Tag Archives: sudan

Sudanese vs. Jewish refugees

23 May

My favorite nostalgic band, Die Toten Hosen, have just reminded me of a topic that I feel needs addressing. They shared a video clip by another band, about refugees/asylum seekers and about how they really don’t want to be in the country they fled to. About how they would rather be in their home country, going about their lives, but can’t, because, bombs’n’shit.

I understand them. I sympathise. Having to run, suffer tremendous losses in the process, and leaving your reasonably good life behind, is something I’m familiar with personally, and in terms of ancestry. 

Many arguments against Israeli politics, policies, actions and inactions, are valid. As someone who loves this country, I refuse to be in denial or glorify it; I want true change and improvement so Israel can be truly great and keep the moral standards it parades about in empty words. Love is to want the best for someone. I want Israel to be better.

But there is one anti-Israel “argument” that perpetually makes me angry for its profound and inherent hypocrisy. The world is screaming at us, not in the nicest terms (racists, Nazis, murderers,…), to embrace and welcome those poor refugees from Sudan, Eritrea, and of course, the native Palestinians. It is screaming at us to be humane and warm towards those who were forced to flee their home country.

Except when these refugees are Jewish. Ultra-rightwing Zionists are propagating the lie/ideological bullshit that Jews living in diaspora, are “in exile”. They are not. Nobody is forcing you to stay out of Israel; Israel pays you to move here. Maybe their far (faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar) ancestors have been exiled, but let’s face it – if your name has been rather German (Rosenzweig, Bernstein) or otherwise non-Middle Eastern for the past 20 generations, you have very little claim on the exile pity party. A ginger Braunstein family does not originate from the Middle East, unless we go almost as far back as our ape ancestors originating in Africa, and then we can all say we’re Africans in exile. Oh my, poor Africa, all those white people “returning home”.
Are you a Jew living outside of Israel? Great, stay there, because your life over there is probably better than it’d be here. You are not in exile, stop pitying yourself over harm that has not been done to you or your family in a very long time. You happen to live wherever you happen to have been born. That is all. People have migrated throughout history, some by force, some not. Jews are no exception and have little claim on more drama or pity than others for being part of this phenomenon. Stop asking for VIP status in the history books, thank you.

However, Jewish refugees are a reality. Not the happy family from Virginia wallowing in the exile self-pity party, no, actual refugees and their offspring, having actually had to flee from actual dangers. 
Jewish refugees have come from Nazi-Europe.
Jewish refugees have been bombed out of Iraq.
Jewish refugees have fled Morocco. 
Nevermind the Jewish Ethiopians who are given hell to come here for “obscure” reasons or reasons I shall not name. For example, the fact that David Ben Gurion had been a passionate racist and white supremacist, and if he disrespected and scoffed at Arab Jews, how would he feel about these dark-skinned blacks? And the legacy of his attitude runs deep and feroceously through Israeli politics and people.

Whatever the details, Jewish refugees are a reality no less valid or tragic than Sudanese refugees or Palestinian refugees in Israel or outside, after having been forcefully removed from the land. 
My own ancestry is like so: Naeim Giladi owned a gold refinery which even earned him his original family name. He bred Arabian horses, owned vast lands, and was generally rich and respected. Actually, most Jews were in most parts of Iraq. Don’t believe the “OMG pogroms everywhere” propaganda. But at some point – let’s not discuss the identity of the launchers of those bombs – the Iraqi Jewish communities were attacked and Jews started to flee – to Israel. It had been promised to them as a safe haven. Let’s not discuss how the Arab Jews were fooled in that respect. My grandfather, his family, and the many Jews he helped cross the borders, were legitimate refugees with nowhere else to go. Just like the Sudanese, the Palestinians, or the Eritreans. The same is true for Jews who fled Nazi-Europe. 

Yet, while we are demonized for not welcoming non-Jewish refugees enough, the refugees among our own ranks are demonized for having succeeded in entering and settling in Israel. We, descendants of refugees, are not occupiers. Unless you would say the same about Sudanese refugees. You want us out, yet you want them in. But – does it matter who occupies “stolen” lands? While I don’t believe this land was exclusively owned by non-Jewish Arabs, we Israelis are constantly vilified for occupying it. So if not who you believe are the land’s rightful owners, what does it matter who comes to “steal” the land? Does it matter whether they are Jewish refugees from Poland, or Muslim refugees from Sudan? Do Sudanese have a bigger right to asylum in Israel than Polish? Why? Logic? 

Let’s simplify this:
You have a house in Palestine and 3 Arab men live in it.
The organized Zionists come and kick the Arab men out of the house.
Now, 1 Jewish refugee from Iraq moves into the house.
1 Jewish american from a happy background moves into the house to live with the previous Jew.
Then, 1 Sudanese refugee moves in to the same house to live with the Jews.
The world screams at both of those Jews equally to get the fuck out, although one had nowhere else to go and only one is there by choice, but supports the Sudanese, while all three are occupying the same house, and all three are making it impossible for the Palestinians to live in their former house.
If you’re going to hate one of these occupiers, hate occupier number 2, but 1 and 3 are there for the same reasons. So why is one to be embraced, while the other is to be demonized for the exact same reason?

Why?

Advertisements