Israeli concern for African immigrants rings hollow

Last month the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland held a gala evening in London. It was a joyous event, celebrating 70 years of Israel’s independence, and attended by Marc Regev the Israeli ambassador, but it quickly turned controversial. The main speaker was the Likud politician Gideon Sa’ar, a former minister for education. During his talk he was heckled by members of the crowd, including a rabbi, who then walked out, followed by others. The reason? Israel’s controversial moves to forcibly deport up to 40,000 refugees from African countries. Opposition to the deportations has galvanised liberal opinion in Israel, leading to rallies and protests, loudly supported by many of its leading writers and intellectuals. The result was an agreement this week to relocate many of them within Israel which prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared to renege on in hours.
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