The Zionist War on the African Migrants

By Max Bonham, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 11.03.2018,




1. Israel has signed a secret treaty with a “third (i.e. not Sudan or Eritrea) African country” to extradite African refugees and migrants back to Africa while paying them 3500$ to leave. The new regulations allow imposing a jail sentence on any migrant refusing to leave Israel - as opposed to the “voluntary departure” policy before. Several migrants have already begun serving sentences and approximately 700 went on hunger strikes.


This is, as usual, hypocritical as Israel pushed for the UN Refugee Pact in the 50’s and in the 70’s it loudly protested the treatment of Jews in the Soviet Union. In fact, it may violate the UN pact itself, according to UN experts.


[...] Israel has a legal obligation to ensure that no arbitrary or collective expulsions occur in its territory. Any policy of deporting people that fails to provide for due process safeguards, case-by-case risk assessments, and adequate protection measures is in violation of international law and potentially exposes individuals to further human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture,” [1]


According to deported refugees, one of these “third African countries” is Rwanda, something which its government denies:


“Israel has repeatedly declared that it has reached an arrangement with a third state that will protect the deportees and give them legal status and protection. It refuses to disclose the state or the agreement, even though it is known that the state is Rwanda. Rwanda denied Tuesday having signed such an agreement, and Olivier Nduhungirehe, a deputy foreign minister, tweeted Wednesday that his country’s “Open doors policy only applies to those who come to Rwanda voluntary, without any form of constraint.” Rwanda’s vehement denials are worrisome and make it even more crucial for Israel to publish the agreement, assuming it exists. Israel cannot ignore the denials and send people to a state that has said it will not accept them. In the face of the government’s unacceptable plans, the initiatives by ordinary citizens are a breath of hope. The wave of letters, petitions and demonstrations against deportation has been joined by pilots and crew members calling on airlines to refuse to fly asylum seekers against their will. Many have also undertaken to protect asylum seekers by taking them into their homes. Perhaps these efforts will lead Dery and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop this folly at the last minute.” [2]


The plan is set to go at full speed and include those who have applied for an asylum, a reversal of previous promises and possibly court decisions. [3]


Those migrants face daily harassment from the police and right-wing vigilantes. For example:


“At first the two were both charged with killing the asylum seeker, but due to the difficulty in proving which one of them had caused his death with his kicks, they were sent to arbitration. There it was agreed to sign a plea bargain and amend the indictment, changing the minor’s charge to causing bodily harm with grievous intent and mitigating Bershevitz’s penalty. Adham-Abdo’s family in Sudan and his brother in Israel were briefed on the plea bargain, but were not given its exact content. The family expressed dissatisfaction and disappointment with the killers’ punishment. “We know plea bargains are customary here, but my clients, the victims, feel they did not get their day in court to have their say, and they received no answers to their questions. They are left with an extremely unpleasant feeling, in addition to the tragedy that has befallen them,” said the family’s lawyer Shalom Zadok.” [4]


2. So far, the Palestinian Joint List has rightly opposed the deportations, with statements opposing coming both from Hadash and Balad.


3. Supporters of the Zionist left have also opposed it attending rallies and demonstrations, many of them driven by genuine anti-racist sentiments. However, the Zionist left leadership did not miss this chance to act opportunistically, as it only cares about Africans as a source of cheap labor and a cynical way to differentiate themselves from the Zionist right.


Around 20,000 Israelis gathered alongside African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv to protest against the Israeli government's policy of deportations and imprisonment of the asylum seekers. The protest took place in south Tel Aviv, where most of the city's asylum seekers live, and local residents have long complained about their presence there. Protesters carried signs reading, "No to deportation," "We're all humans" and "Refugees and residents refuse to be enemies."” [5]


It is not difficult to notice the soft approach as none of the signs or slogans called for their inclusion as equal citizens with equal rights. To give another example, kibbutzim and restaurant owners (who employ refugees as a cheap, diminished rights and privileges, labor force) have sent letters opposing the deportations.


The weakness of the current left has driven the refugee leadership to adopt a pro-Zionist position, some are also looking to join the army, interviewing how proud are they to live in Israel, etc. This can lead down the road to suspicion of them from their obvious natural ally - the Palestinian liberation movement, as they can be viewed as an extension of Israeli rule.


The white settler elite tried to integrate the Indians in South Africa in a similar way. However, Israel has enough Jews for its needs and the hard-line nature of Zionist will make it very difficult to accept any integration of Black groups (look at the Ethiopian Jews- who are Jewish - for example), so it will lead the refugee leadership to look to the Palestinian when the time comes.


4. This is why we challenge the ostancious “anti-racism” of the Zionist left leadership by adding a demand to unconditional citizenship to the migrants. In an attempt to expand the anti-racist opposition to the Zionist idea and movement, it is essential to tie this issue to the wider Arab revolution as well as Palestinian liberation. The divide and conquer tactics used by South African Apartheid must not come through unopposed under Zionist apartheid.


We demand:


* Stop the deportations and incarcerations!


* Unconditional and immediate citizenship to the African migrants as part of a free, red Palestine from the river to the sea!


* Imperialist Israel is just another of those responsible for the global refugee crisis! Stop the Israeli arming and training of African dictators and death squads!