B’nai B’rith International is strongly disappointed to learn that the Virginia State Bar (VSB) cancelled a planned seminar in Israel for its members, citing concerns over Israel’s stringent entry and exit policies as well as a shortage of sign-ups for the trip.
Though the VSB responded to the widespread criticism it received for the decision, insisting it was a logistical move rather than a political one, this situation plays into the hands of the malicious Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Israel’s entry and exit procedures, while certainly strict, are entirely necessary in light of the country’s onerous security predicament. And while the VSB cited the State Department website’s words of caution to those travelling to Israel and the concern some members expressed about being admitted into the country, the BDS movement frequently distorts complex security considerations in its effort to falsely depict Israel as dismissive of civil liberties.
BDS is driven by the rejection of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish democratic state in the ancestral Jewish homeland. The movement singles out Israel for demonization, while consistently applying double standards that undermine Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism and radical extremism.
Israel demonstrates great restraint and conscientiousness in the implementation of its security procedures as it takes in millions of visitors each year. The fact that the VSB would use Israel’s security policies as a reason to cancel a program, thereby handing a victory to the sinister BDS movement, is highly regrettable. We call on the VSB to reverse its decision.