Israel Miko Peled

Some Africans Can’t Get Asylum in Israel Because Persecution Is Normal There

While the numbers of Israeli atrocities and crimes are far too many to count, from time to time we come across something that stands out. This time it is the decision of Israel’s outgoing Minister of Interior to deny asylum to a woman facing female genital mutilation.
Eritrean asylum seekers at Levinsky park Tel Aviv. Rudychaimg, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Miko Peled / MintPress News

While all eyes are currently and justifiably on the incoming, monstrous Israeli government, there are a few leftovers from the previous administration that are worth mentioning. The previous Israeli government is seen by many people as a kinder, gentler and more reasonable government than the one in place right now.

However, while it is true that the current government is more frightening than anything we have seen the Zionists produce until now, we would do well to look at the policies enacted by that previous government so that we refrain from the mistake of seeing any Zionist government as reasonable or favorable in any way.

While the numbers of Israeli atrocities and crimes are far too many to count, from time to time we come across something that stands out. This time it is the decision by Israel’s outgoing Minister of Interior to deny asylum to a woman who, if she returns to her native Sierra Leone, will have to undergo female genital mutilation.


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MALE VS FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

The outgoing minister Ayelet Shaked explained her denying asylum to the woman in question by comparing it to male circumcision. Treating these two practices differently, according to Shaked, is simply absurd. In reality, while practically all professional medical opinions regarding female genital mutilation (FGM) oppose it in the strongest possible terms, the opinions regarding male circumcision are somewhat split.

The World Health Organization, WHO, states the following key facts regarding FGM:

  • FGM involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.
  • The practice has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • More than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is practiced.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • There is evidence suggesting greater involvement of health care providers in the practice. This is known as medicalization.
  • The WHO is opposed to all types of FGM, and is opposed to health care providers performing FGM.
  • Treatment of the health complications of FGM in 27 high prevalence countries is estimated to cost 1.4 billion USD per year and is projected to rise to 2.3 billion USD by 2047 if no action is taken.

An article published in The Journal of Medical Ethics states that: “Every infant has a right to bodily integrity. Removing healthy tissue from an infant is only permissible if there is an immediate medical indication. In the case of infant male circumcision, there is no evidence of an immediate need to perform the procedure. As a German court recently held, any benefit to circumcision can be obtained by delaying the procedure until the male is old enough to give his own fully informed consent. With the option of delaying circumcision providing all the purported benefits, circumcising an infant is an unnecessary violation of his bodily integrity as well as an ethically invalid form of medical violence. Parental proxy ‘consent’ for newborn circumcision is invalid. Male circumcision also violates four core human rights documents-the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.”

Still, according to the WHO, there may be some benefits to adult male circumcision performed on consenting adults in certain regions around the globe: “Since 2007 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have recommended voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as an important strategy for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV in men in settings where the prevalence of heterosexually transmitted HIV is high.”

JEWISH TRADITION

According to Jewish tradition, circumcision is to take place when a male baby reaches eight days of age. In most, if not all Jewish communities, this is done as a matter of fact with little or no objection by the parents. In fact, the “bris,” as it is referred to by Jewish people, is a great day of celebration when a male child enters the “bris” or covenant that the Old Testament says was made between the patriarch Abraham and the Almighty when Abraham himself, already an old man, was circumcised. Islam, like Judaism, sees circumcision as a crucial part of becoming a member of the faith.

But back to Ayelet Shaked. It is true that in the State of Israel, which is populated mostly by Muslims and Jews, male circumcision is accepted and is part of the common everyday practice. Yet, even there, there is a movement of mostly young secular couples who refuse to circumcise their male babies.

Shaked is hiding behind the definition of the word “refugee.” According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, the definition of refugee is: “a person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him- or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.”

Shaked argued that the woman does not deserve asylum because, “sex is not listed and does not meet the requirement of “membership of a particular social group.” Her real motivation, however, can be found in her following argument:

It is therefore unthinkable that the State of Israel would harm its sovereign interests and grant asylum for alleged persecution that is similar or close in its essence to a popular tradition among its own citizens.”

One might ask, how would giving this woman asylum harm the sovereign interest of Israel? She is a black African from Sierra Leone. The woman is ‘not Jewish.

Israeli Member of Knesset Ofer Cassif commented on the ruling, saying, “Shaked’s decision to deport a woman, an asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, to a place where she will not be able to resist or say no to the mutilation of her body amid a risk to her life and a loss of control over her body, is satanic, inhuman and illegal.” Cassif added an important note which again reveals the real reason behind this monstrous decision,  “The fact that Shaked based her decision on the Nation-State Law only proves how vile and monstrous the law is.”

Shaked’s real concern was that granting asylum to this African woman might alter the country’s demographic balance and damage its Jewish character. Had the woman been Jewish, she surely would have ruled in her favor.


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Miko Peled
Miko Peled

Miko Peled is a MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

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