On Monday, Israel denied entry to Amensty International staff member Raed Jarrar, after extensive questioning about Amnesty’s support of a boycott of products from settlements in the West Bank. Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, released the following statement:
“We’ve said it before: banning political opposition is the policy of autocracies, not democracies.
“In denying entry to Amnesty International staff member Raed Jarrar, who hoped to join his extended family in the West Bank in mourning his father’s death, the Israeli government has confirmed our fears: this law is being used to ban progressive visitors from entering Israel based on their beliefs. Refusing to buy products that support West Bank settlements, which are considered illegal in the international community and illegitimate by the United States, is a legitimate, moral stand shared by many — if not most — progressives, including many patriotic Israelis who care about a two-state solution and a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians.
“This progressive ban is part of the current hard-line government’s strategy to erase the Green Line by making no distinction between those who boycott settlement products and those who boycott all of Israel.
“NIF has strongly opposed this law every step of the way. Israel, like any democracy, should not use political litmus tests to decide who can enter the country. Our position is principled: We do not support the BDS movement. We oppose the government’s progressive ban and all its actions to punish those with whom it disagrees.”