BLACK, PROUD AND RACIALLY OPPRESSED IN ISRAEL

Some 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin reside in the country, many of them having arrived in three airlift operations in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many continue to face socioeconomic difficulties, racism and other barriers to social integration – including segregation in schools, and challenges stemming from the Rabbinate’s refusal to recognize the community’s religious leaders.
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Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis protest racism in Jerusalem march

By Max Schindler*

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis and their supporters marched through central Jerusalem on Wednesday to call attention to a recent groundswell of racism and discrimination.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Holding picket signs and shouting “a new generation demands change,” the demonstrators joined a wave of protests triggered by a Channel 2 report last week that a group of homeowners in Kiryat Malachi—a Southern town with a large Ethiopian population— signed a pledge to neither rent nor sell to Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The news sparked outrage in the Ethiopian community and demands by activists for a response from the government.

Mulet Araru, a 26-year-old university student, led the protest after walking for three days from Kiryat Malakhi, some 60 kilometers from Jerusalem. In a hoarse voice, Araru addressed the crowd, declaring, “I have no other land,” infusing his speech with traditional Zionist rhetoric and slogans.

The protestors marched from the Knesset to Independence Park, with a quick stop in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in the neighborhood of Rechavia. At the Knesset, opposition MKs Tzipi Livni (Kadima) and Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) addressed the crowd.

The atmosphere seemed tense at times, with activists sprinting towards Netanyahu’s home. Most demonstrators were students of Ethiopian origin, many of high school age.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

With differing and sometimes competing protest signs, the crowd spanned the ideological spectrum. Some demonstrators hoisted Israeli flags while others clutched photos of Nelson Mandela and sharply criticized Israel’s treatment of their community.

One Israeli-Ethiopian man held a sign asking “Is there a future for me in this state?” Others carried posters appropriating phrases and symbols from the American civil rights movement and black American figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.

Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians and supporters demonstrate Wednesday in Jerusalem (photo: Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Some 120,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin reside in the country, many of them having arrived in three airlift operations in the 1980s and early 1990s. Many continue to face socioeconomic difficulties, racism and other barriers to social integration – including segregation in schools, and challenges stemming from theRabbinate’s refusal to recognize the community’s religious leaders.

*Max Schindler is a student at Cornell University who is spending the year volunteering on a kibbutz and writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

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8 Comments

  1. January 19, 2012 at 10:59

    “A new generation demands change” – nice slogan, good for them I suppose. I am however always dubious about what protest actually achieves for the most part – raising a little awareness yes great but real, practical change – hmmm….

  2. J.C. Simonin said,

    January 19, 2012 at 18:29

    What’s the difference actually
    Between Zionism and National-socialism ?
    Between the Cosen People and the “Herrenrasse” ?
    Between the Promised land and the “1.000jährige Reich” ?
    Between the “Drang nach Osten” and the Israeli settlement policy ?
    Between Mossad and Gestapo ?
    Among other things…

  3. William said,

    January 19, 2012 at 19:20

    Spread this article around to all the African American news outlets.
    Let Black America see what THEIR TAX DOLLARS are paying for, as their neighborhoods deteriorate for lack of FUNDING.

  4. January 19, 2012 at 23:30

    […] BLACK, PROUD AND RACIALLY OPPRESSED IN ISRAEL […]

  5. January 21, 2012 at 20:56

    […] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } desertpeace.wordpress.com – Today, 2:56 […]

  6. Deb said,

    January 22, 2012 at 02:06

    There is a difference between Mossad and Gestapo. Most Jews I know do not think we are the chosen people. I think racism is despicable when practiced anywhere, including Israel. I am glad to see the protests, and I truly hope such pacts not to rent or sell to Ethiopian Jews is outlawed. I am scared of the rapidly fundamentalists taking over the country; just as I am scared of religious fundamentalists taking over the USA, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, etc. Remember, it was Israeli airlifts that brought the Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

  7. biberon75 said,

    January 22, 2012 at 09:16

    The Jewish prophet Hillel formulated the Golden Rule which I as a Goy (Untermensch) accept and try to follow: “Do not do unto others what you don’t want to be done unto you”. Another Jew said sometime: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor like thyself”. Just a different formulation for the same thing, the same notion.
    Jews have abominably suffered under Hitler, have brilliantly merchandized this suffering through gaining the State of Israel along with billions of dollars or D-Marks or whatever Swiss francs, which for the most part haven’t been used to compensate the victims or their relatives.(Bank Leumi, way more greedy than Swiss banks).
    I don’t know which Israeli “statesman” once declared: a cow in Israel is far more valuable than 1.000 Jews in Europe.”
    Israel has been sold to the world as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” As I understand the term, in a democracy, the population has the last word, consequently, the Israeli population at large can be held responsible for the rise and spread of Zionist fundamentalism.
    A Chas Party and an Ovadia Yosef would be severely repressed in a Goy (Untermensch) society in Europe. They are seemingly well accepted in Israel, even by the laics. and so, when the worst comes to pass, we shan’t be too surprised and we shall remember the end of the 3. Reich.

  8. January 22, 2012 at 16:09

    […] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } desertpeace.wordpress.com – Today, 10:09 […]


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