BDS ban: Five Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders denied entry to Israel for supporting Palestinian human rights

Israel/Palestine

This press release was sent out by Jewish Voice for Peace today.

Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israel’s travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS).

Rabbi Alissa Wise: “We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasn’t even able to get as far as checking my bag.”

WASHINGTON DC (July 24, 2017) – Five members of an interfaith delegation were prevented from boarding their flight to Israel because of their public criticism of the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestinians. The group of Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders were apparently singled out for their public support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the state of Israel. Upon arrival at the Lufthansa check-in counter at Dulles International Airport, an airline employee informed the group that the Israeli government had told the airline not to let them board.

The five people prohibited from flying are Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) deputy director, Philadelphia, PA; Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Brooklyn, NY and Noah Habeeb, Virginia, both also of JVP; Rick Ufford Chase, of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Rockland County, NY; and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine, Los Angeles, CA.

“Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though I’m Jewish and a rabbi,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise.  “I’m heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians.”

The Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a bill in March banning entry to those who support boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel until Palestinians have full equal rights. Israel’s BDS ban includes those who have endorsed boycotts of products from Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy. It is believed that this is the first time that the policy has been enforced before people even board their flight. It is also the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their political positions. This new political litmus test for entry into the country is an extension of the longstanding practices of racial, religious and ethnic profiling of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim visitors to Israel.

“As a person of faith, Israel’s denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesn’t dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,” said Shakeel Syed, a human rights activist & national Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine. “Despite that I had my boarding pass to Tel Aviv in hand, the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from ‘Israeli immigration authorities’ to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order.”

The BDS travel ban is part of a broader crackdown on support for these nonviolent tactics to hold Israel accountable to international law. The United States Congress is currently considering the draconian Israel Anti-Boycott Bill that would penalize people and companies that boycott business with Israel or Israeli settlements with penalties of up to 20 years in jail and $1 million in fines.

At a time of heightened violence in the region, when Palestinians are praying outside the Al-Aqsa compound and on the streets, protesting Israeli restrictions on worship there, a small group of faith leaders and activists have been barred from even witnessing and lending an interfaith voice for peace. Israel’s ban refuses the interfaith leaders entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinians Territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, under Israeli control.

“I am part of a Jewish, Muslim and Christian delegation of committed, nonviolent peacemakers whose plan is to meet with those in both Israel and Palestine who are working every day for a Just Peace in the Holy Lands,” Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, PC(USA) and member of the Activist Council of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. “At this time when tension and violence are rising once again, the work we are doing to build trust and work for a viable peace is more important than ever, and I stand ready to go the moment the State of Israel gives us permission to fly.”

The other 18 participants on the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine (INJIP)* delegation arrived in Israel this morning, and were allowed to enter after several hours of detention and questioning that particularly focused on Muslim members of the delegation. The delegation plans to meet with dozens of faith-based organizations, grassroots activists and human rights groups in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Now the remaining delegates will continue this work, without five of their members, with the intention to learn, witness and co-resist Israeli occupation, displacement and siege with Palestinian and Israeli partners on the ground.

About Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.

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26 Responses

  1. Citizen
    July 24, 2017, 10:19 pm

    Jewish Zionist order, enforced by ordinary Germans. I guess neither do irony, eh?

  2. JosephA
    July 24, 2017, 10:57 pm

    Israel = antithetical to Jewish Values

    • genesto
      July 25, 2017, 12:14 pm

      Uh, that would be HUMAN values, shared by ALL people!

      • JosephA
        July 26, 2017, 9:57 am

        Yes, true. I stated Jewish values to underscore the ironic (tragic) actions of the so-called “Jewish democracy” (an oxymoron if there ever was one, run by a moron Yahoo / Mileikowsky).

  3. JohnSmith
    July 24, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lufthansa needs to be taken to court and made to at least give up a copy of the letter from Israel. I think it’s inconceivable that an airline could not be made to give proof of what otherwise is a mere allegation and claim on Lufthansa’s part. Not that I actually think there isn’t such a letter, of course.

    Also, I find it difficult to believe that a country has any actual power to deny a flight to even come to their airport with any particular people or sorts of people. Isn’t that what immigration people at the airport are for?

    Why on earth would Lufthansa fall all over themselves to act as agents of Israel? I would think Lufthansa is setting themselves up as supporters and perpetrators of war crimes, and activists should announce them as such, publicize them as such, and pursue them in court as such.

    • Eva Smagacz
      July 25, 2017, 5:29 pm

      Most countries (all countries?) have a rule, that if airline will bring the person to an airport upon landing at it’s destination, then that same airline MUST remove them at their (airline’s) expense.
      This makes airlines very keen to adequately screen passengers before the take – off. So don’t blame airlines. They would be refused landing rights if they did not sign such undertaking.14/14

  4. JosephA
    July 25, 2017, 1:18 am

    It is unfortunate that the modern, “democratic” state of Israel would shoot themselves in the foot like this.

  5. RoHa
    July 25, 2017, 3:07 am

    Jews are denied entry to Israel?

  6. JLewisDickerson
    July 25, 2017, 5:36 am

    I wonder how long this ban is in effect for the “Interfaith Five”*. Hopefully it is not in perpetuity. I guess this is the ten year exclusion like that awarded to Norman Finkelstein, Hedy Epstein, etc.
    Of course, if the “Interfaith Five” were to send a large shipment of hand-rolled “leaves” and premium quality “pink” as a gift to you know who (i.e., a certain Israeli “friend”), they might just find themselves magically absolved of the inexcusable “sins” that precipitated their having been subjected to the travel ban.

    * Perhaps they should consider giving the Gospel music groups a little interfaith competition.
    Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Didn’t It Rain

    • JLewisDickerson
      July 25, 2017, 5:47 am

    • genesto
      July 25, 2017, 12:17 pm

      I don’t think so. I’m on the 10-exclusion list because of my participation in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, but I don’t EVER expect to be let into Israel again, at least as long as the hard-right Zionists are in control .

      • Boris
        July 25, 2017, 12:47 pm

        That I can respect.

        If you are against Israel, don’t try to go there, don’t buy Israeli products, etc.

        By all means… We don’t need your business.

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 25, 2017, 5:36 pm

        Boris,

        How exactly being on flotilla to Gaza is against Israel?
        15/15

      • Talkback
        July 26, 2017, 8:44 am

        Eva Smagacz: “How exactly being on flotilla to Gaza is against Israel?”

        They have not Israeli permit to break its illegal blockade.

  7. eileenfleming
    July 25, 2017, 9:31 am

    Israel Denies Interfaith BDS Activists Entry and Resurrects Memories of Rick Ufford Chase and TIKKUN’s first conference for spiritual progressives:
    http://thearabdailynews.com/2017/07/25/israel-denies-interfaith-bds-activists-entry-and-resurrects-memories-of-rick-ufford-chase-and-presbyterian-peace-fellowship/

  8. Boris
    July 25, 2017, 9:34 am

    The hypocricy of this article is absolutely hilarious!

    You work for destruction of a state and then complain that you can’t visit it ?!?!

    Cry me a river!!!

    • genesto
      July 25, 2017, 12:20 pm

      Destroying a racist, apartheid state, yes, and replacing it with the true democracy Israel has always claimed itself to be.

      I’m sick and tired of you Zionists claiming we are all trying to ‘destroy’ Israel by simply trying to make it behave itself!

      • Boris
        July 25, 2017, 12:44 pm

        genesto,

        If you are sick and tired, why don’t you go to a psychiatrist?

      • Eva Smagacz
        July 25, 2017, 5:41 pm

        Boris, Boris….
        It’s a Russian name, isn’t it?
        Remind me, which great country, which is no longer with us, had a habit sending its dissidents to psychiatric institutions as disagreeing with prevailing political orthodoxy was considered a sign of mental illness?
        16/16

    • Misterioso
      July 25, 2017, 7:00 pm

      @Boris

      Wake up and smell the coffee. Israel is doing a first class job of destroying itself.

    • Talkback
      July 26, 2017, 9:15 am

      Boris: “You work for destruction of a state and then complain that you can’t visit it ?!?!”

      Who knew that after Nazism and Apartheid South Africa a state exists can be destroyed if one supports fundamental human rights.

  9. Ossinev
    July 25, 2017, 12:06 pm

    @Boris
    It is your hypocrisy which is absolutely hilarious. They are in fact working to save a state.

    As for Lufthansa. Yes they should be taken to court. If nothing else it will shed further light on the stuff international law we are the chosen and can do what we like with US support antics of the shitty little Fascist cult colony which you are so beloved of.

    And of course there would be shrieks and wailings of “blatant Anti – Semitism” from the usual suspects if an Israeli Jew who supports Zionist terrorism against the native Palestinians was stopped from boarding a BA flight to London ( currently the way things are unfolding that would in fact be a significant majority of the Jewish Israeli population )

    Cry yourself your own sewer – you seem so comfortable awash with ZioExcretion.

  10. genesto
    July 25, 2017, 12:22 pm

    At this rate, all that will be left in Israel will be hard-right, maybe exclusively Ashkenazi, Zionist Jews!

    • Boris
      July 25, 2017, 12:54 pm

      Have you noticed that all liberal anti-Zionist Jews are Ashkenazi?

      The simple fact is that more than half of Israeli Jews are not European Jews, and they are much more to the right then the European ones, maybe with the exception of the Russian Jews.

      Again, shows that most of you have no idea about the real world and are driven by blind hatred.

      • JosephA
        July 26, 2017, 10:00 am

        Good point. The non-white Jews in Israel (Arabic-speaking, from surrounding countries) are often discriminated against by fellow Jews and the Israeli government.

  11. dvered
    July 26, 2017, 2:40 am

    They were not the first Jews to be denied an entry to Israel.
    Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky were denied entry in the past.

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