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Muslims seek refuge in Israel

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2006

Solomonia pointed out two posts at Augean Stables that offer a striking "compare and contrast" opportunity. The first post was about Arab indifference to and complicity in genocide. It quoted Mohammed Buisier’s Wall Street Journal column about Darfur, which pointed out that the March Arab League summit in Khartoum passed a resolution denying that there were any massacres in Darfur and condemning any outside interference in the Sudan’s internal affairs. RL quoted Buisier and commented:

By adopting this argument, the Arab League was not just covering up for the atrocities perpetrated by the Sudanese government, but also for the direct or indirect involvement in this part of the Sudan of some of the Arab governments attending the summit. It is but one more shameful manifestation of Arab governments turning a blind eye to the continuing inhumane atrocities committed against their own citizens.

It sheds an interesting light on the moral indignation that the Arab League expresses vis-à-vis the Israelis. Even if we discount for tribal loyalties (the Palestinians are also Arabs, so their suffering concerns them more), this is rank hypocrisy. Here we have Sudanese Arab Muslims actually committing genocide, and the same organization that denounces a fabricated genocide of Palestinians (who continue to grow in numbers all the time), cannot bring itself to say anything negative.

The second Augean Stables post was about Muslim Sudanese refugees fleeing to Israel, and thereby demonstrating something important:

This recalls what happened when the Phalangist massacres of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatilla started. The Palestinians ran to the Israeli posts for protection, thereby showing that, when the chips are down they knew Israelis don’t massacre, no matter what Arab leaders and media told them. …

In this case it sheds an interesting light on the issue of refugees. Part of the “Zionist narrative” is that they treated their refugees from the Arab world with as much consideration and concern as possible, working hard to absorb them, while the Arab countries froze their refugees from Israel into a state of permanent suffering. Using moral equivalence, criticizing Israel for not sufficiently respecting the cultures from which these refugees came, the anti-Zionists have heaped contempt on this effort to distinguish the Israeli record from the Arab. But these Muslim refugees from Sudan, with limited access to anything but the Muslim press, know better… two generations later.

Originally from The Scotsman, the story of the Sudanese refugees in Israel is fascinating and heartwarming. Israelis are having a national debate about Sudanese asylum-seekers:

“If they know, everyone who pays $50 (£26) can come to a modern, democratic state and live happily ever after – why not come to Israel?” Yochie Gessin, an Israeli government lawyer, said last week. “We can’t accept this, there are some 40 million Sudanese.”

Such statements have sparked a bitter reaction. Avner Shalev, the chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, has written to prime minister Ehud Olmert, urging him to “show solidarity” with the Sudanese refugees.

“As members of the Jewish people, for whom the memory of the Holocaust burns, we cannot stand by as refugees from the genocide in Darfur hammer on our doors,” Shalev wrote.

Michael Kagan, a lawyer with the Tel Aviv University Human Rights Clinic, which represents some 50 Sudanese refugees in the Israeli High Court, agreed. “This situation reveals just how much Israel is currently grappling with the issue of offering asylum to non-Jews,” he said.

The asylum seekers apparently are grateful to be living among Jews who worry about how welcoming to be, instead of among their fellow Muslims who are indifferent to genocide and contemptuous of human rights:

Now working in a kibbutz on the shores of the Dead Sea, Sanka is one of almost 30 Sudanese released on “house arrest” as their fate is decided in court. Despite being jailed for a year before being sent to the kibbutz, Sanka is remarkably upbeat about living in the Jewish state. “The Israelis here are really a free people, they have an open mind,” he said.

With his family from Dafur, Sanka, then living in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, decided to leave Sudan after attracting unwanted government attention over his reformist views. “I am Muslim but I don’t agree with fundamental Islam,” he said. “Many of my friends who expressed similar views, were arrested, tortured or in some cases, disappeared.”

He spent four years in Cairo but, after being arrested as an illegal worker, he caught a bus to Egypt’s Sinai region where he then walked for two days across the desert and into Israel. He was picked up by an Israeli military patrol and taken to a military jail.

“The Jewish people I’ve met here understand my plight. For the first time in my life I feel free. I know that sounds funny but I do. I feel freer here than I ever did in Sudan.”

A Muslim feels freer in Israel under house arrest than in the Sudan or Egypt. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the relative moral status of the two cultures. Israel isn’t just more hospitable to Muslims than Arab nations are to Jews — it’s more hospitable to Muslims than Arab nations are to Muslims.

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2 Responses to “Muslims seek refuge in Israel”

  1. Anonymous said

    Your concluding remark is exactly on point. the asymmetry is absolutely astounding.

    (Another example is Palestinian kids who would rather spend time in Israeli jails than their own homes in order to study for exams.}

    the really fascinating question is, given this absurd moral gap between the israelis and the palestinians/arabs, how can so many people work themselves up into moral hysteria about the israelis?

  2. Anonymous said

    ”…given this absurd moral gap between the israelis and the palestinians/arabs, how can so many people work themselves up into moral hysteria about the israelis?”

    Good question! My best guess: because they despise reason, the Enlightenment, modernity, …

    Thanks for dropping by, and for the amazing story about the Palestinian youths. I saw the asymmetry long ago, but I’m astonished that, according to your HNN quote, even Hamas acknowledged it: “Israel would never do such and such . . . ”

    Translation: “Don’t worry about the Israelis, they aren’t like us.”

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