A Jewish rabbinical student is seeking asylum in the UK after being detained and beaten by Israeli authorities on several occasions for vocally supporting Palestinian rights and opposing Zionism and Israeli apartheid policies, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said in a statement last week.
The rights group says the 21-year-old Haredi Jew, whose name is being withheld for his safety, "fears that should he return to Israel, he will be persecuted like other anti-Zionists and also be conscripted into Israel's armed forces and made complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity."
When he was 17 years old, his lawyers explained, "our client was involved in peaceful protests in Israel against Zionism and conscription of rabbinical students into the Israeli Defence Forces. During the protests and whilst in police custody he reports that he was verbally and physically assaulted. On one occasion he was handcuffed, pushed to the floor and dragged around by the handcuffs, spat at and beaten with a stick. He was also sprayed with foul-smelling water called 'skunk'."
"After a letter arrived requiring him to report for military service, he fled Israel and arrived in the UK, where he claimed asylum on the basis that he would be persecuted in Israel because of his political and religious beliefs," they explained.
The UK Home Office rejected his asylum claim and he has appealed the decision to an independent Tribunal.
"To assist judges and the Home Office to understand the risks associated with certain countries and conflicts, the Upper Tribunal regularly hands down binding 'Country Guidance' cases. Yet when it comes to Israel-Palestine, there is no such case explaining the central issue of Israel's systematic racial discrimination," the legal team explained.
It is simply not possible to properly consider our client's case without addressing apartheid.
"IHRC believes the case has the potential to set a significant legal precedent, not only for Jewish Israelis resisting conscription, but for Palestinians oppressed by Israel's apartheid regime," the body added.