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Setting the Record Straight on Israel’s Deportation of Illegal Immigrants

Israel has recently announced plans to expel a number of migrants who entered the country without permission—most of them from Sudan or Eritrea via the Sinai between 2006 and 2012. Predictably the decision has raised an outcry, including from American Jewish groups. Against these critics, Emmanuel Navon explains that the deportees are not refugees, and that the deportations are in line with Western practice in general:

Like other signatories of the UN’s 1951 Refugees Convention, Israel is bound to grant refugee status to people who flee “genocide, war, persecution, and slavery to dictatorial regimes.” It did so in 1977 when it accepted Vietnamese “boat people” rejected by other countries. It has been doing so for the small percentage of African migrants who are actual asylum seekers. . . . Israel does, [for instance], consider the Sudanese from Darfur a special case, . . . which is why the Israeli government has granted temporary-resident status so far to 500 Darfur refugees, and has promised to speed up the refugee-status determination process for other Darfur refugees.

Israel could theoretically keep illegal work migrants for altruistic reasons (as advocated mainly by American Jewish groups), but the Israeli government, like any responsible and answerable government, must also take into account the well-being of its own citizens. The residents of south Tel Aviv, [where most of the immigrants settle], are the victims of rising crime rates and of deteriorating living conditions. . . . Moreover, as opposed to large and aging countries such as Germany and Japan, Israel is a small and densely populated country with high birthrates, and therefore it has neither the need nor the capacity to legalize illegal migration. . . . Israel is only expelling illegal immigrants who are single, and it has made clear that it will not expel families.

Israel is far from being the only democracy that sends back illegal immigrants. The United States expels 400,000 illegal immigrants every year. Germany has been sending back illegal immigrants to Afghanistan, and Italy to Sudan. In 2017, Germany expelled 80,000 illegal immigrants. . . .

Israel is a safe haven to all Jews, as well as to non-Jewish asylum seekers who meet the criteria of the Refugee Convention—which most illegal immigrants don’t. Israel’s policy is consistent with international law and with the practice of other democracies, and it should not be judged by higher standards.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Immigration, Israel & Zionism, Refugees

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen