As heavily reported by both the media and the White House, this week President Barack Obama will visit Israel. The scheduled stop in the Middle East has raised yet another red flag among human rights whistle-blowers, as some feel Obama’s policies in the region reveal a focus that supersedes concern about blatant human rights violations that continue to plague Israel. Many point to the obvious blind-eye Obama has turned to Israel’s racist treatment of black Africans.
Last June, in an interview with Israeli newspaper Maariv, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Israel “belongs to us, to the white man.” He was making reference to the presence of Ethiopian, Eritrean and South Sudanese refugees currently living in Israel, refugees that were previously granted permission to stay in the country according to UN Security Council mandates. Israel has about 60,000 illegal immigrants from Africa, nearly 1 percent of the population. Most were facing war and poverty in their homelands, so they moved to the region seeking refuge, support and protection. Unfortunately, reports reveal the opposite, charging that the Israeli government has been capturing the immigrants, holding them in massive detention camps (Israeli officials have the authority to detain illegal immigrants for up to three years), and using them for medical experiments.
Recently, an Israeli government minister confirmed the government’s practice of covertly injecting female Ethiopian immigrants with a birth control drug known as Depo-Provera. The acknowledgement, which presents the first time documentation of the program has been made by Israeli political leadership, comes five years after a television investigation broadcasted testimony from 35 Ethiopian immigrants who said they had been forced to receive the injection while waiting in transit camps. This is ironic, as the birthrate in Israel’s Ethiopian community has declined by 50 percent over the past ten years.