Feb 23, 2014 09:56 am | David Sheen
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.