As the most oppressed group in Israeli society, Palestinian citizens of Israel have an obligation to stand with the Ethiopian Israelis protesting against racism and police brutality.
The “Black Intifada” erupted just as I was in the middle of a trip to Morocco with my mother. Yet even there, in that quiet kingdom, thousands of kilometers from home, it was impossible to shut out the public conversation happening inside Israeli society.
In the Moroccan city of Essaouira, in the Jewish quarter known as the mellah, migrants from African countries such as Senegal and Congo wandered the streets trying to self us handcrafted goods made of wood and ivory. It was clear to all that they were not locals.
One day, those migrants will be part of Morocco, which already includes citizens of all colors — from the whitest remnants of colonial rule to dark-skinned refugees. What will this place look like after 70 years, I thought to myself? How will Morocco — which prides itself on the harmonious relationship between members of the world’s three major religions, between the indigenous Amazighs and the Arabs who arrived from the Islamic empire, between the different ethnic and cultural groups — contend with thousands of migrant workers and refugees?
I was surprised to discover that some Moroccans had seen the videos of Ethiopian Israeli protesters yelling “Free Palestine” and “Allahu Akbar” during the demonstrations against racism and police brutality, following the police killing of Solomon Tekah in late June. They wanted to know what is taking place in Israel, and had a hard time understanding why Israeli Jews would mistreat Jews from Africa.
“Do Moroccan Jews also mistreat blacks? That’s very strange,” one of the vendors told me. She was especially disappointed to discover that the truth, to a large extent, was yes. Mizrahim, not only those from Morocco, also take an active role in and help fuel discrimination.Read More