Three Jewish activists have been blocked from traveling to Israel because of their support for Palestinians and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“Israel denied me the ability to travel there because of my work for justice for Palestinians, even though I’m Jewish and a rabbi,” Rabbi Alissa Wise, the deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said in a press release.
Two other members of the Jewish organization, who were traveling to Israel to support the Palestinians in their protests at Al Aqsa, were also blocked from boarding their flights along with a Christian and Muslim. The group of five was making the journey as an interfaith delegation standing in support of the Palestinians.
In March, the Israeli parliament passed legislation that would bar supporters of the BDS movement from traveling to Israel. According to Middle East Eye, this may be the first instance of this legislation in action.
German airline Lufthansa, the airline that the activists were planning to travel with, said it did not have specific information from the Israeli government as to why the passengers were blocked.
“We have no information as to why the Israeli government does not want them to enter. We simply have to abide by the rules and regulations of every country in which we operate,” a Lufthansa spokesman said.
Reacting to the travel ban of the Israeli government, Alana Krivo-Kaufman, a Jewish member of the delegation, said she was "horrified" and "ashamed."
"The Isreali government is not a democratic government," Krivo-Kaufman said in a video posted by JVP. "Democratic governments create space for dissent and for disagreement, which is at the core of Jewish life."
Noah Habeeb, an Arab-Jew in the delegation echoed these sentiments.
"I was denied entry by the government of Israel for supporting Palestinian rights," he said.
But the activists also remained adamant that their support for Palestinians will not be deterred by Israeli efforts.
"As a person of faith, Israel’s denial of my right to visit the Holy Land doesn’t dampen, but rather, emboldens my pursuit of justice and peace for Palestinians and long overdue freedom for Palestine,” Shakeel Syed, a board member for the American Muslims for Palestine who was also blocked from traveling, said.
While the five individuals were banned from traveling, other members of the interfaith delegation were allowed to board their flights. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, they were subjected to several hours of interrogation by Israeli authorities, according to the activists.