Virginia state agency cancels Jerusalem trip citing Israeli discrimination

The state agency that regulates the legal profession in Virginia has canceled a planned seminar in Jerusalem following objections over Israel’s discrimination against Americans of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim ancestry.

“Certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals have expressed objections to the VSB’s plan to take the Midyear Legal Seminar trip in November to Jerusalem,” Kevin E. Martingayle, the agency’s president, wrote in an email to members today. “It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation.”

“Upon review of US State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations,” Martingayle said.

“Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members,” Martingayle added, “But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action.”

Dozens of lawyers who are members of the VSB had signed an open letter detailing Israel’s discriminatory practices, citing reports from the US government and Amnesty International.

The Electronic Intifada has also reported extensively on Israel’s discriminatory denial of entry and other forms of abuse and harassment of Palestinian Americans and other travelers.

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I believe that this decision will be made more and more frequently now that the truth of Israel's war crimes and the truth of Israel's anti-American pattern of behavior gets more widespread notice. I do not understand why Christian church groups continue their tours of the "Holy Land" when the historically holy sites important to Christianity are now nothing more than occupied war zones.

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As a Jew opposed to Zionism, I have had discussions with local churches, who sponsor these trips to "The Holy Land". These church leaders are not in touch with the scriptures, because they tell me, the original Abrahamic in the room, that they have seen coordinates of the location of " Israel" and take alot of the Bible out of context. When I sat back and looked at who I was having this discussion with, I realized that these Christians, we're all at one point in their history, victims of colonization, that included religion as a way to make them more "civilized". I try to show them the horrors of Israel and explain that I am part of a world wide community of Jews, who denounce Zionism. My message falls on deaf ears, so gave up. From a geo-political perspective, Israel is losing face and that, in my humble opinion, will be it's demise. Don't give up, keep the faith - Palestine will be free.
Peace,
Jane Zacher Student Philadelphia, PA Turtle Island

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Hello Jane,
As a Christian, I'm afraid I don't even regard such groups as Christian. True Christians are followers of Christ or Jesus and practise his teaching, something these people most certainly don't. In the same way Zionists are not sincere authentic Jews. They use Judaism as a mantle to hide beneath and do great damage to it in the process.
I admire your courage in standing up for truth and justice in Palestine and in standing firm against Zionism Jane. Keep up the good work and look after yourself.
Tess

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Yeah, for me, I believe that Jesus is in my heart. I am also glad that secular folks see this as not only a human rights issues, but moral issue. None of us can turn away to these atrocities. Thanks for this publication Ali. Peace, Jane Zacher Student Philadelphia PA Turtle Island

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Please don't give up! We are in this together and truth is outing! We can't let up now.:) Thank you for all you do. Together ....."we got this"! :)

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Hello Maggie,
I had the same concern as you regarding Christian trips to the holy land. When I contacted several of these groups I was happy to discover that many of them now do tours of Palestine only, where the pilgrims are exposed to and informed about the situation in the occupied territories.
I couldn't bear the thought that Israel would profit in any way from the presence of Christian groups in Israeli hotels etc. It's bad enough having to pass through Tel Aviv airport but at least we can do only that, pass through.

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No! Those trips must continue precisely for the sake of Palestinians. My mom and I went on a trip like that with a group from Poland, we stayed in a hotel in East Jerusalem, had a Palestinian driver, listened to all the stories they wanted to tell, went through all the checkpoints and spend lots of money in Bethlehem. How else are they supposed to earn money? No wonder we were so liked there, some Arab workers in a hotel even spoke Polish. I guess this cooperation between our two nations is pretty common there.

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Hi Maggie, it seems you and I have the same feelings, in various discussions. We are one human family, and there is some sort of spiritual bond, that has awakened us all, Jews, non-Jews, Muslims, etc. and even folks that do not practice aND that's OK too! We all feel the pain of this struggle and very lucky to have a place, where we can not only get the information the world so badly needs, but engage in a discussion without meeting face to face. I'm glad the trolls cooled out too! Peace, Jane Zacher Student Philadelphia PA Turtle Island

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Sign the petition......
http://wh.gov/iZ1XM
Cease all United States foreign aid to nuclear armed Israel as sanctioned by United States law

With the declassification by the United States government of the report entitled
“Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations” which gives a
detailed description of how Israel developed its nuclear infrastructure, the
U.S. now openly admits that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Israel is not a
signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to comply with the
International Atomic Energy Agency regulations and inspections of Israeli
nuclear facilities, we the people of the United States demand that the U.S.
abide by the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment (Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act) which prohibits the U.S. government from providing
taxpayer treasuries to nuclear armed non signatories. Cease all US foreign aid until Israel abides by the NPT.

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I agree and add boycott Israel and cease all aid to that racist , apartheid state , FOREVER.

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Sign the petition......
http://wh.gov/iZ1XM
Cease all United States foreign aid to nuclear armed Israel as sanctioned by United States law

With the declassification by the United States government of the report entitled
“Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations” which gives a
detailed description of how Israel developed its nuclear infrastructure, the
U.S. now openly admits that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Israel is not a
signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to comply with the
International Atomic Energy Agency regulations and inspections of Israeli
nuclear facilities, we the people of the United States demand that the U.S.
abide by the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment (Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act) which prohibits the U.S. government from providing
taxpayer treasuries to nuclear armed non signatories. Cease all US foreign aid until Israel abides by the NPT.

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Sorry about the double post. Thanks to all that sign and spread the word.
I received the following message when I started this petition:
You now have 30 days to get 99,999 signatures in order for your petition to be reviewed by the White House. Until your petition has 150 signatures, it will only be available from the following URL and will not be publicly viewable on the Open Petitions section of We the People:

http://wh.gov/iZ1XM

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.