presstv Jan 29, 2014
The US House of Representatives will pick up a bill this week which would allow Israelis enter the United States without a visa.The Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to vote Wednesday on a piece of legislation that would label Israel a “major strategic partner,” the Hill reports.
According to one provision, Israelis should be permitted to enter the US without a visa “when Israel satisfies the requirements for inclusion in such program.”
The bill, authored by Middle East panel chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), has 349 co-sponsors and is projected to sail through the committee.
Meanwhile, a similar attempt, made by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the Senate, has attracted 53 co-sponsors.
The move has angered critics who say the bill could allow Israel to legally discriminate against US Muslims and Arabs or anyone critical of Israel.
The Arab-American advocates charge that Congress should not offer such a concession, unless Israel ceases “the violation of American Muslims’ civil rights.”
“From our perspective, it should be the opposite,” said Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute. “It should be members of Congress asking questions and perhaps drafting legislation that says, 'How do we fix this problem?' As opposed to suggesting that it can be included in this broader bill that says Israel's our best friend forever.”
This is while the US State Department itself warns Americans traveling to Israel that they would be denied entry without any reason.
Kevin Barrett, a senior member of Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance also blasted the bill, saying that it is “completely outrageous” since the “genocidal, racist, Zionist regime” denies entry for many US Muslims.