This Thursday, Israel will implement new discriminatory entry policies that will restrict, track, and, in some cases, prohibit the travel of foreign nationals to the occupied Palestinian territories.

The 90-page ordinance issued by the Coordinating Office for Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT) will make it much harder for many Palestinian Americans and other U.S. citizens to travel to the West Bank to visit family, conduct business, study or teach, or engage in tourism. These policies are inherently discriminatory as they will not affect Americans who wish to visit Israel or any of the illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

This is all happening as Israel is being considered for entry into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which would allow Israeli citizens to visit the United States without the need to apply for a visa prior to entering, and would result in increased information sharing on travelers between Israel and the United States.

Urge your Member of Congress to sign on to Representative Beyer’s Dear Colleague letter protesting the COGAT procedures and Israel’s Entry to the Visa Waiver Program.

Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) is currently circulating a letter in Congress protesting the COGAT restrictions and Israel’s entry into the Visa Waiver Program. Members of Congress need to sign on to this letter before 12:00 PM Wednesday, October 19.

Write your Representative in Congress TODAY to make sure they join this important congressional initiative and sign on to Rep. Beyer’s letter using either of the action alerts from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) below.

Write Your Member of Congress – ADC Tool

Thank you for your continued support and action.

In solidarity,


BUMPING: Rep. Beyer letter on Israeli travel restrictions likely closing Friday


Dear Fellow Birawi


Rep. Beyer’s Dear Colleague on new Israeli travel restrictions on US citizens that went into effect today is still open for signatures.


CURRENT SIGNERS: Reps. Beyer, Carson, Chuy Garcia, Kind, McCollum, Newman, Norton, Pocan, Schakowsky, Tlaib.


The letter has already generated a lot of media attention in Haaretz, Jewish Currents, The New Arab, and Jerusalem Post. It was also discussed at Tuesday’s State Department briefing


WHY THIS LETTER IS IMPORTANT: These restrictions will greatly impede [[LegTitle+LastName]]’s constituents, including most directly Palestinian-Americans, from traveling to, studying, volunteering, investing, or working in the Palestinian West Bank.


ASK: [[LegsTitle+LastName]] should sign on to this letter before it is likely to close on Friday.


Five Reasons for [[LegsTitle+LastName]] to Sign On to this Letter


  1. These Israeli restrictions formalize existing discriminatory entry policies against US citizens. All US citizens, especially Palestinian-Americans, must have an unfettered right to freely travel to the West Bank consistent with Israel’s treaty obligations.
  2. Israel’s discriminatory entry policies are part of its separate-and-unequal, apartheid regime that privileges Jewish Israelis at the expense of indigenous Palestinians. These restrictions do not apply to people traveling to illegal Israeli settlements.
  3. Israel is intensifying its discriminatory entry policies toward Palestinian-Americans while trying to join the prestigious Visa Waiver Program, which requires participating countries to provide reciprocal visa-free travel to US citizens on an equal basis.

    * As the letter notes, “In light of the DHS position that Israel does not currently meet all VWP designation requirements, including extending reciprocal visa-free travel privileges to all U.S. citizens and nationals, it is clear that Israel cannot be admitted into the VWP.
  4. No tracking mechanism exists for the State Department to record and monitor Israel’s discriminatory entry policies. This letter promotes transparency by asking State to set up a hotline to help US citizens and produce a report for Congress.
  5. Members of Congress should be more vocal in advocating for the rights of their constituents, who face systematic discriminatory Israeli entry policies based on their national origin, religion, and political opinions, as State confirms in its travel advisory.


For more info, see: Israel Is Not Eligible for Visa Waiver Program | IMEU Policy Analysis


The text of the letter is below my signature. Please feel free to reach out if I can help further on this issue. Thanks so much for your consideration.



Josh Ruebner
Director of Government Relations
Institute for Middle East Understanding