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Lawyers and Advocates Demand Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Stop Denying Entry to Human Rights Advocates

On August 14, 2018, over 100 lawyers and advocates sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concern over Israel's policy of detaining and denying entry to human rights advocates.

August 14, 2018

To: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Re: Israel’s Denial of Entry to Human Rights Advocates

We, the undersigned human rights advocates and lawyers, write to you in protest against the 14-hour detention and denial of entry into Israel of Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Mr. Warren is a renowned civil rights lawyer, who has devoted his career to standing in solidarity with individuals from marginalized and oppressed communities. He is widely respected as a leading advocate in challenging racial, gender, and LGBT injustices. We are dismayed by Israel’s apparent policy of denying entry to human rights defenders, such as Mr. Warren, who are critical of your government.

Mr. Warren was held and interrogated for 14 hours at Ben Gurion Airport on May 1, 2018, and forbidden entry into Israel, together with Ms. Katherine Franke, Professor at Columbia University Law School. While the Israeli government provided no reason or justification for its exclusion of Mr. Warren, the decision appears to be based on his human rights work and political viewpoints. This alarming behavior by the Israeli government resembles that of repressive regimes around the world, and is inconsistent with the democratic values that Israel claims to uphold.

Mr. Warren’s denial of entry follows the Israeli government’s pattern of excluding visitors, including United Nations human rights experts, based on their political viewpoints, perceived ‘bias,’ or merely because their presence assumes some form of criticism of Israel. This kind of political litmus test for human rights professionals attempting to document your government’s actions sends a clear signal of intolerance, ideological exclusion, and censorship.

This pattern of political repression is especially salient given that other prominent human rights advocates have also been denied entry or had their visa revoked in recent months. For example, Mr. Raed Jarrar, Amnesty International U.S. Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, was barred from entry in October 2017 after interrogations about Amnesty’s human rights work. And Mr. Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch was served with a deportation order in May 2018 despite his lawful work permit in Israel (he is currently challenging the decision in Israeli court).

Equally troubling is Israel’s continuous refusal to allow entry to United Nations independent experts whose mandate requires them to carry out human rights documentation missions. Particularly problematic was the detention and exclusion of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Professor Richard Falk, while he was on an official UN visit in 2008. Subsequent Special Rapporteurs, Makarim Wibosono and Michael Lynk, have also been refused permission to enter Israel, thus depriving them of the ability to fully comply with their mandates.

Unfortunately, these exclusions are not a recent phenomenon. Israel has a history of adopting and enforcing discriminatory national entry policies that exclude people based on their political views, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. These discriminatory practices have been broadly condemned as violating international human rights including those of U.S. citizens of Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim descent attempting to visit Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The U.S State Department has even warned that some “United States citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage (including Palestinian-Americans) have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints.”

With this letter, we call on the Israeli government to respect the human rights of all people, and to cease its practice of excluding human rights defenders and advocates based on their criticisms of the government. As a start, we urge the repeal of your government’s decision regarding Mr. Warren, Professor Franke, Mr. Shakir, and Mr. Jarrar. We look forward to receiving your response.


**Organizational affiliations listed for identification purposes only**

Nan AARON, President, Alliance for Justice

Fouad ABDELMOUMNI, Human Rights Advocate; Member, Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Committee

Richard ABEL, Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor, UCLA Law School

Cathy ALBISA, Executive Director, National Economic & Social Rights Initiative

Hala ALDOSARI, Fellow, Harvard University; Member, Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Committee

Susan AKRAM, Director, BU International Human Rights Clinic, Clinical Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

Sabrineh ARDALAN, Assistant Director, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Law School

Huwaida ARRAF, Civil Rights Attorney

Abed AYOUB, National Legal and Policy Director, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

David BALUARTE, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Washington and Lee University School of Law

Natasha Lycia Ora BANNAN, President, National Lawyers Guild

Nadia BEN-YOUSSEF, Esq., Director, Adalah Justice Project; Cooperating Counsel, Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Jacqueline BHABHA, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

Audrey BOMSE, Co-Chair, National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee

Brandon BUSKEY, Deputy Director for Smart Justice Litigation, Criminal Law Reform Project, American Civil Liberties Union

James L. CAVALLARO, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School; Director, Stanford Human Rights Clinic & Stanford Human Rights Center

Gaston CHILLIER, Executive Director, Center for Legal and Social Studies - CELS

Dimitris CHRISTOPOULOS, President of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Brian CONCANNON Jr., Executive Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Joshua COOPER, Executive Director, Four Freedoms Forum

Catherine COUMANS, Human Rights Advocate

Avidan Y. COVER, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Lisa A. CROOMS-ROBINSON, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law

Anna CROWE, Clinical Instructor & Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School Human Rights Program

Cornelia DAI, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

Jamil DAKWAR, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program, American Civil Liberties Union

Margaret DEGUZMAN, Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law

John DUGARD, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in The Occupied Palestinian Territory

Hassan ELMASRY, Co-chair of the Board, Human Rights Watch; Member, Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Committee

Richard FALK, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Susan FARBSTEIN, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School

Claudia FLORES, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School

Katherine FRANKE, Sulzbacher Professor of Law; Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality; Director, Center for Gender & Sexuality Law; Faculty Director, Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, Columbia Law School

Tyler GIANNINI, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School

Rosalee GONZALEZ, PhD, Acting Executive Director, US Human Rights Network

Bill GOODMAN, Civil Rights Attorney; Former Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

Kathleen HAMILL, Visiting Assistant Professor of International Law, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; Fellow, Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights

Justin HANSFORD, Associate Professor of Law, Howard University Law School

Asos HARDI, Member, Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Committee; Journalist and Director, Awene (The Mirror), Iraqi Kurdistan

Zaha HASSAN, Human Rights Attorney, Middle East Fellow, New America

Lynne HENDERSON, Professor (Emerita), UNLV-Boyd School of Law

Nancy HOLLANDER, Associate Tenant, Doughty Street Chambers

Dr. Kamal HOSSAIN, Lawyer; Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan

Margaret HUANG, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA

Dr. George HUNSINGER, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University

Julie HURWITZ, Civil Rights Attorney

Shawan JABARIN, General Director, Al-Haq

Danielle C. JEFFERIS, Visiting Professor, University of Denver College of Law

Dawn JOHNSEN, Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Former Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice

Raha JORJANI, Director, Immigration Representation Unit, Alameda County CA Public Defender’s Office

Michael KAGAN, Professor of Law and Director, UNLV Immigration Clinic, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Law

Doron KALIR, Clinical Professor of Law, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Amber KHAN, Esq., Human Rights Lawyer

Dr. Tally KRITZMAN-AMIR, Senior Lecturer of Human Rights Law, College of Law and Business; Fellow, Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School

Tetyana KRUPIY, Human Rights Advocate

Denny LEBOEUF, Human Rights Lawyer

Sanford LEVINSON, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School of Law

Jules LOBEL, Bessie Mckee Walthour Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh Law School

David LUBAN, University Professor, Georgetown University

David L. MANDEL, Member and chapter leader, Jewish Voice for Peace; Elected Member, California Democratic Party Central Committee; Board Member, National Lawyers Guild, Sacramento chapter

David S. MARSHALL, The Marshall Defense Firm, P.S.

Jamie MAYERFIELD, Professor of Political Science, University of Washington

Heather MCGHEE, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos

Juan E. MENDEZ, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, and Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2010-2016), Washington College of Law

Sienna MEROPE-SYNGE, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Hope METCALF, Executive Director and Lecturer, Schell Center for International Human Rights, Yale Law School

Alberto MORA, Senior Fellow, Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; Former General Counsel, U.S. Department of the Navy

Randa MKW, Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University

Brian NEFF, Civil Rights Attorney

Mona PATEL, Human Rights Attorney

Cindy PANUCO, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

Kathleen PERATIS, Lawyer, Human Rights Advocate; Co-Chair, Human Rights Watch MENA Advisory Committee

Nicole PHILLIPS, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Todd PIERCE, Judge Advocate, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Josh PIOVIA-SCOTT, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

William P. QUIGLEY, Professor of Law, Loyola University

Jaya RAMJI-NOGALES, I. Herman Stern Research Professor, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Michael S. RAPKIN, Rapkin & Associates, LLP, Civil Liberties Lawyer; Human Rights and Economic Justice Advocate

Randy RENICK, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

Dr. Paula R. RHODES, Human Rights Attorney; Member, Society of American Law Teachers, Human Rights & Equality Committee

Lori RIFKIN, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

Gabor RONA, Visiting Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School

Jennifer ROSENBAUM, Lecturer, Harvard Law School

Sylvia ROYCE, International Criminal Lawyer

Charity RYERSON, Founder, Corporate Accountability Action Lab

Dr. Ilan SABAN, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Arjun Singh SETHI, Faculty, Georgetown University Law Center and Vanderbilt University Law School; Co-Chair, American Bar Association Committee on Homeland Security, Terrorism & Treatment of Enemy Combatants

Meera SHAH, Human Rights Lawyer

Azadeh N. SHAHSHAHANI, Legal & Advocacy Director, Project South

Carey SHENKMAN, Human Rights Lawyer

Gary SICK, Founding Chair, Advisory Committee, MENA Division, Human Rights Watch; Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University

Susannah SIRKIN, Director for International Policy, Physicians for Human Rights (USA)

Stephen SOLDZ, Director, Program in Social Justice and Human Rights, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis

Kent SPRIGGS, Human Rights Lawyer

Gerald STABEROCK, Secretary General of the World Organisation Against Torture, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Jennifer STARK, Civil Rights Attorney

Beth STEPHENS, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School

Dan STORMER, Partner/Attorney, Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP

Sandra TAMARI, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Adalah Justice Center

Mark B. TAYLOR, Researcher, Jurist, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo

Doris TENNANT, Attorney, Tennant Lubell, LLC

Bret THIELE, Co-Executive Director, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Raha WALA, Director of National Security Advocacy, Human Rights First

Salma WAHEEDI, Lecturer on Law and Clinical Instructor, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School

Roger WATERS, Musician and Human Rights Advocate

Peter WEISS, Human Rights Lawyer; Former Vice President, Center for Constitutional Rights

Deborah M. WEISSMAN, Reef C. Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rebecca VILKOMERSON, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace


Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan
Minister of Interior, Aryeh Deri
Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Hotovely
Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Scott Busby

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