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Denial of entry – the real targets are Palestinians

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Two weeks have passed now since I was standing in the Ben Gurion airport office of Israeli Border Control being told that I had been denied entry. Israeli Minister for Internal Security Gilad Erdan stated that I was barred due to my actions of the previous summer: “Gold has distributed videos on social networks, in which she harasses IDF soldiers and Border Police officers in Hebron, accusing the soldiers of apartheid and oppression, and that their actions do not conform to Jewish values.”

My denial of entry received an enormous amount of coverage in Israeli and American Jewish media. Though I am disappointed I was not able to get into the country, I am glad that what happened to me contributed in a strong and positive way to the conversations that are taking place right now in Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities around Palestinian rights and democracy. But, refusing to allow me into the country is only a small glimpse of Israel’s border policies.  

Since Israel’s founding in 1948, predicated on the forced displacement of around 750,000 Palestinians, it has been an official policy of the state to deny reentry to those who were expelled.

In December 1948, seven months after Israel declared statehood, the United National General Assembly adopted Resolution 194. Article 11 stated: “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property…”  

Almost a full 70 years have now passed since the resolution was adopted and Article 11 has yet to be fulfilled. When the Great March of Return launched in Gaza on May 30, 2018, it clearly declared its aspiration that the right of return be implemented. Approximately 70% of the population in Gaza are refugees. They are still waiting to reenter what is now the state of Israel. So far their peaceful protests have been met with the slaughter of over 140, including journalists, medics, and children.

Not only is Israel continuing to deny reentry to Palestinian refugees who are scattered around the world, but concentrated in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, and Jordan, but they are continuously creating more refugees and displacement. Israel is currently attempting to demolish the entire Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, displacing families and livestock, and destroying an ecologically sustainable school built out of tires. Khan al-Ahmar is caught between two expanding Israeli settlements. If the demolition goes through (it is currently being contested in Israel’s Supreme court), it will split the West Bank in two, cutting off West Bank Palestinians’ access to Jerusalem.

The media pays close attention to denials of entry to people like me, Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director Rabbi Alissa Wise in 2016, Columbia law professor Katherine Franke and Center for Constitutional Rights executive director Vincent Warren this past May, and the current Israeli effort to deport Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir.

The media rarely discusses the much more common denial of entry to scores of Muslims and diaspora Palestinians. In 2014, in exchange for Israel’s entry into the US visa waiver program, Israel promised more “egalitarian treatment” of Palestinian Americans trying to enter Israel. But, in 2016, the US rebuked Israel for continued discrimination against Arab-Americans following the denial of entry to five members of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (then named the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation), four of whom were Muslim people of color and one of whom who was profiled for having a long beard. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “The US government remains concerned about unequal treatment that some Arab-Americans receive at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”

Israel’s goal of denying entry to Palestinian-Americans and individuals like myself is an attempt to increasingly isolate Palestinians living on the ground, especially Palestinian activists who work directly with activist groups like CODEPINK, and research and advocacy groups like Human Rights Watch.

It is about reducing the documentation and exposure of Israeli crimes. This is why groups like If Not Now, who are using their Jewish American privilege for bold and creative actions to move the American Jewish community and directly expose Israel’s oppressive policies, are so effective and important.

Palestinian author Nada Elia was correct in writing that Americans don’t have to “go into Hebron, accompanied by Israeli soldiers, to see for themselves what Palestinians have been documenting for decades.” It isn’t that I need to be in Hebron or Nabi Saleh or Bethlehem to do my work or see for myself what is going on. Campaigns like the Stolen Homes to get Airbnb out of settlements and the Stop Elbit campaign (which CODEPINK is launching this week), to boycott and divest from the Israeli weapons giant, can be worked on from outside Palestine and Israel. However, activists on the ground in Hebron, Bethlehem, and Nabi Saleh are clear that they appreciate and want international activists to visit and join in protesting, filming, and building joint campaigns.

Israel will stop at nothing to increase the repression that Palestinians on the ground live under. This includes continuing to deny Palestinian refugees the right of return, maintaining the siege on Gaza, passing laws that ban the filming of soldiers, the nation-state law that would legalize the most blatant forms of Israeli discrimination, attacking Israeli activists, and denying entry to Muslims, diaspora Palestinians, and international activists who advocate for Palestinian rights. We must not let them win.

About Ariel Gold

Ariel Gold is the national co-director for CODEPINK and leads their campaigns for Palestinian rights.

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18 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    July 16, 2018, 1:57 pm

    … Israel’s goal of denying entry to Palestinian-Americans and individuals like myself is an attempt to increasingly isolate Palestinians living on the ground … It is about reducing the documentation and exposure of Israeli crimes. …

    “Jewish State” supremacists prefer to commit their acts of evil “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.

    Kudos to activists like Ms. Gold for doing their best to keep the cameras on and the lights shining.

  2. Boris
    Boris
    July 16, 2018, 3:20 pm

    Ever since Mrs. Gold was banned from entering Israel, she became a very prolific writer.

    I guess that loss of “Jewish provelege” is quite painful for her. (see https://mondoweiss.net/2018/07/understand-solidarity-privilege/).

    But what did she expect? Have her cake and eat it too?

    Nevertheless, Ariel, enjoy your sense of solidarity with Palestinians, you “useful idiot”.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      July 17, 2018, 11:03 am

      @Boris and his sidekick, Mondonut

      Meanwhile, around the world, ever increasing numbers of Jews are stepping forth and standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians, the indigenous inhabitants (for about 15,000 years) of the lands between the River and the Sea:

      https://madmimi.com/p/7eaa8c?fe=1&pact=309121-146284579-4195316904-81163eb63c9c537654370dba8a0180acffc292de

      “Over 35 Jewish groups worldwide oppose attempts to equate antisemitism with criticism of Israel”

      Independent Jewish Voices, Canada, July 17/18
      Press Release:

      July 17, 2018
      “Ottawa–Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) has joined 35 Jewish organizations worldwide in a statement condemning global attempts to stifle criticism of Israel. From South Africa to Sweden, New Zealand to Germany and Brazil, this is the first time so many Jewish groups have come together to defend Palestinian human rights advocacy from attack.

      “The statement condemns a growing trend of legislative campaigns targeting organizations that support Palestinian rights, particularly those affiliated with the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

      “’From our own histories we are all too aware of the dangers of increasingly fascistic and openly racist governments and political parties,’ the global letter states. ‘The rise in antisemitic discourse and attacks worldwide is part of that broader trend. At times like this, it is more important than ever to distinguish between the hostility to or prejudice against Jews on the one hand and legitimate critiques of Israeli policies and system of injustice on the other.’

      “The United States has increasingly witnessed legislative efforts to criminalize the boycott of illegal Israeli settlements and repress advocacy for Palestinian human rights by defining such acts as antisemitic, with two bills currently under discussion in the US Congress. Such efforts are mirrored at the state level, where more than 25 state legislatures have considered or enacted forms of legislation targeting those who advocate for Palestinian rights. Of particular concern is the growing usage of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which is intentionally worded to equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.

      “A similar approach is being employed across Europe. In France and Germany, the bank accounts of BDS groups have been closed and people involved in campaigns promoting the boycott of goods from illegal Israeli settlements have been convicted of incitement to hatred. The UK has witnessed ongoing battles over the legality of local government boycotts focused on products from Israeli settlements.

      “The state of Israel is waging its own campaign against advocates of BDS. In January, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs announced a ban prohibiting the leaders of 20 organizations from around the world from entering Israel, including the US group Jewish Voice for Peace, for supporting BDS. And in 2015, the Israeli High Court upheld a lawwhich allows individuals to sue those who call for the boycott of either Israel or companies profiting from activities located in illegal Israeli settlements.

      “In Canada, legislative attempts to brand Palestinian rights activism as antisemitic go back to 2009 when the widely criticized Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism was formed. The Federal government has since adopted a definition of antisemitism that is nearly identical to that of the IHRA and passed a non-binding motion to condemn the BDS movement in 2016. The Ontario legislature followed suit shortly thereafter.

      “’What we’re experiencing in Canada is the same phenomenon as in the US, Europe and across the globe,’ said Corey Balsam, IJV’s National Coordinator. ‘Supporters of Israel’s illegal occupation and its violent treatment of Palestinians have found that they can no longer effectively defend Israel’s increasingly outrageous actions, so they have resorted instead to trying to suppress those who engage in legitimate criticism of and protest against Israel’s policies.’

      “’IJV is proud to be part of a growing chorus of Jewish organizations across the globe that are taking a stand for human rights and against attempts to conflate criticism of Israel with antisemitism,’ Balsam concluded.”

      List of endorsing organizations:
      Academia4equality (Israel)
      Boycott from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)
      Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel)
      Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine (Strasbourg, France)
      Dayenu: New Zealand Jews Against Occupation (New Zealand)
      Een Ander Joods Geluid (A Different Jewish Voice) (The Netherlands)
      Een Andere Joodse Stem – Another Jewish Voice (Flanders, Belgium)
      European Jews for a Just Peace
      Free Speech on Israel (UK)
      Gate48 – critical Israelis in the Netherlands
      Independent Jewish Voices (Canada)
      Independent Jewish Voices (UK)
      International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
      Italian Network of Jews Against the Occupation
      Jewish Anti-Fascist Action Berlin (Germany)
      Jewish Voice For Labour (UK)
      Jewish Voice for Peace (USA)
      Jewish Voice for Peace members in London (UK)
      Jews Against Fascism (Melbourne, Australia)
      Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK)
      Jews for Palestinian Right of Return (USA)
      Jews of Color & Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in Solidarity w/ Palestine (USA)
      Jews Say No! (USA)
      JIPF – Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred (Sweden)
      Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden im Nahost e.V. (Germany)
      Junts, Associació Catalana de Jueus i Palestins (Catalonia, Spain)
      Los Otros Judíos (Argentina)
      Manchester Jewish Action for Palestine (UK)
      Quebrando Muros – Judeus Brasileiros Pela Descolonização da Palestina (Brazil)
      SEDQ Network- A Global Jewish Network for Justice
      South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (South Africa)
      South African Jews for a Free Palestine (South Africa)
      Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique (Saint-Gilles, Belgium)
      United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO)-Canada
      Union Juive Française pour la Paix (France)
      Workman’s Circle, Boston (USA)
      “Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) is a grassroots organization grounded in Jewish tradition that opposes all forms of racism and advocates for justice and peace for all in Israel-Palestine. IJV has active chapters in cities and on university campuses across the country.”

  3. mondonut
    mondonut
    July 16, 2018, 7:24 pm

    What a massive sense of entitlement. Why is the world is Israel obligated to permit entry to her and her fellow travelers? Further…

    Approximately 70% of the population in Gaza are refugees.
    Gaza is Palestine and more than 90% of Gazans are younger than 55. They are Palestinians living in Palestine, right where they were born. Not refugees.

    They are still waiting to reenter what is now the state of Israel.
    Nonsense. Re-enter means having been there before.

    So far their peaceful protests…
    Not peaceful.

    but they are continuously creating more refugees
    More nonsense. Khan al-Ahmar is not creating refugees. The squatters were offered homes and property, and to which they agreed before political pressure forced a change of heart.

    it will split the West Bank in two
    West Bank Palestinians’ access to Jerusalem remains unchanged.

    denial of entry to five members of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
    More entitlement.

    • bcg
      bcg
      July 16, 2018, 9:10 pm

      @Mondonut: “They are Palestinians living in Palestine, right where they were born. Not refugees.”

      So if the Jews can wait 2,000 years to return to their ‘ancestral homeland’, if Israel can import hundreds of thousands Russian Jews who never previously set foot in Israel, if some American or French Jew can go to Israel and get citizenship (talk about entitlement!), why is it unreasonable for the Palestinians to have ideas about what THEIR ancestral homeland is?

      • mondonut
        mondonut
        July 16, 2018, 9:23 pm

        @bcg, So if the Jews can wait 2,000 years to return…

        None of the Jews “returning” to Israel are doing so against the wishes of Israel and under the false guise of being a refugee. Israel has an entirely legal immigration policy that permits their entry.

        And for the record, nobody I know of objects to the Palestinians having an idea of where their ancestral homeland is located – the problem is the Palestinians believing that entitles them to a right to enter Israel against the wishes of Israel.

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 17, 2018, 7:37 am

        || mon donut: … Israel has an entirely legal immigration policy … ||

        Israel has a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” immigration policy that favours non-Israeli Jews over non-Jewish Israelis (incl. refugees).

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        July 17, 2018, 8:33 am

        What mondonut wants to teach us is that if a country has legalized a racist immigration policy than this policy is legitimate and it is the problem of the families that they believe that there is a right to family life and reunification. Of course it is complitely different if they are Jews. That’s what he learned from the Holocaust.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        July 17, 2018, 11:09 am

        @Modonut

        Sigh. You completely missed beg’s entirely legitimate point. Typical!!

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 17, 2018, 11:35 am

        ” That’s what he learned from the Holocaust.”

        No trauma ‘long him!

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 17, 2018, 7:32 am

      || mon donut: What a massive sense of entitlement. … ||

      …says the Zionist who believes that his religion-based identity entitles him and his co-collectivists:
      – to as large as possible a religion-supremacist state;
      – to do evil unto others; and,
      – to be absolved of responsibility and accountability for the evil they do.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      July 17, 2018, 8:54 am

      modonut: “They are Palestinians living in Palestine, right where they were born. Not refugees.”

      Contrary to UNWRA and UNHCR mondonut claims that the refugee status cannot be passed unto descendants. He inherenty claims that a country following an ethnic cleansing policy can simply prolong the refugee problem of those it keeps expelled and either wait until the first generation of expellees dies or prevent them and their descendants to keep the family together.

      What a racist, inhumane and disgusting shmock you are, mondonut.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        July 17, 2018, 12:31 pm

        @Talkback

        You are entirely correct!! The ignorance of these hasbarats, e.g,, Modonut and Boris ,never ceases to amaze me. Then again, they are not interested in the truth.

    • bcg
      bcg
      July 17, 2018, 8:57 am

      @Mondonut: You’re missing my point: the Jews expelled the inhabitants Palestine (multiple times – 48, 67 and right now) simply based on the idea that the area was their ‘ancestral homeland’. So why shouldn’t the Palestinians – especially the ones in Gaza who might live a few miles from their families former homes – have the same rights? It is, in fact, their ancestral homeland as well.

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 17, 2018, 9:39 am

        || bcg: @Mondonut: You’re missing my point: the Jews expelled the inhabitants Palestine … So why shouldn’t the Palestinians … have the same rights? … ||

        He didn’t miss your point. He knows that one of the core tenets of Zionism is: Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.

        Now, he might opt for bluster and say “Palestinians have the same right to expel Jews from Palestine…if they think they’re strong enough to do it”, but if that were actually to happen he would waste no time:
        – screaming “anti-Semitism!”;
        – insisting that Palestinians have no right to expel Jews from Palestine; and
        – demanding justice and accountability.

  4. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    July 17, 2018, 12:27 pm

    File this under “Israel, a light unto nations [not.]”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2018/07/punishment-israel-blocks-fuel-shipment-gaza-180717073507536.html

    Al Jazeera, July17/18

    “‘Collective punishment’: Israel blocks fuel shipment to Gaza”

    “Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’.”

    EXCERPT:
    “Israel has further tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, preventing gas and fuel deliveries through its only commercial crossing with the Palestinian besieged enclave a week after Israeli authorities announced the closure of the crossing

    “The Kerem Shalom Crossing was shut down on July 9, and initially, items deemed as ‘humanitarian’ would only be allowed to enter Gaza, such as food, hygiene and medical supplies, fuel, animal feed and livestock.

    “However, the defence ministry announced late on Monday that fuel and gas deliveries will also be suspended, and that the crossing will remain open only for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.”

    • eljay
      eljay
      July 17, 2018, 12:56 pm

      || Misterioso: … “Israel further tightens its blockade on the strip while rights group denounces measure as ‘morally depraved’.” … ||

      1. Israel has a problem with the people of Gaza.
      2. It does what it can to crush the people of Gaza.
      3. The people of Gaza rise up in defiance.
      4. Israel deems the people of Gaza to be “armed terrorists or criminals”.
      5. According to the Zionist “moral compass”, this makes the people of Gaza “armed terrorists or criminals” of Gaza eligible for massacre.
      6. Israel proceeds to massacre the people of Gaza “armed terrorists or criminals” of Gaza.
      7. The problem Israel had with the people of Gaza “armed terrorists or criminals” of Gaza has been solved.

      It’s a good plan. I can think of at least one Zionist who would approve.

      • amigo
        amigo
        July 17, 2018, 1:08 pm

        eljay /Misterioso , zionist logic is simple.

        If you can,t bomb them out of Gaza ( the future home of Jewish only “Communities” ) , then starve them out. It,s far less expensive and less of a drain on the defense budget.

        That,s how it works in the “Jewish Historic Homeland”whatever/ wherever the %%%% that is

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