It’s been nine months since Laith Abu Zeyad, an Amnesty International staff member based in the occupied West Bank, was banned from traveling outside of the country and from entering Israel. After months of rejected petitions, unanswered questions, and painstaking delays, Abu Zeyad is finally getting his day in court — even if he is not allowed to be there.
As Trump announces further travel bans, we must recognize the hierarchy of vulnerability: who gets into which fortress, who is left banging on the doors, who is trapped in an increasingly impoverished ghetto. Having papers is both an opportunity and a marker in a surveilled world.
Despite possessing a valid visa through 2021, founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti was prevented from entering the U.S. Wednesday, sparking questions if legislation circling on Capital Hill to curtail boycotts against Israel has come with a shadow policy to prevent its most vocal advocates from entering the country.
Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer and political activist specializing in international human rights law, tells Mondoweiss it is difficult to know how Israel’s controversial new law aimed at barring boycott activists from entering the country will actually be enforced, but he says the law is in direct violation of international law. “Countries have wide discretion to allow are deny entry to foreigners,” Sfard says. “However, International Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s opinion and provides freedom of conscious and thought. The law is definitely a violation of both.”