Monday, February 9, 2015

Presbyterian Denied Entry by Jewish State

Was he denied entry into Israel because he was a Presbyterian?  If that implies that all Presbyterians had best stay away or be turned back, then probably not?  He is an activist with a compassionate heart for the poor, oppressed and abused people wherever they are.

Chris Weaver grew up in the church where I was a pastor for 21 years.  He would never carry a gun, nor would he ever encourage violence. As far as I know he never made a public speech.  What he did do was question the fairness of the news media and the blind support of Israel by our leading politicians.  Last Sunday, on a five o’clock flight, he left for Israel to volunteer to work for six months with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a group of doctors and medical professionals who for 35 years have dedicated themselves to helping the victims of Israel’s violent attack on Palestinian civilians, especially children.  Chris was sponsored by The Joining Hands for Justice in Israel and Palestine, a committee of Presbyterians in Atlanta.

Chris was held up at the Allenby Bridge crossing. Israeli security searched and interrogated him with questions for seven hours. Then without offering any reason or explanation as to why,  he was told that he would not only be denied entry into Israel to work with the Medical Relief Group but that he was banned from entering Israel for ten years.  As I write, Chris is in limbo, holding up in a hotel in Jordan, not knowing what to do.  My guess is that he will fly back home as soon as possible.  At least, I hope so.

Now, the rest of the story.  What do you do when your son is in trouble overseas? You call your representative in Washington. However, when Chris’s father,  Bert Weaver, contacted the office of Representative Tom Price to ask for help in understanding what had happened to Chris, Price’s staff person said, we are not interested.  In other words, if you live in Georgia and have a conflict with Israel, you don’t have a Representative to represent you. He represents Israel.  Even if you are an American citizen, a life long Presbyterian, being sponsored by a Presbyterian organization and seeking to support a team of humanitarian doctors,  if your Representative’s friends in Israel say “no”, then you are on your own.

When the office of Senator Johnny Isakson was called, the answer was pretty much the same. His office was not the proper place to seek help.  Fahed Abu Akel was told to file a complaint and Isakson would pass it on to someone else, but he would not get involved. Now, I know that Isakson, like all politicians, is thinking about his next election and is concerned about running afoul of AIPAC. But is he not aware that the tide in America is turning?  More and more people, including American Jews, are siding with people like Chris, and questioning the policies of Israel and the leadership of politicians like Tom Price and Johnny Isakson, and they also vote.  

While any Israeli Jew can enter the U.S., no questions asked, because of our “special relationship” with Israel, it does not work the other way.  Israel lives in constant fear that decent Americans will look around at their Jewish State and talk about what they see. Visitor after visitor comes home from Israel saying, “You have to see it to believe it.”  This explains what caused so much panic in the security guards at the Allenby Bridge. Chris was carrying one of the most frightening “weapons” ever used against IsraelHe had a camera.

Even so, I cannot imagine what Israel is thinking.  Pass the word around the US that in spite of your country’s giving Israel billions of dollars in charity every year, you may receive no respect if you seek to enter Israel.  What will this do to their tourist economy?  For years I have had people ask me if it were safe to travel to Israel. I have always assured potential travelers, whether going on a Bible study tour or going to work to help the victims of Israel’s occupation and racist policies, that they, as an American citizens, would be welcomed and respected. I can no longer say that.

                                                                                    Thomas Are

                                                                                    February 9, 2015


  1. We should all reach out to our congressmen about this and post this on social media to bring awareness to Chris being denied entry with a team of doctors to help the people of Palestine.

  2. Just goes to show how racist, and exclusionary the JS of Israel is!

  3. Thank you for being an advocate for the Palestinians. The injustices they face everyday are not only illegal but inhumane and atrocius.

  4. Now, we see that Israel is using its privileged status to single out and punish individual Presbyterians, members of a denomination which no longer supports Israel's brutal, decades' long occupation of Palestine.

    I hope Presbyterians here in Maryland and across the US will meet with our elected representatives and senators and insist that this unfair and unbalanced mistreatment of US citizens be redressed by amending the dangerous new law.

    I hope that if our elected representatives turn a deaf ear to appeals to redress this imbalance in our laws, that the Presbyterian Church will take the next, logical step and endorse the BDS movement, the global effort to Boycott, Divest and Sanction those companies who cooperate and seek to profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine.

  5. As I learned with a machine gun pointed at me, Israeli soldiers do not care if you are an American citizen and Allenby bridge is not for faint of heart. For the most part Israeli soldiers like its current government are thugs and most Americans are either not concerned or support the occupier's policies.

    1. WOW, my friend. You ARE someone with GUTS. In the great tradition of the late Rachel Corrie. Off-hand I think the 'guards' at the Allenby bridge wouldn't be just ANYONE. Probably specially TRAINED people. Thank you for your humanity and COURAGE. God bless.

  6. This shouldn't be a big surprise. Zionist don't regarded protocol either unless it is in their interest. This is why Nutandyahoo gave his "joint" Congressional speech without a formal invitation by the White House. It was Nutandyahoo's dog whistle to Christian Zionists not to support President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry's Iran talks. So like 47, obedient Republican barking dogs they sent Iran hate mail stating that they would vote against any nuclear inspection treaty. Tourist spend millions of dollars traveling to Israel every year. A total boycott of Israeli travel and products by Christian activists is a far more effective answer to this ongoing humanitarian crisis. Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the priest for thirty pieces of silver. A dollar is worth more than a thousand good intentions.