I’ve been devoting much of my life to activism in support of Israel’s future wellbeing, advocating for peace and security, working to bolster Israel as a democracy and a Jewish state, living side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestinian state.
I was raised with the infant state of Israel in the late 1940s as the sixth child in the household of my parents Philip and Ethel Klutznick, activists and strong supporters of Israel’s right to exist and thrive as the homeland of the Jewish people. Dad, an international Jewish leader, advocated for the survival and the growth of Israel throughout his lifetime, but warned in the early 1980s that Israel must negotiate peace with its enemies, a common sense position of strength through peace.
Monday, Israel’s Knesset kicked me in the behind. It made me into a persona-non-grata.
Monday, Israel’s Knesset passed a law banning entry into Israel of foreign nationals who support or publicly engage in boycotting West Bank settlements.
That’s me. And you. That’s us.
Yes, I can travel to any Arab country in the Middle East, from Morocco to Oman, but I can’t visit my Jewish homeland.
Why? because I believe that West Bank settlements are a major obstacle to peace and I therefore encourage my fellow American Jews to boycott only them, as I do. Let me clarify: I personally, and Americans for Peace Now as an organization, the organization that I have been leading for the past five years, oppose boycotting Israel. We staunchly reject BDS. We make a clear distinction between Israel and the West Bank, between Israel and the occupation. We call on Americans to support Israel but to express their rejection of the occupation by boycotting settlements.
For that, Israel’s right-wing government and right-dominated Knesset are now telling me and APN to get lost. We’re not welcome. As far as Netanyahu and his like are concerned, people like me – and you – are enemies. If we don’t share their annexationist, undemocratic and un-Jewish vision of Israel, we are not welcome. No common sense allowed!
This outrage will not deter me – nor APN – from continuing to fight for the Israel we believe in, an Israel that is moral and ethical and peace-seeking, an Israel that respects basic freedoms like the freedom of speech and the freedom of protest, the Israel that was envisioned in the Declaration of Independence of May 1948.
We will challenge this law. Together with our friends and colleagues in Israel, the brave men and women of Shalom Achshav, Israel’s Peace Now movement, we will continue to fight for a better Israel.
We can only do it with your support. Please donate to Americans for Peace Now so we can continue fighting for an Israel that shares our values.
Chair of the Board