Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit on March 27, 2010. The event was a rally to demand justice in the assassination of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah by the FBI on Oct. 28, 2009., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘Israel has long history of racial discrimination’
An interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, director of Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit
Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:26PM GMT
To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just log on to the URL below:
"Israel has a long history of racial
discrimination. Of course, this is reflective of the anti-African sentiment and propaganda that has been voiced very, very brutally by Israeli government officials through the
mass media, all the way up to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
On June 3, Tel Aviv announced that migrants who illegally crossed into Israel could face detention of up to three years. According to the
Israeli interior ministry statistics, about 60,000 African immigrants, mainly from Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea, have entered Israel illegally.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, director of Pan-African News Wire, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: The racial discrimination of the Israelis is not only against Palestinians and Arabs but seems to reach farther out to
immigrants from Africa. Aren’t these policies reminiscent of apartheid South Africa?
Azikiwe: Most definitely. And of course Israel has a long history of racial discrimination. The Palestinian people, of course, have been
disenfranchised, subjected to forced removals ever since the foundation of the state of Israel almost 65 years ago.
Just recently, an Israeli court has paved the way for the deportation of thousands of Africans mainly people from the South of Sudan, a newly independent country, which even though it has gained its national independence is still undergoing a lot of internal turmoil.
Of course, this is reflective of the anti-African sentiment and propaganda that has been voiced very, very brutally in the Israeli
government by officials through the mass media, all the way up to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even on June 4th, four people were taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. They were suffering from burns and from smoke inhalation because a multi-residence dwelling, a two-story building in the Mahane Yehuda
market district in Jerusalem, was bombed at three o’clock in the morning. It was reported that some 18 people had been living in this
This follows the anti-African rally that took place on May 23 in a south Tel Aviv neighborhood. It was estimated that a thousand people went on a rampage inside the neighborhood beating up Sudanese,
Eritreans, and also looting shops that were owned by African migrants.
The parliament member of the Likud Party, Miri Regev, told a crowd back on May 23 referring to Africans "as the infiltrators who are a cancer in our body; the infiltrators must be expelled from Israel; expulsion now.”
This is, as you said before, very similar to what has been done to the Arab population in the state of Israel for over six decades.
Press TV: With regards to the Israeli regime’s policies against immigrants, are you surprised that there hasn’t been any reaction from the international community?
Azikiwe: Yes. We think that it is definitely something that warrants the attention of the international community. It tends to be
overshadowed by other issues that are going on in relationship to Israeli domestic as well as foreign policy.
In regard to the internal affairs of Israel itself, even among large segments of the settler population there has been large-scale
unemployment, problems associated with housing and also other social services inside the state of Israel itself.
We’ve seen over the last year demonstrations on the part of the settler communities because obviously what has been promised to them by the Zionist …[regime] under the current economic constraints are no
longer deliverable. This has somehow overshadowed the plight of the African migrants.
Also, Israel’s hostile position towards its neighbors, its constant threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as other states in the region, tends to get more play within the corporate and the Western media than what has been happening over the last several weeks in regard to immigrants from the African continent.
Many of these people have crossed over into Israel in the aftermath of the regime change that took place in Egypt last year. Many of them
have been residents of Egypt. Many of them, as I mentioned before, also were recently from South Sudan as well as Eritrea which has undergone a lot of internal instability in the last year and a half.
Also, I want to mention that there are plans underway to construct a $167 million dollar fence on the border with Sinai in Egypt to keep
out African migrants.