Five Americans prohibited from flying to Israel over BDS support: Report
Five boycott, divestment and sanctions supporters were prohibited from boarding a flight on Monday from the US to Israel reportedly because of their involvement in the BDS movement, the Jewish Voice for Peace group said.
Three of the five are JVP members, an organisation that promotes human rights for Palestinians. Of that group, one of them is a rabbi. The other two are a Presbyterian peace activist and a member of the American Muslims for Palestine in Los Angeles.
The five who were prohibited from flying to Israel were travelling with an interfaith delegation that aims to meet with religious leaders and human rights activists in both Israel and Palestine.
“Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though I’m Jewish and a rabbi,” Rabbi Alissa Wise said in a JVP press release.
“I’m heartbroken and outraged. This is yet another demonstration that democracy and tolerance in Israel only extends to those who fall in line with its increasingly repressive policies against Palestinians,” Wise added.
The Israeli Knesset passed a law in March that prohibits entry into the country for those have expressed support for the BDS movement. This may be the first time where people have not been allowed entry because of their stance on the boycott.
“As a person of faith, Israel’s denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesn’t dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,” said Shakeel Syed, a board member for the American Muslims for Palestine.
“Despite that I had my boarding pass to Tel Aviv in hand, the Lufthansa representative informed me that they had a direct order from ‘Israeli immigration authorities’ to not allow us to board the plane. Furthermore, they refused to even show us the Israeli order,” he said.
Lufthansa, the airline that did not board the five people, said it acted according to Israel’s regulations.
“We have no information as to why the Israeli government does not want them to enter. We simply have to abide by the rules and regulations of every country in which we operate,” Lufthansa spokesman Tal Muscal said.
According to the JVP press release, the other 18 people who were part of the delegation were subjected to hours of questioning by Israeli authorities when they landed in Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv.
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