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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



BOG-OFF Africans

Graphic from Occupied Palestine

In Israel’s trade catalog, arms and asylum seekers are equal commodities

With arbitrary arrest and detention, forcible transfer, withholding of basic human rights, the imposition of birth control measures and now an arms-for-asylum-seekers deal which amounts to little more than human trafficking, Israel has become a theater of horrors for Africans.

By Natasha Roth, +972
July 10, 2013

Sudanese immigrants pose in front of an enlarged photo of the Saharonim Prison, in which 2,000 African immigrants are being detained, during the International Refugee Day event in Tel Aviv on June 20, 2013. (Photo by: Keren Manor/
A report in yesterday’s Yedioth Aharonoth (originally in Hebrew, and translated into English for their website) revealed that the Israeli government is on the verge of closing a deal with several African countries which would see them furnished with arms and military expertise, in exchange for accepting thousands of asylum seekers currently residing in Israel. Once again, the government has shrugged off any pretence of honoring its commitments under the UN Refugee Conventions. Once again, it is making a mockery of the concept that it needs to abide by international law.

That this is a war on asylum seekers and human rights is self-evident. But it is also a war on dignity and an assault on human memory and conscience. Whether or not the deal goes through, the fact remains that the Israeli government has seriously considered forcibly dispatching thousands of Africans, to a country not of their choosing, as part of a trade agreement. This brings up a historical recollection of such offensiveness that it is difficult to address it directly. Furthermore, the overlooked “commodity” in this proposed deal is space – for that is what the Israeli government will receive for its part in the potential bargain. This reported agreement is nothing more than a chapter in Israel’s playbook for ‘making room’ and homogenizing; it is persecution as ‘preservation.’ Doubtless one of Netanyahu’s spokespersons will find an appropriate moniker to try and lend some legitimacy to the proceedings (when the Serbs did the same thing in the 1990s, they dubbed it “ethnic cleansing”).

As ever, when it comes to the government’s handling of such matters, the news did not arrive in isolation. Also rolling off the presses yesterday was a statement from the police (Hebrew) announcing the arrests of hundreds of asylum seekers suspected of minor offences. Their detention, which according to a source at the Population and Immigration Border Authority will continue until at least January 2015, has been enabled by a new procedure approved by Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein last week. Another affront to the rule of law in Israel, the procedure allows for the detainment of asylum seekers linked to petty crimes, irrespective of whether there is evidence to convict them. Yesterday’s news also brought confirmation of another procedure, again approved by the attorney-general, allowing for Eritreans and Sudanese who sign “voluntary return” documents to be deported back to their country of origin. This is, of course, the appearance of choice rather than a genuine choice, since the alternative is indefinite detention in Israel – which is not a choice at all. Perhaps the attorney-general has been reading about Thomas Hobson in between signing punitive regulations against asylum seekers. This is mafia-like behavior from the Israeli government – seeking to eliminate what it has identified as a problem situation by making the individuals concerned an offer they can’t refuse.

It must be clarified that the signing of voluntary return documents by asylum seekers does not provide a shred of validity to the assertions that those arriving here from Sudan and Eritrea are not at risk should they be returned. Rather, it is an indictment of Israel’s increasingly barbarous rap-sheet in its dealings with asylum seekers (and Africans in general, for let us not forget the ongoing Depo-Provera scandal surrounding Ethiopian immigrants). Arbitrary arrest and detention, forcible transfer, withholding of basic human rights (inter alia, work, healthcare and education), imposition of birth control measures, and now, with the news of the arms-and-asylum-seekers deal, what amounts to little more than human trafficking – Israel has become a theater of horrors for Africans, and the recent hunger strike by Eritrean prisoners in the Saharonhim facility (which, along with the other desert internment camp – Ktziot – has held more than 1,000 Eritrean prisoners for over a year) demonstrates the gravity of the government’s actions. These prisoners are visited every few days by immigration officers who inform them that their only way out of prison is to go back to their homeland. The mental duress and hemorrhaging of faith caused by the prospect of endless detention and limitless persecution in Israel has pushed imprisoned Eritreans to consider the lethal implications of returning to their home country a preferable option. But no matter what explanation they give for their desire to go back, no legal procedure will make the return of Eritrean national-service evaders a ‘voluntary return.’ As one detainee involved in the strike wrote after the event, “I am a witness that everybody lost any hope and patience. Therefore we chose this difficult decision: to achieve a solution or die.”

Deporting, exporting, arms, asylum seekers, trafficking, persecution, prevarication and underhand tactics – this is thug life, Israeli government-style. Welcome to the only democracy in the Middle East.

Natasha Roth, a British immigrant to Israel, is a researcher and former coordinator at the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC), a non-profit organization founded in 2004 by refugees and Israeli citizens to assist, support and empower refugees and asylum seekers in Israel.

Israel to trade arms for migrants with African countries

Senior official says deal nearly sealed with African countries to take tens of thousands of migrants in exchange for arms, military training, knowledge

By Itamar Eichner, Ynet news
July 09, 2013

Israel is close to signing a deal with several African countries who will accept tens of thousands of African migrants currently residing in Israel in exchange for a benefits package including security, economic and agricultural aid.

According to a senior official, the security aid will include Israeli arms and military knowledge and training.

Such deals are close to being finalized with at least three African countries, the official said. Israel’s chief negotiator in the talks was Hagai Hadas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special advisor.

Another Israeli official added that Israel continues to explore the possibility of returning North Sudanese and Eritrean migrants to their home countries.

According to data presented on Monday to the government, it appears that on the first half of 2013 only 34 migrants crossed the Egyptian border into Israel. “The fence we’ve built is highly significant in buffeting the infiltration into Israel,” Netanyahu said.

But some related the drastic fall in the number of new migrants to the restrictions on employing migrants, including the limitation on migrants’ sending money home.

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