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A U.S. Passport Is No Protection Against Israeli Brutality, Discrimination

by Mike Coogan
October 30th, 2014

Take Action: Tell Congress not to Reward Israel's Discrimination against U.S. Citizens

Having a U.S. passport doesn't protect you from Israel's brutality and discrimination, especially if you're a Palestinian-American.  Just ask Sandra Tamari, Nour Joudah, Tariq Abu Khdeir, or the family of Orwa Hammad.  Or ask journalist Rula Jebreal, who writes in The New York Times this week of her and her daughter being strip-searched at Ben-Gurion Airport.

For the past two years, in coordination with a nationwide network of organizations and activists, we helped stall AIPAC's top-priority legislation -- The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.  The Senate version of the original bill would have rewarded Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens, granting Israelis visa-free access to the United States while Israel continues to systemically mistreat and deny entry to Americans of Arab or Muslim heritage, or those who are critical of Israel's policies. 

But thanks to your advocacy, Members of Congress have heard us loud and clear.  In the final version of the bills that passed the House and Senate, Israel can only join the Visa Waiver Program "when Israel satisfies, and as long as Israel continues to satisfy" the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program, including by providing reciprocal and non-discriminatory entry to all Americans.  

Now the bill is headed to a "conference" to iron out the differences in language between the two versions before it's brought to a final vote.  Your advocacy has already helped change this legislation for the better -- now it's a crucial time for us to pressure lawmakers to strengthen it even further.

Please take a minute to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to urge the "conferees" to adopt stronger language prohibiting Israel from joining the Visa Waiver Program until the State Department certifies that Israel has stopped its discriminatory entrance policies toward all Americans, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political opinion. 

Also, please click here to send an email to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem urging State Department officials to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing discrimination against U.S. citizens.  

Thank you for all you do for peace and justice.  


Mike Coogan
Legislative Coordinator

PS -- You may be thinking, "whenever I call my Congressional offices, I'm only able to speak with an intern or low-level staff member, and I'm not confident that my requests are taken seriously." 
I want to assure you that your phone calls matter.  Congressional offices count the number of calls that come in about a particular issue, and at the end of each day or week, Representatives and Senators are often briefed on which issues generated the most phone calls. 

Even if you only speak with an intern or staff assistant, your call helps pressure Congressional offices to take our requests for action more seriously.  It takes as few as seven calls to get an issue onto the lawmakers' briefing agenda, so please make a call today.

Take these actions:

1. Call and write your Members of Congress and tell them you support the anti-discrimination amendment to H.R. 938 / S. 2673. 

2. Write the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and urge State Department officials to challenge Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens.  Please be sure to type your name at the bottom of the email.

3. Watch this Congressional briefing about Israel's discrimination against U.S. citizens. 

Support our work to challenge and amend this outrageous legislation.

The US Campaign aims to change U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 47-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and that deny equal rights for all.