Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Congressional Briefing: Examining Israel's discrimination against U.S. Citizens

On May 21, 2014, the US Campaign and a diverse group of organizations held a congressional briefing to raise awareness about Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens.

Below are the testimonies from the briefing.

Yousef Munayyer - Part 1

Sandra Tamari - Part 2

Donna Nevel - Part 3

Nour Joudah - Part 4

Briefing Sponsors:
American Muslims for Palestine
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Jewish Voice for Peace
National Lawyers Guild - Palestine Subcommittee

Israel's entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program
Examining discrimination against U.S. citizens 

Congressional Briefing
May 21st, 2014
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Russell Senate Office Building Room 485 (SR-485)

This briefing closely examined Israel's treatment of U.S. travelers as it relates to the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. - Israel treaty obligations, and American civil rights.  Two pieces of legislation currently before congress, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act and the Visa Waiver for Israel Act, call for Israel's entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which would allow Israelis to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

Over the last few decades, Israel has maintained a policy of discriminating against many U.S. travelers, particularly Americans of Arab or Muslim heritage.  The State Department recently expressed concern about Israel's unequal treatment of U.S. citizens and there are some indications that language seeking to codify Israel's discriminatory policies will be removed from the legislation.  Nonetheless, Members of Congress should be challenging Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens rather than rewarding it with entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.


Yousef Munayyer is Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, The Palestine Center. Prior to joining the Palestine Center Munayyer served as a Policy Analyst for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation’s largest Arab American membership organization.

Sandra Tamari is a Palestinian American community organizer with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.  She serves on the Steering Committee of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and is active with Quaker peace and justice efforts.  Sandra was imprisoned and banned from entry by Israel in May 2012 when she landed in Tel Aviv to participate in an interfaith study delegation.  

Donna Nevel is a community psychologist, educator, and writer whose work is rooted in Participatory Action Research (PAR) and popular education. She serves on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, has been a long-time organizer for Palestinian-Israeli peace and justice, and works with groups to challenge Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.

Nour Joudah has a Masters of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. Nour was living and teaching in Ramallah prior to a re-entry denial, and subsequent ban from traveling to Palestine-Israel. Nour is currently living and working in Washington, DC as the Assistant Editor at the Journal of Palestine Studies.