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Posts tagged "israel"

Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Must Leave, says ANCYL.

Following the recent deadly attacks on Gaza by Israeli forces, the ANCYL arm in the Western Cape sent out a notice on Saturday to Israel’s ambassador to South Africa saying that Arthur Lenk should “pack his bags and prepare for travel to avoid unnecessary trauma,” in the words of provincial convenor Muhammad Khalid Saye.

This warning was made in support of the ANC’s parliamentary caucus statement that South Africa’s ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, be recalled, and that Lenk be removed from the country with immediate effect.

South Africa and ANC have a long history of showing solidarity with Palestine and is one of the countries that participates in the annual Israeli Apartheid Week which seeks to create awareness, educate and foster discussion surrounding the conflict in this part of the Middle East.

On Friday, which was International Mandela Day, South Africans marched to the Israeli Trade Offices in Johannesburg in solidarity with Palestine and to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Capetonians held their own pro-Palestine march on Wednesday, organised by the Muslim Judicial Council, who handed over a memorandum to Siphosezwe Masango, chairperson of Parliament’s international relations portfolio committee.

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Thousands of asylum seekers streamed out of Holot detention center in Israel’s south on Friday, with no intention to return. The walk-out is the latest in a series of actions by the prisoners to bring attention to their plight.

The asylum seekers attempted to march to the border with Egypt, where they hoped to camp out and bring international attention to their struggle, but were stopped by the Israeli army before reaching the demilitarized area.

According to the Holot Project Facebook group, the marchers have produced a list with the following demands:

- An immediate reform to the medical system.
- The immediate release of detainees who have been in prisons over two years, the victims of torture from Sinai and all the prisoners in Saharonim and Holot with legal status according to international standards.
- To hand over the case to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- To release African asylum seekers arrested by the immigration police in Holot, who are suspected to be behind the demonstrations.

In December 2013 Israel began populating the Holot detention facility for African asylum seekers, first with those who were held in other prisons and gradually with those who were until now living in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

The detainees at Holot are being held there without charge until they can be deported or such a time as their asylum claims are processed, which for many detainees means indefinitely.

Read +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

(Photos: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, text: Edo Konrad)

Made up of mostly of people of Eritrean and Sudanese descent, thousands of Africans living in Israel marched through the country’s capital to protest the ill-treatment of African migrants.

According to BBC Africa, the protest was spurred by “a law that allows illegal immigrants to be detained for a year without trial.”

Full story on the BBC’s website.

A detailed infographic compiled by Al Jazeera’s ‘The Stream’ program, outlining the numbers behind the state of African migrants in Israel.

An in-depth video exposing how racism in Israel has led to the persecution of Africans - mostly migrants from the horn of Africa, an incredibly worrying and escalating trend that has had violent consequences.



Uganda Is Taking Israel’s Unwanted Asylum Seekers to Get Cheaper Weapons

Earlier this month, it was reported that Israel was trying to swap Africans for arms. Or, more specifically, broker a deal with a number of unspecified African countries that would see thousands of African refugees included in lucrative deals for Israeli weapons and military training. If you take back these annoying, resources-sapping asylum seekers, the Israelis seemed to be saying, you can buy our guns for cheap.

The Israeli government is currently detaining thousands of African asylum seekers in desert prisons on the Egyptian border. Many of them now face being shipped off, against their will, to whichever African country will take them. Seemingly no thought has been paid to sending asylum seekers back to oppressive regimes they may have been fleeing in the first place.  

It seems that a deal has now been struck, as late last week Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced that he would start the process of deporting migrants to Uganda.    

The Israeli government already have strong relations with their Ugandan counterparts, with Israel currently “working to introduce sophisticated agro-technology" to the country. But it is newer support to Uganda’s military—weapons, training, fighter jets, and possibly drones—that many suspect to be behind the country’s decision to import asylum seekers from Israel.

"We’re hoping to operate in the coming weeks and months in a way that will make another exit for infiltrators in the country,” Sa’ar explained, “while trying to reach agreements with more countries.”



This American Life - 502: This Call May Be Recorded… To Save Your Life

In 2011, Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean-born expatriate living and working in Stockholm, Sweden, as a radio journalist and human rights activist gets a disturbing tip - a relative of a man who was kidnapped and is being tortured and held for ransom in the Sinai desert gives Estefanos a cell phone number where a group of Eritrean hostages can be reached.

She calls the number and her whole life changes.

The entire story gave me chills.

TW: rape, torture, violence, graphic language, trauma.

From TAL: Meron has set up a PayPal account to collect donations to help the families of Eritrean hostages in Sinai. To donate, go to PayPal.com and transfer to the account soscare@yahoo.com. Note that the account is not set up as an official charity.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Yityish Titi Aynaw, 21, has become the first Ethiopian-born woman to win the Miss Israel pageant.
She was crowned Miss Israel 2013 on Wednesday night at the International Convention Center, Haifa.

How one teenager helped prep Gazans for an Internet shut off—with the help of Anonymous.

Last week, when the Israel Defense Forces threatened to pull the switch on the Internet in Gaza, Nour Haridy wanted a backup plan. So the 15-year-old high-school student from Cairo went on Twitter and asked in Arabic and English for help on how Gazans could get back online in the event of a shutoff.

What happened next shows the fine line between so-called cyberactivism—or using social media and the Internet to fight an information war—and hacking, the often illegal art of breaking into websites, email accounts, and other online domains for profit, fun, or a political cause.

Haridy says he got many responses on Twitter, but the most promising were from people who said they were affiliated with Anonymous, a group of activist hackers that famously attacked the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice and companies it deemed enemies of WikiLeaks such as MasterCard and Amazon.

Haridy soon found himself talking to the Anonymous hackers through a Gaza-specific Internet Relay Chat, a secure mode of communications favored by hackers, activists, and gamers. In those first conversations, Haridy says the hackers from Anonymous agreed to create a step-by-step plan for getting online through either dial-up connection or other means if the Internet were to go down. These instructions were incorporated onto a website Haridy and other cyberactivists created for Vox Palestine to disseminate information to Gazans during the war. “They helped us a lot,” Haridy said in an interview. “Without Anonymous we would not have reached the surface.” Efforts to reach Anonymous were unsuccessful.

But while Haridy was putting the finishing touches on the Vox Palestine website, Anonymous was planning its own counter-offensive it had dubbed #OpIsrael. In a Nov. 17 YouTube message, a man in the group’s tell tale disguise of a Guy Fawkes mask read a message warning, “Israel, the angel of death has been called to your cyberspace.” The message claimed that the group had already defaced 10,000 Israeli websites, though Israeli officials dispute this number.

Haridy says he thinks what Anonymous is doing “is necessary,” but says he and his group had nothing to do with the Anonymous attacks. Indeed, the Gaza IRC has a rule urging participants not to discuss “DDOS attacks,” or hacks that disable a website by overwhelming it with requests for information.


Apartment of African migrants living in Israel burned in arson attack

For the second time in a little over a month, arsonists targeted a Jerusalem apartment home to African migrants, seriously injuring an Eritrean man and lightly injuring his pregnant wife.

Three crews of firefighters arrived at the apartment, located near the Mahaneh Yehuda market, a little after 3 a.m. A neighbor who shares a courtyard with the couple said he was awoken by screams and saw 32-year-old Tegai Timrat run out of the apartment, engulfed in flames and trying desperately to put them out.

eighbors who were drawn to the street by the screams were so shocked by the sight that it took a minute for one neighbor to douse him with water, a witness said. Timrat received severe burns on his arms and legs and his wife, who is six months’ pregnant, suffered smoke inhalation.

They were both taken to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

Firefighters immediately classified the fire as arson and transferred suspicious materials, which they believe started the fire, to the police.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said police are checking to see if Thursday’s attack was connected to a similar one on June 5, when arsonists tried to burn down a building housing 50 migrants on Jaffa Road, also next to Mahaneh Yehuda and around 3 a.m., by starting a fire in the stairwell. Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Asaf Abras said the June 5 fire was a “death trap” that could have easily ended in major tragedy. Three people received minor burns on their arms and legs.

A special unit comprised of a dozen police investigators created to look into that attack will also investigate Thursday’s fire.

(read more)

South Sudanese waved after their plane landed Tuesday in Juba, South Sudan, from Israel.

Israel is returning asylum seekers back to their country of origin.

Read more about this issue.

(Hannah McNeish/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

South Sudanese deportees face uncertain future

Israel is continuing to expel undocumented African migrants from the country.

A group of South Sudanese has now arrived in Juba, the country’s capital, as part of the second wave of expulsions since Israel first launched its crackdown.

Many of the returning families face an uncertain future, returning to a homeland that many have not lived in for decades.

Al Jazeera’s Anna Cavell reports from Juba, South Sudan.

A migrant worker looked out of a bus on his way to Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel Monday.

Israel is expelling an additional 150 South Sudanese as part of its campaign to reduce the number of African migrants who have slipped illegally into the Jewish state.

(Ariel Schalit/Associated Press)


The Jewish Museum Takes on Racism in Israel, Then Backs Away | Heeb

By Amy Schiller

June 20, 2012

The Jewish Museum, otherwise known as “that place you take Grandma when she visits,” now has the most cutting-edge artistic social commentary in the Jewish world.

By an incredibly grand stroke of luck, Israel’s whole violence-against-African-refugees thing blew up right in the middle of their  exhibit by Kehinde Wiley, composed exclusively of portraits of men of color in Israel.

The exhibit was already a bold move for the Jewish Museum, given that Wiley’s repertoire is centered around portraits of black men, with motifs that blend and riff on the European Masters, West African textiles, Islamic motifs and Haruki Murakami. (Serious question: Did the Jewish Museum pick Wiley because they mistook his first name for Yiddish? “Such nachas from the kehinde! Here, let me show you pictures of my kehinde-leh.”)

Wiley is known for featuring men he meets on the street, initially in Harlem and now from locations spanning several continents (Nigeria, Brazil, China.) Israel is included among the countries selected for the collection titled “The World Stage” because, according to the Museum, the men in the series “express a modern sensibility that supersedes religious and ethnic affiliations.” Really? The YouTube shirt supercedes the fact that its wearer can’t serve in the military and get a good job?

According to the artist, Wiley included Israel in his world tour because he “wanted to mine where the world is at right now and chart the movement of black and brown men around the world.” Well, Kehinde, apparently the movement of black and brown men to and within Israel is pretty brutal: 52% of Israelis polled call African migrants “a cancer,”  politicians attempt to classify them as “economic migrants” and the asylum system apparently exists merely to formalize mass deportations and repatriations of the black men fleeing certain death.

The video of the artist on the exhibit homepage shows him celebrating the diversity of Israeli society, relishing the opportunity to create powerful representations of Arab, Ethiopian, and Sephardi men. Yet we are very far from the moment when we can celebrate Israel’s diversity, when 99.9% of African asylum seekers are turned away and those who remain are subject to relentless poverty and violence.

Now might be an auspicious time for the Jewish Museum to capitalize on its newfound, perhaps unprecedented, relevance. They could provide new commentary from the artist or opportunities for discussion about the relationship between the exhibit’s subjects and the humiliating discrimination that many black men have been subjected to at the hands of the Israeli public.

Wiley attempts to challenge the hierarchy of representation in a world determined to dehumanize men of color; there can be no more poignant example of the forces he is up against than the riots and soundbites of the past several weeks.

Alas, when asked whether the Museum would consider seizing the moment through expanded commentary or programming, their response was a firm disavowal: “We have done nothing of the sort, and it’s not something we have even considered.” Even Grandma might be disappointed by this missed opportunity.

Copyright © 2012 Heeb Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

[Image: Solomon Mashash, a 2011 painting by Kehinde Wiley, from his series The World Stage: Israel.]

Second generation Ethiopian-Israelis demonstrate in Jerusalem, demand for fair and equal treatment

Yetmwork Makurya, 35, had tears in her eyes as she spoke of her attachment to Israel. When she arrived as a teenager in 1991 on a secret overnight airlift from Ethiopia, she said, “Jerusalem and the land of Israel was my dream.”

Yet over the past three months Ms. Makurya has spent much of her time with an angry new generation of Ethiopian-Israeli activists on the sidewalk near the prime minister’s residence in central Jerusalem, protesting against unofficial but hurtful racism and discrimination.

“Here,” said Ms. Makurya, a mother of three, “everything is determined by the color of my skin.”

For many Israelis, the idea that Jews could be racist toward other Jews is anathema. The 1991 airlift, known as Operation Solomon, brought 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel within 36 hours and was greeted at the time with great celebration.

Natan Sharansky, the human rights activist who spent years in Soviet prisons before arriving in Israel, joined one of the flights.

In an interview on the 20th anniversary of the airlift last year, Mr. Sharansky, by then the chairman of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency that deals with immigration, said with pride, “Black, white — there is no difference in the ingathering of exiles.”

As the dazed new immigrants descended the plane steps, many kissed the tarmac. Operation Solomon followed an earlier, smaller wave of clandestine immigration in the 1980s, involving a treacherous trek from Ethiopia to camps on the Sudanese border. Thousands perished along the way; Israel recently began honoring them with official memorials.

Armies of volunteers and organizations, and a plethora of programs largely financed by American Jews, helped ease the transition of the Ethiopians from the rural life to modern Israeli society. The government has also allocated significant resources to help them.

But a second generation of young, educated adults who have grown up in Israel say they are still struggling to be accepted as Israeli, and are distancing themselves from the grateful passivity of their parents.

“For our parents it was a privilege to come to Israel, so they didn’t complain,” said Yamluck Waggow Ichasheman, 31. “Longings for Zion brought them here.”

They bristle at what they see as a patronizing attitude. Many Israelis, said Ms. Makurya, who works as a counselor, convey the message, “ ‘Say thank you that you’re here, we gave you food.’ ” She added, “Some here say there is no such thing as a black Jew.”

The immigrants first exploded in rage when reports emerged in 1996 that Israel was secretly dumping blood donated by Ethiopians for fear that it was contaminated with H.I.V.

Immigration experts here say that the Ethiopian-Israelis do face some racism and prejudice, but that racism is not the main problem blocking their progress. Earlier immigrants from other countries like Morocco and Yemen also had a long, rough entry into Israeli society.

“I have always said that integration takes a generation,” said Arnon Mantver, the director of JDC-Israel, the Israeli branch of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which has worked intensively with the Ethiopian community. Given the formidable challenges facing the Ethiopians, he said, “Perhaps it takes longer.”

(continue reading)