I Am American, Jewish and … Banned From Israel
GUEST WORDS--This month, the Israeli government announced that activists affiliated with 20 organizations, including my organization Codepink, would be banned from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories because of our support for the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. (Photo above: Author Medea Benjamin, center, demonstrating for Palestinian rights.)
As a Jew, this causes me tremendous sadness because I have a lifetime attachment to Israel and Palestine. It also deepens my commitment to working for peace and equality for all the peoples of the region.
I first went to Israel 50 years ago, right after the June 1967 war. I was 16 years old and spent the summer living on the kibbutz Ein Gedi, right on the Dead Sea. I loved the kibbutz, where I learned about farming, communal living and socialism (yes, it was a socialist kibbutz at the time). I also learned, however, about the contempt and racism many Jews exhibited towards Palestinians and other Arabs.