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  • Protestors hold placards during a rally supporting refugees worldwide and in reaction to Trump's travel ban, outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

    Protestors hold placards during a rally supporting refugees worldwide and in reaction to Trump's travel ban, outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 January 2017

Activists said Trump’s new policy is akin to Israeli policies against Eritrean and Sudanese migrants.

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s draconian executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, protests have enveloped the country, and even spread as far as Tel Aviv.

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There, protestors took to demonstrating in front of the U.S. Embassy Sunday, comparing Trump’s policies to that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Holding placards that read “Refugees Welcome,” the crowd chanted, “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all.”

Mia Zur Szpiro, a 36-year-old filmmaker, told the Los Angeles Times she demonstrated because her family survived the Holocaust.

“We are a country of immigrants, and to me it was astounding that this (order) was passed on Holocaust Memorial Day,’’ she said. “It’s wrong to stereotype, and it's wrong to send people who are in need back into the face of danger and the risk of death.’’

Elliot Vaisbrub Glassenberg, one of the protest’s organizers and a migrant rights activist, said Trump’s new policy is akin to Israeli policies against Eritrean and Sudanese migrants.

"The policies that Trump has enacted are no worse than the policies that Netanyahu has enacted for years here — such as not allowing any non-Jews to be given refugee status in Israel, except for a select few,” he told the LA Times.

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Togod Omar was another protester demonstrating Sunday. From Sudan, he’s still waiting for his political asylum application to be approved, which he submitted three years ago. He explained that Trump’s order has been unnerving to his Sudanese friends hoping to settle in the United States,

“Trump doesn’t understand what’s going on in Sudan,’’ Omar said. “You can’t punish the Sudanese people for what the Islamic government is doing. You can’t banish someone because of their religion."

Israel has cracked down on African refugees in recent years, threatening migrants — largely from Sudan and Eritrea — to either leave the country or be sent to jail. Israel completed a wall along parts of its border with Egypt in effort to stem migration flows in 2013, and also has deported thousands of undocumented migrants, including sending them to third countries.

The harsh stance on refugees is a reference point for Trump's new travel ban in the U.S. The president banned, by executive order last Friday, entry for people from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — and halted the admission of refugees for four months.

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