Taking a few minutes to contact Congress is worth your time. Build local civil rights and interfaith coalitions on this issue. This is a major test for our legal and democratic system.
To contact Congress on this issue, go here.
For more information on the bill, go to S.462 - United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the bill, introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), would allow Israel the unique privilege of continuing its "practice of routinely refusing to allow Americans of Arab ethnicity or Muslim backgrounds to enter their country or the occupied territories it controls." As the U.S. Department of State notes in its official travel advisory: "US citizens ... of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank."
The bill, which has 17 Senate co-sponsors, grants Israel entry into the 37-nation visa waiver program provided only 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." No other nation has been granted a similar exemption to the equal treatment of American citizens regardless of faith or ethnicity.
In a statement, CAIR said:
"If this bill becomes the law of the land, American Muslims and Arab-Americans would be turned into second-class citizens who could be legally subjected to Israel's well-documented ethnic and religious profiling. It is unprecedented that any nation would diminish the rights of its own citizens in order to facilitate the discriminatory practices of a foreign government.
"We urge Americans of all faiths and backgrounds to contact their congressional representatives and demand that they drop this attempt at creating a two-tiered system of legal protection for American citizens."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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