Racist Zionism and the Ukrainian refugees

Yossi Schwartz, ISL – RCIT Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 13.03.2022

In her first decision, Interior Minister Shaked announced that only ‘halachic’ Jewish Ukrainians – those who are born to Jewish mothers – would be accepted into the country. Under Israel’s Law of Return, every child or grandchild of a Jew is eligible to immigrate to Israel with their family and be granted citizenship.

Under pressure she announced on Tuesday that “Israel is willing to accept 5,000 non-Jewish refugees fleeing the fighting in Ukraine, adding that about 20,000 Ukrainians who had been in the country before the war began will not be deported for now. According to the latest figures by the Population and Immigration Authority, 2,519 Ukrainians who aren’t eligible for aliyah arrived in Israel so far since February 24, when the Russian invasion began. That means that less than 2,500 Ukrainian refugees will be allowed in the country as of Shaked’s announcement”. [1]

For those who have believed that Israel was established because of the holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish refugees this policy came as shock. There are more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees which means that Israel will accept 0.00125% of the refugees.

Was it only the government it would be only one aspect of nature of the Zionist colonialist settler’s state, however the nature of Israel is reflected by the position held by a large part of Israel’s population.

“Most Israelis support the imposition of quotas on the absorption of refugees from Ukraine – that is the conclusion of a poll among Israelis, obtained by the Jerusalem Post the survey was conducted by the Direct Polls Institute for the Israeli Immigration Policy Center – a conservative Israeli non-profit organization. The poll found that about 67% of Israelis oppose granting status to Ukrainian refugees In addition, there is a clear majority of 69% who believe that a clear quota should be set for the number of refugees to be absorbed in Israel, while a quarter of the public believe that all should be absorbed 47% oppose their absorption in Israel. their absorption in Israel is the least preferred step – only 6% of Israelis support it, while 56% of Israelis believe that field hospitals and the transfer of humanitarian equipment to areas outside of Ukraine should be preferred and 35% prefer that Israel assist only Jews in Ukraine.” [2]

Needless to say, when it comes to the Palestinian refugees that were removed in the ethnic cleansing of 1947-8 even less than 6% of the Israelis will agree to their right of return.

A few days ago, the Minister of Health of Israel announced that Israel will open a field hospital in the Ukraine. Very nice of Israel except for a very small problem.

“The Finance Ministry has not approved funding for a planned Israeli field hospital for war-torn Ukraine and has no intention to foot the bill, which is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of shekels, according to a Wednesday report.A Finance Ministry source told Channel 12 that ministry officials first heard about plans for the hospital from media reports. The Health Ministry announced its intention to set up the field hospital on Saturday, with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz saying it was Israel’s “moral duty” to assist the people of Ukraine” [3]

It will be a mistake to think that only Israel admires Ukraine and does not care about the Ukrainians except for the Ukrainians Jews that will arrive in Israel. We have not heard that US imperialists have offered to take in Ukrainian refugees. At the same time these imperialists inflame the hate against all Russians, even those who oppose Russian invasion.

In an article in the Boston Globe we read, “Under the shadows of war, shopkeepers whose businesses bore the name of the enemy nation quickly changed them. They adorned their windows with flags and slogans affirming their fealty. People who had been considered upstanding members of their communities felt as if they had to prove their worth — and even protect their safety — with displays of allegiance. That’s what German immigrants faced in America when their adopted home entered World War I against Germany. More than a century later, it’s now happening to Russians here who fear being punished because of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war against Ukraine.” [4]

The same thing happened to American Japanese:

“At the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, about 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry lived on the US mainland, mostly along the Pacific Coast. About two thirds were full citizens, born and raised in the United States. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, however, a wave of anti -Japanese suspicion and fear led the Roosevelt administration to adopt a drastic policy toward these residents, alien and citizen alike. Virtually all Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and property and live in camps for most of the war” [5]

What a poor explanation for chauvinistic policy.

The same thing happened to Germans who lived in Britain:

“Until May 1940, British authorities saw no reason to intern the large numbers of enemy aliens in categories B and C. However, after the fall of Low Countries and France in quick succession, fears of the existence of a fifth column of German saboteurs grew. Encouraged by the tabloid press, which published unsubstantiated scaremongering articles about foreigners, the public started to call for something to be done about the aliens in their midst. The threat of invasion of the British mainland by the Axis forces remained very real, and consequently the government thought it prudent to intern all male enemy aliens, regardless of classification, between 16 and 60 years of age and all women in category B, sometimes with their children. The idea was not to intern all enemy aliens long term but to remove the immediate threat using mass internment and then release ‘friendly’ aliens only once their loyalty could be guaranteed. These arrests were made from mid-May until early July 1940.

By July 1940, approximately 80,000 Germans and Austrians had found refuge in Britain, even if briefly before migrating onwards. Around 29,000 enemy aliens were interned, comprising approximately 24,000 Germans and Austrian refugees, while the remainder were predominately Italians who were interned once Mussolini declared war on Great Britain in June 1940.In 1939 and early 1940, the relatively few A category internees were housed in prisons and three holiday camps in Clacton, Seaton and Paignton. Their occupants were a diverse mixture of committed fascists and left-wing adherents including communists (some of them Jews), which led to conflicts between these ideologically opposed groups.” [6]

This chauvinism has been an essential feature of all class societies but is worse under capitalism especially in the age of imperialism.

Down with all the imperialists!

For the right of self-determination of the Ukraine!

For independent worker militias in the Ukraine!

For workers governments in Russia and in Ukraine!

Open the gates for the refugees!


[1] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israel-to-scrap-cash-deposit-requirement-for-ukrainian-refugees-1.10659819

[2] https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-700860

[3] https://www.timesofisrael.com/finance-ministry-wont-pay-for-planned-israeli-field-hospital-in-ukraine-report/

[4] https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/03/08/opinion/this-is-putins-war-anti-russian-xenophobia-wont-save-ukraine/

[5] https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/japanese-american-incarceration

[6] https://www.gale.com/intl/essays/rachel-pistol-refugees-national-socialism-great-britain-1933-1945

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