Uganda Signs Pact for Israeli Weapons in Return for Accepting Expelled African Refugees
It’s one of the many terrible historical ironies of latter-day Zionism that a country Thedor Herzl once considered as a site for his Jewish homeland, Uganda, has inked a secret deal to accept thousands of African refugees Israel wants to be rid of. The only ones who are missing the irony are Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu and most of his fellow countrymen and women. They’re long past remembering the state of homelessness that brought the State of Israel into existence. Long past remembering the prejudice and violence that led Jews to found a homeland where they could feel safe and pursue a new life.
Curiously, Ugandan officials appear unaware of the deal and denied it in this Reuters report.
This deal is truly a pact signed with the devil. One of its key boosters, and a confidant of Uganda’s strongman, Museveni is Rafi Eitan. He is the ex-Mossad spy responsible for “running” Jonathan Pollard and getting Israel into the deepest hot water it’s ever been in with the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
Israel will furnish Uganda new weapons systems which it can use to further strengthen the autocratic rule of its Pres. Museveni and further his interventions in Congo and Rwanda, and fight insurgents in its northern provinces. These include advanced drones, self-propelled cannons, surveillance systems, and upgrades for the air force’s MIG 21s, including training pilots in Israel.
Uganda is one of the African countries known not just for outlawing homosexuality, but murdering gays. Museveni wins “elections” by a landslide. Journalists are threatened and the press is curtailed. This new pact will serve to ratify Uganda’s peculiar set of domestic hatreds and prejudices.
In short, Museveni and Israel are a match made in heaven (or someplace lower). Israel loves strongmen. The rougher they are the better. It had a romance with Mubarak, loved all the kings including Hussein (Jordan) and Hassan (Morocco). It would love the Saudis if it weren’t for the inconvenience of the latter’s Wahabi intolerance of Jews.
What Israel loses sight of is that it is known by the “friends it keeps.” In other words, if you lie down with dictators, you wake up with their fleas. It’s no accident that as Israel’s democracy is strangled by its ultra-nationalist government, that it moves closer and closer to unsavory African characters like Museveni and Mugabe.
In case, any Israelis reading this are wondering (as unlikely as that is) how the expelled refugees will be treated on arriving in their new “home.” A Ugandan journalist had this to say:
The migrants from Israel will most likely be sent to the camps run by the United Nations Refugee Agency. “There are terrible conditions in these places,” says Nkunda. “They are basically large prisons and the refugees are not allowed out without permission from the authorities. We call them ‘warehouses for human beings.’”
Note another irony in that the expelled, not recognized by Israel as refugees, will be moved into camps run by the United Nations for…refugees. That means that the only party that refuses to acknowledge they’re refugees is Israel (because that would mean they couldn’t expel them). That’s the very same nation that was founded by refugees as a haven for displaced persons. That irony may be a bit painful to contemplate as is so much about this story.
If Bibi and Israel’s radical nationalists had any Jewish guilt you might be able to embarrass them with this plethora of ironies. But Jewish guilt is a Diaspora phenomenon. It didn’t seem to transfer to the Zionist lexicon.
23 thoughts on “Uganda Signs Pact for Israeli Weapons in Return for Accepting Expelled African Refugees – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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As for the kind of welcome these refugees can expect in Uganda see also this:
“In case, any Israelis reading this are wondering (as unlikely as that is) how the expelled refugees will be treated on arriving in their new “home.”
Not sure of the need for snide comments that take aim at the entire Israeli population. Netanyahu’s policies on African refugees no more represent the views of the entire Israeli nation than Obama’s policies represent the entire US.
Childish comments like this do nothing except skew perception.
@Rain: You have the chutzpah to make such a ridiculous claim in the face of MKs calling these refugees a cancer in the Israeli body politic & race riots in which the refugees were assaulted & beaten, not to mention Border Police closing refugee businesses & pouring bleach in restaurant food pots. The nerve of you to deny the rampant racism in your midst. You are precisely an example of Israel’s problem.
Nothing in my reply hints that I deny racism in Israel. I simply point out that Netanyahu’s stance on this issue does not represent the opinion of all Israelis, which is what the sentence you wrote implies.
@Rain: So what would be the percentage of Israeli Jews who would reject the expulsion of African refugees if we took a poll? Would it even be as high as 20%? Maybe not.
This defense tactics “not all of us do not agree of what the regime is doing, so it not allowed to speak/write critics about that” and all its variations have been used countless times by you “pro-Israelis”. The reality is that when one comments about the events/policies of a country one has to use terms like Americans, French etc knowing perfectly well, that in many cases only a very small minority of US or French citizens (etc) agree that so is done. Is now saying, that Americans are going to attack Syria, wrong? Most Americans do not even know where Syria is or why USA is attacking again in Middle East. Most of those who know where and why do not agree to what the government is going to do.
Prime minister’s or country’s leader’s opinion is not comparable to the opinion of a average citizen. Nobody would say, that it is wrong to call Germany of the 30’s antisemitic, because not all Germans did not share the stance of A. Hitler.
It shows that you are Jewish, you exercise the power of a good guilt trip with much talent. Even though reading your post made me very sad i find few issues with it:
1. Those Africans are not refugees according to the UN convention article 31 which states explicitly that : “The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1” (http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html)
Those African people, do not come DIRECTLY from a place where their life is in danger. They travel across multiple borders and pay huge amounts to smugglers (UN watch groups claim amount varies from $3000 to $50,000 / person according to wiki – which makes them a very rich refugees) The last territory they cross before crossing into Israel is Egypt, according to the UN convention they need to apply for a refugee status at the first country they cross into bordering the country they are escaping from and since they do not do that, they do not enjoy the status and protection offered by the UN to refugees.
2. I think Israel should adopt the Australian “Pacific-Solution” (despite the horrible sound of the term) policy and instead of sending them to Uganda, we should send them to the remote Islands of the south pacific. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Solution)
On H. Mor’s final modest proposal – Establishing concentration camps on other peoples land is such a typical settler solution.
How could i miss the excessive usage of Sarin Gas by different settlers groups. So irresponsible on my part.
@H Mor: Sorry, others have tried your trick & no amount of sophistry will obscure the fact that the Africans are refugees. By doing what you’re doing you’re avoiding your responsibility under international law for these people. If your definition were correct the refugees could be returned directly from Israel to their country of origin. The fact that Israel doesn’t ship them back directly indicates it can’t because they’re refugees. It really doesn’t matter what you say or claim. It matters how nations act. And both Israel & Uganda have proven they are considered refugees. In fact, if a UN refugee agency is going to place these refugees in their camps in Uganda it proves the UN does recognize them as refugees. Not to mention that the UN has directly expressed its concern to Israel about its treatment of them. It would not do so if it did not believe they were refugees.
As for paying smugglers, there is no law saying that refugees need to come to a country without paying anyone to get there. Can you find such a provision?
Your hatred for the refugees in recommending the bestial treatment that Australia offers merely proves my point about Israeli racism. You’re ignoring your own history and your own responsibility under international law. It’s shameful, but perfectly understandable given how Israeli democracy has been anesthetized by its ultra nationalist political masters.
You wrote: Museveni wins “elections” by a landslide.
Why did you put elections in parenthesis?
Also, you mentioned Uganda’s policy towards homosexuals.
if the country was more gay friendly, would that change your opinion of this decision?
@Bob Mann: Meseveni has been in power for 17 yrs. I presume he’s won a number of “elections” in that time. It wouldn’t surprise me if the same Israeli company that “helps” Mugabe wins his elections is also involved in Uganda.
Homophobia is a common trait of dictators. So my view of the tawdry deal is independent of Museveni or Uganda’s homophobia. But they are part & parcel of the same racist, intolerant, abusive mindset.
Thanks Richard. This one is so heavy with irony… Israel is packing off blacks to concentration camps. And these refugees are not “refugees” in Israel in the same way that the Egyptian coup is not yet a “coup” for Obama (no determination whether it was a coup has been made!) This debasement of language has long been associated with criminal behavior. Israel has nothing left in its moral credit account.
… and Israel’s policies are not pursuing “Apartheid” and Zionism isn’t founded on “colonialism” and the Palestinians are not the “native” population of Palestine and (closer to Richard’s home) Richard Snowden is no whistleblower and the list of Orwellianisms goes on …
How is this not human trafficking?
Don’t these refugees (by any other name) actually have rights? How can regimes simply shuttle them about if they don’t choose to go? If not refugee rights, then human rights?
@Mary Hughes Thompson: It is indeed that. I hadn’t even thought of that parallel.
Its an important parallel since Uganda has one of the worst reputations in the world for human trafficikng – sex slavery, labor slavery, procurer for many Asian countries. One would wonder if some these homeless, right-less
people (particularly attractive women and children) will ever make it to the refugee camps.
Both human trafficking and these deportations involve moving helpless — often unwilling — people to inhospitable destinations and even crueller destinies.
But while human trafficking is about getting hold of people in order to employ them — often against their will — deportation of refugees is about getting rid of unwanted people, often putting them “on the bloc”, easy prey for human traffickers’ exploitation (as with Muslim Rohingia refugees from Burma).
Both phenomena are cruelly inhumane by their own right, no need to confuse them.
“Bibi Netanyahu and most of his fellow countrymen and women…(are) long past remembering the state of homelessness that brought the State of Israel into existence. Long past remembering the prejudice and violence that led Jews to found a homeland where they could feel safe and pursue a new life…If Bibi and Israel’s radical nationalists had any Jewish guilt you might be able to embarrass them with this plethora of ironies.”
How about the irony of those words in your mouth? Are you not like your friend Charles Manekin a “non-state Zionist,” that is someone who wishes the State of Israel had never come into existence as sovereignty there to take in Jews fleeing prejudice and violence in Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria and the elsewhere in Islamic world (Mizrahi Jews), as well as Europe and still other places, and those wishing to live in a Jewish “homeland where they could feel safe and pursue a new life,” religious or areligious, that guaranteed them by the Law of Return and the IDF to make it a reality?”
If I misunderstand the tenets of your “Zionism,” please tell me how I am wrong about them. If you have done that in detail in a prior post(s), please point me there, so I may understand how your “Zionism” comports with what you are advocating in this post.
@ radamsey: My comment rules make very clear that I refuse to allow right wing ideologues like you to characterize my views on my behalf. Those views are very clear from what I’ve written here. THe fact that either your ignorance or your extremist views compel you to try to distort or pigeon hole my views in your own ideological terms doesn’t make your feeble understanding of them correct. In fact it, ipso facto, makes them incorrect.
God, I’ve been called anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, etc. To which I’ve always replied that I’m a Zionist, but like no other you mayv’e ever met. Now, you come up with a totally new way to smear me (anti-state Zionist). Something new every day from your types!
I don’t know what a “non-state Zionist” is. Nor do I think Prof. Manekin would accept your portrayal of his views. And I certainly don’t hold the views with which you would like to tar me. What I think should’ve happened in 1948 is immaterial to what I think should happen now. 1948 is water under the bridge. But of course extremists like yourself would like nothing more than hold forth on obscure historical points of Zionist history since it distracts from problems facing Israel right now, which you don’t want to address.
As for “Jewish homeland,” I have no problem with the concept. What I have a problem with is your refusal to recognize that Israel is a Palestinian homeland as well; and that Jews do not have superior rights to this homeland. So all your nonsense about refusing to accept Jewish refugees in this homeland is spurious since I don’t reject the notion of Jewish refugees any more than I reject the notion of Israeli Palestinian refugees. They all deserve to return either if they face persecution or if they have a legitimate right to return because they were expelled.
“If I misunderstand the tenets of your ‘Zionism,’ please tell me how I am wrong about them. If you have done that in detail in a prior post(s), please point me there, so I may understand how your “Zionism” comports with what you are advocating in this post.” That’s what I asked of you before, quiete reasonably I think. Most Jews and major Jewish organizations understand “Zionism” to mean the establishent of a soveriegn Jewish state, namely Israel, that is one no more or less legitimate than the other 192 member states of the United Nations. If that is not your idealized version of Zionism, then why not make explicitly clear what yours is. If you have done that in a prior post, please point me to it. If you haven’t, then shouldn’t you do so in order that no one
I did think your version might resemble that of Professor Manekin, whose blog The Magnes Zionist you link to and have spoken favorably of in the past. http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2007/08/zionism-without-jewish-state.html If you will spell out your version in detail, we might see how yours and his compare, if they do. (The establishment of Israel in 1948 amounts to an “obscure historical point() of Zionist hsitory,” one that has no bearing on the Israeli-Palestinian” conflict?!)
Now, as for “extremism,” please be so good as to point to what I said that identifies me as an “extremist.” Those who believe that it was right to establish a Jewish sovereign state and that it (Israel) should continue as a Jewish sovereignty are “extremists” in your book?
@ radadmsey: What’s reasonable to you & to me are quite different things. As I probably told you, I’ve written several long blog posts about my Zionist vision. I’m not about to repeat myself just for your edification. Do a search and find the posts & read them. Then you’ll know what my beliefs are & won’t make a fool of yourself by misstating them.
If you’d been more accurate & not disingenuous I’d even point out the posts for you. But I don’t help people who want to smear me and my views as you do.
Further, I’m not interested in what you think “most Jews and major Jewish organizations” believe Zionism to be. Nor does any definition of Zionism followed by any fatcat white male Jewish leader interest me especially.
After you read what I’ve written, if you have further questions you can ask. It would be better if you commented in the threads of those specific posts so your comments were on topic rather than diverting the subject as you have in this thread.
If you were perceptive, which you’re clearly not, you’d know that one thing that will immediately turn me off & send you packing is deliberate misstatements of my views. You & I both know that I never said anything remotely like the establishment of Israel was an obscure point of Zionist history. Go back & reread what I actually wrote & begin from there. Rather than attempting to state my views on my behalf. I don’t need you or anyone else to tell me what I believe, especially when you’re deliberately attempting to distort it.
Yes, of course I admire Prof. Manekin and agree with many of his views about Zionism. As for how my views differ from his, I don’t think either he or I have any interest in the question. I’ll leave that to you to parse.