AIPAC's Visa Waiver! You did it!
I have big news!
The House of Representatives left DC for the year just hours ago, and with it they left behind a terrible bill. The US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act included admission for Israel into the US Visa Waiver Program, which would have codified in US law the right for Israel to discriminate against US citizens on the basis of religion or ethnicity.
And now that bill is dead!
Jewish Voice for Peace supporters, working in coalition, played a critical role in this victory:
- Over the past few months, JVP chapter-led delegations met with their members of Congress in 23 cities to argue against the bill
- Over 10,000 thousand JVP supporters signed a petition to the State Department
- Hundreds more participated in call-ins
And it worked! Congress just let the bill die without even a vote on the floor of the House or Senate.
The significance of our win cannot be overstated.
As you know, Arab and Muslim Americans are systematically targeted for harassment, detention, searches, delays, and deportation when trying to enter Israel. Including Israel in the Visa Waiver program with 37 other countries would have tacitly approved and rewarded Israel's discriminatory practices.
The influential Israel lobby group AIPAC made the bill one of its top priorities for 2013, but it didn't even get out of committee. AIPAC lost this fight. They lost their fight against diplomacy with Iran. And they lost the fight on bombing Syria.
The lesson here? We can fight AIPAC, and we can win.