does that figure?

        “Many of us see and know that the larger problem is not with Israel”

        Strange, it was Jewish forces outside the territory proclaimed as the State of Israel who started Israel’s war on what remained of Palestine after Israel was proclaimed as “an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947”

        “…in order for Israel to believe that the Arabs want peace with the Jews and reconcile with the need for a Jewish State”

        Strange. At every offer of peace from the Arabs, Israel has announced even more illegal settlements and made more and more ridiculous demands that have no basis in law.

        Do you wear your shoes on backwards too?

        February 24, 2014, 2:41 pm

        You are illustrating a great point, without meaning to.
        The countries you cite as unstable, are all countries that the USA backed Israel in attacking, or attacked herself.

        You also failed to mention Turkey. A stable country. A stable 99% Muslim majority country.
        And Iranians are not Arabs. But they are Muslims.

        But now, even Arabs, are not Arabs- that is -if they’re not Muslim Arabs.

        Israel’s divide-and-conquer tactic: Palestinian Christians as ‘non-Arabs’

        Because Israel’s enemies are Palestinians- and most are Muslim-
        Israel’s agit-prop creates a narrative that all Muslims are evil.
        And it seemed to be working for awhile.

    • talknic
      February 24, 2014, 10:24 am

      giladg is one sick lil’ puppy.

      Many NON-refugees actually board an aircraft from NY and fly to Israel. They purchase a ticket with their own money and fly to Israel. From Israel the Israeli Government enjoys a lucrative business illegally settling them in Occupied Territories. ALL of these Americans are Jewish.

      And don’t forget to tell everyone that ALL of the NY Jews in Occupied Palestinian Territories are there not because they have been politically persecuted at home

      Palestine has some major, tragic problems. Palestine has a huge number of impoverished people. Palestine cannot solve the problems of being under occupation by Israel who is wiping Palestine off the map, but hey, what does giladg care, they can always move to make way for more illegal settlers.

      February 24, 2014, 2:43 pm

      Is it really so hard to simply condemn the overt and ugly racism portrayed in the video?

    • Talkback
      February 24, 2014, 4:08 pm

      How did your ancestors arrive in “Israel”, giladg? Did they walk and swim all the way?

  12. James Canning
    February 23, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Col Gaddafi used to say that the EU’s greatest threat came from uncontrolled immigration from Sub-Saharan Africa.

  13. a blah chick
    February 23, 2014, 8:59 pm


    “The first contact between militants from southern Sudan and the Israeli government was in 1967, when a commander with the Anyana Sudanese rebel movement wrote to then-Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. The officer explained that his militants were fighting on Sudan’s southern flank, and that with some help, the Anyana could keep Israel’s enemies bogged down and distracted.
    According to James Mulla, the director of Voices of Sudan, a coalition of U.S.-based Sudanese-interest organizations, Israel’s support proved pivotal to the Anyana’s success during the first Sudanese civil war, which ended in 1972.
    “Israel was the only country that helped the rebels in South Sudan,” Mulla told JTA. “They provided advisers to the Anyana, which is one reason why the government of Sudan wanted to sign a peace agreement. They wanted to finish the Anyana movement just shortly before they got training and advice.”
    Over the years, there have been reports of the Israelis continuing to aid South Sudanese rebels during Sudan’s second civil war, which lasted from 1983 to 2005 and resulted in an estimated 1.5 million to 2.5 million deaths.
    Angelos Agok, a U.S.-based activist and a 13-year veteran in the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, recalls that the SPLM’s ties to Israel were kept discrete.
    “It was an intricate case, where South Sudan was still part of Sudan, which is an Arab country,” Agok said. “We didn’t want to offend them, and we had to be very careful diplomatically.”

    Israel is perfectly happy to participate in these wars in order to sell arms and make a buck, but if the human flotsam of these wars ends up on their shores they want nothing to do with them.

    Can you spell hypocrisy?

  14. dimadok
    February 23, 2014, 9:14 pm

    Stupid article- these are work migrants and are illegal refugees, sending money to their families at home, having businesses in Israel and claiming a refugee status. Go and take care of 12 million illegals in US, go protest ICE methods and Obama deporting 2 (4?) million illegals already. My guess that what bothers Americans every day, same as Europeans – have you heard about recent Swiss poll banning immigration? You are bigots and righteous fools here.

  15. Grumpy_Old_Man
    February 23, 2014, 9:18 pm

    I’m no fan of Israel, but I think they are right about immigration. Africans have no claim at all to live in Israel, and Israel doesn’t need them.

    The US should emulate Israel’s policy with our own infiltrators–build a wall, beat, arrest, jail, deport.

    • Marco
      February 23, 2014, 11:59 pm

      Not true Grumpy Man.

      Genetic data indicates that the majority of people in the Middle East and North Africa have significant Sub-Saharan African ancestry.

      This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the region’s history, which includes extensive Arab migration into Africa and importation of African slaves.

      So, in fact Africans have every right to claim the land of Israel. At least, that’s true if you buy into the historical school of justification for modern immigration policy. As for me, I simply take the human rights perspective.

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 24, 2014, 12:32 am

      I agree wholeheartedly, and since we European colonizers are infiltrators on this North American land to which the indigenous Native Americans clearly have a better (more just, morally superior) claim, it is time for us to pack our bags and throw ourselves upon the mercy of Europe.

      SEE: Is Israel a “Jewish Nation”? Is the US an “American Nation”?, by Ira Chernus,, 1/31/14

      [EXCERPT] . . . All countries define themselves, Hind Khoury, a former Palestinian minister and ambassador, told Rudoren. “Why doesn’t Israel call itself at the U.N. whatever they want to call it — the Jewish whatever, Maccabean, whatever they want. Then the whole world will recognize it.” But, Khoury added, “We will never recognize Israel the way they want, I mean genuinely, from our hearts. … Why for them to feel secure do we have to deny our most recent history?”
      “For them to feel secure” — There’s the heart of the matter, as Americans should easily understand. Israeli Jews, like white Americans, have always known that their claim to the land they call their own is dubious.
      Ever since the first Europeans arrived in what would become the United States, they have paraded an endless array of papers, all claiming to be treaties signed by native peoples ceding their lands to the conquerors. “You see, we have a right to this land,” the whites proudly proclaimed. Never mind that most of the treaties were either coerced, signed by native peoples who did not understand them, or outright fraudulent. They gave at least the appearance of legal right.
      Israel has a somewhat stronger case with UN Resolution 181, passed in 1947, providing for “independent Arab and Jewish States” in Palestine. But the right of the Jews to have their own state in Palestine has still remained a matter of contention (pardon the understatement) ever since.
      Why did so many white Americans find it so important to be able to waive those pieces of paper “proving” their “legal right” to the land? Why do a sizeable majority of Israeli Jews favor the demand that Palestinians acknowledge Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”? Obviously, both peoples are insecure about their right to their land. If they can get the former inhabitants to relinquish their rights, it gives the appearance, at least, that the vanquished concede to the victors a moral right to the land they have taken.
      But the issue of security runs even deeper.
      Yedidia Z. Stern, a vice president of the Israel Democracy Institute, told Rudoren: “We don’t know what it means to be a Jewish state. But does that mean we have to give it up?
      No way. I would leave. The reason I’m here is because this state is a Jewish state.”
      On the face of it, this sounds shockingly illogical. Why stake your life on three words whose meaning you can’t define or explain — three words whose meaning your own people have been debating for over a century?
      But the shock I got was one of recognition. So many people in the U.S. have been doing much the same thing for over three centuries: insisting that what makes us a great and exceptional people is that we are Americans, yet being unable to say exactly what it means to be “an American” and endlessly arguing about it. . .


    • Naftush
      February 24, 2014, 1:01 am

      The Africans at issue reach Israel by choice. Their countries are not contiguous with Israel; they must first cross other lands including the harrowing Egyptian Sinai. They do it because Israel, guess what, is correctly known to be a benign place. But then they declare themselves refugees with the rights this brings in train. Were it simply the preservation of life, Israel’s treatment would not come in for the vituperation expressed in this article and most of the talkbacks, because Israeli policy in no way threatens the migrants’ lives.

    • just
      February 24, 2014, 6:18 am

      “build a wall, beat, arrest, jail, deport.”

      You’re not only grumpy, you are broken.

      • joemighty
        February 27, 2014, 12:05 am

        Talk about grumpy!

    • American
      February 24, 2014, 9:56 am

      Grumpy_Old_Man says:
      February 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm
      The US should emulate Israel’s policy with our own infiltrators–build a wall, beat, arrest, jail, deport.>>>>>>

      So how did your family come to America?….if it was after the American Revolution —we dont need you—if you werent here when we were killing Indians and then tossing out King George’s British then you have no place here….get out.

      O.K.,….So now that we have that out of the way.

      What the US should do is use immigration the way it was intended……bring in those that ‘need’ to be brought in, not bringing in those that arent in real need of a haven and just here to even further enrich themselves.
      You should be more concerned about the criminal scum the US *sells* visas and citizenship to.

    • Talkback
      February 24, 2014, 4:21 pm

      Grumpy old Psycho: The US should emulate Israel’s policy with our own infiltrators–build a wall, beat, arrest, jail, deport.

      Were you physically or emotionally abused or neglected as a child? Something seems to have gone terribly wrong with you.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    February 23, 2014, 11:59 pm

    RE: “Do Americans want to know that Israel is waging war on Africans?”

    MY SNARK: Hell no, and that’s why the mainstream, corporate media in the U.S. scrupulously avoids mentioning it! What Americans really care about is the latest gossip concerning the hottest celebrity du jour. At least, that’s what the corporate management assures the news division. And far too conveniently/coincidentally, that’s also the best way to maximize the revenues from advertisements. And that’s what makes Wall Street happy.
    Hip, hip hooray!

    FOR ONE OF THE REASONS WHY LIBERAL JOURNALISTS IN THE U.S. DO NOT WRITE ABOUT ISRAEL’S WAR ON AFRICANS, SEE (OR LISTEN TO): “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

    [EXCERPTS] Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees. . .
    . . . The story received very little coverage in the. . . States. . .
    . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)

    • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
    • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
    In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
    They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .
    • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . .Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
    • MJ ROSENBERG: . . .This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
    I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers. . .


  17. Citizen
    February 24, 2014, 9:09 am

    I guess that explains the latest Gallup poll showing Americans sympathize with Israel over the Arab nations? That’s the most asked question in these polls. Not much sympathy for the Palestinians when they are specifically named.

    I’m not aware of any poll of Americans that asks specific questions about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Are you?

  18. Citizen
    February 24, 2014, 9:27 am

    from Feb 2013 WSJ/NBC poll:

    Q25 When it comes to the conflict between (ROTATE) the Israelis and the Palestinians, do you think that the United States should (ROTATE FIRST TWO) support the Israelis more than the Palestinians, support the Palestinians more than the Israelis or should the U.S. treat both the same and not support one more than the other?
    Favor Israelis over Palestinians…………… 31 Favor Palestinians over Israelis…………… 4 Treat both the same ………………………….. 55
    Not sure…………………………………………. 10
    Q26 In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies (ROTATE) more with the Israelis or more with the
    More with Israelis…………. More with Palestinians….. Both (VOL)………………… Neither (VOL) ……………. Not sure …………………….
    45 13 6 19 17

  19. hophmi
    February 24, 2014, 5:09 pm

    “Do Americans want to know that Israel is waging war on Africans?”

    This is great question. The answer is that if the best story you can find about African problems is one about the treatment of African migrants in Israel, you’ve pretty much established yourself as either a racist, or someone who suffers from the world’s worst case of myopia.

    • Citizen
      February 25, 2014, 3:53 am

      @ hophmi
      No, the answer is that Americans live in a country where informed citizen consent is the pre-conditional basis of all legitimate state action. Israel is officially touted in the USA as the only state in the Middle East with values the same as America’s, as the most democratic state in the Middle East, as the outpost of Western Civilization, as the beacon of “Judeo-Christian” values (all repetitive claims of nearly all US politicians). Hence, the treatment of blacks by Israel is a measure very news worthy in the USA, given the perpetual theme of the US-Israel “special relationship.” What Israel does always reflects on its lone key enabler, America.

  20. Citizen
    February 25, 2014, 3:39 am
  21. Basilio
    February 26, 2014, 5:14 pm

    The indigenous minority that existed in 1948 didn’t want so many “infiltrators” either. The Africans are not seeking to create an African state and expel people. I understand the idea that they want to keep a Jewish state, and an increase in other ethnic groups and non-Jews would reduce the percentage of Jewish people and there would be demands to give the Africans citizenship. I don’t think states can simply accept economic or political refugees on a very large scale, but people should have a right to asylum if they make it. The US doesn’t want massive illegal immigration, but you don’t hear about these massive mobs of people lynching people like you see in these videos. I wish humanity was part of one prosperous Earth. Even if you don’t want certain people in your country, they are still people. I believe the Sudan is no longer in a state of war. However, I heard Eritrea still persecutes people very readily.

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