Israeli border authorities on Monday denied entry to Raed Jarrar, an American citizen and the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA. Jarrar was on his way his way to be with family and grieve the recent death of his father, but was instead turned back to Jordan, as Israeli authorities refused to allow him entry.
In a statement released by Amnesty condemning the denial, the group said Jarrar’s refusal was a “retaliation against the organization’s human rights work.”
Meanwhile, Israel’s Foreign Ministry told local media that Jarrar, whose family is originally Palestinian, was denied on a personal basis due to his alleged “BDS activities,” referring to the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement.
, Amnesty International became the first organization that Israel said it would strip of its tax exempt status due to the group’s support of boycotting settlement products.
Philip Luther, Research and advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said the fact that Jarrar was barred entry after being interrogated about his work at Amnesty “appears to suggest that this move was taken in retaliation for the organization’s work on human rights violations” in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“This appears to be another ominous signal of the Israeli authorities’ resolve to silence human rights organizations and activists who are critical of the Israeli government. It flies in the face of the government’s repeated claims that Israel is a tolerant state, respectful of human rights,” Luther said.
Jarrar posted a document on Twitter that was handed to him by Israeli authorities as reason for his denial at the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge) crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Under “Reason for denial,” Israeli authorities listed “Prevention of illegal immigration,” and “public security or public safety or public order considerations” in two bullet points.
is a threat to ‘public security.’ Also, the irony of denying a Palestinian as ‘illegal immigration,’” Jarrar posted on Twitter with a partial photo of the document. Jarrar’s father was born and raised in Palestine.