Rwanda deportation flights fly in the face of Jewish values

The UK government’s controversial plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing is inhumane and contrary to Jewish values, according to the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), and almost 200 people who signed a petition calling for the deportation flights to stop.


The flights, scheduled to start on 14th June, but currently being challenged in the courts, would see asylum seekers fleeing persecution from around the world being given a 1-way ticket to the African country which itself has a poor human rights record.


“Our community has a long experience of seeking refuge, including in the UK”, says the petition which has been sent to Home Secretary Priti Patel. “We are therefore appalled that your government is shirking its responsibilities to those fleeing conflict and persecution today. The deportation of Jewish refugees to Australia during the Second World War was later admitted by Churchill as a ‘deplorable mistake’. We urge your government to learn from this historic error, and rethink.”


The petition concludes “this appalling policy flies in the face of Jewish values, and cannot be in our community’s name. We therefore strongly urge your government to reconsider, respect its obligations under international law, and protect, not punish, those in need of safety.”


JCORE’s supporters are also being asked to support a national demonstration being planned for this Monday evening outside the Home Office.


The full text of the open letter can be found below:


Dear Home Secretary,

Re: Stop the flight: Don’t deport asylum seekers to Rwanda

As members of the Jewish community, we are writing to urge you to abandon your callous plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, and to cancel the deportation flight scheduled for June 14th. Our community has a long experience of seeking refuge, including in the UK. We are therefore appalled that your government is shirking its responsibilities to those fleeing conflict and persecution today. The deportation of Jewish refugees to Australia during the Second World War was later admitted by Churchill as a ‘deplorable mistake’. We urge your government to learn from this historic error, and rethink. Rather than saving lives in the Channel, this policy will result in further misery and suffering. Disturbingly, a number of asylum seekers threatened with deportation to Rwanda have already attempted suicide; Israel’s previous usage of a similar model resulted in refugees dying in the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea. As Jews, we tragically know all too well the results of being denied safe haven and entry. While arguably more could have been done at the time, many within our community have relatives who were saved from the Holocaust after coming to this country on the Kindertransport. It has therefore been particularly alarming to hear that age disputed children are being threatened with deportation to Rwanda. Child refugees today must be offered the same chance to start new lives in the UK. Figures show that the vast majority of those crossing the Channel are recognised as refugees. Shamefully, in contrast to the ‘Warm Welcome’ promised by your government, the biggest group crossing in early 2022 were Afghans. It is disgraceful that the UK is seeking to deport such people, who have often fled war zones, to a country they hold no connection to, and which has a concerning human rights record. As it stands, this appalling policy flies in the face of Jewish values, and cannot be in our community’s name. We therefore strongly urge your government to reconsider, respect its obligations under international law, and protect, not punish, those in need of safety. Yours sincerely,

Len Alden

Bilal Ali

Dr H M Altorf

Benjiman Angwin

Dr Graham Ash

Maayan Atteen

AC Baker

Helen Banks

Julia Bard

Tal Berman-Howarth

Chaya Bernstein

Jonathan Black

Anna Bluston

Viv Bogen

Jaclyn Chernett

Dr Clements

Paul Cohen

Barbara Cohen

Robert Cohen

Lucille Cohen

Samantha Cozens

Ilana Cravitz

Judith Cravitz

Patsy Cunningham

Hilary Curtis

Ellen Dahrendorf

Ann David

Deborah Davidson

Matthew Delange

Naomi Diamond

Ruth Dolby

Jane Drapkin

Anna Dyson

Miriam Dwek

Rosalind Edwards

Debbie Epstein

Wendy Filer

Henry Fox

Sheila Freedman

Rabbi Paul Freedman

Isabel Freedman

James Freedman

Louise Freedman

Nina Freedman

Edie Friedman

Kenny Fryde

Sybil Gilbert

Angela Gluck

Nicole Gluckman

Martin Golding

Naomi Goldman

David Gordon

Rivka Gottlieb

Georgia Gould

Alice Gray

Poppy Gray

Benjamin Greenman

M Greenwood

Henry Grunwald OBE QC

Shirley Gurevitz

Rebecca Heller

Stephen Hoffman

Louise Howard

Paul Infield

Nick Isaacs

Anthony Isaacs

Anna Isaacs

Rabbi Richard Jacobi

Brian Jacobs

Sandra Jacobs

Dan Judelson

Ann Jungman

Michael Kalmanovitz

Holly Kal-Weiss

Rabbi Gabriel Kanter-Webber

Lily Kaufman

Victor Kaufman-Bartfield

Phil Kelvin

Sorrel Kerbel

Beth Kingsley

Robert S Kirk

Maxine Klein

Rebecca Klug

Ruby Koopman

Agnes Kory

Michael Kuhn

Jack Kushner

Sam Kushner

Naomi Layish

Miriam Lennard

Jennifer Lennard

Miriam Levene

Julian Levy

Gillian Levy

Milly Lewy

Noah Libson

Sonja Linden

John Lipetz

Nadia Lipsey

Louise London

Yosefa Loshitzky

Simon Lynn

Moshe Mankoff

Jenny Manson

Jonathan Max

Sheila Melzak

Ellie Miller

Sharon Miller

Michael Mitzman

Chris Mohr

Louise Morris

Lisa-Dionne Morris

Simon Myerson

Lisa Neidich

Neil Nerva

Geraldine Patrick

Miriam Peck

Jacob Peck

David Plaut

Judy Plaut

Daniel Preter

Chani Rifkin

Jane Rogers

Anna Roiser

Adam Rose

Stephen Rosefield

Roberta Rosefield

David Rosenberg

Michael Rubinstein

Sabine Rustin

Barbara Saalfeld-Edwards

Adi Sacker

Eve Sacker

Mike Sacker

Yael Sacker

Marsha Sanders

Esther Saraga

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah

Liza Schuster

Denise Schwarz

Amanda Sebestyen

Dr Malcolm Segall

Prof Vic Seidler

Julie Shames-Rogan

Raymond Shaw

Ruth Silman

Daniel Silverstone

Yvonne Singer

Wendy Smith

Iyiola Solanke

Tommer Spence

Bernard Spiegal

Katherine Standring

Carrie Supple

Robert Symonds

Pinchas Tenzer

Hannah Thorne

Ros Townsend

Lesley Urbach

Ruth Wacholder

Alison Watson

Gaby Weigert

Emma Weleminsky

George Wilkes

Sarah Williamson

Uri Winterstein

Mary Winterstein

Uri Winterstein

Ben Wiseman

Jonathan Wittenberg

Paula Zeff