Israel Admits To Forcibly Injecting Black Immigrants With Birth Control | Kulture Kritic

Israel has admitted that it forcibly and without consent gave birth control injections to Ethiopian Jewish immigrants, according to a report in Haaretz.  An investigative journalist uncovered the fact that most of the women who were given the birth control shots were not aware they were being given birth control and did not consent.  Since that discovery, Health Ministry Director General Prof Ron Gamzu has acknowledged in a letter to Israeli health maintenance organizations that Black Jewish immigrants were given the shots.

Gamzu issued the letter after Sharona Eliahu-Chai of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel lodged a complaint on behalf of multiple women’s rights and Ethiopian immigrant groups. The letter specifically instructed gynecologists in the HMOs “not to renew prescriptions for Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment.”

Investigative journalist Gal Gabbay interviewed 35 Ethiopian immigrants along with Sava Reuben. Some of them reported that while they were still in transit camps waiting to complete the immigration process, they were intimidated and threatened into taking the Depo-Provera birth control shot. One woman stated, “They told us they are inoculations. They told us people who frequently give birth suffer. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.”  Another woman reported that she believed she had been given a flu vaccination. Shockingly, 25 of the 35 women interviewed were still receiving birth control shots at the time they were interviewed.

One woman, who declined to give her name, says that the only reason she complied with receiving the birth control injections was because she was threatened with her immigration to Israel being blocked. These women represent a handful of the women affected by this unethical act.  In just the last decade, more than 50,000 Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel, with almost 100,000 immigrating since the 1980s.

According to a New York Times report, Israel has historically made birth rates and demographics a political issue as the country focuses on trying to promote Jewish birthrates in order to retain a Jewish majority.  It is estimated that Israel’s deceptive use of the birth control shots could be a significant factor in why the birthrate of Israel’s Ethiopian community has dropped by some 50 percent.  Sava and Reuben produced a documentary regarding this drop, instigating a popular outcry.

Six years prior to the discovery of the forcible use of the birth control, Women and Technologies Project head Hedva Eyal questioned the Israeli government abut why Ethiopian immigrants were disproportionately receiving 60 percent of birth control shots in the country, but she was not given an answer. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Eyal states, “The ease with which a woman’s testimony is dismissed – certainly that of a Black woman and a poor Black woman at that – is shocking.”

Israel’s health ministry has vehemently denied the forcible use of the birth control shots. A spokesperson for the department states, “The Israel ministry of health neither advises nor encourages the use of Depo-Provera injections and if they are being administered this is in despite of our view.”

Dr. Mushira Aboodia, a gynecologist with Jerusalem’s Hadassah medical center, states, “This is a policy that no one will admit. No one in Israel will take responsibility for the treatment in the camps but someone must have instigated it and it would not be in Ethiopia’s interests to treat women preparing to leave the country. Something is definitely wrong here.”  It is disturbingly ironic that Israel has engaged in something eerily similar to the dark eugenics experiments carried out during World War II against Jews.

This is not the first time the birth control shot Depo-Provera has been embroiled in controversy.  In the United States, between 1967 and 1978, 13,000 impoverished women in Georgia were part of an experiment where they were given the birth control injections with many of them not being aware that they were part of an experiment.  Half of the women in the study were Black.


Solidarity between the Irish and the Palestinians came about as a result of the common enemy they both shared: the British Empire and British imperialism. One struggle, one fight.

Marxism Conference is proud to be hosting Irish Activist Eamonn McCann from Derry and Pro-Palestine Israeli Journalist Amira Hass. They will be speaking on “Free Derry: The struggle for civil rights” and “Reporting from the frontlines in Palestine” respectively.

McCann was instrumental in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights campaign of the late 1960s and the early 1970s, fighting for an end to public housing and job discrimination against Catholics and the Northern Irish, weighted voting systems, corrupt police and more. He was a leader in the Battle of the Bogside, a 3 day war between loyalists and the state on the one hand and those wanting civil rights and independence on the other, in his home town of Derry. This led to the creation of Free Derry, a sectioned off autonomous part of Derry, free from the influence and oppression of Ireland. Free Derry lasted 3 and a half years and was ultimately destroyed after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, when the British Army was brought in and killed 14 unarmed protestors.  McCann typifies the struggle of the Northern Irish and is still a hero there today. His role in the Battle of the Bogside, is one of legend. McCann is a well established left-wing writer and journalist, an organised socialist in the Irish SWP as well as a lifelong unionist. 

Amira Hass was born and educated in Israel, as the daughter of two holocaust survivors. Hass for the past 20 years has dedicated her life to recording the oppression and resistance of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. She has lived in Palestine since 1993 and works as a journalist for the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, reporting from on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank. Hass, in the face of one of the most repressive regimes in existence, has made herself a target of the Israeli state in order to expose the atrocities of world imperialism. 

Haaretz: So much culture, so little time: Top 5 temporary exhibits now on display in Jerusalem

Published 11:19 15.09.11

Israel’s capital is often scoffed at by cultural enthusiasts when it comes to the arts and sciences: According to the taste-makers, Tel Aviv is the playground of the enlightened and creative, while Jerusalem is old-fashioned and stodgy.

In reality, the Holy City is brimming with thriving academia, culture, research and youth, and Jerusalem’s museums (and other spaces of every variety) host exhibitions and encounters of increasingly high quality. As the year 5771 draws to a close, it can be argued that there has never been a better time to experience the wealth of visual arts and information that Jerusalem has to offer. Below are five of our top picks.

Start-up boot camp

Israel’s uncanny capacities for innovation gets top billing at the Bloomfield Science Museum’sInnovation Ltd. exhibit. From the Epilady leg hair removal device to drip irrigation, “disk-on-key” portable hard drives to cherry tomatoes, Innovation Ltd. covers 50 of Israel’s greatest inventions, but the display and activity series also explores the reasons why Israel is such a hotbed of creative thinking. Varda Gur Ben Shitrit, the museum’s director of science and society, who also is the curator of the exhibit, posited one theory to GoJerusalem.com.

“As a small country, we are constricted in many ways. There are many things we can’t do, so we need to concentrate on other things,” she said.

Kids can put on their thinking caps at an “invention workshop” especially geared for them, and performances and interactive displays are woven through the museum.

Heists and ethno-lenses

The Museum of Islamic Art’s display of exquisite timepieces, many of them creations of the revolutionary 18th century Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Breuget, continues to draw thousands, and the museum has, as a result, extended its run more than once.

Stolen from the museum by the notorious thief Naaman Diller in 1983, these objects of art were returned after Diller’s death (his end-of-life confession to his wife brought them home) more than 20 years later.

In an exhibit with a more literal connection to the Islamic world, the museum is also currently hosting a temporary exhibit of Naftali Hilger’s photographs. Hilger visited Yemen six times over more than 20 years to document Yemen’s populace and landscapes, especially the lifestyles of the handful of Jews who remain there.

Urban aesthetes

Take the cooler weather already settling over Jerusalem as inspiration to walk through the downtown neighborhoods in search of art. Although Agripas St. and the Machane Yehuda Market are best known for their bustling variety fresh produce, it’s highly recommended to check out the Agripas 12 cooperative art gallery.

In the market itself, a project called Tabula Rasa, intended to last for at least one year, opens this week, with displays of urban street art, including sculptures made of recycled or “found” materials, graffiti, photography and much more.

The public is invited in the September evenings to watch the artists transform Machane Yehuda’s walls, trash cans and the surroundings into compelling, expressive works. Beit Avi Chai’s Piyyut Festival, an exploration of Judaism’s canon of para-liturgical poetry, meanwhile, includes forays into the market-hugging alleys of Nachlaot, where participants are led on a journey through the seasonal repentance-themed chants of many Judaic sects.

Symbols in the tower

Are you curious about communication? Delve into the mysteries of alphabets, writing and language at the Tower of David Museum, where the temporary Letters and More: Evolution of the Alphabet exhibition tells the story of Jerusalem’s 3,000 years through the prism of textual symbology.

Closing at the end of September, the exhibit includes interactive games, videos and the opportunity to create new systems of meaningful icons. “Many of the languages that are not used anymore [colloquially] are still used in Jerusalem,” Renee Sivan, an expert in the field of cultural heritage and the museum’s veteran chief curator, told GoJerusalem.com. “The Syrian Church still prays in Aramaic, the Greek Church still prays in ancient Greek, the Ethiopian Church in Ge’ez.”

Marclay’s sensitization wind-up

Finally, for film buffs, lovers of the avant-garde, or sticklers for punctuality, an astonishing piece of pastiche, The Clock, is currently on display at the Israel Museum. It took artist Christian Marclay two years create this work, splicing together clips from hundreds of feature films to create a complete 24-hour video that is synced to real-time in the theater. As characters on screen check their watches, hear chimes or glance at wall clocks, it is the same time in the viewing theater.

The Israel Museum is also hosting two complete, all-night screenings of The Clock, free of charge, on September 13-14 and October 18-19. In an interview with BBC2, Marclay called his piece a giant memento mori and spoke about the heightened awareness of time passing.

“That anxiety keeps you, as a viewer, connected,” he said. “You’re spending time being entertained, but at the same time, you’re always conscious of the time that you just spent watching this thing…. This anxiety over time is a universal one, and I think this piece is very much about time passing, about mortality.”


The genius of Israeli evil is that it is broken down into an infinite number of atoms, individual cases that the human brain – and even more so a newspaper column – cannot contain in their entirety, and a single definition cannot conceptualize them. We will write about stolen land, and leave out the demolished home. We will leave out both in favor of writing about the prohibition on family visits in prison, but there will not be enough time to write about the military raids and the invasion of a home with frightened children inside, and the atmosphere of “action” in the army unit.

Amira Hass, Otherwise Occupied / The genius of Israeli evil: It poses as concern 

Amira Hass is coming to Melbourne next year for the 2015 Marxism Conference. To get tickets visit www.marxismconference.org

But Levy’s sweeping conclusions about the nature of Israeli society are not supported by the full picture presented by the findings.  His statement that Israelis are saying “we’re racists… and we want to live in an apartheid state” is patently false.  Although some of the findings are disturbing and do appear to represent expressions of intolerance, they are balanced by other findings that are more encouraging, representing a clear rejection thereof.  Further, the only question that could possibly raise any suggestion of “support” for “an apartheid regime” — as trumpeted in the headlines — represents a scenario that overwhelming majorities in Israeli society reject outright, and so the suggestion that a majority of Israelis “support” or even “would support” apartheid is misleading as best and totally false at worst.

I threw my support behind the Haaretz article polling Israeli Jews much too quickly.  I’m happy to say that it is looking more and more like I was wrong and those findings were definitely skewed and the reporting was shoddy. For anyone who read the Haaretz article, I recommend reading this as well.

Bracha and Carys, it looks like you were much more right!

SOURCE: Haaretz

New policy to help transgender soldiers from the time they get first draft notice through getting gender-appropriate uniforms and housing.

The Israel Defense Forces has decided to institute a new approach to dealing with transgender recruits by offering them extra support from the time they get their first draft notice at age 16 through their army service.

The new policy intends to make army service easier for transgender soldiers, regardless of whether they intend to undergo gender reassignment surgery, according to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth, which cites the army’s Bamahane magazine.

According to the report published Thursday, transgender soldiers have had to ask for assistance from commanding officers in order to get uniforms and housing for their preferred gender, as well as hormone treatments.

Maj. Iris Wagman, head of the mental health unit in the army’s Medical Corps, said the army reached out to the Israeli Center for Human Sexuality and Gender Identity to help it become more familiar with the needs of transgender recruits.

Transgender recruits who have not begun the gender-reassignment process but would like to will be drafted according to their biological gender, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

Immediately after their enlistment, they will get personal assistance from the army in transitioning and will be addressed using the pronoun of their choice.

This is a really interesting effort.

Actor Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame arrived in Israel earlier this week, with the media questioning the sincerity of his efforts to bring “serenity now” to Israel and the conflict. But the OneVoice Delegation Tour - an eclectic group of business professionals and philanthropists from the U.S. and Europe - strives to be more than yet another celebrity tour for a trendy cause.

The delegates arrived on Sunday for a weeklong trip geared toward providing participants with a broader, more informed understanding of both the Israeli and Palestinian narratives of the conflict, while fostering a deeper commitment to a two-state solution.

“As an American Jew, you feel like it is your job to advocate for the state of Israel,” Josh Bernstein, president of Bernstein Management and director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the United Jewish Endowment Fund told Haaretz.

“But Israel has grown from a state that is fighting for its existence to a democracy, and unfortunately, it doesn’t always uphold the values it was built upon. For American Jews, this has become awkward – this is not the Israel we love.”

Many of the delegates shared Bernstein’s sentiments, expressing a love and commitment to the state of Israel, but difficulty reconciling their Jewish values and vision for a democratic country with the current reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

James and Sonia Cummings, chairman and trustee of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, that launches and sponsors community projects that promote economic and social justice based on Jewish tradition and democratic values, were disappointed at the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships’ inability to reach a solution. However, they remained hopeful that the youth they had met through OneVoice were part of a new generation that could inspire change.

“It is so important to enlighten the Diaspora about what is really going on in Israel – we need more unity,” Sonia Cummings told Haaretz.

“It is about the future of the next generation. Meeting with young people on this trip has been very enlightening; there is hope, they are living in the present. Maybe we can grab that, and communicate it to the Diaspora, so that we can create a movement of peace,” she added.

Forty-five years ago, on 22 September 1967, this statement was published as a paid advert in Haaretz. It reads:

"Our right to self-defence against destruction does not give us the right to oppress others.
Occupation leads to foreign rule, foreign rule leads to resistance, resistance leads to oppression, oppression leads to terror and counter-terror. The victims of terror are generally the innocent. Holding onto the territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims. Quit the Occupied Territories Immediately.”

Shimon Tzabar, David Ehrenfeld, Dan Omer, Raif Elias, Haim Hanegbi, Uri Lifschitz, Moshé Machover, Eli Aminov, Rafi Zichroni, Arie Bober, Schneur Sherman, Yehuda Rozenstreich

This undated photo provided by Channel 8 and Go2Films shows Ori Gruder, left, and rabbi Yisrael Aharon Itzkovitz swimming in their clothes in a ritual bath, which is created for publicity purpose for “Sacred Sperm,” a film Gruder directed. The movie has been screened at festivals in Israel, London and California and continues in the coming weeks to other U.S. locations, including Atlanta on Feb. 15, 2015. Gruder created “Sacred Sperm,” an hour-long documentary in which he tries to tackle the hard questions he can expect from his son.