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Help Palestinian Voices Reach DC to Challenge Israel's Discrimination

by Sandra Tamari, US Campaign Steering Committee Member
May 7th, 2014

Make Sure Your Lawmakers Are There to Hear Our Stories! 

I need your help.

Last year, two U.S. senators introduced the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.  The legislation calls for Israel's entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, enabling Israeli citizens to visit the U.S. without a visa, even as Israel routinely denies entry to U.S. citizens, particularly those of Palestinian origin. I know because I was one of them.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation -- on whose Steering Committee I am proud to serve -- is organizing a briefing on Capitol Hill in partnership with a diverse group of national organizations to educate our officials on this discrimination against U.S. citizens. With debate on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership underway, it is more urgent than ever to expose Israelís discriminatory policies to make sure they are condemned, not rewarded.

But the event canít happen successfully without your support -- in one or both of these ways:

Help me and Palestinians like myself who have been denied entry reach DC to testify on our experience. It takes time and resources to travel to and organize Hill briefings and we need your support to bring voices like mine to speak our truth to power. 

Make sure the briefing is well attended! Please take a minute to write and call your Members of Congress and encourage them and their staff to attend this important briefing.

As a U.S. citizen who is Palestinian, I know all too well what it feels like to be rendered a second-class citizen by Israel.  

Two years ago, I traveled to Israel on an interfaith delegation with 30 Americans who were working in support of peace and coexistence. Upon arrival at Israelís Ben Gurion airport, I wasdetained, questioned for eight hours, told to sign into my email account so Israeli officials could view its contents, jailed, and then deported back to the United States. Prior to being deported, Israeli officials accused me of being a terrorist and the U.S. Embassy informed me there was nothing they could do to help me because I wasnít Jewish. 

Please help my story be heard by giving today and inviting your Members of Congress to attend a briefing featuring stories like this.

With support from people like you, a diverse group of national organizations have managed to stall this outrageous legislation for more than a year, and we have pressured lawmakers to rewrite the legislation. More recently, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki acknowledged that Israel's discriminatory policies were the main obstacle to Israel's entrance into the Visa Waiver Program, citing the"unequal treatment that Palestinian Americans and other Arab Americans receive at Israel's borders and checkpoints."

But the debate is not over and Israelís discriminatory policies have continued unabated.

Help us redouble our efforts to challenge these policies.  With your support, I look forward to joining a panel of distinguished speakers to brief lawmakers and their staff about Israelís discriminatory policies. 

Please contact your Members of Congress today to make sure they're there to hear our message and help ensure this congressional briefing is a success by making a generous contribution today.


Sandra Tamari
US Campaign Steering Committee Member

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