After Israeli police kill Ethiopian woman, community rallies to protest anti-Blackness & police brutality
After Yehuda Biadga, a mentally ill 24-year old Ethiopian Jew, was murdered by Israeli police last week, thousands of Ethiopian Jews began protesting against police brutality and anti-Black racism in Tel Aviv.
A protester told Haaretz, “There is racism everywhere. I feel like I don’t belong to this country. Both my brothers served as combat soldiers in the military. It’s unreal, you give your soul and they end up murdering you.”
Another protester explained, “Instead of feeling part of the nation, we feel like annexes to Israeli society… I don’t need people to learn my culture. I’m not a monkey. I speak Hebrew, I was born here,” says another unnamed protester.”
Organizers are demanding an independent investigation into the anti-Black murders of Ethiopian Jews by police and white Israeli Jews.
Face2faceafrica reports that Tel Aviv police stated, “Israel police respects the freedom of expression of all citizens but police officers will continue to act against all violence, physical or verbal. We will not allow officers in uniform to be harmed and we have no patience for those seeking to disturb the peace while putting people at risk.”
David Sheen, a human rights journalist studying the racist systems in Israeli, says it is common for Israeli rabbis and government officials to refer to Africans as “monkeys.”
In a 2018 article, titled “Black lives do not matter in Israel“, Sheen wrote, “When the government’s racist rhetoric is the only frame of reference most folks have for African refugees, they can easily be convinced that, like Palestinians, the Africans deserve to be despised.”
In November 2016, two Israeli teenagers beat a 40-year old Sudanese asylum seeker to death, alleging he harassed a group of girls. The murder drew comparisons to the deaths of African-American men falsely accused of rape by white women. Sheen writes, “some Israelis allege that Adham-Abdo had brought on the lethal beating he received when he supposedly sexually harassed a group of Israeli teenage girls at the scene.”
According to a 2018 poll by the Israel Democracy Institute, two thirds of Israeli society support the expulsion of African asylum seekers living in Israel.
#BlackLivesMatter NOW: Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent block the busiest thoroughfare in the country to protest state racism and police brutality (photo @activestills @mekomit) pic.twitter.com/qULW169WiH
— David Sheen (@davidsheen) January 30, 2019