Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leader of the Union for Reform Judaism, sent an open letter Wednesday to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu protesting a new travel ban barring supporters of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the state and its West Bank settlements.
“I have been a fierce personal opponent of BDS and boycotts against Israel,” the Reform movement leader wrote, referring to the Palestinian campaign to isolate Israel on economic, political and cultural fronts.
But he described himself as “frustrated” with the ban, recently adopted by the Knesset, which he compared to having “posted a giant sign by the door of the Jewish state saying, ‘Don’t come unless you agree with everything we’re doing here.’”
He added that Jewish students participating in the movement’s Birthright trips to Israel “are worried that based on their opposition to settlement expansion, they will be stopped at the border when they land in Israel.”
Pushed by the Likud and its other right-wing partners, the travel ban has been denounced by numerous American Jewish groups, including JStreet, for its stifling of speech and protection of West Bank settlements. It is unclear whether it will hold in the Israeli courts.