Benjamin Sipzner
Political Advisor and Activist

Problems with Visa Agreement

BDS march (credit: CUPE-ON)
BDS March (credit: CUPE-ON)

In a joint project which Israel’s Interior and Foreign Ministries have been supporting for many years, Israel and the United States have formerly announced an agreement to allow Israeli citizens to fly to the United States without going through the months long and difficult process of obtaining a visa to enter the United States. Many Israelis are thrilled with the news that they will be able to fly with relative ease to the United States. However, for this accommodation, Israel may be paying a hefty price which is being ignored and misunderstood.

As part of the agreement, Israel and the United States will allow their respective citizens to travel to the other country with almost no limitations. State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said Wednesday, “Israel will announce changes to their policies to ensure equal treatment to all US citizen travelers without regard to national origin, religion or ethnicity.” If the statements and information being released about the accord are correct, it will indicate a sharp change to Israeli policy regarding entry into Israel.

In March 2017, the Knesset passed a law which denied entry into Israel for anyone acting against the State of Israel. According to the law, Israel’s Border Authority may refuse entry to any foreign citizen if there is reason to suspect that the foreigner poses a security risk or is a supporter of the BDS movement. Notable anti-Israel activists who were delayed or blocked from entry into Israel include Peter Beinart, Noam Chomsky, Mairead Maguire, Simone Zimmerman, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and others. Additionally, the Interior Ministry maintains a “blacklist” of organizations whose members are barred from entering the country.

According to statistics released by the Israeli Interior Ministry, there is a notable difference between the cause for not allowing entry into the State of Israel from western countries where pro-BDS activism is widespread versus other countries. Since passage of the 2017 law, the percentage of applicants denied entry from the United States due to security issues or BDS support has been more than 20 percentage points above the average of similarly rejected travelers from other countries without these characteristics. Israeli security officials have warned of “previously-unknown problematic clauses in the deal that could post a security threat to Israel, specifically the possible entry of hostile elements into Israel” as discussed in an article from Haaretz on July 10, 2023. The danger to Israel from BDS, false lies and incitement is real and tangible. Yet in order to make traveling easier for Israeli citizens to the US, these risks and danger to Israel are being overlooked and misunderstood.

Ad Kan is an Israeli organization which has infiltrated dozens of BDS groups to expose their tactics, illicit activities and false libels against the State of Israel. During an undercover mission by one of Ad Kan’s agents into International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a renown international pro- BDS organization, the true face of these “Human Rights” activists was exposed. ISM is a US and European based organization which acts in the name of “Palestinian rights”. Many ISM activists have been delayed or barred entry into Israel, but ISM prepares its activists for Israeli questioning and takes steps to avoid suspicion. Many ISM activists still manage to get around the barriers set in place by the Israeli government and are able to enter the country.

In undercover footage, the head of ISM’s delegation in Palestinian Hebron is seen discussing the reporting of news and a skirmish between the Palestinians and Israeli Army. The leader of the ISM team tells the undercover agent that the army and settlers threw rocks, shot rubber bullets and tear gas. The agent replied, “but the Palestinians started by throwing rocks, and we should report that,” to which the ISM leader responded, nobody needs to know what actually happened, all they need to hear is how Israel is oppressing the Palestinians, otherwise it will hurt the Palestinians, “I know the Palestinians also do bad stuff, but nobody needs to know about the bad stuff they do.”

In another clip a key member of ISM’s Hebron contingent is recorded saying that she wants a bomb to come and blow up all the Israelis without any differentiation between men, women, and children, settlers or non-settlers. ISM is one of many organizations whose agenda and activists are constantly thinking of new ways to control the narrative and harm the State of Israel.

It must be understood that there may be a big price to pay for this new visa agreement with the United States. I am not saying Israel should not move forward with the visa agreement, but I am saying that the Israeli government, Israeli citizens and friends of Israel all over the world must recognize the true face of those trying to harm the State of Israel, understand that they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal of Israel’s destruction, and be constantly vigilant and proactive against our enemies.

About the Author
Benjamin Sipzner is the Director for International Operations at Ad Kan and an Advisor to the Minister of Aliyah and Integration. He was the Anglo Outreach and Events Coordinator for the Religious Zionist Party in Israel’s last two elections. He is an Oleh from New York and completed his service as a lone soldier in the Nachal Brigade of the IDF. He can be found on Facebook and can be reached at
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