Editorial

Leftists, Don’t Immigrate

The message is clear: Israel is open to the immigration of right-wing Jews only

Julie Weinberg-Connors.
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After “taking care” of the Israeli Declaration of Independence and replacing the principle of equality with Jewish superiority as a core value of the state, the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu now seems bent on destroying another support column of the Zionist building, the Law of Return.

On Wednesday, a border control official denied entry to a Jewish-American activist in the anti-occupation collective All That’s Left. Julie Shayna Weinberg-Connors, 23, applied to immigrate this spring and received a temporary resident ID card. She arrived to begin her studies at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and was detained for questioning at Ben-Gurion International Airport. When she told border control agents that she had visited Khan al-Ahmar, a West Bank Bedouin village slated for demolition by the state, she was denied entry. The form she was issued gave the reason as “preventing illegal immigration” (Amira Hass, Thursday).

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The accusation is false. Weinberg-Connors’ temporary resident ID was issued by the Interior Ministry in April; she was also given a potential immigrant visa, which permits her to work. Both are valid until March 2020. She was denied entry for political reasons, because she is a left-wing activist. Had it not been for the intervention of MKs Tamar Zandberg and Mossi Raz (Meretz) and an interpellation submitted by Haaretz, Weinberg-Connors would have been sent back to the United States.

She was, in the end, allowed into Israel on condition of Border Control Administration form entitled “Declaration by a tourist of non-entry to [Palestinian] Authority areas without the approval of the Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories.”

The message is clear: Israel is open to the immigration of right-wing Jews only. The right wants Israel as the nation-state of the rightist Jewish people, while leftist Jews who want to implement their right to immigrate to Israel are treated as illegal migrants. In recent months several leftist activists were detained at the airport on entering Israel, including Israeli citizens.

The political persecution of objectors to the right has been ratcheted up and will stop at nothing. Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber has said in the past that she would look into the issue, but it is doubtful whether this is enough. If the political and public opposition fail to mobilize to fight this dangerous trend, it will gain strength and momentum.