Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has introduced a particularly racist and chauvinistic bill, “S. 462: United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013.” Typical of Washington politicians, Boxer’s bill paints Israel as victim, pledges the usual “unwavering support,” and condemns Palestinian and other Arab organizations.
What makes Senate Bill 462 especially atrocious is Section 9, which would incorporate Israel into the “Visa Waiver Program” – but with a special exemption giving official U.S. blessing to a key aspect of Israeli apartheid.
There are presently 37 countries with which the U.S. has a “no visa required” policy. All 37 countries whose nationals are permitted entrance into the U.S. must also allow U.S. nationals to enter their countries without discrimination. But the wording of S. 462 clearly exempts Israel from the non-discrimination requirement, stating that it only must make “every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.”
Passage of this bill into law would codify in law U.S. support for Israel’s ongoing harassment and exclusion of those who are the primary targets when they try to visit Palestine: Palestinian Americans, other Arabs and Muslims who are U.S. nationals. Boxer’s bill is explicity constructed to allow for discrimination against some U.S. citizens – either because they are Arab-American or if they are critics of Israel’s policies.