Statement on Ethiopian Protest: Hearing Their Cries

The New Israel Fund supports the struggle of the Ethiopian community to eliminate the racism and institutionalized discrimination that threatens them in Israel, including systematic mistreatment and profiling by the police. The Israeli government and ordinary Israelis must fulfill their obligation to treat the Ethiopian community as full and valued citizens. We must hear their cries for equality and justice.

We resolutely oppose violence and call on both the small number of demonstrators who resorted to violence, and on the police themselves, to avoid any repetition of last night’s events which resulted in many injuries. We will continue to support this community’s and every Israeli’s right to peaceful protest.

Finally, we are aware that the usual ultra-nationalist media outlets and politicians are associating this protest with the New Israel Fund. While we morally support the community’s struggle and are proud of our longstanding investment in Israel’s most marginalized communities, we had no formal involvement in the recent demonstrations. The assumption that the Ethiopian community could not organize a demonstration on their own is both mistaken and offensive.

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May 2015