The Wrong Way To Stand Up For African Migrants In Israel by the Forward

The Wrong Way To Stand Up For African Migrants In Israel

Image by Getty Images

Dear Editor,

I’m writing regarding David Sheen’s opinion piece recently published in The Forward. Sheen’s piece omits any mention of the fact that on March 15th, Israel’s High Court issued an order freezing the forced deportation of African asylum seekers.

On March 20th, the High Court clarified that the order is not limited in time and is in force until further notice.

Thus, Sheen’s claims about an imminent forced deportation are not true (e.g. “Netanyahu’s immigration officials will soon be hunting black men down in the streets of Tel Aviv and forcing them onto planes that will ferry them to a renewed stateless existence”).

In addition, Sheen’s claim that the “organized American Jewish community stayed silent for the last five years” is also false.

Liberal and progressive American Jewish organizations have for years criticized the Israeli government’s treatment of African asylum seekers; moreover, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which represents numerous mainstream Jewish groups (including the Jewish Federations, AJC, ADL, and the Orthodox Union) signed a letter in 2014 urging the Israeli government to uphold its human rights obligations to African asylum seekers and implement a fair refugee status determination system.

Such misrepresentations undermine the just cause of African asylum seekers, as Sheen portrays their struggle as futile. Israel’s High Court has consistently pushed back against the Israeli government’s mistreatment of African asylum seekers, in response to petitions filed by Israeli human rights groups that advocate on their behalf.

Their legal battle is far from over, so supporting these organizations is a concrete way to help ensure that Israel respects the rights of asylum seekers, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention. Here is information on these human rights groups:

University of Tel Aviv Refugee Rights Clinic

Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Thank you,

Nurit Baytch

The Wrong Way To Stand Up For African Migrants In Israel

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

The Wrong Way To Stand Up For African Migrants In Israel

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close