‘Strategic Partner Act of 2013′ would give US seal of approval to Israeli discrimination against Arab-Americans

sandra tamari
Sandra Tamari

It was a big story last year when the US Embassy told Palestinian-American Sandra Tamari  ‘You’re not Jewish? Then we can’t do anything to help you’– and the Israelis deported her.  

SN2
Sasha Al-Sarabi and Najwa Doughman

So was the story last year by Najwa Doughman and Sasha Al-Sarabi about being detained and interrogated at Ben Gurion– “Do you feel more Arab or more American?” That story got over 20,000 shares, and along with Tamari’s account went viral.

But it wasn’t till two months ago, when Nour Joudah, a Palestinian-American teacher at the Friends School in Ramallah, was denied re-entry by Israel, that I heard of a bill to end the visa requirement for Israelis to visit the U.S.

Since then, the opposition to this bill has grown by immense proportions– and rightly so.

Nour Joudah
Nour Joudah

This sweeping legislation with the Orwellian title “The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013″, otherwise known as the Boxer/Aipac bill or the United States-Israel Strategic Subservience Act of 2013, includes a visa waiver agreement with Israel that no other country in the world has. S.B. 462  threatens to “codify Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian-, Muslim-, and Arab-Americans into US law,” by giving Israelis the right to enter the US without a visa, while preserving Israel’s “right” to deny entry to anyone.

“Anyone” means Sandra, Sasha, Najwa, and Nour. Inevitably, it could include any guests of Palestinians, including peace activists; for Israel holds the keys and it alone decides who is allowed to visit Palestine.

Here’s some of that opposition, from The Baltimore Sun. “Don’t let Israel discriminate against Americans based on religion,” by Zainab Choudry and Saqib Ali:

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would allow a foreign country, Israel, to discriminate against select groups of American citizens — including Americans who have expressed criticism of its policies. Disappointingly, the bill, S.B. 462 (also known as the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013), is co-sponsored by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin. Those who stand to be most affected by this piece of legislation are Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. However, it may also apply to individuals who wish to visit or work in Israel and/or the Palestinian territories that Israel has occupied since 1967. It would enshrine into U.S. law a provision allowing another country to discriminate against Americans based on their ethnicity or religion.

The purported intent of the bill, originally introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (a California Democrat) and Roy Blount (a Missouri Republican) at the behest of American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), is to provide Israel entry into the United States’ visa waiver program, but with special allowances not afforded any other country. Normally, the visa waiver program permits, under certain conditions, foreign individuals to enter the United States without a visa. A key aspect of the program is reciprocity, meaning that countries admitted into this program must also permit Americans to enter their country without a visa. Currently, 37 countries participate in this mutually beneficial arrangement with the United States. All reciprocate by allowing American citizens to cross their borders without obtaining visas.

However, S.B. 462 contains discriminatory provisions that allow Israel to bar entry to Americans of Arab heritage or Islamic faith, anyone who is viewed to be critical of the actions of the Israeli government, or even anyone who is supportive of Palestinian rights — this, while Israel would enjoy the full benefit of the program for its own people. Rather than requiring reciprocity, the bill, as drafted, requires only that Israel make “every reasonable effort” to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all U.S. citizens. No other waiver program nations are granted similar exemptions.

Earlier this year, Nour Joudah, a 25-year-old Palestinian-American woman, was denied entry to Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport despite holding a valid one-year multiple-entrance visa. Ms. Joudah was a full-time English teacher at the Quaker Friends School in Ramallah who had traveled to Amman for the Christmas holidays. However, when she tried to return through Israel, she was denied entry. Numerous efforts by USAID representatives and congressional staffers to secure Ms. Joudah’s re-entry were in vain. Ultimately, Ms. Nour had to inform her students via Skype that she could not return to Ramallah.

The issue of entry denial has been contentious for decades. Israel is widely recognized for especially discriminating against Arab-Americans and Muslims by preventing or making difficult their entry to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. When Americans of these two groups arrive in one of Israel’s ports of entry, they are often put through intense interrogations and strip searches, and in many cases are denied entry without any explanation.

The State Department’s website advises U.S. citizens “that all persons applying for entry to Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza are subject to security and police record checks by the Government of Israel, and may be denied entry or exit without explanation.” In 2006, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Arab-Americans, “I will continue to do everything in my power to support your good work, and to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment.” Unfortunately, almost one decade later, its increasingly obvious that much work remains to be done on this front.

As for the Maryland co-sponsor, readers may recall that Senator Cardin was the topic of Bruce Wolman’s Sen. Cardin tells how he and Hillary Clinton muscled foreign ambassadors to block ‘anti-American’ Palestinian statehood. You can listen to him bragging and singing the praises of The American Jewish International Relations Institute (AJIRI) in these videos of the event: “Israel Under Siege”at Maryland’s Ohr Kodesh synagogue.

Sen. Cardin’s affirmation of civil rights seems farcical when you consider what he’s willing to grant Israel: 

Every individual must have an equal opportunity to live his or her life and fulfill the American Dream. This is only possible when the government protects the civil rights and civil liberties of every citizen. No one is above the law. We must strive to find a balance that allows us to uphold the U.S. Constitution and protect our civil liberties while simultaneously fulfilling our solemn obligation to protect the American people.

Civil rights and civil liberties are the building blocks of the rule of law in our country.

Sandra Tamari is organizing against the racial profiling. From an email I received from her today:

If we don’t act now, this de facto US sponsorship of Israeli racial profiling could become the law of the land.
…..

This bill is an affront to basic principles of equality and dignity.  And it’s further evidence of the overwhelmingly biased US approach to Israel – a policy that harms all Americans.
As Senator Boxer’s constituent, you can change this bill.  

Please call Senator Boxer TODAY:

Identify yourself and tell her office that you are very disappointed with her sponsorship of the US-Israeli Strategic Partnership Act of 2013.

Tell her the Visa Waiver that sanctions Israel’s blatant discrimination against US citizens, particularly Arab-Americans, is especially disturbing.

Urge her to take the Visa Waiver out of the Senate bill.

Finally, ask her to issue a strong statement that condemns Israel’s discriminatory practice of refusing entrance to some U.S. citizens.

Her office numbers are:

202-224-3553: DC Office
510-286-8537: Oakland Office
213-894-5000: LA Office

After you’ve made your call, please email us at [email protected] to let us know you’ve called and any response you get.

This is an opportunity to make a difference!  

Thank you,

Sandra Tamari

Besides Boxer, the bill has 23 co-sponsors, senators who seem to care more about serving the Israeli government than ours. So if you live in any of these states you might want to give these sponsors a piece of your mind.

Cosponsors by U.S. State or Territory

Arkansas [2]
Kansas [2]
Missouri [2]
Alaska [1]
Connecticut [1]
Georgia [1]
Hawaii [1]
Idaho [1]
Maine [1]
Maryland [1]
Michigan [1]
Minnesota [1]
Montana [1]
Nebraska [1]
Nevada [1]
New Mexico [1]
North Dakota [1]
Oregon [1]
Pennsylvania [1]
Texas [1]
West Virginia [1]

 

(Hat tip Shelley Fudge)

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged

{ 48 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. dimadok says:

    You’re a liar, Annie. Simple as it is.
    “Travelers to the United States who have been denied entry into the United States, have been deported or removed, or have overstayed on a prior visit are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. They are required to apply for apply for B-1 or B-2 visas before traveling.”
    link to london.usembassy.gov

    These dual Palestinian-US citizens can be denied entry as any other person, trying to enter Israel. Moreover, following Oslo accords, dual Palestinian citizens, as one who was born on West Bank or Gaza, or had obtained Palestinian citizenship later, are required to present their Palestinian passport and can be denied entry into Israel, while permitted entry into Gaza.
    There is NO obligation to permit the unrestricted entry of US citizens and there will be no such obligation for the Israeli citizens as well. Visa waiver or visa issuance do not guarantee the entry in any state.

    • Citizen says:

      The US visa waiver agreement with every country to date is fully reciprocal. Boxer’s legislation would, uniquely be not a reciprocal visa waiver program.

      • Ellen says:

        The bill now has over 200 co-sponsors, with a fair chance of enactment. The language of the bill is far reaching and does, indeed, compromise reciprocity.

        link to govtrack.us

        The intent of the bill is to make it MUCH easier for Israeli business and other travelers to the US, and upon a careful reading, to keep many Americans out of Israel.

        There is a LOT of work to do and calls to make. But you will only get to a staffer who is as clueless as his or her boss. Such is our government.

    • link to london.usembassy.gov

      Citizens of the following countries; the United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland may be eligible to travel to the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program if they are traveling for business, pleasure or are in transit, and they meet all of the following requirements.

      dim, how is this not reciprocal?

      There is NO obligation to permit the unrestricted entry of US citizens and there will be no such obligation for the Israeli citizens as well. Visa waiver or visa issuance do not guarantee the entry in any state.

      then no israeli citizens should be allowed to enter the US visa free.

      • dimadok says:

        Perhaps I should simplify – visa stamp does not permit the entry, the ACTUAL permit is in the sole discretion of the immigration officer of the country. Therefore the bill is merely a gesture, demonstrating a good will towards Israel and recognizing its citizens (Jews and non-Jews alike) as non-breaching the immigration policies and the restriction of United States. The hoopla around the “Palestinian” aspect of this bill is another one in the long stretch of pushing this issue in every single public discourse. There is a difference between pursuing the ideals and actual facts. Perhaps you could learn not to mix it.

        • the bill is merely a gesture, demonstrating a good will towards Israel

          then there should be reciprocal language of “a good will towards the US” by israel in the language of the bill. i’m done discussing this with you. it’s a simple concept, your inflammatory name calling and patronizing tone are not appreciated. good bye.

        • Citizen says:

          US has visa waiver programs with 29 other countries, if memory serves, and all our fully reciprocal, demonstrating mutual good will equally. The bill in question regarding Israel does not do that. It’s not reciprocal. Israel demonstrates bad will, and wants the US to validate that.

        • dimadok says:

          @ Citizen. How is that Israel demonstrates a bad will? Do you know that about 10-15 % of Israelis are denied entry visas in US every year? This is ,by far exceeds the number of US citizens denied entry in Israel.

        • about 10-15 % of Israelis are denied entry visas in US every year? This is, by far exceeds the number of US citizens denied entry in Israel.

          dim, i’d appreciate seeing your sourcing. do you have any links? i didn’t even know 10-15% of israelis were applying for entry visas every year.

        • dim, your attempts at making a false equivalence are risible. Apart from the fact that you provide no evidence for your claims, it is not a numbers game, as you would conveniently believe. If the US is denying some Israeli citizens entry it is probably for criminal or terrorist reasons. Israel, on the other hand, indulges in racist profiling, discrimination and the maintenance of an apartheid regime. There is no equivalence, and asking (demanding) that the the US rubber stamps its approval of this, and colludes in it, is disgusting and entirely typical of the zionist mindset. No American, who believes in the founding principles, should have anything to do with it. It is an insult, which you are incapable of understanding. Your cheap slurs are evidence of that, and derisory.

        • Citizen says:

          @ justicewillprevail

          Well said, and right on the target.

        • dimadok says:

          @Annie. I’ll clarify- 10-15% of visa applicants are denied visas. Not the whole population.

        • thanks dim. do you have a source link please as well as a source of how many US citizens are denied entry in Israel? thanks.

          also, i am curious how many of those seeking entry are dual citizens of both countries. are these figures included? as a matter of practice i wouldn’t think they would be. we don’t deny our citizen’s right to enter the country. not sure if that can be said for israel, depending on the ethnicity of the citizen. do they revoke citizenship there? or once you have it is one then ‘secure’? i know they revoke jerusalem residency permits all the time. in the tens of thousands.

        • Ellen says:

          Dim, please source your statistics.

          Even if correct, information like that is irrelevant to the priciple of reciprocity.

          As an aside, if it is so that 15% of Israelis are denied entry each year, there must be really good reasons why the TSA keeps them out of the country, and shows how our bought-off and corrupted our treasonous Senate and Congress has become. Why is the Senate underming US security for the benefit of Israel?

    • eljay says:

      >> You’re a liar, Annie. Simple as it is.

      dimadokeee appears to be suggesting that annie would make an excellent Zio-supremacist. Unfortunately for him and his “collective”, she lacks their requisite and highly-offensive attributes of hatefulness, immorality and supremacism.

      :-(

    • dimaduck, before you go calling people liars, you might make an effort to understand the point being made, and get your facts straight. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like a stupid, name-calling troll. And surely you couldn’t possibly be one of those asinine creatures, could you?

    • W.Jones says:

      Dima,

      I am curious, do you think Russian Israeli immigrants are the most nationalistically zealous group among modern Israelis, and if so why?

      Also, is it true that one of the reasons they emigrate is due to intolerance against them in Russia? if that’s true, then my sympathies.

      Regards.

      • dimadok says:

        @W.Jones- it is true that the majority of them are inclined towards right-wing parties, but also the majority of Israel general public. Also, their first-hand experience of genuine forms of antisemitism enlightens them on the true nature of hostilities towards Jews and Israel. Younger generations of “Russians” are more variable in their political views, and represent all the spectra of Israeli politics.
        In addition, the generous support of the Arab, Iranian and Palestinian causes, including Hamas and Hezbollah, by Russia does not increase the understanding amongst the former Soviet Jews.

        • W.Jones says:

          Dima,

          Thanks for writing back.

          You wrote:

          it is true that the majority of them are inclined towards right-wing parties, but also the majority of Israel general public.

          Why do you think the Russians would be especially so?

          You write:

          Also, their first-hand experience of genuine forms of antisemitism enlightens them on the true nature of hostilities towards Jews and Israel.

          However, isn’t it true that the first generations of immigrants in the 1940′s underwent far far worse discrimination in Europe than the modern Russians? Yet according to statistics, those previous generations were actually more tolerant than the current Russian immigration and also more tolerant than younger generations of Israelis. A big majority of elderly Israelis agree with allowing Russian immigrants to practice Christianity. Surveys show this is much less so with younger generations.

          Would you say that modern Russian immigrants experienced worse discrimination than the immigrants from Arab countries? If so, how?

          You write:

          Younger generations of “Russians” are more variable in their political views, and represent all the spectra of Israeli politics.

          OK, I have no independent idea if that’s true, but younger Israelis apparently are less variable in their views, unfortunately.

          Looking forward to your response.

        • dimadok says:

          @W.Jones:
          The first Zionist immigrants had arrived in late 19th century and not the 40′s after the war. After the initial First, Second and Third Aliyas a core socialist-communist society has been established already, and that has formed the initial political and societal fabric of the early Israel ruling establishment. The refugees from the Holocaust and Arab countries were not more tolerant towards Arabs, and quite to the contrary, but their influence has been only established at late 70s and has been on the rise ever since. As for the Russian, I’d prefer former Soviet, Jews- their despise of the Arabs was based on their experience of Soviet support for the pan-arabic countries, PLO and Hamas, and Russian societal antisemitism. Simple and very powerful recipe for generating long and lasting hate. The younger generations, arriving at 90th, myself included was already disillusioned by the fall of anything communist-liberal related in their home countries, and were stricken by the terror waves of the suicide bombings and second intifada. Given all these factors it would be hard to imagine any mutual love appearing between both societies.

      • piotr says:

        W. Jones,

        in my opinion, the differences that you mention are smaller than implied by political leaders of Russian-Israeli community. Israeli political scene is dominated by Likud and offshoots that were created at different times, Kadima and whatever is lead by Naftali Bennet (while Yisrael Beitenu fused back into Likud). It is a bit like considering what is most spicy: horseradish, garlic or ginger.

        One aspect of Zionist immigration is than more liberally inclined Jews did not come to Israel or stayed there is briefly as possible.

        Second aspect of the prevailing “Revisionist Zionism” is that the first generation of revisionist politicians spend the first 20 years in the opposition which mellowed their original fascist outlook (and their great friend Mussolini eventually turned against Jews). The new immigration did not go through such mellowing experiences.

        • W.Jones says:

          Horseradish is by far the most spicey. In Russian it’s called Hren, which is also a bad word, which is not surprising if you swallow a bunch at once.

          Second aspect of the prevailing “Revisionist Zionism” is that the first generation of revisionist politicians spend the first 20 years in the opposition which mellowed their original fascist outlook (and their great friend Mussolini eventually turned against Jews). The new immigration did not go through such mellowing experiences.

          That can make sense: if the semi-fascists were a minority, it could mellow them. But then, why were those semi-fascists only in the minority then in the first place, as opposed to now?

          Are the nationalistic immigrants from Russia representative of the population living in Russia as a whole? Or are they the more nationalistic wing?

    • radkelt says:

      in reply to Dima..
      > These dual Palestinian-US citizens …. while permitted entry into Gaza.

      direct entry into Gaza is a rather tricky business, sea route not recommended (international waters be damned!), tunnels possible perhaps. One may attempt a balloon flight to the destroyed Gaza airport, defenestration however highly likely, also collision with (American supplied) F-16 doing routine, hearing damaging, window shattering, daily supersonic over flights. etc

  2. RE: S.B. 462 threatens to “codify Israel’s discrimination against Palestinian-, Muslim-, and Arab-Americans into US law,” by giving Israelis the right to enter the US without a visa, while preserving Israel’s “right” to deny entry to anyone. “Anyone” means Sandra, Sasha, Najwa, and Nour. Inevitably, it could include any guests of Palestinians, including peace activists; for Israel holds the keys and it alone decides who is allowed to visit Palestine. ~ Annie Robbins

    MY COMMENT: This effort by Israel’s Likudnik supporters to force the U.S. to give Israel a special exemption that would effectively allow Israel to discriminate against American travelers it sees as “security threats” (largely meaning people with Palestinian or Arab backgrounds), and also allow Israel to blacklist Americans viewed by them as sympathetic to the Palestinians (even merely as a consequence of constitutionally protected speech exercised 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
    On the Wish List from the Boston Bombings – The Israelization of America (Aaron Cohen, “National Security Expert” on Fox “News” saying that we need to “get on the Israeli page”) [VIDEO, 00:24] – link to youtube.com
    “In bill discriminating against Arab- and Muslim-Americans, Boxer and 17 other senators serve Israeli gov’t over their own — Greenwald”, By Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 4/13/13
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “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

  3. W.Jones says:

    How can we agree that any Israeli can come to America without even getting a visa, but normal categories of American citizens cannot go to their territory even with one?

    • Citizen says:

      Why don’t you call Barb Boxer’s office, and ask her?

      Her office numbers are:

      202-224-3553: DC Office
      510-286-8537: Oakland Office
      213-894-5000: LA Office

  4. Sumud says:

    “The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013″

    Orwellian as usual.

    Is there a formal treaty between US and Israel? No.
    Does Israel take? Yes.
    Does Israel give? No.
    Is Israel a strategic liability? Yes.
    How would you characterise the following US Senators:
    • Sen. Boxer, Barbara [D-CA] – traitor
    • Sen. Blunt, Roy [R-MO] – traitor
    • Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD] – traitor
    • Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV] – traitor
    • Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX] – traitor
    • Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME] – traitor
    • Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR] – traitor
    • Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA] – traitor
    • Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI] – traitor
    • Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] – traitor
    • Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI] – traitor
    • Sen. Crapo, Mike [R-ID] – traitor
    • Sen. Boozman, John [R-AR] – traitor
    • Sen. Johanns, Mike [R-NE] – traitor
    • Sen. Heinrich, Martin [D-NM] – traitor
    • Sen. Hoeven, John [R-ND] – traitor
    • Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS] – traitor
    • Sen. Chambliss, Saxby [R-GA] – traitor
    • Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] – traitor
    • Sen. McCaskill, Claire [D-MO] – traitor
    • Sen. Begich, Mark [D-AK] – traitor
    • Sen. Pryor, Mark L. [D-AR] – traitor
    • Sen. Roberts, Pat [R-KS] – traitor
    • Sen. Tester, Jon [D-MT] – traitor
    • Sen. Heller, Dean [R-NV] – traitor

  5. So Israel wants to enforce racist legislation in a foreign country, in order to benefit itself and entrench its own version of apartheid. Moreover a foreign country which built its principles on equality of its citizens before the law. How retrograde, how cynical and how entirely predictable. Israel cannot see beyond its own deeply unpleasant racism, and its own deluded sense of self-importance, not to mention smug arrogance. This is like Texas asking for exemption from civil rights and sending the KKK to Washington to demand laws for its own benefit. Never was a country and a system so blind to its own bigoted ideology, but what is most pernicious is its desire to spread it to others, and make them conform to their anti-humanism.

    • Castellio says:

      I agree it’s outrageous. But I also think there’s a fair chance it will happen, and other similar distinctions will be worked into the fabric of governance, both legally and in accepted practice.

      How do you think caste systems evolve?

      • lysias says:

        If this bill passes, I wonder how vulnerable it would be to a constitutional challenge in court.

        • Castellio says:

          Remember, if one loses the court case, which I would predict: given the argument that 1) Israel has the right– for extraordinary security reasons – to negotiate a non-reciprocal relationship and 2) it is a fairly ‘negotiated’ agreement, deemed acceptable and freely chosen by both ‘sovereign’ sides, then you will have on record a legal precedent for the acceptable (even if unfortunate) two tiers of American citizenship.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Castellio
          A plausible argument, relying on each sovereign state’s security conditions, but, since this subject visa waiver agreement has a disparate impact on minorities, that is, Americans of Arab/Muslim descent, with overtones of also denying entry into Israel merely for exercising freedom of speech, which Americans can do in their own country under the 1st Amendment, there is an arguable case against the pact in US civil rights law and under US freedom of speech (which applies to US citizens, even during this current “war on terror,” so why not also to Israel’s less tolerant values? The 29 countries the US now has visa waiver programs with also have security reasons for denying visitors entry–but their programs with the US are fully reciprocal. Why should Israel be different at the expense of US core values? Why should US adopt Israel’s core values at the expense of US citizens?

        • Castellio says:

          Citizen, in intent I fully agree with you. There is no justifiable reason for the US to adopt Israel’s core values at the expense of US citizens. But it is happening, and most likely will be legalized.

          Your argument can only be proven with empirical evidence that there has been consistent racist prejudice in implementation of a law that was “not meant” to discriminate. In other words, an effective challenge will only come after a prolonged period of implementation. If contested prior to implementation, we can be sure that the Israelis will argue, the US government will collude, and the judge will agree, that there is no racist intent, only necessary procedures to identify security risks of whatever cultural or ethnic background.

          And as to the other 29 countries with reciprocal agreements, it will be accepted that Israel lives in “extraordinary circumstances” calling for “extraordinary measures”, and not being sympathetic to the existential threats would be the acceptance of antisemitism as a principle within American governance.

          To put this another way: you may think Israeli and US core values are distinct (as do I) but is there a court in the land that would agree? The accepted dominant narrative remains that terrorism actually exists because of shared core values between Israel and the US targeted by the (inferior/foreign) values of radical Muslims.

          I imagine we probably agree that what is happening, in fact, is the beginning of a formal “roll-back” on equality of citizenship as a modern concept, which suits Israeli jurisprudence just fine, as it is a state predicated on the inequality of those who live within it (and outside of it, too, for that matter), and has worked out laws, practices and legal precedents to promote and defend that very inequality.

          The greatest threat to American jurisprudence is the legalization of inequality of rights as a practical solution to issues of “security”, which themselves simply mask the implementation of racist privilege.

          But since 2001, who would bet on the American Justice department defending the equality of rights for all Americans? What was his name… Furkan something? “Shot five times from less than 45 cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.”

          Anything come of that?

        • Citizen says:

          @ Castellio

          If a state’s selection system has made it statistically more difficult than pure chance for a member of a certain group, such as Arab and/or Muslim-Americans, to visitor entry into Israel and/or its OT, then this could be reasonably viewed as evidence that the selection system was systematically screening out members of that social group. I bet organizations such as CAIR, and some Human Rights groups, have substantial statistical evidence too. Too, the legal argument could include, e.g., The US 2012 Human Rights Report on Israel, which address institutional discrimination against the minority in Israel and OT–the logic being by inference, associating said discrimination with Israel’s practice of denying visitor entry to Americans of same ethnic/religious group.

        • lysias says:

          Furkan Doğan. An aspiring medical student, no less. Shot point blank while he was filming the antics of the Israeli thugs boarding the ship.

        • Castellio says:

          In international waters.

        • I bet organizations such as CAIR, and some Human Rights groups, have substantial statistical evidence too.

          citizen, not sure if you opened the link to the baltimore sun. the authors…

          Zainab Choudry ([email protected]) is vice president of the Maryland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Saqib Ali ([email protected]) is the group’s government affairs director. Also contributing to this article were Shelley Fudge, director of the Jewish Voice for Peace Washington D.C. Chapter and Abed Ayoub, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s director of policy and legal affairs.

          my hunch is they’ve got plenty of evidence.

        • Castellio says:

          Citizen: Thank you for your persistence.

          I want to ask two questions that may look alike, but are actually separate.

          Is there an American court that would allow itself jurisdiction or competence to agree that Israeli government border policy is demonstrably racist to certain groupings of Americans, and that the fact of that be considered in the constitutional legality of federal legislation?

          In other words, you may be able to prove it, but they don’t have to agree that what you prove is relevant to the case at hand, or within their jurisdiction or competency. The Court can argue that you are misusing its time as you try to overreach. They are looking at the Bill in front of them, and essentially you are trying to prove that the Israeli government is acting in bad faith, and that the American government doesn’t have either the wit or desire to recognize it. Your “facts” can only be linked to the specifics of the bill through an argument of known intention on the Israeli side. No court will go there. The court’s safest option is that the court doesn’t have the competence to determine Israel’s good faith or not, which is why state to state negotiations are necessary and correct procedure.

          (Or, reversing approaches, the lawyer for the government might even decide that this Bill goes some distance in improving and clarifying past border abuses. Strange as it may seem, your past cases then end up as evidence for why a different system needed to be negotiated, and that the non-reciprocal aspects of it are reasonable determinations among sovereign states.)

          Would the appeals court or (eventually) the Supreme Court vitiate any favorable judgement of a lower court, claiming it had no jurisdiction to intervene on sovereign state to state negotiations (at the juncture of both foreign affairs and security concerns) which, on the whole, were undertaken in good faith to improve the general situation for many Americans?

          Likely.

          What then is to be done within the courts? How can the law be brought onside?

        • Citizen says:

          @ Castellio

          Yes, just off the top of my head and without doing legal research on cases with possibly similar issues, I guess it would be a hard case to bring and make successful. However, because of the alleged disparate impact on minority American Arabs/Muslims, and because of US free speech rights, the lower federal courts might entertain a suit, and such a suit would not be deemed frivolous, but I’d bet that SCOTUS would ultimately reject it primarily as beyond its jurisdiction under the “political question” doctrine.

          I don’t know how the US Constitutional law could be brought onside. I’m hoping that the bill, if made US code, will be brought into the federal courts. Not that there’s a chance of lawsuit success, but that the politics of it will be made a subject of discussion, debate, even in our mainstream media. Most Americans, when actually given all the facts, albeit not something our mass media gives re anything Israel, will sniff out the obvious. Reciprocity or fair play is a powerful notion, and the US and the other 29 countries it has a visa waiver program with, are, in the mass mind, res ipsa loquitur, a thing that “speaks for itself.”

        • Castellio says:

          Citizen: I haven’t done the research, either, just asking reasonable questions. I’m actually beginning to side with you that a failed court case might be better than no court case.

          My preference right now would be that the case be fought on as broad a basis as possible, something like – Israel is asking the US to harmonize its administrative practices to Israel’s own racist principles. In other words, get the nub of the issue in as few words as possible, and force the discussion around the relevance of the case and the competence of the court to deal immediately with 1) Israeli racism and 2) American acquiescence to it.

          At the same time one tries to lift the issue out of the negotiation between sovereign states, and to position it as Jim Crow laws being introduced through a back door, obviously diminishing the rights of Americans and open to redress by the American legal system.

          It needs to be as bold as possible, and force the real issues to the fore.

          As you say, the legitimacy of the original case should “speak for itself”, appealing to concepts that most Americans would consider fair.

          I shudder when I look at the coordination of minds and powers seeking to institutionalize various degrees of American citizenship.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Castellio
          I shudder too.
          I am thinking of the debate over US immigration policy. At least that involves Mexico, our nearest neighbor like Canada, but this issue wrt to visa non-reciprocity involves a state the size of NJ that lies in the Middle East, one that has no border with us. If our congress passes legislation essentially codifying a second class US citizenship for US citizens who are born Arab and/or raised Muslim….what should I make of that?

        • Castellio says:

          That is was intended. Considered and intended.

  6. Rusty Pipes says:

    So, when is/are the protest(s) at Boxer’s SF office?

  7. Citizen says:

    May 03, 2013 — New Cosponsors

    H.R. 938: United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Joyce Beatty [D-OH3]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Dan Benishek [R-MI1]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Timothy Bishop [D-NY1]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Kevin Brady [R-TX8]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Susan Brooks [R-IN5]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Paul Broun [R-GA10]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Michael Conaway [R-TX11]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Ron DeSantis [R-FL6]

    New Cospons or: Rep. Sean Duffy [R-WI7]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Elizabeth Esty [D-CT5]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Jared Huffman [D-CA2]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Robert Hurt [R-VA5]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Leonard Lance [R-NJ7]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Richard Nugent [R-FL11]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Scott Perry [R-PA4]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Austin Scott [R-GA8]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Lamar Smith [R-TX21]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Steve Southerland [R-FL2]

    New Cosponsor: Rep. Ann Wagner [R-MO2]