When it comes to Israel’s absorption of Ethiopians, Israel often gets damned for mistakes in their integration, and also for racism. Unfortunately, Israel’s now damned for honoring their accomplishments.
Yes, Israel, like all countries, has its unfortunate problems of racism. But the problems described by Australian feminist columnist Ruby Hamad don’t justify The Hypocrisy of a Black Miss Israel. Hamad has a big-time problem with the Miss Israel crown going to 21 year-old Ethiopian-born Yityish Aynaw:
It is a mistake to assume, when an individual belonging to a marginalised group manages to break through the barriers barring them to success, that suddenly these barriers no longer exist.
First of all, Hamad botched the facts on what she thinks is her strongest part of the condemnation:
While they were still in transit camps in Ethiopia, women were either misled or coerced into accepting injections of Depo-Provera. ‘They told us they are inoculations’, one victim told the Israeli investigative journalist who broke the story. ‘They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.’ While some were persuaded to take the inoculation, others were told, point blank, that they could not emigrate if they refused the injections.
Make no mistake; this is a form of ethnic cleansing.
Memo to Hamad: Our colleagues at CAMERA debunked that accusation and Haaretz issued a correction. Unfortunately, other news services and columnists continue giving traction to the canard.
Aside from that, nobody claims that Yityish Aynaw’s Miss Israel crown is the beginning of a new era of racial harmony any more than, say, Belaynesh Zevadia‘s appointment as Israel’s first Ethiopian-born ambassador to Ethiopia, or Pnina Tamano-Shata becoming the first female Ethiopian-born Knesset member.
These women literally walked a long walk to get to where they are. And while not everybody’s going to become a beauty queen, an ambassador, or a member of Knesset, they are indeed sources of pride and inspiration for the Ethiopian community, Israel, Jews around the world, and women in general.
Why negate their well-earned accomplishments simply because Israel isn’t perfect enough for Hamad?
(Image of Aynaw via YouTube/JewishNewsOne)