For Immediate Release
March 6, 2017
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) supports a vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. In keeping with this vision, ARZA believes that the State of Israel must abide by the basic tenets of democracy, including the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. We maintain that the strength of our Jewish community comes from a diversity of ideologies held together by our common love for the Jewish people, Torah, and traditions.
Certainly Israel needs secure borders from enemies who wish to do it real harm. But while Israel’s border control is famously thorough, the Knesset travel ban passed on March 6 ironically would make Israel far less secure. The law limits entry into Israel for any foreign national who has called for,or is associated with an organization that calls for, boycotts,divestment,or sanctions of any part of sovereign Israel or the occupied territories, i.e. the settlements. The law comes precisely at a time when Israel should be encouraging visitors to come and have transparent conversations about its complex reality. We are especially concerned that it will be used to harass leaders of progressive organizations who criticize Israel thoughtfully for the sake of its future.
While ARZA remains vigorously opposed to the BDS movement, we reject this undemocratic law. Not only is this regulation overly broad in its possible application, but it is also antithetical to the democratic values that we as Reform Jews understand to be critical for a viable and ethically Jewish State of Israel.
The Association of Reform Zionists of America, founded in 1978, is the Zionist arm of the North American Reform Movement, working to strengthen the connection of million and a half Reform Jews to Israel and to supporting the Reform Movement in Israel.