Black Lives Do Not Matter To Israel

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By Tendai Makaripe

“I AM apt to suspect the Negroes, and in general all the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufacturers amongst them, no arts, no sciences . . . Not to mention our colonies, there Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; low people, without education…” (David Hume)

The above quote by Scottish philosopher David Hume reflects how some white people view black people.

They, just like Hume, are of the view that blacks are incapable of logical thought and hence inferior to the white man.

This line of thinking was used to justify slavery in the United States from 1776 until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.

The monster of slavery flourished based on the warped thinking that Africans can only be ‘trained’ or ‘educated’ as slaves and servants.

Academics like Immanuel Kant argued that: “White skin, it seems, is only the concrete, physical evidence of racial superiority.”

These unfortunate submissions were made in the 18th century but a contemporary analysis of the racial inequality situation across the globe reflects that how some whites view the black remains unchanged regardless of the passage of time.

The deaths of black men Daunte Wright, Andre Hill, Manuel Ellis, Rayshard Brooks, and George Floyd among others at the hands of white United States police officers is a testament to how lives of black people are not valued.

Israel is another state whose treatment of non-Jews, particularly Arabs and black Africans leaves a lot to be desired.

In 2018, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis, Yitzhak Yosef, called black people “monkeys” and the Hebrew equivalent of the N-word in his weekly sermon.

Former Israeli Premier, Benjamin Netanyahu said in a public speech that the arrival of non-Jewish African refugees was “much worse” for Israel than “severe attacks by Sinai terrorists”.

He referred to black immigrants fleeing conflict in Sudan, Eritrea among others as infiltrators, a derogatory term used by Israeli officials to dehumanise African refugees.

In 2014, an Israeli man cold-heartedly stabbed a one-year-old African refugee three times in the head in downtown, later telling the police that “a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists.”

The courts ruled that he was mentally unstable and did not hand him a prison sentence.

Killers of Haftom Zarhum, an African refugee who was shot and beat to death by an Israeli mob on baseless accusations of being a terrorist in Beer Sheva were sent out to do community service by the Courts for this heinous crime.

Several laws have been passed over the years to make the lives of blacks unbearable in the middle east country.

Some laws gave the police the right to arrest African asylum seekers without charge while others allowed for the detention of African immigrants for a year at Holot detention centre.

Avdat Asmil, an Eritrean asylum seeker and former detainee at Holot said the centre: “…was in the middle of the desert with animals.”

“Diseases were easily transmitted from person to person because 10 people would live in a single room. We suffered there but it was even worse when we left the centre,” he told TRT World in an interview.

The government did not want to be seen to be deporting them but made sure their lives were unbearable.

Upon release from Holot, Asmil and over 10 000 other black refugees were not allowed in certain cities in the country and denied health care unless their cases were deemed ‘very urgent.’

“The Israeli community has failed to integrate and achieve equality among the citizens and Jews of African origins are treated as lesser subjects,” said Palestinian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Tamer Almassri.

“They are killed and even treated as terrorists. More than 144,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent live in Israel, and community activists have long complained of institutional racism and violence at the hands of Israeli occupation law enforcement.”

This is why the granting of observer status to Israel in the African Union (AU) is not only laughable but tragic.

The decision by Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the AU Commission to accord observer status to a state that has told untold suffering to fellow blacks is outrageous.

Since the inception of the AU in 2002, Israel was denied observer status regardless of its incessant attempts.

The rationale was that Israel’s conduct towards Palestine is reminiscent of colonialism and Africa, alive to the effects of colonialism sided with the latter.

The callous way in which Israel treats blacks is evidence that it is not sincere in its engagement with the continent.

“This is regrettable! The AU should withdraw the observer status granted to Israel, which is an apartheid and occupying state whose gross violations of human rights and ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity directly contravene the principles and purpose of the AU,” said Almassri.

“The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights calls for genuine independence and the elimination of apartheid, colonialism, and all forms of discrimination, and granting Israel will be going against its principle because Israel is an occupying and apartheid state,” he added.

Almassri noted that Israel has been supporting colonial governments and committed crimes in conjunction with colonial powers hence it should not be part of the AU.

However, Israel is determined to use Africa to achieve its foreign policy objectives.

It seeks to convince African countries who form a large bloc at the United Nations to support its position in the conflict and the AU provides a good platform for that.

Some African states still choose to dine with Israel, which is not only a stab in the back of Palestine but disregard for fellow blacks being ill-treated in Israel.

Africa should not be deceived, their lives do not matter to Israel, only its interests.

The continent should wake up from its slumber if it is sincere in “coordinating and intensifying…efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa,” as espoused by the AU Charter.

Whence will Africa learn to unflinchingly castigate evil and stand by its conviction?

Why castigate Israel when you secretly dine with it?

However, sell-outs are part of any revolution and that should not deter true revolutionaries.

Those against Israel’s apartheid system should move from solidarity rhetoric to action.

Greece’s Miss Universe contestant, Rafaela Plastira this week withdrew from the beauty pageant slated for Israel in December.

Irish novelist, Sally Rooney turned down an offer from Modan Publishers, one of the biggest publishing houses in Israel to translate her latest novel Beautiful World, where are you into Hebrew, due to her stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

As a result, 70 renowned writers, poets, and playwrights across the globe signed a letter endorsing Rooney’s decision describing it as “an exemplary response to the mounting injustices inflicted on Palestinians.”

What are real revolutionaries in Africa going to do?