Emanuel blasts Israel on Sudan refugees


A top Jewish Democrat in Congress wrote Israel’s ambassador to express his “disappointment” in Israel for turning away Sudanese refugees.

“I am writing today to express my disappointment that Israel would turn away any person fleeing from persecution,” Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the fourth ranked Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives said in his letter sent Monday to Ambassador Sallai Meridor.

He referred to a report that Israel had turned away 48 Sudanese at the Egyptian border. Sudanese fleeing their war-torn land have been beaten and in some cases killed by Egyptian authorities.

“I understand the concern the State of Israel has for maintaining the integrity of her borders, but if any country should understand the special needs of those affected by the genocide in Darfur, it should be Israel,” wrote Emanuel, whose father is Israeli.

“Since its founding, Israel has been committed to finding homes for those who suffer at the hands of war and despair,” he wrote. “The international community looks to Israel as a land of hope and sanctuary. In 1948, the Jewish Diaspora finally had a place to call home. I hope that the state of Israel will reconsider its decision to turn away those refugees who must flee Darfur to avoid death and persecution so that the Sudanese people can find asylum in a state that was founded to be a home and a place of hope for those who had suffered similarly.”

Recommended from JTA