Medea Benjamin: I am American, Jewish and banned from Israel for my activism

This reminds me of now-Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to the Robert Morris campus roughly ten years ago. At the end of his remarks, he asked for questions, and I asked him to lay out his vision of a Middle East in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have been resolved: what would that look like? He bloviated for several minutes without answering the question. Clearly, he had–and has–no idea what peace would look like in that region.

Vox Populi

This month, the Israeli government announced that activists affiliated with 20 organizations, including my organization Codepink, would be banned from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories because of our support for the nonviolent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

As a Jew, this causes me tremendous sadness because I have a lifetime attachment to Israel and Palestine. It also deepens my commitment to working for peace and equality for all the peoples of the region.

I first went to Israel 50 years ago, right after the June 1967 war. I was 16 years old and spent the summer living on the kibbutz Ein Gedi, right on the Dead Sea. I loved the kibbutz, where I learned about farming, communal living and socialism (yes, it was a socialist kibbutz at the time). I also learned, however, about the contempt and racism many Jews exhibited towards Palestinians and…

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