Almost 20,000 African refugees have been forcibly deported from Israel over the last five years. About 40,000 of these asylum seekers remain–the grand majority of them from Eritrea and Sudan. In December, 2017, the Israeli government announced plans to forcibly deport the remaining population.
The ideologies and political structures underpinning these deportations are many of the same ideologies and political structures that shape Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the state violence against different communities of color inside the ‘67 borders: anti-black racism, white supremacy, total impunity for violations of international law, and the desire for an ethno-national, Jewish majority state.
If current asylum seekers refuse the deportation Israel has legislated, they face arrest by Israel National Police forces–the same forces U.S. officials meet with through ADL’s national counterterrorism seminar–and indefinite incarceration. Members of the Israeli government have consistently referred to the refugees as terrorists and infiltrators. And while Israel’s military is touted as a model for counterterrorism and moral conduct, its industries are selling weapons to the governments of South Sudan and other African countries responsible for the precise oppressive state policies and violence that the refugees and asylum seekers in Israel are fleeing from1.
The groups currently facing deportation are bringing worldwide attention to their demand for dignity and fair treatment through mass demonstrations, creative actions, international advocacy and community organizing2, forming part of an amazing legacy of refugee-led resistance to deportations in Israel.
The Jews of Color, Sephardi Mizrahi Caucus and other groups in the U.S. have issued a petition to the Israeli government, lifting up this resistance and demanding an end to the deportations.
From the petition:
As we work hand in hand with Palestinians and movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #Not1More in the United States, we must also act in solidarity with Black Lives threatened by Israel’s racist regime.
We demand that Israel immediately:
1) cease the deportation of African refugees,
2) meet its obligations under international law and grant them refugee status, and
3) stop the official campaign of discrimination and hate against them.
Please SIGN AND SHARE THE PETITION, and join us, as participants in the Deadly Exchange campaign, in calling for true safety for all– beyond policing, militaries, detention and deportation.
1For more information, please see:
Israel’s top court sanctions support for dictators, +972 Mag
The story behind Israel’s shady military exports, +972 Mag
Israel maintains robust arms trade with rogue regimes, Al-Jazeera
2See +972 Mag’s Seeking Asylum in Israel