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Iran politicking gets in the way of visa waivers for Israelis

Alex Kane on

Tuesday was supposed to be the day that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, a bill that would bolster the two countries’ alliance and provide a path for Israel to enter into the visa-waiver program.  But it didn’t happen. A Republican attempt to hamstring a potential U.S. diplomatic deal with […]

Federal agencies express concerns about Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program

Mike Coogan on

Israel has long sought to enter the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from participating countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.  Yet, Israel has not been admitted to the program because of its ongoing discrimination against Palestinian and Arab Americans. Under the terms of […]

Senator Boxer’s far-fetched defense of the visa waiver exemption for Israel

Mike Coogan on

Sen. Barbara Boxer Senator Barbara Boxer’s recent letter in the Los Angeles Times defending legislation that would allow Israel in the Visa Waiver Program while giving it a pass on key requirements was a disingenuous and poorly reasoned attempt to mollify critics of the provision. Recent critics of the legislation include George Bisharat, a law […]

Op-Ed: Sen. Schatz, the Israel visa waiver exemption bill promotes a process similar to Hawaii’s own history of colonization and exploitation

Adam Horowitz on

Kristen-Marie Puanani Young Ortiz has an Op-Ed in today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser asking Senator Brian Schatz to drop his support for the visa waiver exemption for Israel. The article is behind a paywall, but here’s a strong excerpt: I am a Native Hawaiian born and raised in Pearl City. Last summer I traveled to Ramallah, […]

House committee advances bill to make Israel ‘major strategic partner’–and waive visas for Israelis

Alex Kane on

When Congress headed home for the holidays last year, activists celebrated because a bill that effectively gave American blessing to discrimination against travelers to Israel wasn’t voted on. A month later, the bill is back–though the version that passed a House committee does not include much criticized exemptions for Israel’s participation in the visa-waiver program. […]

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

Annie Robbins on

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.   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 […]

Congress leaves town without passing lobby priority: visa-waiver bill for Israelis

Alex Kane on

Image via The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) suffered a defeat Friday when Congressional members went on winter recess without passing a bill that would have codified discrimination against Arab- and Muslim-American travelers to Israel/Palestine. AIPAC had been pushing the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act since their last policy conference in March.  The bill, sponsored […]

Barbara Boxer’s visa bill for Israel comes under concerted attack

Alex Kane on

Palestine solidarity activists say Senator Barbara Boxer’s Senate bill would codify Israel’s practice of discriminating against American travelers (Photo via Huffington Post) A bill pushed by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that critics say would codify Israeli discrimination against American travelers is still on the table. But Palestine solidarity activists and their allies are […]

Circular logic: Israel agrees not to discriminate against Palestinian-American travelers — not that it ever did

Allison Deger on

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a partial admission of discrimination against Palestinian-Americans at Israeli borders, a key issue in its negotiations to join the U.S. visa waiver program. “All of the changes that the U.S. asked for with regards to not discriminating against Palestinian-Americans, Israel agreed to them,” an official from the […]

Modern Language Association members condemn Israeli border policies, but vote is not ratified

Alex Kane on

After months of debate which at times turned vitriolic, Modern Language Association (MLA) members voted to condemn Israel’s discriminatory border policies. But the 1,560-1,063 vote on the resolution was not ratified because 10 percent of MLA members have to affirm the vote for a measure to count.  The resolution fell short of ratification by 830 votes. […]

House delivers for AIPAC, 410-1, passing Israel as ‘strategic partner’ bill

Alex Kane on

The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is bruised from the fight over Iran sanctions. But that didn’t stop the group from helping to push through legislation designating Israel as a “major strategic partner”–a first for any U.S. ally.  The measure has been a major lobby priority since last year. Today, the House of Representatives passed […]

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

Alex Kane on

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 […]

Israeli gov’t upholds denying entry to American teacher in Ramallah

Philip Weiss on

In yesterday’s New York Times, Yousef Munayyer slammed the bills in Congress to grant Israeli citizens visa waivers when they visit the U.S., and Munayyer cited Israeli discrimination against Arab-Americans at its borders– specifically, the arbitrary refusal of Israeli authorities to allow Nour Joudah, above, a dedicated young American teacher, to return to her job […]

Denied entry by Israel, American teacher prepares to say goodbye to Palestinian students

Philip Weiss on

Nour Joudah Here is an important story from Palestine: Nour Joudah, 25, a Palestinian-American masters graduate of Georgetown who teaches at the Friends School in Ramallah, which has received millions in U.S. aid, was denied entry into Israel on Monday. This is the second time in two months Israel has stopped Joudah from going back […]

‘AP’ says Barbara Boxer is favoring Israeli travelers over American ones

Philip Weiss on

I’m fixated on changes in the mainstream media, and here is another one. The Associated Press put out a story about the visa waiver that Sen. Barbara Boxer is pushing for Israelis who visit the U.S.; and the story openly states that Boxer has a double standard, because Americans would not get “equal treatment” from […]

‘Jews Against Genocide’ take the blood bucket challenge at Yad Vashem

Kelly Lynn on

Activists from Jews Against Genocide have released a video compilation depicting their version of the Blood Bucket Challenge, an extreme spin on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which flooded Facebook feeds for the last three months. Originally conceived by Ohio University student senate president Megan Marzec, who received a barrage of death and rape threats following the release of her video, activists poured buckets of fake blood over themselves after reciting “we remember…,” statements in memorial of the more than 2,100 Palestinians killed in the last Israeli assault on Gaza. The activists filmed themselves in front of Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum in West Jerusalem, the US embassy in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem, the Israeli military radio station in Tel Aviv, and the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building in Jerusalem.

Five US citizens detained, interrogated, denied entry to Israel

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on

On July 17, 2016, a group of young American delegates traveled to Israel-Palestine in order to observe the conditions under which Palestinians live, and to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground. Upon their arrival, a US Campaign staffer and four other members of the group — all carrying US passports — were interrogated by Israeli border police about their backgrounds and political involvement. Four of the five delegates who were questioned, held, and denied entry were people of color and Muslim, and the fifth had a long beard. Israel has ethnically and religiously profiled visitors so often that the State Department’s travel advisory for Israel reads: “Some US citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage not on the Palestinian Population Registry or otherwise prohibited from entering Israel have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”

Is the U.S. quietly imposing travel sanctions on Israeli officials?

Mike Coogan on

As the United States begins implementing travel restrictions on Russian officials involved in the military occupation and annexation of Crimea, there are signs that the State Department has been quietly denying visas to Israeli military and intelligence officials in accordance with a separate set of U.S. laws. In recent weeks, a number of Israeli news […]

Denial of entry – the real targets are Palestinians

Ariel Gold on

Ariel Gold on getting denied entry to Israel: “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.”

Despite potential groundswell, Congress reluctant to recognize Palestinian rights

Sam Knight on

If the polls are to be believed, the days of unconditional US support for Israel are numbered. Younger American voters are increasingly blaming the IDF for the wanton havoc it wreaks in occupied Palestine. Those who have, for years, considered Palestinians to be their equals are probably wondering what took so long for this oft ahead-of-the-curve […]

Netanyahu is a paper tiger

Mike Coogan on

Stories of the power of the Israel lobby have long haunted efforts in the U.S. to advocate for a more balanced American policy toward Israel/Palestine. But at a moment when an unprecedented number of members of Congress are up in arms over Netanyahu’s efforts to sabotage the Obama administration’s policy towards Iran, there are other signs that the pro-Israel lobby may not be invincible in Washington. Here are seven pieces of news from the last year that proponents of a less lopsided policy towards Israel/Palestine should find heartening.

Palestinian-American teen denied access to Israel’s airport

Allison Deger on

Photo of Dina Shehadeh at her family home in al-Bireh near Ramallah by Allison Deger Dina Shehadeh, 17, was about to begin her senior year of high school in Ohio where she was born and raised. But two weeks ago, after spending the summer with her extended family in the West Bank, she was separated […]

Bulldozers uproot Palestinian farmland in Salfit, as 23 settlements devour 18 villages

Kate on

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing Army uproots lands to build settlement units in Salfit IMEMC 1 Sept — Local sources in Salfit district, in the central part of the West Bank, have reported that Israeli bulldozers uprooted Palestinian lands west of Salfit, in preparation for building new units in Leshim illegal settlement. […]