How the campaign against Israel’s expulsion of African refugees gained momentum in USA and Israel

Attempts to prevent the Israeli government from deporting 38,000 Eritreans and Sudanese is one of the most remarkable campaigns in recent years.

It has really taken off in the USA and Israel. Here’s how it happened.

Rabbi Susan Silverman Launches Anne Frank Institute to Help African Asylum Seekers in Israel

Dec. 11 – A webinar organized by Elliot Glassenberg, the Canadian-Israeli who has been trying to organize the North American Jewish community for several years through an American organization called Right Now .  At this point it was a fringe movement, both in Israel and the U.S.

Dec. 13 – Hundreds of American Jews sign this letter to the Israeli Prime Minister.  Here is the text of the letter, with only some of the signatories.
Jan. 2 (?) – The Israeli government formalized its expulsion order.  Within a day it was all over the international news.
Jan. 5-8 – American Jewish philanthropist Joey Low had a series of meetings in Washington DC.  Still seemed fringe, including because the only Congressional venue was with the Congressional Black Caucus (probably staff, no members of Congress).
Jan. 9 – ADL, a centrist and highly respected American Jewish organization which was previously on record as “no comment” on the issue, expressed concern to JTA in connection with JTA’s coverage of Joey Low’s event.
Jan. 9 – UNHCR issued a release.
Jan. 15 – ADL and HIAS wrote their own open letter .
Jan. 16 – JCPA, which is an umbrella for scores or hundreds of local Jewish city federations around the country and thus is quite mainstream, spoke out.
Jan. 18 – Leading Israeli authors wrote an open letter.
Jan. 19 – Susan Silverman and other rabbis in Israel offered to hide Africans in their homes (Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement).
Jan. 20 – Hundreds of academics join the protest.
Jan. 21 – Hospital doctors, nurses and social workers joined.
Jan. 21  – Several Holocaust survivors in Israel offered to hide Africans in their homes
Jan. 22 – Three El Al pilots joined.
Jan. 22 – Movie stars joined.
Jan. 22 – Human Rights Watch protested.
Jan. 24 – School principals joined.
Jan. 24 – Psychologists joined.
Jan. 26 – 36 Holocaust survivors signed a letter in Ha’Aretz:
Jan. 28 – 750 U.S. rabbis and cantors signed a letter.
Jan. 29 – Diplomats and more social workers joined.
Jan. 30 – The influential Washington Post published an opinion piece arguing that Israel was betraying its heritage by expelling the refugees.

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