June 11: Not so simple
Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s threats of jail and other ideas all sound strange coming from a historically oppressed people.
Not so simple
Sir, – With regard to “Yishai: South Sudanese have one week to
leave before facing deportation” (June 8), Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s
threats of jail and other ideas all sound strange coming from a historically
oppressed people. God forbid we should behave toward an oppressed people the way
we ourselves were treated throughout history.
It was our mistake to let
these people cross the border, but they still have to be treated as human
beings. I’m sure they’ll be delighted to go home once they can.
only one country and we have to fight for every inch of it. At the same time,
though, we can afford to help oppressed people. It won’t kill us and we’ll be
doing the right thing in the eyes of God and mankind.
Sir, – I tutor a young man from Darfur who has been in this country
for five years and is attending the IDC in Herzliya. I haven’t seen him in the
past few weeks and recently found out why: The young man is afraid to
His friend was accosted by several Israeli youths on a bus
traveling down Ben-Yehuda Street, near where I live. The driver had to call the
police. My student was spat upon twice and wanted to fight the person, but,
thankfully, someone else intervened and calmed the situation.
said that during the five years he has lived in Israel he had never experienced
any violence, but now there is fear among the refugees. How ironic that the
promised land is just as stressful for him as nightmarish Darfur and Egypt
Sir, – Sudanese migrants who illegally
entered Israel were given a one-week grace period and then being shipped home.
But they are not being dumped at a border and told to flee. They will be given
1,000 euros (nearly NIS 5,000!) and a free(!) plane ticket.
countries perpetrate some very severe acts on such individuals, yet Israel takes
the high moral ground and not only repatriates these individuals, but does it in
a dignified matter.
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Sir, – In light of
the growing violence sweeping across Israel against illegal migrants, I cannot
help but think of a solution for those of us who entered legally but became
illegal, particularly those of us working in caregiving and
Becoming illegal commonly arises from two situations:
losing or ending a job, for whatever reason, and, for women, becoming pregnant
and raising a baby.
These two issues can be solved simply by extending
the time limit for a legal stay to eight years instead of four years and three
We came to Israel paying astronomical sums in the hope of
improving our lives. We work very, very hard. We are not a burden on Israeli
society. It’s just that four years and three months is enough only to break even
since the first year is spent paying back the manpower agency fees. That’s why
many opt to stay and work despite their illegal status.
Is it too much to
ask the immigration authorities to make a compromise on the legal time limit?
Sir, – We were participants in the
Ben-Gurion University research workshop “Socio-Legal Perspectives on the Passage
to Modernity In and Beyond the Middle East” that Seth J. Frantzman criticized
unfairly in “Incitement U: Confronting hate at Israel’s academy” (Terra
Incognita, June 7).
Frantzman, who attended only the workshop’s opening
panel (and gave a partial and misleading account of that panel), characterized
the entire workshop as critical of Israel. He also implied that participants
approved of an inappropriate remark directed at him by BGU Prof. Aref Abu-
Rabia. Many of those present were not able to hear the exchange, and it was very
unfair of Frantzman to accuse the organizers and discussants, who were seated at
a distance, of “silence” in the face of “aggression,” “harassment” and
Frantzman also implied that criticism of his presentation
was politically motivated and bereft of any legitimate academic
Although we can’t speak for everyone present, the paper he
co-authored met with considerable skepticism (not hostility) due to its poor
quality and its tendentious premise. That was the context of the comparison that
our colleague made to South African history: black Africans’ claims to rights
were contested on the basis of their migration to the area in historical times,
just as the Frantzman et al. paper contested Beduin rights on the basis of their
supposed migration to the Negev some two centuries ago.
raised legitimate questions about Frantzman et al.’s research methods, sources
and the way in which they viewed “the law” as an unchanging written text rather
than a dynamic, ongoing political and social process –which was, after all, the
main methodological approach of the workshop as a whole.
nothing about this workshop session, and certainly not the workshop as a whole,
that would justify describing it in terms of “hate” and “incitement.”
clearly enhanced the standing of Ben-Gurion University within the international
community of Middle Eastern scholars.
ENGIN DENIZ AKARLI
Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University
KENNETH M. CUNO
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
New York University
University of Michigan
Free University of Berlin
University of Amsterdam
University of Memphis
M. SAFA SARACOGLU
Frantzman replies: My column did not imply that the entire workshop was critical
of Israel, rather that the personal attack accusing me of “collaboration” and
Nazism was extremely offensive for such a setting. I did not attend the rest of
the workshop precisely because there was no indication that the organizers, then
or now, felt that these comments were unacceptable.
House brand rules
Sir, – I was surprised to read in “Food fight” (Editorial, June 6) that
supermarket chains do not carry enough house-commissioned generic products. My
own supermarket branch carries fewer and fewer competing brands in favor of its
own self-labeled products. This, the opposite of a free-market system, can be
Nasty, nasty piece
Sir, – Ray
Hanania’s “Kirk doesn’t let health problem stop his push to help Israel” (Yalla
Peace, June 6) is a nasty, nasty piece of work. A politician’s political stances
are fair game, but attacking one for having accepted post-stroke rehabilitative
medical care to which he is entitled is beyond the pale.
Hanania’s obnoxious straw-man argument that Sen. Mark Kirk’s bill would have
been considered “an outrage if it had been written to limit refugee status to
only those Jews who were alive in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust between 1941
and 1945, not to their descendents.” To quote Hanania himself from elsewhere in
the same article, huh? Descendents of Holocaust victims have never been given
refugee status, so no one could possibly propose such a bill.
Palestinians are unique in being able to pass on refugee status to succeeding