bill

0

The following article from Haaretz speaks for itself. It staggers the mind to think that (once again) a case is being made for exempting Israel from the requirements levied against every other country in the world! How long will the American people put up with this sort of double-standard?

Father Dave

source: www.haaretz.com…

U.S. visa waiver bill stymied over Arab Americans entering Israel

The legislative effort being pushed by AIPAC would allow visa-free entry for Israelis, but the government is unable or unwilling to reciprocate, insisting on the right to refuse entry to certain U.S. citizens due to security concerns.

A legislative effort led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to enable Israelis to enter the United States without visas may be stymied by the government – Israel’s government.

The hitch is Israel’s inability or unwillingness to fully reciprocate, something required for visa-free travel to the United States. Israel, citing security concerns, insists on the right to refuse entry to some U.S. citizens.

AIPAC is pushing for an exemption for Israel from this rule. But congressional staffers say Israel is unlikely to get such an exemption, which U.S. lawmakers view as an attempt to bar Arab Americans from freely entering Israel.

“It’s stunning that you would give a green light to another country to violate the civil liberties of Americans traveling abroad,” said a staffer for one leading pro-Israel lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The exemption AIPAC is pushing for appears in the Senate version of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, one of the key issues for which AIPAC urged supporters to lobby after its policy conference last month.

The language in that bill, proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), requires that the Homeland Security secretary grant Israel visa waiver status after certifying with the secretary of state that Israel “has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.”

House staffers say that lawmakers, pro-Israel leaders among them, have raised objections to the clause, “without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel,” because it appears to validate what they see as Israel’s tendency to turn away Arab Americans without giving a reason.

None of the other 37 countries currently in the visa-free program has such a caveat written into law.

Israel’s government has made clear that it likely would not join the visa waiver program without such language in the law, JTA has learned. Israeli officials told JTA that U.S. citizens already are free to travel to Israel and that there is no need for holders of American passports to obtain a tourist visa before traveling.

But there have been numerous reports in recent years that Israel routinely turns away or makes difficult the entry of Americans with Muslim and Arab names, often without explaining why. The State Department, in its Israel travel advisory, warns that “U.S. citizens whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin” may be denied “entry or exit without explanation.”

James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, which has lobbied against the Senate language, said passage of such a law would codify discriminatory treatment.

“It is ratifying Israel’s position of creating two classes of citizen,” said Zogby, who said he has been subject to long waits when entering Israel.

One recent case that made headlines was that of Nour Joudah, a Palestinian American who was teaching at the Friends School in Ramallah. Joudah, who had traveled to Jordan for Christmas, was denied reentry to Israel although she had a one-year multiple entry visa, and despite the fact that the Israeli Embassy in Washington had advocated for her reentry.

The Ramallah school receives U.S. funding, promotes non-violence and teaches about the Holocaust, noted a congressional staffer. “This is the model of coexistence,” the staffer said.

Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, told Haaretz earlier this year that Joudah had not cooperated during security questioning. Joudah told Haaretz that the encounter with Israeli security at times had been argumentative but said she answered all questions.

Critics of Israel’s entry practices say authorities appear to turn away Americans for political, not security reasons. Joudah told Haaretz that Israeli security officials had asked her about her published writings. While in Ramallah, she had blogged for Electronic Intifada, an anti-Zionist website. In one post, she sharply criticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for intimating that it was time to relinquish a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel.

read the rest of this article here: www.haaretz.com…

0

Brief and to the point – Ron Paul addresses Congress as a voice crying in the wilderness.  Paul is surely correct; more killing power to Israel will not ultimately help Israel, it won’t forward the cause of peace in the Middle East, and it certainly won’t help the US!

Image001

It Will Lead To War
By Ron Paul

May 9, 2012

Statement on H.R.4133 – United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012

Mr. Speaker: I rise in opposition to HR 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which unfortunately is another piece of one-sided and counter-productive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria, and it undermines US diplomatic efforts by making clear that the US is not an honest broker seeking peace for the Middle East.

The bill calls for the United States to significantly increase our provision of sophisticated weaponry to Israel, and states that it is to be US policy to “help Israel preserve its qualitative military edge” in the region.

While I absolutely believe that Israel – and any other nation — should be free to determine for itself what is necessary for its national security, I do not believe that those decisions should be underwritten by US taxpayers and backed up by the US military.

This bill states that it is the policy of the United States to “reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” However, according to our Constitution the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country. In fact, our own Constitution prohibits the establishment of any particular religion in the US.

More than 20 years after the reason for NATO’s existence – the Warsaw Pact – has disappeared, this legislation seeks to find a new mission for that anachronistic alliance: the defense of Israel. Calling for “an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises,” it reads like a dream for interventionists and the military industrial complex. As I have said many times, NATO should be disbanded not expanded.

This bill will not help the United States, it will not help Israel, and it will not help the Middle East. It will implicitly authorize much more US interventionism in the region at a time when we cannot afford the foreign commitments we already have. It more likely will lead to war against Syria, Iran, or both. I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.