Bibi Backpedals on African Refugees
It’s taken me two days to figure out what is going on with the agreement Bibi Netanyahu made with the UN High Commission on Refugees. After announcing on Monday a deal to send Israel’s African refugees on to western countries, hours later he backtracked. It seems his rivals on the farther-right had seen an opening to attack him on the issue. The resentful residents of south Tel Aviv, forced to share their neighborhood with the ‘darker race,’ rose up in rebellion against the deal.
But why would they object to ridding their streets of what Miri Regev so ‘aptly’ called the ‘cancer in their midst?’ It made no sense…until I read today the fine print on the deal.
It would only rid Israel of half the ‘wretched refuse’ of Africa. 16,000 would go to Europe or Canada (no mention of the U.S. there, mr.-you-know-who would hear none of it, even to help his pal, Bibi).
But that left the other half. And there’s the rub. Those remaining 16,000 wouldn’t be fobbed off on anyone else. They would become the permanent problem of Israel and the seething racist neighbors of south Tel Aviv.
It didn’t matter to them that the African population would have been reduced from its height of 55,000 to a final count of 16,000. That was 16,000 too many according to the good folk of south Tel Aviv. They wanted none.
Their country was not made for Africans–or Arabs for that matter. It was made for Jews and only Jews. And don’t you forget it, Mr. Prime Minister. We poor Mizrahim made you and we can break you.
That’s why Bibi folded like a wet noodle. He knew Naftali Bennet was waiting like a wolf on the hillside for the first sign of weakness. Making deals with the hated UN would be just the sign of weakness he needed. Add to that, a prime minister waiting on tenterhooks for news of potential criminal indictments, and you have a perfect recipe for moral cowardice and vacillation.
So instead of telling the Israeli people he’d solved the African refugee crisis and looking the hero, Bibi looks the coward, brought to his knees by fear that a rival would score political points at his expense.
And the people of south Tel Aviv? How do they look? Like the pitiful, hateful, ungrateful, racist wretches they are. They cut off their noses to spite their face. So instead of cutting the African refugee population by half, they are left with no agreement at all. Nor can Israel return to the same sleazy arrangement they’d resorted to earlier of expelling the refugees stateless to Uganda and Rwanda.
Intrepid investigative journalists had traveled there to document the wretched conditions under which these expelees lived. The reporting so embarrassed those governments that they pulled the plug. Now Bibi has no place to put them but back in south Tel Aviv.
And he has the unmitigated chutzpah to blame Israeli human rights NGOs like New Israel Fund for betraying the nation (i.e. himself) by sabotaging the illegal arrangement Israel had with African dictators to dump the wretched refuse on their shores, rather than Israel’s.
But why did UNHCR offer to pull Israel’s irons out of the fire? Why do Israel a favor when it behaves so wretchedly? Why relieve it of a responsibility it has to these refugees under international law? Especially when the Israeli response is to slap you in the face for your trouble?
10 thoughts on “Bibi Backpedals on African Refugees – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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It’s all evidence of Israel’s collapse. The previous generation would have made this deal — and with a little help from the spinmeisters, come out smelling like a rose.
This generation? They don’t know how to dress for success.
There’s another angle to that far-right objection. aftali Bennett, alleged that sending refugees to Europe would incentivize other to trek across the Sinai desert and cross Israel’s border, which is reinforced by a wall.
Just one caveat. There are many residents/Mizrahim of South Tel Aviv, some even say a majority (but I can’t back that up with research) who are vehemently against the deportation and were a major part of the anti-deportation demonstration last week and who strongly supported the deal. After Netanyahu backtracked, they came out to demonstrate quite quickly in response.
Thank you Alanh. Too easy to broad brush. I must remember that there are folks in Israel who are very much against this government, ashamed, depressed as we are here about “you know who” and company who are really the end product (and hopefully final) of years of concessions to the right and enough people not paying enough attention , showing appalling loss of morality, lack of immunity to demagoguery and lies. Except we are not yet so imprisoned by this seeming firm grip for longer than an election, two years, four years. We have more vibrant media and websites doing the muckraking and deeper thinking (as here). Our wheels are not yet stuck in the mud. All it takes though is hopelessness and complacency.
Perhaps the U.N., it’s organizations is itself afraid of stronger action against Israel, fear of the accusations of anti-Semitism, loss of funding.We are in a period of mass migration globally due to climate change, war and political malfunction-prodded by social media. The UN is not functioning as it should at this time.
Sorry to go on–
UNHCR didn’t give Israel a free deal – the deal would’ve legalized half of the migrants in Israel (as opposed to the current status where they are all under threat of deportation – blocked by the Israeli court to date) – and possibly would’ve set a precedent going forward. This was a quid pro quo deal. I also thing UNHCR’s payment (recognition of those that would be legalized) would’ve come well prior to any relocation to a 3rd Western country (nice of UNHCR to promise that – but…. Future delivery is always a risky thing). As far as UNHCR is concerned – this would’ve solved the issue of at least half (in Israel) and possibly all (if relocation was carried out to a Western country) of the refugees.
It would have been very interesting to see the reaction of Israel’s last (or rather ‘new’) allies in Europe if that deal had materialized. I wonder how long the extreme right’s love for Israel would have lasted. After all, it is based on envy of, and admiration for the measures that Israel takes to keep Muslims in their place, and blacks out. For them to realize that their heroes sold them out as soon as they had the chance, dumping their unwelcome asylum seekers on European soil… Hilarious.
There is no way that this deal would have been accepted by right or left in Europe: A country that benefits from all kinds of preferential deals by the EU, and then says: Here, take our asylum seekers, because we are so special that we have the right to remain racially pure. You have got to be kidding.
‘…There is no way that this deal would have been accepted by right or left in Europe: A country that benefits from all kinds of preferential deals by the EU, and then says: Here, take our asylum seekers, because we are so special that we have the right to remain racially pure. You have got to be kidding.’
It would have caused Trump an awkward short-circuit. Subservience to Israel, sure — but he’s not exactly a big fan of ‘come one, come all.’
In fact, some red lights in that connection may have contributed to Netanyahu rethinking his drink.
It’s amazing how relentlessly the truth gets obscured when it comes to Israel.
I was under the distinct impression deportations had already begun. Yet both the New York Times and the Guardian — the two sources I checked — implied that no deportations had ACTUALLY occurred.
Huh. So I keep ferretting, and sure enough:
‘…A number of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers did eventually “agree” to “voluntary departure”, around 18,000 people in total between 2013 and 2016, many of whom were flown to Rwanda. Researchers who have followed these previous groups have revealed their subsequent plight – an often circular and rather desperate movement from one country to the next. While the lucky ones eventually made it to Europe, others were stuck in limbo…’
So while technically — very technically — it may be true that Israel hasn’t actually deported anyone just yet, to simply allow that to stand as unqualified fact is both dishonest and — in this instance — cowardly.
It only makes it worse that we’re not talking about open outlets for hasbara or even Israel itself, but such self-proclaimed bastions of progressivism, intellectual integrity, and journalistic courage as the NYT and the Guardian.
They make me sick. They’re hell on those they feel they can safely go after, but when it comes to Israel? How deeply and how long, sir? ‘Speaking truth to power,’ my ass.
I also suppose the Netanyahu retreated fast because the first reactions from Europe were extremely bad for Israel, not so much the excepted whining by more or less religious right wing in Israel. Especially when the lunatics have no possible solution with the “colour problem” which the rest of the world could accept.
Not even Merkel could have accepted taking a couple of hundred or thousand of these from Israel kicked out refugees and survived politically from that.
If European countries would have accepted such sending of refugees from Israel simply under UNHCR authorisation, who could guaranty that in the next Israel shipment is not 2 million Palestinians from Gaza followed later by 2 million from West Bank and finally 2 million from Israel?
‘…If European countries would have accepted such sending of refugees from Israel simply under UNHCR authorisation, who could guaranty that in the next Israel shipment is not 2 million Palestinians from Gaza followed later by 2 million from West Bank and finally 2 million from Israel?’
Let’s hope no one in Israel gets interested in that idea.
It’s a win-win. Israel gets a final solution to the Palestinian Problem, and that many more immigrants make Europe that much more bigoted against Muslims and willing to support Israel.