ADC Commends the Virginia State Bar for Canceling Midyear Legal Seminar in Jerusalem


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

ADC Commends the Virginia State Bar for Canceling Midyear Legal Seminar in Jerusalem

Washington, DC | | March 30, 2015 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) commends the Virginia State Bar (VSB) for its efforts to strive for maximum inclusion and equality by canceling the VSB Midyear Legal Seminar, which was originally scheduled to take place in Jerusalem. 

The VSB decided to cancel the Midyear Legal Seminar trip to Jerusalem after many of its members expressed concerns with Israel’s discriminatory entry and exit policies, particularly towards Arab and Muslim Americans. 

In explaining the decision to cancel the seminar, VSB President Kevin Martingayle cited the U.S. State Department’s travel advisories and “unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation.” President Martingayle stated, “We are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality.”

The Consulate General of the United States in Jerusalem warns U.S. citizens planning to visit the region that, “U.S. citizen visitors have been subjected to prolonged questioning and thorough searches by Israeli authorities upon entry or departure.  Those whom Israeli authorities suspect of being of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin; those who have been involved in missionary work or activism…may face additional, often time-consuming, and probing questioning by immigration and border authorities, or may even be denied entry into Israel or the West Bank.”

In a letter, ADC President Samer Khalaf thanked VSB President Kevin Martingayle for taking a stand for equality by deciding to hold the VSB Midyear Legal Seminar in an alternate location that will promote maximum inclusion. Khalaf stated, “It is welcoming that you took these concerns of discrimination seriously and recognized that Jerusalem is not an appropriate place to hold a legal seminar.”

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