In bill discriminating against Arab- and Muslim-Americans, Boxer and 17 other senators serve Israeli gov’t over their own — Greenwald

Israel/Palestine
on 38 Comments

Israel wants its citizens to be able to enter the U.S. without getting visas. This is a major legislative ask from the Israel lobby. The problem is that the U.S. wants reciprocity for its citizens entering Israel: they can go in without a hurdle. But Israel wants an exemption.

Earlier this week The Hill published a piece (by Mike Coogan of the US Campaign to End the Occupation) explaining AIPAC’s demand:

AIPAC officials told members of Congress that there would need to be flexibility on this legal requirement to accommodate Israel’s ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans who attempt to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Though some congressional staffers have grumbled over the racist policy, Barbara Boxer and 17 other Senators have sponsored legislation to give AIPAC what it wants.

Glenn Greenwald has jumped on the disgraceful initiative, with an incisive analysis in the Guardian:

To accommodate this desire to discriminate, Boxer, Blunt and Aipac are now attempting to create a special exemption for Israel from the requirement to which all other countries are bound, and by which the US will be bound vis-a-vis Israelis. More amazingly, the only purpose of this exemption from these US senators would be to allow Israel to discriminate against the citizens of the country these senators are supposed to represent. As Mike Coogan of the US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation wrote in the Hill this week, “given that Israel views the mere existence of Palestinians as a threat, the [Boxer/Aipac bill] would essentially codify Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian-, Muslim-, and Arab-Americans into US law.” Indeed, Aipac is not even attempting to pretend this exemption has a non-discriminatory purpose.

Apparently, none of that is a concern for Barbara Boxer, Roy Blunt or Aipac. Protecting the equal rights of their own country’s citizens quite obviously has little significance when weighed against the supreme mandate to serve the interests of the Israeli government. That’s not hyperbole: how else can this bill be fairly described? The bill, formally named the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013, now has a total of 18 co-sponsors. That includes 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans, perfectly symbolizing how bipartisan is loyalty to Aipac on Capitol Hill..

Aipac and its supporters have long expressed righteous outrage at suggestions that they prioritize Israeli interests over US interests and those of American citizens. Yet it is hard to imagine a clearer or purer example of exactly that behavior than this pernicious bill. If you’re a US politician finding yourself working to allow a foreign government to discriminate against your own fellow citizens – by vesting that foreign country with a right that no other country (including your own) has – then you’re essentially broadcasting to the world that the interests of that foreign government take precedence over your own and over the equal rights of your own fellow citizens.

Thanks to Scott Roth.

38 Responses

  1. Henry Norr
    April 13, 2013, 1:35 pm

    All the press accounts of this issue that I’ve seen, including Mike Coogan’s and Glenn Geenwald’s, highlight the issue of Israeli discrimination against Palestinian-, Muslim-, and Arab-Americans. Same goes for the State Department travel advisory. But there’s another element to the picture: Israel has also on many occasions barred entry to U.S. citizens who are not of Palestinian, Muslim, or Arab origin, but are simply known or suspected activists in support of justice for Palestine.

    Since Israel considers any such activism a “security threat,” Boxer’s bill would do nothing to deter the Israelis from this kind of discrimination, too.

  2. American
    April 13, 2013, 1:42 pm

    May all I-Firsters get their just rewards for serving Israel….sooner the better.

  3. Citizen
    April 13, 2013, 1:50 pm

    We need to keep tracking AIPAC’s agenda, to contact our reps and sign petitions against that agenda, and to publicize these latest attempts at making Israel even more “special” than it is:

    AIPAC is (1) trying to ensure military aid to Israel is exempted from sequestration, (2) to outsource the U.S. decision-making process to begin a war with Iran, and (3) to import Israel’s apartheid policies, to make them part of US Code.

    • American
      April 13, 2013, 4:21 pm

      @ Citizen

      I’am afraid it will take more than that. Think of all the orgs that are active on protesting I/P and or the Israel infiltration—CNI, Code Pink, JVP, ETO—think of the import of the several mainline, major Churches letter to congress—nothing has slowed AIPAC or the Israelis in congress…nothing the public or any civic or religious group has said or done has had the slightest effect.
      Think of what most of our military commanders have said about Israel causing the US problems when they have testified before congress…that also has had no effect on the I-Firsters.
      I don’t know what it will take but it’s gonna take something much, much bigger to end it.

  4. Sin Nombre
    April 13, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Good I say. Great even: Let no one *ever* again shy away from openly and bluntly saying AIPAC acts treacherously towards Americans and their interests so as to serve Israel. Let no-one be stymied any more by the argument that AIPAC or the politicians signing on to this just see Israel’s interests as being the same as ours.

    It’s crystal clear, and it’s irrefutable.

  5. doug
    April 13, 2013, 3:43 pm

    I’ve long thought it odd that Israel has a Visa Waiver program with Russia but not the US. I guess Israel has a more “special” relationship with Russia.

    So now Israel wants a one way Visa Waiver with the US where Israelis can come to the US without a visa but Americans would still require a visa to go to Israel.

  6. Blownaway
    April 13, 2013, 4:15 pm

    people should write to Boxer and let her know we hear and we care and disapprove…AIPAC knows that there will be no price for Boxer to do their bidding. The more sunshine on this issue the less likely she will bend next time…no free pass anymore.

    • kalithea
      April 13, 2013, 11:15 pm

      Nooooo, just throw her out of office already! What more justification do you need???

  7. yourstruly
    April 13, 2013, 4:21 pm

    so for arab- and muslim-americans

    at the request of the israeli government

    special travel restrictions

    what’s next, senator boxer?

    concentration camps?

    again at the request of the israelis

  8. Egbert
    April 13, 2013, 4:33 pm

    AIPAC should be called IPAC – it has no interest in America, other than its subservience to Israel.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    April 13, 2013, 5:05 pm

    RE: “AIPAC officials told members of Congress that there would need to be flexibility on this legal requirement to accommodate Israel’s ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans who attempt to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” ~ Mike Coogan’s article in The Hill

    MY COMMENT: This effort by Israel’s Likudnik supporters to force the U.S. to “accommodate Israel’s ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans” (as well as Israel’s blacklisting of Americans viewed by them as sympathetic to the Palestinians, sometimes merely as a consequence of constitutionally-protected speech here in the U.S.) is yet another reason I fear that Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment [like the right to "due process" and "the right of free speech"] ! ! !
    “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

    OTHER EXAMPLES OF ISRAEL’S VALUES TRUMPING (OVERRIDING) THE VALUES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT HERE IN THE U.S.
    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK – link to theamericanconservative.com
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
    LINK – link to original.antiwar.com
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK – link to rawstory.com
    From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security, By Max Blumenthal, Al-akhbar, 12/02/11
    LINK – link to english.al-akhbar.com OR link to informationclearinghouse.info
    “The Second Battle of Gaza: Israel’s Undermining Of International Law”, by Jeff Halper, mrzine.monthlyreview.org, 02/26/10
    LINK – link to mrzine.monthlyreview.org
    “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics”, by David Theo Goldberg & Saree Makdisi,
    Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009
    LINK – link to tikkun.org
    “Brooklyn College’s academic freedom increasingly threatened over Israel event”, by Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 2/02/13
    LINK – link to guardian.co.uk
    “Peter ‘Powder Keg’ Beinart is disinvited from gig at Atlanta Jewish book festival”, by Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, 11/05/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza”, By Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 11/15/12
    LINK – link to guardian.co.uk

    P.S. AND HERE’S ANOTHER THREAT TO THE VALUES OF “THE ENLIGHTENMENT” BY ISRAEL’S ALLIES:
    “US Religious Right Propelling Homophobia in African Countries”
    , by Common Dreams, 7/24/12
    LINK – link to commondreams.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 14, 2013, 12:20 am

      P.P.S. RE: This effort by Israel’s Likudnik supporters to force the U.S. to “accommodate Israel’s ongoing discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-Americans” (as well as Israel’s blacklisting of Americans viewed by them as sympathetic to the Palestinians, sometimes merely as a consequence of constitutionally-protected speech here in the U.S.) is yet another reason I fear . . .” – me (from above)

      FOR INSTANCE: “In one case, they sent packing an American woman who planned to teach at the Friends School in Ramallah largely because she’d published a post at Electronic Intifada that supported the Right of Return.” ~ Richard Silverstein (from below)

      SEE: “Aipac Asks Congress to Approve Israel Visa Waiver Program”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 4/13/13

      [EXCERPTS] Aipac, with its hand deeply in the pocket of the U.S. taxpayer on Israel’s behalf, and with Congress in its own pocket, has devised proposed legisltation that would even further surrender of U.S. sovereignty to Israel. It’s advancing a visa waiver program that would allow both countries to waive documents for their citizens. This would mean Israelis could visit the U.S. without getting visas and vice versa. Except that there’s a catch. A BIG catch.
      Anyone who’s been reading this blog or the Israeli press knows that Israel routinely denies entry to U.S. citizens. Almost always (with a few exceptions for troublesome Jews) it’s Arab-Americans who get bounced. Invariably, they get to Ben Gurion, they are interrogated by the Shin Bet, which decides it doesn’t like their answers for one reason or another (or no reason), and they’re put on the next plane back to the States.
      Israel makes no apologies about doing this. It hardly ever offers a reason. Even when it does, it’s usually lame and along the lines of: the applicant didn’t cooperate with our questioning. Which could mean anything. In one case, they sent packing an American woman who planned to teach at the Friends School in Ramallah largely because she’d published a post at Electronic Intifada that supported the Right of Return.
      In other words, Israel denies entry not for security reasons, but for purely political reasons. That is, unless you view a Palestinian American teacher as a security threat because she has written an idea the Shin Bet despises. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to richardsilverstein.com

  10. Daniel Rich
    April 13, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Yes, fine, but then we should travel like this so ‘we’ can be spotted as being exempt/exceptional.

  11. just
    April 13, 2013, 6:56 pm

    Greenwald nails it as usual.

  12. US Citizen
    April 13, 2013, 8:29 pm

    This “bill” is truly disgusting. How to contact the treasonous Boxer?

    • American
      April 13, 2013, 9:46 pm

      How to contact the treasonous Boxer?…US Citizen

      Congress Toll free ….1- 877- 762- 8762….just ask to be connected to her office.

      • Citizen
        April 14, 2013, 6:27 am

        @ American

        One can also go her official web site and contact her from there. Here’s part of her official press release on his new bill she is sponsoring:

        “The bipartisan legislation includes important measures to expand the already robust security relationship between the United States and Israel. Specifically, it would authorize an increase to $1.8 billion of the value of the U.S. weapons stockpile in Israel and require that the Administration take steps to include Israel in the top-tier category of the Strategic Trade Authorization program for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products. It also would require the President to study and submit to Congress a feasibility study on the establishment of a joint United States-Israel Cyber Security Center, and expresses the Sense of the Congress that Israel is a Major Strategic Partner.

        In addition, the bill would allow Israel to participate in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, making it easier for Israeli citizens to travel to the United States without first having to obtain a visa. The measure also would authorize the President to provide assistance to Israel that is consistent with U.S. national security interests in such fields as energy, homeland security and water.

        The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 builds upon the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which was signed into law by President Obama in July and reaffirms the United States’ “unwavering commitment” to Israel’s security and U.S. support for Israel’s right to self-defense. ”

        If you’re on Twitter, you can also tweet her so your followers know what she’s up to.

  13. Bumblebye
    April 13, 2013, 8:29 pm

    They already treated Donna Shalala (sp) like dirt when she visited, so how would they treat Keith Ellison? If he went as part of a group of other congress members, would he be the only one to be forced to apply for a visa? And then get the full on potential enemy hostile treatment at BG?

    • Eva Smagacz
      April 13, 2013, 11:17 pm

      Well, IDF maidens will probe Keith Ellison’s body orifices with sublety and regret, and after short detention for some bed bug festivities will put him on a next plain back to USA.
      State Department will be very understanding of Zionist security sensitivities.

      Which will make Israelis take bets between themselves as to how soon before can they do the same to Kerry.

  14. K Renner
    April 13, 2013, 10:19 pm

    Disgusting, but not really surprising at this point.

  15. Wonder Bunder
    April 13, 2013, 11:41 pm

    Good Lord. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Mr. Weiss. I just finished reading the articles by Mike Coogan and Glenn Greenwald and the text of the actual bill.

    I live in Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Bob Casey, whom I voted for the last two elections, is one of the co-sponsors. The first time he ran, it was against Santorum, so it was an easy choice. After reading his website, though, it’s clear he’s an Israeli-firster. He spouts the usual drivel about Israel being our staunch ally and sharing our values and even has a paragraph about how Israel was justified in using force against the flotilla, which he says was a provocation. I’m going to write to him and let him know that I’m disgusted that he has co-sponsored a bill that discriminates against the citizens of his own country at the behest of a foreign one. I’ll also let him know that I’ll no longer support him at the polls unless he revokes his sponsorship of this garbage.

  16. CloakAndDagger
    April 14, 2013, 12:28 am

    From Lobelog:

    Indeed, more than five weeks after the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013 was introduced in the Senate, it has gathered only 18 co-sponsors. That’s a shockingly low total for a focal point of AIPAC lobbying. It has done better in the House of Representatives, with 171 co-sponsors, but given the more hawkish nature of the House, even that’s not a success by AIPAC’s standards.

    While one shouldn’t make too much of this, it certainly seems like AIPAC reached a little too far with this bill. The main issue is a portion of the bill which, in the Senate version, would grant a US visa exemption for Israeli citizens without requiring a reciprocal arrangement from Israel. The US has visa exemption arrangements with 37 other countries, but all of them reciprocate.

    [...]

    … it remains surprising that a bill that emerged as a focal point from an AIPAC policy conference would have this much trouble. Coogan thinks this is a sign that AIPAC’s grip on Congress might be weakening.

    Could it be that we have finally scared congress to the point that they are not as eager to kowtow to Israel? I would credit the Hagel nomination process as contributing to this.

    link to lobelog.com

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 14, 2013, 12:35 am

      Also in the above article:

      The House version of the bill does not exempt Israel from reciprocity, but merely calls on the Secretary of State to report to Congress on the extent of Israel’s compliance with the reciprocity requirement and “…what additional steps, if any, are required in order for Israel to qualify for inclusion in such program.” That may be one reason the House bill has done better.

      [...]

      Does all this mean AIPAC is losing its grip? Probably not, but as members of Congress grow less enthusiastic about complying with AIPAC’s demands, the possibility that more politicians will test the widely-held but unproven maxim that opposing AIPAC is electoral suicide arises. That could make things very interesting.

  17. kalithea
    April 14, 2013, 12:34 am

    Greenwald writes: “Aipac and its supporters have long expressed righteous outrage…”

    Righteous? Aipac? Let’s be clear: it’s NOT “righteous” outrage; it’s SELF-righteous outrage. There’s a huge difference between righteousness and self-righteousness, and AIPAC is NOT righteous in any way, shape or form, especially in its outrage.

    I have not even the minutest pity for those suddenly appalled by Boxer and her predictability. Not one iota! Why has this Zionist First individual held this seat for so many years, anyway??? This is nothing new or out of character with her and anyone with half a brain should have seen right through her long ago! This is what I mean when I write: dumb American mass. I have no pity for people who continuously vote against their own interests. She and her pal, Obama, had an easy time conning the ignorant, REPEATEDLY. It’s become downright pathetic!

    California may be “libruul”, but it’s deep Zio-country, ugh, such hypocrisy. My response to all this late bellyachin’ is: NO DOUBT in my mind a whole lot of y’all asked for it, ’cause you either voted Obama, Boxer or both.

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 15, 2013, 5:50 am

      NO DOUBT in my mind a whole lot of y’all asked for it, ’cause you either voted Obama, Boxer or both.

      Nope. Wrote in “Ron Paul” in 2008 and in 2012. I never vote for anyone who panders to Israel or AIPAC.

    • AlGhorear
      April 16, 2013, 3:23 pm

      “NO DOUBT in my mind a whole lot of y’all asked for it, ’cause you either voted Obama, Boxer or both.”

      Not me. I could not vote for the drone strikes, war monger, Israel-firster Obama, who has also launched a huge assault on our liberties and freedom, persecuting Bradley Manning and seeking extradition of Julian Assange, all for letting us know what our government was really doing, while telling us they were doing something else. I wrote in Jill Stein for president.

      Boxer wasn’t up for re-election this year, only Feinstein. I didn’t vote for her either, but can’t remember if I wrote in my mother’s name or my own :).

  18. Sumud
    April 14, 2013, 8:43 am

    I’ll bet you a million dollars that each one of these miserable excuses knows he or she is a treacherous leach.

    The word to use is TRAITOR and you have to use it so loud and so often that they change their behaviour – they have no backbone so when the price becomes too high (multiple angry vocal constituents publicly and repeatedly accusing them as traitors) they will back down. They will quietly tell AIPAC “I can’t do it, my voters are screaming for blood” and AIPAC will have no choice but to suck it up, because they also know they are a bunch of good-for-nothing traitors.

    I’m not even American and this makes my blood boil, ha ha.

    • Sin Nombre
      April 15, 2013, 5:22 am

      Doubly ironic: Sumud not even being an American, showing a much more gimlet-eyed understanding of our politicos than those who are Americans and who think that mere complaining by them of their politico’s actions is going to move the politicos in the face of AIPAC power, including those here who I suspect see themselves as even more tough-minded than the average American about politics.

      In any event, spot on Sumud. I don’t like its reality, but it is reality.

      • American
        April 16, 2013, 2:13 pm

        Sumud says:
        April 14, 2013 at 8:43 am
        + Show content
        I’ll bet you a million dollars that each one of these miserable excuses knows he or she is a treacherous leach.

        The word to use is TRAITOR and you have to use it so loud and so often that they change their behaviour >>>>>

        I guarentee you I understand it. And it is both true and accurate.
        And I don’t mince words on it and I have accused them of it in my many (mostly fruitless ) calls, faxs, etc, over the years.
        It’s gonna take more than a few of us willing to call it ‘what it is’ however to ever end it.
        I’ve changed my way of talking politics even…now I just say ‘they’ or most of them are traitors…and then wait for the ‘what do you mean?” question..and then give all the examples.

  19. piotr
    April 14, 2013, 11:40 am

    Who is Mike Coogan? The Adversary? According to one of the comments at “The Hill”

    SpectacledSpectator • 9 days ago
    Is Mike Coogan the clown who is responsible for taking God and Jerusalem out of the Democrat party platform in 2012? Is he the reason why they then denied God 3 times?

  20. Fritz
    April 14, 2013, 1:29 pm

    What do You think about the argument given by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) quoted in Haaretz

    “There are thousands of people with Arab American backgrounds who visit Israel each year and they face far less hassle than Israeli Christians, Jews or Muslims trying to visit the United States.”

    • CloakAndDagger
      April 15, 2013, 6:00 am

      Poppycock! Show me the proof of that assertion!

    • Joe Ed
      April 15, 2013, 7:16 am

      That it is a lie? Arabs (American or otherwise) facing far less hassle in visiting Israel than Israel Jews face trying to visit the USA? He is trying to sell that with a straight face? What’s even scarier is that he may believe it despite even any anecdotal evidence.

  21. James Canning
    April 14, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Shame on Barbara Boxer, and the other 16 US Senators pandering to Aipac’s demands.

  22. Ellen
    April 14, 2013, 2:08 pm

    For those interested in following the status of this bill as it moves through the hoops of Congress:

    link to govtrack.us

    It now has 182 co sponsors, which is not shabby.

    And recent comment on the bill by Israeli commerical press, which reveals that the questionable legislation supported by 182 legislators was written at the request of the Israeli Security Agency.

    link to globes.co.il

  23. peacenotapartheid
    April 16, 2013, 11:42 am

    > link to govtrack.us (which links to H.R. 938)
    > It now has 182 co sponsors, which is not shabby.

    Is the Senate version the only version with the exemption though?

    In Sec. 9 (G), S. 492 includes the exemption:
    “…The State of Israel shall be designated as a program country…” (if) “…the Government of Israel–”
    “(ii) has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.”

    However, H.R. 938 includes no such exemption in Sec. 9:
    “(a) Statement of Policy- It shall be the policy of the United States to include Israel in the list of countries that participate in the visa waiver program under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1187) when Israel satisfies the requirements for inclusion in such program specified in such section.”

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