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Watch Palestinian-Americans discuss how Israel discriminates against U.S. travelers

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Last week, a day after a Senator pulled a bill from consideration that gives Israel a path into the visa-waiver program with the U.S., activists and experts gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss the legislation.

The bill, long an Israel lobby priority, would allow Israel entry into a program that would give their citizens visa-free entry when traveling to the U.S., and allow Americans the same privilege.  But it has sparked a firestorm of controversy over Israel’s practice of denying entry to Palestinian- and Arab-Americans.

Organized by the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, the May 21st panel featured two Palestinian Americans–Nour Joudah and Sandra Tamari–who had personally been denied entry by Israel when they were on their way to the Palestinian territories. Also speaking at the panel was Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the Jerusalem Fund, and Donna Nevel, a Jewish Voice for Peace board member and long-time organizer.

Watch the panel below, in four parts:

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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20 Responses

  1. German Lefty
    German Lefty on May 25, 2014, 12:55 pm

    OT: On the YouTube channel PublicSolidarity, you find videos of the One Democratic State Conference that took place in Zurich last weekend.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/publicsolidarity/videos

  2. Citizen
    Citizen on May 25, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Oh, come on, what’s yet another non-reciprocal MOU between US and Israel? Every one of them has benefited Israel much more than the USA, starting with the USA’s first FTA, which was with Israel in 1985, and made by Zionist spies in the USA, and has never been corrected.

  3. seafoid
    seafoid on May 25, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Jews wouldn’t do that *

    *except where they run the place

  4. Basilio
    Basilio on May 25, 2014, 8:41 pm

    Personally, I dealt with bein’ at the airport for 6 hours. Other people of European background were kept, in some cases, for some hours. Frankly, I am one of those Palestinian-Americans who doesn’t look to jump on the plane to go down there.
    One major reason is the Israeli border folks. They’re likely that anyone even allows them a visa to any part of the world consider the way the authorities behave. When you make it hard for people to visit their relatives, it’s really cruel. I rarely visit. I was born in North America and feel a strong connection to America, but I like to show relatives, here-and-there, that I care and want to see them.

  5. Palikari
    Palikari on May 25, 2014, 10:09 pm

    Israel does not discriminate against Americans or other travelers in Ben Gurion airport. It’s normal that some Arabs -and non-Arabs- are interrogated becase Israel needs to control its borders and assure the security of its citizens, residents and visitors.

    Don’t worry guys. You can come and you’ll have no problem at the airport.

    • Ecru
      Ecru on May 26, 2014, 3:19 am

      @ Palikari

      It’s very telling that you don’t even notice your own bigotry.

      It’s normal that some Arabs -and non-Arabs- are interrogated

      Not

      it’s normal some PEOPLE are interrogated

      Like any Zionist everything for you breaks down to ethnic group.

    • just
      just on May 26, 2014, 8:28 am

      “Don’t worry guys. You can come and you’ll have no problem at the airport.”

      How can you promise this??? So many people have ‘problem(s)’ @ your airport, your checkpoints, your state in general…

      You really are funny.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on May 26, 2014, 8:52 am

      It is that sense of entitlement that Israel is pushing hard for it’s citizens, some who have been sent to spy on us, or up to no good, easy access to our country, yet treat Americans like criminals. There are numerous first hand stories about Americans being treated very badly, and humiliated at Ben Gurion. The US State Department has to issue warnings about the possibility of experiencing the Israeli “welcome” and having personal property confiscated, at their airport. So this is how they treat the people who keep sending them most aid.

      “Israeli authorities strictly enforce security measures. U.S. citizen visitors have been subjected to prolonged questioning and thorough searches upon entry or departure by Israeli authorities.

      U.S. citizens with Arabic or Muslim names, those born in Muslim or Middle Eastern countries, those who have been involved in missionary or activist activity, and those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passport have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny by Israeli border authorities, and on occasion they have been given a “Palestinian Authority only” stamp in their passport which prohibits entry into “Green Line” Israel.

      U.S. citizens have been detained and/or arrested at the airport and at other border crossings on suspicion of security-related offenses. Members of religious groups have been monitored, arrested, and deported for suspicion of intent to proselytize in Israel. In some cases, Israeli authorities have denied American citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, and even family members during temporary detention.

      Security-related delays are not unusual for travelers carrying cameras or electronic equipment, and some have had their laptop computers and other electronic equipment confiscated at Ben Gurion Airport. While most items are returned prior to the traveler’s departure, some equipment has been retained by the authorities for lengthy periods and has reportedly been damaged, destroyed or lost.”

      What a “warm” welcome, Israeli style.

    • just
      just on May 26, 2014, 8:58 am

      Please read this, ‘Palikari’:

      “US states should act against Israel’s denial of entry to Americans
      Mike Coogan
      The Electronic Intifada
      30 April 2014

      On 13 September 2012, an Israeli soldier pointed his gun at an American college student and ordered her to board a bus back to Jordan.

      The student, Yara Karmalawy, was attempting to travel to the occupied West Bank and present-day Israel as part of a university-sponsored trip with other students from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Instead of being admitted like the other thirty students, Yara was disparaged, threatened and denied entry because of her ethnicity.

      Unfortunately, this type of treatment by Israel is all too common for Americans of Arab and Muslim heritage, as well as those critical of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. Those affected by Israel’s policies include college students, world-renowned university professors, teachers, architects, clergy, people visiting sick relatives, married couples giving birth, humanitarian workers and human rights monitors.

      Even those who can trace their ancestry to signers of the US constitution have not been spared from Israel’s discriminatory policies. George Bisharat, a law professor and descendant of William Samuel Johnson, has been routinely mistreated by Israeli officials, an experience he shared in a powerful 28 April piece for The Los Angeles Times.”

      much more here:
      http://electronicintifada.net/content/us-states-should-act-against-israels-denial-entry-americans/13356

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka on May 26, 2014, 10:32 am

      “Israel does not discriminate against Americans or other travelers in Ben Gurion airport. It’s normal that some Arabs -and non-Arabs- are interrogated…”

      Wow, you’re bigotry is so bad you don’t even notice a contradiction when you type it in successive paragraphs.

      And “Ben Gurion airport”??? Ugh. Might as well be naming an airport after Himmler.

    • jenin
      jenin on May 26, 2014, 12:12 pm

      Three years ago, My father, now a us citizen and a professor at an Ivy League university who has never done anything illegal in his life, was detained for three days, strip searched, etc. when he landed at Ben gurion, hoping to visit his 90 year old mother. Want to explain that, palikari?

  6. German Lefty
    German Lefty on May 26, 2014, 11:31 am

    Yesterday, DER SPIEGEL published an article titled “Swiss anti-Semitism” by writer Sibylle Berg: http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/sibylle-berg-ueber-die-schweiz-als-insel-der-meinungsfreiheit-a-971295.html
    The author complains that Switzerland allows its citizens too much freedom of speech: “A lady, who lives in a very wealthy quarter of Zurich, can declare hostilities against the far-away, small country of the Jews.”
    This is a reference to the “anti-Israel posters” that were displayed for one week in May at Zurich’s central station. The ethnologist and sociologist Verena Tobler Linder is responsible for the campaign.
    Here is a photo of one of this year’s posters: http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/zuerich/story/Israel-kritische-Plakate-am-Zuercher-HB-11330175
    The slogans read:
    “66 years of Israel = 66 years of land theft from the Palestinians” (accompanied by maps showing the land loss)
    “66 years of Israel = 66 years of injustice to the Palestinians – How long do we still turn a blind eye?”
    Sibylle Berg refers to these statements as “polemic”.

    Last year in May, there was the same kind of poster campaign:
    http://etwasanderekritik.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/verena-tobler-linder-die-terroristenbraut/
    The slogan reads: “65 years of Israel = 65 years of injustice to the Palstinians – Israel violates international law and the human rights of Palestinians every day.”

    Here’s another article about this year’s campaign, with lots of reader comments:
    http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/zuerich/uebersicht/erneut-israelkritische-plakate-im-zuercher-hauptbahnhof-1.18301297

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on May 26, 2014, 12:31 pm

      Additions:

      There have already been “anti-Israel posters” at Zurich’s central station in March 2009. At that time, the text was:
      “61 years of Israel = 61 years of injustice to the Palestinians
      In the Middle East there was: no land without a people for a people without a land.
      Israel: established by force on the soil of the Palestinians.
      Injustice requires resistance!”
      After three days, however, Swiss Federal Railways decided to remove the posters because of complaints by Zionists. The Palestine solidarity activists sued and won the case. Now, Swiss Federal Railways has to allow such posters.

      During the aforementioned 2013 poster campaign, Zionist activists put stickers on the posters. The text was: “Stop all of this lies about Israel!! Everyday Israel helps arabs in israeli hospitals (sic!)!!!”

      Source: http://www.israel-nachrichten.org/archive/3187

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on May 26, 2014, 7:18 pm

      I wish we saw similar posters in our nation. That would however bring a lot of whining about antisemitism.

    • Ecru
      Ecru on May 26, 2014, 10:50 pm

      “A lady, who lives in a very wealthy quarter of Zurich, can declare hostilities against the far-away, small country of the Jews.”

      This type of statement, the type we see all too often, attempting to shut down criticism of Israel through what amounts to a form of (i)moralistic bullying, seems almost designed to encourage anti-semitism not to combat it.

      Combine that with what I can only describe as the glee Zionists express whenever there actually is an attack on Jews in the Diaspora and I have to ask…….why do Zionists hate Jews so much?

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on May 27, 2014, 7:28 am

        I am not quite sure what exactly you mean by “(i)moralistic bullying”. What I find strange about the quoted sentence is the mention or claim that Ms Tobler Linder is wealthy. Apparently, Ms Berg would have us believe that there’s an imbalance of power between the wealthy anti-Zionist/anti-Semite and the poor, tiny “country of the Jews”.
        I mean, referring to Israel as “country of the Jews” is already terrible enough and an upgrade from “Jewish state”. However, claiming that “the poor Jews” in “their tiny country” are persecuted by “the wealthy anti-Zionists”, that takes the biscuit.

  7. ritzl
    ritzl on May 26, 2014, 10:00 pm

    Munayyer’s description of the profound difference in the meaning of citizenship in Israel and the US was awesome and clarifying as to the root-level wrongness of this bill.

    There are no common terms/definitions to even begin to determine reciprocal compliance on this. That alone should cause it to be tabled indefinitely (i.e. until there are some).

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