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Israel Bribes Unnamed African Country to Accept African Refugees in Return for Military Aid

Bibi wants to do to “his” African refugees what FDR did to the refugees of the S.S. St. Louis

Bibi Netanyahu’s government has engaged in some hare-brained schemes in its day.  But this one takes the cake.  Yediot Achronot reports today that an unnamed African country has been approached to accept up to 25,000 African refugees who’ve fled to Israel over the past few years.  These individuals, who have rights as refugees under international conventions, would be forcibly expelled by Israel to this secret place.  Given this plan would violate international law, most legal observers predict the Supreme Court will pour cold water on the plan.

But even if it does, it will allow Bibi to tell his right-wing anti-refugee voters that he did what he could to rid Israel of this “pestilence.”

In return for accepting Israel’s riff-raff, this African haven for the poor and oppressed would receive military and agricultural assistance from Israel.  In any other circle this would be known for what it is: bribery.  In Israel it passes for statecraft.  Bibi uses these techniques any time he needs a vote in the United Nations (Bulgaria) or wants to reward a country for allowing Israel to kidnap someone as it did with Ukraine (Dirar Abusisi).

Haaretz says these expelled folk would be treated more like chattel than refugees.  That won’t do.  I have one stellar idea that would help frame this project in the proper humanitarian context.  As it would be less expensive to send these refugees to their new home by ship than by plane, I suggest Bibi take a few old freighters out of mothballs.  I have the perfect new names for a few of these ships: the SS. St. Louis, Exodus, maybe even Altalena.  This would commemorate the Jewish connection with these poor refugees and further sensitize the Israeli conscience to their plight.

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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Bob Mann June 5, 2013, 4:09 AM

    You are comparing this to the SS St. Louis? Do you really think that is apt?

    • Richard Silverstein June 5, 2013, 5:16 PM

      Do you mean that the Holocaust killed 6 million and that the expulsion of Eritrean refugees will only involve 2-3,000 of whom perhaps only 50-60 will be murdered after resettlement or en route? If so, then yes there is some difference.

      But there are great similarities in that the St. Louis housed hundreds of Jewish refugees who could find no refuge from the Nazis. Most of them eventually died. In this sense, the situations of the Eritreans are quite comparable in the way Israel is trying to treat them (by expelling them to an uncertain fate).

      • Bob Mann June 5, 2013, 5:23 PM

        Why would 50-60 be murdered after resettlement or en route? Is Israel really the only country that can guarantee their safety? Aren’t conditions in Israel pretty bad for these refugees? You have detailed on this blog some pretty seriously poor treatment (to say the least) on the part of the Israeli government against Eritrean and Syrian refugees. Why wouldn’t another country be a more hospitable place of refuge?

        • Davey June 5, 2013, 9:26 PM

          An “unnamed African country” as a destination would roughly put these people back in harm’s way — a round trip for the refugees like the SS St. Louis. That’s the point of the analogy. It would do well to remind Israelis of the connection provided they have enough moral sense to grasp it.

          No matter how you look at the offer it is sleazy just like hypocrisy and lying is thought to be sleazy.

        • Richard Silverstein June 6, 2013, 1:40 AM

          Yes, sure, Bob, let’s send them to an African country with an economy 1/10 the size of Israel’s and 10% of the number of jobs. Makes sense to me.

          • Bob Mann June 6, 2013, 11:48 AM

            South Africa has a larger economy than Israel and a comparable number of job opportunities. That seems like a fairly attractive potential destination for those fleeing oppression in Sudan and Eritrea (assuming they could get there).

            Also, Kenya has a fairly robust economy and has already taken in refugees from the conflict in Sudan.

            Nigeria and Egypt have economies that are similar in size to Israel and could also serve as places of refuge.

            Speaking of Egypt, most of these refugees who entered Israel had to pass through that country in order to do so.

            If they were able to escape the turmoil in their country and make it safely to Egypt, why would they continue on to Israel with its racism and mistreatment of those of African descent rather than stay in Egypt?

  • Fred Plester June 5, 2013, 4:39 AM

    But what if the secret destination is a landlocked African country, such as Zimbabwe?
    The proprietor there has got rid of so many of his own citizens, that there’s quite a lot of space, and even empty farms and villages, going begging. There’s also a need for expendable labour in some of the unofficial diamond mines.

    • Zhu Bajie June 6, 2013, 11:19 PM

      Or tp Equitorial Guinea, famously ruled by a “grotesque kleptocracy” (BBC World Service)? Where they are turned into slaves, sex workers, etc., etc.?

  • MarkyMark June 5, 2013, 9:20 AM

    Aren’t these Africans illegal settlers? Why not treat them the way you want the Jews who came to Palestine, or the Jews you want expelled from the West Bank? Beduin building illegal settlements in the Negev, don’t criticize it because it’s racist! Africans illegally coming to Israel, don’t criticize it because it’s racist! But for Jews you seem to have a completely different set of standards.

    • Richard Silverstein June 5, 2013, 5:13 PM

      No, they refugees under international law, fleeing persecution & ethnic conflict. As such they’re entitled to international safeguards Israel is refusing.

      Israeli settlers are not refugees nor are they fleeing anything. Precisely the opposite: they’re thieves, conquerors and occupiers of the land of another people.

      You have never, ever heard me deny the right of true Jewish refugees to make a homeland in Israel. That makes your comment a total lie. My only problem is that those same refugees then turned around and oppressed the indigenous non-Jewish inhabitants of the land they chose as their refuge.

  • jg June 5, 2013, 5:10 PM

    Why is the U.S. giving military aid to Israel, when it offers military aid to an “unknown African country” ?
    odious bribe

    • Davey June 5, 2013, 9:29 PM

      In effect, the US taxpayer is helping to bribe the “unnamed” country.

    • Zhu Bajie June 6, 2013, 11:20 PM

      Dispensationalist voters in the tens of millions

  • Hope Dignity Peace June 5, 2013, 8:30 PM

    I guess if you have your own nation-state, then you get to do nation-state things. Pretty sad. The protests and people walking by these refugees taunting them with monkey sounds id absolutely disgusting.

  • Nikki June 6, 2013, 1:02 AM

    The Eritrean and Sudanese and Somali refugees do not go directly to Israel. They pass through Egypt first. Egypt, therefore, is the country which has the primary duty to take care of them, as the country of first asylum.

    • Richard Silverstein June 6, 2013, 1:45 AM

      A refugee must request asylum from a country in order to be considered one. African refugees do not request asylum in Egypt, hence Egypt has no responsibility for them.

      • Nimrod June 6, 2013, 1:52 AM

        If a refugee crosses the boarder into Israel without requesting an asylum – does this mean that Israel has no responsibility for him?

        • Richard Silverstein June 6, 2013, 5:10 PM

          Good question. My impression is that if they don’t report themselves to a refugee agency or governemtn, they’re undocumented. Refugee status requires reporting to an official agency, I think. But I’m not sure about this & will ask Israeli friends who work with refugees. That being said, obviously most refugees would want nothing to do with the government & might not report to it though they might have an excellent case for being considered refugees.

      • pea June 6, 2013, 8:50 AM

        Many of the refugees, the Sudanese in particular, came from UN funded Egyptian refugee camps where they both sought and received asylum. The conditions in these camps and the refugees’ treatment by Egyptian officials has been less than ideal – to say the least. But for many, Egypt is and remains the country of first asylum under international law. Refugees seeking first asylum in Israel who are indeed fleeing from imminent danger and persecution are entitled to protection under International law. However, even the staunchest refugee advocate does not deny the fact that some of the refugees are motivated by economic considerations.

        That having been said, no matter why they are here, I can’t stand idly by and watch anyone suffer. I’ve donated money to the refugee health clinic in Tel Aviv despite the fact that I don’t really make that much money. What I don’t understand is if Egypt gets funding for refugee relief, why doesn’t Israel?

  • bluto June 6, 2013, 4:13 PM

    Anything that will dilute the stagnant pool of ‘Jews only’ in the ‘only Jewish democracy in the world’ is anathema

  • Zhu Bajie June 6, 2013, 11:21 PM

    The recent partition of Sudan hasn’t turned out well ….

  • ישראלי June 7, 2013, 10:18 AM

    Disgusting. As an Israeli I am full of shame with such behavior. Yak

  • khaled June 28, 2013, 1:51 PM

    i come from sudan in israel i refugee

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