(JTA) — More than 200 rabbis from the liberal movements of American Judaism signed a letter in opposition to Israel’s travel ban on leaders of the BDS movement against Israel.
The letter released on Wednesday by the Rabbis Against Israel’s Travel Ban initiative, is in response to the incident last month in which Rabbi Alissa Wise of Jewish Voice for Peace was prevented from boarding an airplane leaving Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. to Israel. Four other people traveling to Israel as part of the interfaith delegation were prevented from boarding the flight at the request of the Israeli government.
The letter called the ban “anti-democratic.”
“We hold diverse opinions on BDS. Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives,” read the letter, signed by 212 rabbis as of late Wednesday morning.
In March, the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, amended the Law of Entry to prevent leaders of the BDS movement from being allowed into Israel. The amendment applies to organizations that take consistent and significant action against Israel through BDS, as well as the leadership and senior activists of those groups.
JVP said at the time of the incident that it was the first time that the amendment had been enforced before passengers boarded their flights to Israel and the first time that Israel has denied entry to Jews, including a rabbi, for their support of BDS.