A Jewish asylum seeker who won his claim to be permitted to stay in the UK has vowed to continue the fight to force the British courts to both recognise him as a refugee and call out the systemic racial bias of the Zionist state.
The Haredi rabbinical student, known only as MF for his own protection, won his appeal against a Home Office decision to refuse asylum. A tribunal accepted that were the 22-year old to be returned to Israel, he would be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and risk suffering a relapse of his mental condition.
Although the decision means MF can now safely remain in Britain for a limited period of time (he has not been granted asylum), he believes that in allowing his appeal on the basis of his poor health the Tribunal failed to address the persecution he faced and skirted the real reason he opposes conscription.
“While I welcome the Tribunal’s decision to allow me to remain in the UK, I am saddened that it centred its decision around my mental health rather than the persecutory nature of Zionism,” he said.
As an apartheid state that systemically persecutes Palestinians, MF claims he would risk being complicit in war crimes were he to serve in the military. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, as well as the Israeli NGO B’tselem and Palestinian NGOs Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and BADIL, have all explicitly described Israel as an apartheid regime that systematically carries out human rights abuses against Palestinians.
MF’s lawyers have now lodged an appeal against the decision, asking judges to reassess MF’s specific asylum claim and to consider the wider issue of Israeli apartheid.
MF fled Israel after being beaten, spat on by Israel police officers and also sprayed with skunk water for taking part in anti-Zionist protests. As a conscientious objector he would face arrest, imprisonment and further violence were he to return to Israel and refuse to be conscripted into the country’s armed forces.
The student’s lawyers welcomed the decision but maintain that is not possible to properly consider MF’s case without addressing apartheid, a legal concept codified in the 2002 Rome Statute and the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
“The tribunal could and should have gone further in making findings about the risks posed by Israel’s regime of racial domination. Our client is now determined to exercise his right of appeal to a more senior Tribunal, and will invite the judges there to make findings about the harmful and oppressive nature of Israeli apartheid,” said Franck Magennis, counsel for MF.
“If successful in his appeal, MF will help to establish a vital and binding legal precedent, one that will assist judges and Home Office decision makers considering whether to grant asylum to the many people, including Palestinians and Jews who refuse to serve in the Israeli military, and who continue to face systematic oppression at the hands of Israeli apartheid.”
IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh said: “It is astonishing that our asylum system is deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to recognising the systemic abuses of an apartheid regime and continues to miserably fail its victims.”
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