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U.S. Visa Exemptions for Israel: Does Israel Love the U.S. as Much as the U.S. Loves It?

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English: Protesters outside of AIPAC conferenc...

English: Protesters outside of AIPAC conference at Washington DC Convention center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S.-Israeli relationship has been described as “special” not only by the observers and supporters of this relationship but also by U.S. statesmen. At the same time, there is an effort to make this relationship more special than ever.

Senator Barbara Levy Boxer, (D.- California; a Jewish American) introduced the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which legislates, for the first time, the inclusion of Israel in the U.S. visa-waiver program. This means that Israelis can enter the United States without a visa. The initiative is backed by the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It has 53 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Visa exemption for its citizens was a long sought reward for Israel. However, the State Department has always resisted it because the program requires reciprocity, to which Israel does not comply. Israel has habitually denied entry to American citizens, often Arabs or Muslims or people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. In almost all of these cases of visa denial, Israel usually used the familiar pretext of “security concerns.”

Due to this discriminatory treatment of U.S. citizens, several members of the Congress wrote in the past to Israel’s ambassador expressing concern regarding Israel’s discriminatory attitude towards some Americans. They pointed out that Israeli border officials were “disproportionately singling out, detaining and denying entry to Arab and Muslim Americans.”They demanded that all Americans be “treated equally at Israeli ports of entry.”


Written by voiceoftruthusa

November 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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