Anti-Zionist Jew fighting for UK asylum appeals rejection
The lawyer of an anti-Zionist Jew fighting for asylum in Britain is “confident” that the UK Home Office's rejection of his application will be overturned.
The 21-year-old asylum seeker, granted anonymity by the UK courts, left the Jewish state after refusing to join the Israeli army, as mandated by law for 18-year-old citizens.
His claim for refugee in Britain was initially refused on the grounds he could have avoided military service due to his mental health.
The young man, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, will appeal this rejection at a hearing on September 20 at a tribunal in Manchester and his lawyer is “confident” of a “positive outcome”.
“Our client is very anxious about being returned to Israel. It is a never-ending fear that occupies his every waking moment,” said his lawyer Fahad Ansari to The New Arab.
Ansari explained that by refusing to join the Israeli military, his client “would be treated as a military deserter” if he returned to Israel and risks up to 15 years in prison.
“There is a plethora of evidence that military deserters are subjected to torture in Israeli prisons,” the lawyer added.
The young man has already been arrested and beaten while in police custody after protesting against Zionism and Israel's treatment of Palestinians. While imprisoned, he was dragged on the floor by handcuffs, spat at and beaten with a stick, according to his lawyer.
Protesting “is such a fundamental aspect of our client’s identity and beliefs that he will not cease to do so on return to Israel and would be at risk of being persecuted again,” said Ansari.
Anti-Zionists see the ideology of Zionism as being used to justify the displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland in the pursuit of a Jewish state.
In a report released earlier this year, Human Rights Watch documented how the Israeli army regularly used military orders to shut down “unlicensed protests,” imposing a prison term of up to 10 years on civilians convicted by military courts for participating in gatherings of more than 10 without a military permit.
The charged that the Jewish state's systematic oppression of Palestinians amounted to the “crime of apartheid”, as had long been alleged by pro-Palestine activists.
The asylum seeker’s lawyer told The New Arab that understanding and acknowledging the existence of apartheid in Israel was central to the case in Britain.
“Without proper recognition of this apartheid, it is impossible to fairly and properly rule on the risk of return for Palestinians and anti-Zionist Jews.
“We hope that a positive decision will empower other conscientious objectors from Israel as well as Palestinians to present their asylum claims.”
The lawyer explained that the Home Secretary had already accepted that his client was prosecuted as a minor, accepted “the voluminous evidence of Israeli apartheid” and the verdicts of experts on the risk faced upon return - giving him hope for the future of the young asylum seeker.