This is not a Purim joke. Recently, Israel's Knesset passed the "Entry Bill " denying entry to foreign visitors who have publicly supported any form of boycott of the State of Israel or boycotts limited to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Reconstructionist Movement in Judaism came out with a strong statement in opposition to this Bill.
"The Entry Bill broadly curtails legitimate civil discourse and liberties, moving the country further away from some of its bedrock principles - robust democracy, open debate, and vigorous pluralism. A democratic state has to be willing to tolerate non-violent political dissent even when its government profoundly opposes the dissenters' ideas, and one of Israel's longstanding points of pride has been its commitment to being a state that is both a Jewish homeland and a democracy. This legislation damages Israel's democratic principles and its international standing as a democracy."
Growing numbers of Jewish leaders and academics are coming out in opposition to this Bill. Am Kolel has given strong support to J Street, T'ruah, the New Israel Fund, American for Peace Now and Rabbis for Human Rights. Many of us have deep familial ties to Israel as well. To find out that our associations and our principles may be cause for denying us entry into Israel is ludicrous, unjust and unJewish. A dark cloud has fallen on our people. We cannot stand idly by.
Call, email, or write a message of concern and anguish to Ambassador Ron Dermer. Ironically, in 2004, he co-authored with Natan Sharansky the best-selling book, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.
Ambassador Ron Dermer's address is the following: 3514 International Drive N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel: 202-364-5500 Email: Consular Services email@example.com
In this week's Parsha, Ki Tisa, we read again about the Golden Calf created by a segment of the community that lost hope. A little over a hundred years ago the Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky wrote in his poem I Believe:
For my soul still yearns for freedom
I've not sold it to a calf of gold
For I shall yet have faith in mankind
In its spirit great and bold
May we keep our faith in humanity and persist in our hopes for the future. Reb David