Rabbinic Letter Against Israel's Travel Ban
“A controversy for the sake of Heaven will have lasting value, but a controversy not for the sake of Heaven will not endure” (Pirkei Avot 5:17).

We, the undersigned rabbis, stand with our colleague, Rabbi Alissa Shira Wise, who was denied entry to Israel because of her support for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel. She had been travelling with two other Jews, a Christian, and a Muslim who were all members of an interfaith delegation to meet with Israeli and Palestinian nonviolent peace activists.

We hold diverse opinions on BDS.  Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives.

Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The land of Israel is steeped with religious meaning for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  As rabbis we are particularly conscious that Jews have been making pilgrimages to Eretz Yisrael for centuries; we understand the deep meaning that this holds, and we are outraged that the Israeli government would prohibit Rabbi Wise from entering. We are also painfully aware that many Palestinians have long been banned from entering the country to visit their own families. Out of deep loyalty to members of our communities, congregations, and rabbinical associations who may also be barred from entering Israel in the future, we cannot remain silent.

Travelling to Israel in order to meet with Israelis and Palestinians provides all who care about the conflict an opportunity to learn from and share ideas with people across borders, to see all people as created b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God, and to explore how we can support all who are working to ensure justice and peace for all.

Click following link to see a list of people who have already signed: https://medium.com/@rabbisagainsttheban/rabbis-against-the-ban-17585c59c74b

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