by Debasish Mitra
They are virtually endless in number and in their suffering of untold ignominy they offered the world a shocking and compelling story. They are the Ethiopian women, young and middle-aged and they are Jews who migrated to Israel in search of better life and living. Instead, in their new country they were subjected to unbelievable tribulations as the white Zionists sought to establish complete control over their lives.
Israel perpetrated ‘an inconceivable crime’ against these women only because of the colour of their skin. In 2012 alone, heaven knows how many, adult Ethiopian women, irrespective of whether they were married or not, were forcibly given Depo-Provera contraceptive injections so that they cannot conceive ever in their life. The Zionist objective was to reduce black population and maintain white Caucasian hegemony in Israel by criminal infringement upon the reproductive rights of a section of Israeli population.
Under mounting pressure and criticism, Israel has admitted its crime but hasn’t yet come clean on the issue. No figures saying how many Ethiopian women were duped and given the contraceptive injection have yet been officially released. Researcher Sava Reuven, says that at least 40 women have received the shot. But journalist Gal Gabay’s “Vacuum” documentary series shown on Israeli Educational Television, said that countless new female immigrants from Ethiopia were given the injection and without their consent or knowledge.
The injections given to Ethiopian women are part and parcel of an overall Israeli attitude toward the immigrants, especially those who are not white and the Ethiopians. Ferocious incitement against these powerless minorities and neo-Nazism in Israel in the name of fulfilment of the Zionist dream has been growing in Israel since over a decade. The situation in the Zionist state is appallingly similar to that what prevailed in certain parts of England way back in 1968 in the wake of a virulent anti-immigrant movement.
The sentiment in Israel today is one of virulent bellicosity against the Ethiopian immigrants. The country resembles Germany of nineteen thirties or Britain of nineteen sixties.
In a world where apartheid has now become a taboo word racism is embarrassingly and terrifyingly too rampant to be shoved underneath the carpets. Israel is a racist nation with multiple racial fault lines perceptibly crisscrossing the society.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu was shocked to witness blatant racism in Israel which he described as: “Much like what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.
A survey done by Israel Democracy Institute showed that at least one third of the Jewish population in Israel is racist who do not consider either the Arab citizens or the coloured Ethiopians as Israelis.
Racism in Israel is not a new phenomenon. It has been there since the inception of the Jewish entity in 1948 and is at present alarmingly widespread. It is between the Jews and Arabs, between Jews from America and Europe, between Jews from western world and Africa and so on. So endemic is the scourge that even religious edicts have been issued, time and again, forbidding the white Jews from selling, renting and leasing out their houses and other properties not only to the Arabs but also to non-white Jews who have migrated from Africa and Asia.
Regrettably, the stony silence of the government in reaction to such edicts and the crime has made its complicity to the felony more than evident. In fact, former Israel’s justice minister Yaakov Neeman, since his appointment, has added fuel to the fire significantly which has virtually kept the depravity raging.
Studied and calculated reticence of the majority has only offered tacit support to the apartheid. Helped the ultra Rights to take over forcing the Israeli society into a state of paralysis, nay comatose. Surprisingly, even the United States, who has been lecturing the world on human rights, has been maintaining an inexplicable silence on the matter.
Racism in Israel dates back to 1948 when hundreds and thousands of Palestinians were driven out only to grab their land. Like the white settlers in South Africa Zionist pioneers, colonised a land which was already inhabited. And since then the plague has survived six decades of shameful existence assuming more insidious proportions.
Race matters in Israel which is at present predominantly white. At least 121,000 citizens of Ethiopian descent live mostly in the smaller urban areas of central Israel. In an opinion piece in Haaretz Roy (Chicky) Arad has been absolutely unequivocal. He opined that Israeli Ethiopians suffer from racism directed at African migrants. Many Ethiopians are reluctant to walk around areas like southern Tel Aviv at night, from fear of being targets of violence and racial slurs.
Israel is in the grip of a new level of racial intolerance today. ‘Today, Arab schools receive less funding than Jewish schools and Arab areas of East Jerusalem receive less municipal services’. Israeli society today is in a despicable state of decay. And for sure, had not there been the benevolence of the United States Israel would have by now been one among the failed states in the world.
In the ecstasy of sharing a new common enemy whose elimination the white Zionists feel is must. This is not only small-minded but also extremely dangerous. If this is how easily such a simple and flawed message is accepted by the Israeli audience, then what hope is there for the equally hapless Palestinians?
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman