Just How Democratic Are They?

For many years the Right and some on the Left have been trying to convince people that Israel is a democracy……having a parliament and elections does not make it a democracy…….the old enemy of the US, the USSR, had an assembly and held election and as we are told (constantly) the USSr was not a friend of democracy…….

I have written numerous times about the doings within the Israeli government…..the way they treat Israeli Arabs, their outlook of women and how they handle protesters……none of which were very democratic…….but until recently I had thought that they were minor lapses, for lack of a better term……but all that changed when I read this piece……

Source: Renee Ghert-Zand

This article previously appeared in the Jewish Daily Forward.

Jewish Ethiopian women were given contraceptive injections before immigrating to Israel and after arrival. The result: a 50 percent decline in birthrate, and a ‘missing generation’ of Ethiopian children.”

“This story reeks of racism, paternalism and arrogance.”

The birthrate among Ethiopians in Israel decreased by a dramatic 50% in the last decade, and Israeli journalist Gal Gabai wanted to know why. She investigated the issue for “Vacuum,” her documentary series on Israeli Educational Television, and she discovered some things that left her very uncomfortable — and will surely leave others equally so.

Educational Television posted Gabai’s 25-minute report, titled “Where did the children disappear to?” on YouTube on December 6, two days before it was scheduled to air on channel 23.

In her attempt to find out what the story was behind the shocking statistic, Gabai interviewed Ethiopian women immigrants and learned from them that they were given Depo-Provera (a contraceptive injection containing the hormone progestin administered once every three months) against their will. While some did not understand what the shots were for, others felt pressured into taking them in response to alleged threats that they would otherwise not be allowed to immigrate to Israel. The shots began in the refugee camps in Gondar, continued in the transition camps in Addis Ababa, and continued on after their arrivals in Israel. According to the women’s testimony, this continuity appears to have been a coordinated effort between the medical staff at the clinics in Ethiopia run by the JDC and doctors in Israeli hospitals and clinics.

The women, it seems, were never given proper family planning counseling outlining the various birth control methods, nor were they given the chance to choose the one with which they felt most comfortable. What were they given? The clear message that life would be very hard for them if they were to have large families in Israel.

“The shots began in the refugee camps in Gondar, continued in the transition camps in Addis Ababa, and continued on after their arrivals in Israel.”

Some of the women interviewed said they were told that birth control pills were not suitable for them because they were not capable of remembering to take them daily. Video shot with a hidden camera during an Israeli health clinic visit by an Ethiopian immigrant, during which she gets a Depo-Provera shot, indeed documents healthcare providers expressing this exact opinion of Ethiopian women.

Gabai interviewed a female gynecologist who expressed shock at hearing that just about all Ethiopian women are given Depo-Provera shots, saying that it is rarely prescribed and usually recommended only for women who are institutionalized or developmentally disabled (in other words, women who cannot be relied upon to practice other methods responsibly). A male medical expert, however, said Depo-Provera is no big deal and that he had heard that it was the primary means of birth control in Ethiopia in general.

Read More…

Maybe we should not post this and give some ideas that could be clouded with political rhetoric…….thoughts?

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17 thoughts on “Just How Democratic Are They?

  1. Great post, but sadly i’m not surprised by this revelation. How on earth the US maintains its support of the Israeli government i really can’t say. I’m Australian and our government has pretty much severed ties with Tel Aviv since the passport forging debacle.

    • Hi John and welcome back……I worked in the Middle East back in the 80’s and nothing Americans hear about the situation is totally correct…..the media has done a great job on propaganda……hope to see you again….chuq

    • Bill Gates is Israeli? I did not know that! Charles Babbage was Israeli? I did not know that either? Edison and Tesla were Israeli’s? Alexander Graham Bell was an Israeli? Marconi, too? Wow! The things you learn!

      What do the Israeli’s need Australia for? Clearly they like our passports so much they’ll break every international law regarding such documents to forge them. I guess they use Australian passports because we’re a country that is respected around the world. What do you think?

      Bennett, let me ask you, does dumb come naturally to you, or is it something you have to work at daily?

  2. Lobotero,

    I have friends in Israel and all of them tell me that Haaretz News isn’t that much different from our National Inquirer. It’s mostly lies and anti-Israeli nonsense. And the reporter, Gal Gabay, is a far-left loon.

    Think about it logically. If Israel was as antidemocratic as you say, why would they allow Haaretz to exist in Israel? Why would they allow Gal Gabay to air such an “incriminating” documentary?

    The Ethiopian Medical director denies the injections.

    ear Shmarya,

    Thanks for your inquiry.

    JDC runs the medical program in Gondar for potential immigrants to Israel. As part of this, we offer voluntary contraception to our population. Our clinic offers both birth control pills and injectable contraception. If a woman prefers another method of contraception such as implantable or tubal ligation, we send them to facilities down the road in the city of Gondar for this.

    Women come to the program because they desire family planning. We present the various options to them and they choose. So women both choose to use contraception and choose their method. And choose when to discontinue contraception. It has always been that way in our program.

    Right now we’re caring for about 4500 potential immigrants to Israel. We average about 85 family planning visits each month.

    We do not inform the Israeli authorities who is on family planning, and I have no idea what happens once they arrive in Israel.

    Regarding the rate of 30% reported some years ago, we offered family planning to the population at a time when it was less available to thegeneral public, and our population chose to use it.

    At present, the rate of modern contraceptive use in Amhara Region is 33% indicating a significant demand, as contraceptive services have become more available to the public. Even now, there is an unmet demand for contraceptive services in this region of over 20%. To give you an idea of the rise in this service, in 2005, 15.7% used modern contraception in Amhara region.

    Injectable contraceptives are the most desired throughout the country. They are easy, culturally preferred, and offer the ability to be on birth control without a woman informing her husband, which is an issue here.

    I appreciate the chance to set this record straight.

    Best wishes,

    Rick Hodes, MD, MACP
    Medical Director, AJJDC-Ethiopia

    You must also ask yourself why Israel doesn’t simply close down the boarder. Why do they even have an emigration office in Ethiopia if they don’t want Ethiopians in their country?

    And if sterilizations are required in order to immigrate to Israel, so what? It’s not forced unless the immigration is forced. And Israel no doubt has its own reasons for not wanting to make the mistakes America has made with respect to immigration.

    We are effectively becoming a one-party country, Lobotero, and a political theorist such as yourself must know that one-party states are by definition anti-democratic.

    I wouldn’t support sterilization if I were an Israeli citizens, but I would close the boarders if I were that concerned about Ethiopians overrunning the country.

  3. Anything Haaretz prints is beyond left and Bolsihiveck.The writer is an admirer of Iran and Hizbollah and a card carrying member of the sick and dying left in Israel.It sounds like “The Protcals of Zionism”.Ethiopians serve in the IDF on the highest level and serve in the Knesset.The brilliant comments made by Terrance Huiskens lays everything out beautifully.

      • Lobotero,

        You have said repeatedly that you have Muslim and Arab friends. Are you allowing the eons of distrust and hatred between Muslims and Jews to influence your opinion of Israel?

        And why have you not answered my questions? Seriously, I want to know why Israel, this supposedly fascistic, undemocratic nation, allows a free media and a free people to say and write whatever they want.

        Why do they allow Muslims to practice their faith? Why do they accomodate their faith? I understand that Israeli schools actually allow Muslim students to leave class throughout the day to go pray.

        And why do they have an emigration office in Ethiopia?

        Just the other day, I was in a heated exchange with a group of extreme rightwing conspiracy theorists who believe the Jews blew up the World Trade Center, control the world’s currencies, and are actively working to enslave us all. Have you ever heard of something so ridiculous?

        I am exceedingly tired of this anti-Semitism. Some of the nicest, most caring people I have ever met are Jewish, and I’m tired of this hate that comes from people on both the extreme right and left wings.

      • Terrance, my opinion comes from things that I saw while in the Middle East…..to criticize Israel is not antisemitism…….and some of the most hospitable people I ever met were Muslims….BTW a case was made that some Ethiopians are considered Jewish and as such are entitled to return home….is that true? You will have to ask an Israeli official……

      • Lobotero,

        I’ve never been to the Middle East so I don’t have a firsthand account of the relations Israel has with its neighbors. From everything I’ve read, however, there are too many Muslims that want to wipe Israel completely off the map irrespective of any Jewish concessions.

        The peace talks will always fail because Palestinians want Jerusalem, which is a non-starter for Israel. They know that, but they demand it anyway because they don’t seek peace; they seek Israel. If the Jews give them Jerusalem, they’ll demand Beersheba, Arad, Dimona, Revivim,Yotvata, Mizpe Ramon, Elat, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, and on it’ll continue. They want Israel for themselves.

        Israel is often criticized unfairly. They are a nation the size of New Jersey enclosed in a prison of hate. They are literally surrounded by religious fanatics that would like to behead the whole lot of ‘em. I support Israel 100%.

        With respect to your visits to the Middle East, have you ever been to Israel? As a Christian, I would love to make a pilgrimage to certain holy sties, but with my luck I’d be kidnapped or something.

        Ethiopian Jews are known as the Beta Israel (Community of Jews). They are located primarily in the northern province of Gondar. Nobody really knows their origins, but there are a few different theories. The Ethiopians themselves claim to be descendants of Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and Emperor of Ethiopia.

        Yes, Ethiopian Jews are entitled to emigrate to Israel under the Law of Return (according to a 1977 decision). Regardless, however, Ethiopian Jews come from a completely different culture. They may practice something close to the same religion, but overall their culture is entirely different, and Israel can ill-afford to surrender their democracy to a completely different demographic.

        Israel is in a very precarious situation. It’s already 30% Arab. It’ll be 40% if they accept the one-state solution and annex the West Bank. And since Jewish birthrate is only high among orthodox sects, it won’t be long before Palestinians outnumber Jews and abolish the Jewish state entirely. If they expel the Palestinians, a form of ethnic cleansing, then an all-our war with Arabs everywhere will ensue. Their last option is to permanently control the West Bank and Gaza, which means a continuation of the same struggles they’re having now. So give Israel a break, for crying out loud. They’re not in a good situation.

      • Yes, I have been to Israel…Tel Aviv to be exact…I have also been to the West Bank, but not Gaza….we could debate the the situation forever and neither of us would win the argument….before one supports one side or the other 100% maybe a trip would be in order…I will say that not all reports seen in this country are accurate….

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