Monday, October 28, 2019

Grandson of Holocaust survivor banned from Israel





22-year-old Austrian Jew Edmond Sichrovsky says family's horrific past inspired activism


Israeli border police secure a road leading to a newly established Israeli settlers outpost, seen in the background, during clashes with Palestinian protesters in the West Bank village of Tormusayya, northeast of Ramallah

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The grandson of Holocaust survivors has been banned and deported from Israel for supporting the people of Palestine.
Edmond Sichrovsky, 22, who is Austrian and of Jewish origin, has been a human rights observer in Palestine and has opposed the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel.
He was detained when he landed at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on Thursday last week, October 24.
Mr Sichrovsky was interrogated and searched at the airport after arriving from Amman in Jordan before being forcibly returned to the Jordanian capital.
He has been told to pay the US$500 (£390) price of his flight back to Amman.
Mr Sichrovsky’s past activities in Palestine have included volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and documenting and reporting on human rights abuses by Israeli forces in Occupied Palestine.
In the past he was assaulted in Wadi al-Hummus by officers from the notorious Israeli riot police unit Yassam while opposing demolitions of Palestinian homes.
He is the grandson of Harry Sichrovsky, a renowned Austrian Jewish writer and journalist.
Mr Sichrovsky said: “Growing up, my grandparents being some of the only ones in their entire family to survive the Holocaust in Austria. ‘Never again’ is something I heard a lot and resonate strongly with.
“To me, ‘Never again’ isn’t just for Jews, it means never again should anyone in the world have to suffer because of their religion, race, or what they were born into.
“That’s why I came to volunteer in Palestine.
“Israel claims to be ‘a homeland for Jewish people around the world,’ yet by banning and deporting me and other Jews with differing political opinions, they have shown that Israel is a home for Jews only if they don’t question or speak up about the government’s apartheid policies.
“My ban and deportation from Israel only confirms what I have seen again and again in Palestine: that the Israeli government will do anything to keep people from seeing its brutal occupation, ethnic cleansing, and daily violations of Palestinians’ basic human rights.”
Mr Sichrovsky said he had called on Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg to make a public statement on Israel’s detention and deportation of an Austrian citizen who had not violated any Israeli law.
He called the Austrian embassy in Tel Aviv while being held in Ben Gurion airport, but was told that they “could not provide any assistance.”
The ISM said that it “condemns the Israeli government’s banning and deportation of Edmond Sichrovsky.
“By forbidding entry to people with differing political views Israel is acting like the anti-democratic state it really is.
“Governments whose citizens have been banned must call out Israel on these blatant attempts to hide its crimes from the world.
“Failing to do so condones Israel’s abuse of human rights and silencing of those who expose them.”
Israel routinely bans and deports volunteers, activists, human rights observers and academics suspected of anti-occupation views or of activities in anti-occupation or Palestinian organisations.
Prominent Jews banned from Israel due to their political views include American-Jewish academics Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky.
In 2017, Israel passed a law permitting foreign nationals to be banned from Israel for calling for the boycott of Israel or Israeli illegal settlements.

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