Israel’s waiver to discriminate: Sam Bahour |

Preferential treatment of Israel has, sadly, come to be expected in the United States. Too often, the United States turns a blind eye as Israel discriminates against American citizens, then rewards Israel for this unacceptable behavior.

The so-called visa waiver bill would reward Israel by allowing Israelis to travel to the United States without a visa — a privilege that is supposed to hinge on Israel reciprocating the gesture.

The bill’s main co-sponsor, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, has defended a key provision of the bill that would allow Israel to continue discriminating against U.S. citizens. The provision, absent from the agreements that the United States has with all 37 other countries participating in the visa waiver system, gives Israel a green light to deny entry — on its own terms and for its own reasons — to any Americans whom it deems as “jeopardizing the security of the state of Israel.” No need to justify why. No need to explain. Just blanket U.S. capitulation to Israel’s discriminatory policies.

In other words, being American will count for nothing at Israel’s borders, and Israel will be free to continue discriminating against Americans it unilaterally deems unacceptable.

Mostly Arab-Americans are affected, many of them born in the United States and tracing their roots to historic Palestine. But when they try to visit the land of their ancestors, these American citizens are humiliated at Israel’s ports of entry, and many are turned away (or given abbreviated visas) by Israel, our “closest ally” in the Middle East.

via Israel’s waiver to discriminate: Sam Bahour |