Israeli authorities have implemented another way to impede free access to the occupied Palestinian territories for American travelers.
Haaretz’s Amira Hass reported over the weekend that Israel is now forbidding “tourists from the United States and other countries to enter the territories under Palestinian Authority control without a military entry permit – but it has not explained the application process to them.”
Hass’s report was published as opposition mounts to the Senate bill that grants Israelis visa-free travel to the U.S. while also codifying Israel's practice of denying U.S. travelers entry on the basis of security concerns. That Senate bill exposes a galling aspect of the "special relationship." All the military aid and diplomatic support to Israel doesn’t shield Americans from being routinely discriminated against based on their political affiliations or ethnic background. And Israel can count on the U.S. not putting up a fight. Having the whole Congress behind you means never having to think twice about these actions.
The policy Hass exposes is yet another example of Israeli authorities’ free reign at border crossings, which includes detaining, interrogating and deporting Americans.
Read more: Israel cracks down on American travel to West Bank by requiring tourists to obtain military permit
For Immediate Release
Portland, Oregon, May 17, 2013. A newly constructed and visually stunning 44 foot long replica of the illegal Israeli Apartheid Wall will be unveiled at a protest outside the annual Oregon fund-raising dinner of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) this Sunday, May 19, 2013. Two JPEG images of sections of the banner are attached. The demonstration will be organized by a coalition of peace, human rights, church and Palestine solidarity organizations which, among others, include Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR), Christ's Way Church, Friends of Sabeel North America ~ Portland Action Group, Jewish Voice for Peace - Portland (JVP), Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, and Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER).
The protest will take place outside the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway in Portland, beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday May 19.
The Israeli Apartheid Wall is twice as tall as the Berlin Wall and over three times as long. It runs straight through the heart of the Palestinian landscape, separating Palestinian villages and cities from one another, and separating farmers from their fields. Because the Wall is such a powerful and ever-present symbol of the oppression of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, the coalition of groups chose to feature it at this year's AIPAC event. The banner shows actual sections of the Wall, including one of the tall, ominous guard towers. At the base of the Wall is the sad image of Palestinian workers standing in line, waiting to be processed at an Israeli Checkpoint on their way to work in the morning. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this banner is worth a million because it tells the story that AIPAC does not want Oregonians to know. That story, which is what is actually going on, is one of brutal Israeli repression of a largely defenseless population and Israeli denial of the most basic of human rights.
The demonstration will protest AIPAC’s role in promoting a military attack on Iran’s nuclear energy facilities. The protest is also calling for an end to U.S. military aid to the Israeli government, which refuses to halt the construction of illegal settlements and routinely violates the human rights of Palestinians living under Occupation. Israel controls the lives of more than 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip but denies them the right to vote or their right to self-determination.
“AIPAC represents a minority, radically right-wing position in its lobbying for the Netanyahu government,” explained William Seaman, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. “They do not represent Jewish opinion in the United States or in Israel, which is one reason groups like JVP and other Jewish organizations are challenging their disproportionate influence on our political process.” Polls show that AIPAC does not speak for most American Jews.
Demonstrators are committed to nonviolence and oppose all forms of racism, including racism against Jews and Islamophobia. They are asking Oregon residents and political leaders to say No to war on Iran, No to funding Israeli apartheid, and No to AIPAC.
For more information, contact: Peter Miller,
I write this in defense of my Oregon, a state I grew up in and love. I strongly condemn the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. This AIPAC inspired bill was introduced by California’s Barbara Boxer, and co-sponsored by Ron Wyden. My Oregon is part of a larger world and deserves better than this.
It is often said that there must never be any “daylight” between Israel and the US. I beg to differ. Every time Israel ignores international law, engages in racism, or continues to steal land, we should all feel compelled to cry out for more distance, more “daylight.” The more we become entangled in Israel’s moral quagmire and the more our legislators bend our rules to accommodate Israel, the more likely it becomes that Israel’s oppressive policies will corrode our own laws and values. People must realize that, for all non-Jewish people inside Israel and living under its occupation, Israel is not a true democracy.
Read more: A call to reject the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local Groups and individuals write Open Letter to Jewish Federation and sponsors of Food For Thought Festival asking that the Celebration of Israeli Independence Day event be separated from Oregon Food Bank benefit.
PORTLAND, OR (April 18, 2013) - Seven Oregon religious and human rights organizations and seventy-nine individuals yesterday issued An Open Letter to the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. The letter calls on the Federation to disassociate its planned Celebration of Israeli Independence Day from a four-day Food for Thought Event intended to raise food donations for the Oregon Food Bank. The letter applauds the Federation for taking action to address food insecurity in Oregon, but goes on to say: “We find it troubling, however, that the Food For Thought Festival culminates with a Celebration of Israeli Independence Day, because the Israeli government is responsible for serious food insecurity among Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.”
The organizations signing the letter are: Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Cascadia Chapter of Pacific Green Party, Christ’s Way Church of Portland, Friends of Sabeel Portland Action Group, Jewish Voice for Peace – Portland, Oregon Muslim Citizens Association, Peace Action Group First Unitarian Church. The seventy-nine individuals include doctors, lawyers, and church leaders.
The letter notes that the Israeli government has imposed a siege on Gaza since 2005, resulting in an increase in malnutrition among children and causing food insecurity among two-thirds of Gaza's 1.5 million residents, according to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Food. In view of this, the letter also requests sponsoring organizations of the food event to ask the Federation to disassociate the Food For Thought Festival from the Celebration of Israeli Independence Day.
Read more: Local Groups and individuals write Open Letter to Jewish Federation and sponsors of Food For Thought Festival asking that the Celebration of Israeli Independence Day event be separated from Oregon Food Bank benefit.
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY
Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER)
invites you to attend a two-day conference
Palestine, Imperialism and the New Middle East:
The Arab Spring Two Years On
April 27th and 28th, 2013
Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
Smith Memorial Student Union, registration begins at 9am.
Room 333 (Saturday), Room 294 (Sunday)
The Arab Revolutions of 2011 rocked the world. Starting in Tunisia and Egypt and spreading to Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Syria, millions of ordinary people took to the streets and occupied their workplaces, challenging dictatorial regimes that had ruled for decades. The revolutions reshaped the geopolitics of the region, forcing the U.S. to adjust its strategy in an effort to maintain its hold and setting regional powers jostling for stronger positions in the emerging order. Democratic aspirations of the masses are reinforcing regional solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, setting Israel on edge. Successful boycott and divestment campaigns in the U.S. are changing the discourse surrounding Palestine. However, the conditions of Israeli occupation, apartheid and siege in the West Bank, Israel and Gaza continue to worsen.
Read more: PSU Conference: Palestine, Imperialism and the New Middle East: The Arab Spring Two Years On
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