Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis and their supporters marched through central Jerusalem on Wednesday to call attention to a recent groundswell of racism and discrimination.
olding picket signs and shouting “a new generation demands change,” the demonstrators joined a wave of protests triggered by a Channel 2 report last week that a group of homeowners in Kiryat Malachi—a Southern town with a large Ethiopian population— signed a pledge to neither rent nor sell to Israelis of Ethiopian origin.
With differing and sometimes competing protest signs, the crowd spanned the ideological spectrum. Some demonstrators hoisted Israeli flags while others clutched photos of Nelson Mandela and sharply criticized Israel’s treatment of their community.
One Israeli-Ethiopian man held a sign asking “Is there a future for me in this state?” Others carried posters appropriating phrases and symbols from the American civil rights movement and black American figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
120,000 black Ethiopian Jews currently live in Israel. They were transported there during the 80s and 90s. The confusion of messages in this protest only reflects the complicated nature of their citizenship.
For those who want to know, the title of this post was inspired by this classic of dub poetry.