These were the astonishing words uttered by Israel’s interior minister Eli Yishaiin an interview recently in which he outlined the Israeli government’s view of African migrants: “Most of the people [immigrants] coming here are Muslims who think the land doesn’t belong to us, to the white man”.
He also added in the same interview which featured in the newspaper Maariv that “The infiltrators along with the Palestinians will quickly bring us to the end of the Zionist dream.”
With particular reference to the few hundred South Sudanese refugees living in Israel, the comments by made by Yishai were delivered as the government set about enforcing its new policy-to expel the South Sudanese.
Formerly, the small number of South Sudanese refugees living in Israel, who number about 700, had granted permission to stay, but the Israeli government having won a recent court battle have successfully argued for the expulsion of the Sudanese on the basis that the country became independent last year.
Critics of the move however, argue that many refugees will likely face violence should they return. Certainly Yishai, and also Netanyahu with equally concerning language have made clear in no uncertain terms, exactly how they view Africans.
The move by the Israeli government follows scenes of violence in Tel Aviv and elsewhere that erupted following inflammatory speeches by some including Israeli cabinet members recently.
Some of the violence saw property and residences belonging to Africans being vandalised.
On Monday some of the refugees were taken to Juba South Sudan. More flights are scheduled for next Monday.
Given that there is somewhere in the region of 60,000 African migrants living in Israel, one could be forgiven for thinking that by targeting a relatively small group of refugees, is political point scoring.
The Israeli government cannot deport the remaining migrants who are largely from Sudan and Eritrea due to its international obligations.
Recent events must have had the effect of terrorising African communities living in Israel.
Undoubtedly, as a weapon to accompany government policy, it will prove successful, and the spate of attacks against Africans was aimed at sending out a message.
It is hard to imagine why, given these revelations and the wider policy toward the Palestinian people, anyone would argue that the state of Israel is not an apartheid state.
Many are united in opposing the current situation. World renowned and much loved writer Alice Walker, recently refused an Israeli publisher permission to publish ‘The Color Purple’ as part of the BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) and cited her reasons as to why here, explaining the importance of non violent opposition in countering apartheid like oppression.
The continual persecution of the Palestinians, politically and ideologically, the military court system, and now the emerging negative view of non-white people should outline clearly what the overriding Israeli government consensus is. The superior race theory is one that we’ve seen in the past, and is the hallmark of theories centered on a perspective viewed through the prism of eugenics. Those theories are dangerous and they need to be relegated to the past-along with Zionism.
Yishai and his ilk are quick to seek to democratically enforce the new rules of Israel’s immigration policy. But I wonder then on that basis, how they feel about the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home to the land that was stolen from them? Are they going to welcome them with open arms because they have the right to return as afforded under international law?
This question, the right of return, cuts to the heart of the so-called conflict between Israel and Palestine, and it is one that is continually and conveniently avoided.
The perception of an emerging ethnic cleansing policy ensuring that Israel remains ‘For the white man’ will evidently continue.
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