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British Jews condemn Prime Minister over African migrants

Aug 14, 2015, 9:38 AM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent.

As the debate regarding African migrants trying to reach Europe gains momentum, politicians across the continent are trying hard to handle the situation, and sometimes utter statements seen by critics as ‘inflammatory, inciting or unhelpful’.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said: ‘we can’t allow all of them here’, thus provoking criticism from certain quarters of the press and political spectrum.

Meanwhile, highly respected and prominent British Jews are also condemning their own Prime Minister for using the word ‘swarms’ in describing those trying to reach Europe.

In a rather unprecedented and strongly-worded statement, seen by The Point, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality commonly known as JCORE, said that they are ‘appalled’ by such description on the current situation in Calais where hundreds of the migrants are currently based.

Most of the refuges are struggling to enter the UK. But the Jews complained that the same situation reminded them of their ‘own experience’ as refugees fleeing the reign of Adolf Hitler.

The letter accepted and signed by over 200 Jews including 20 Rabbis said:‘People fleeing conflict and persecution are not to blame for the crisis in Calais; neither is our welfare system, nor the French government...above all we in the UK are not the victims here; we are not being invaded by a swarm’.

It is clear the Jews and other organisations are upset about the ‘treatment and description’ of the migrants.

Interestingly, others are also complaining that ‘governments are not doing enough’ to prevent them entering Europe. They argue that ‘African leaders should be able to respect, cherish and value their own citizens’.

Some newspapers and senior politicians across the continent are even demanding ‘more harsh measures’, further demanding ‘the military and other security personnel’ to aid the Border Police in preventing the migrants reaching here.

A few days ago, the UK Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, an influential official in the current government, said: ‘Marauding African migrants are a threat to Britain’s standard of living and social structure’. His comment also attracted severe criticism, some describing it as ‘inflammatory’.

However, the Conservative’s policy on immigration is also clear. Most of the migrants in their view are not seen as ‘genuine refugees fleeing persecution, but merely economic migrants hunting for better living’ and thus allowing them in will attract more newcomers.

As a result of the debate, governments are under pressure on how to deal with the migrants, sometimes resulting in disturbing circumstances. For example, the European Commission with other non governmental organisations have demanded an explanation from Spain, over the drowning of about 15 African migrants from North Africa, apparently from ‘tear gas and rubber bullets’.

Omar Ceesay, one of the refugees in Calais for the past three months, is still reluctant to give up. Speaking to this correspondent recently, he simply said: Pushing me back now will be far too much... it’s just like pushing me over the Denton Bridge in Banjul’.

Whatever the case, the debate over African migrants fiercely continues in Europe, as they keep protesting to be accepted as refugees.