Virginia State Bar Boycotts Israel

Odd announcement to cancel Jerusalem conference surfaced on anti-Israel social media pages before being sent to lawyers.

Tova Dvorin ,

Anti-Israel boycott campaigners
Anti-Israel boycott campaigners

The Virginia State Bar (VSB) is the latest organization to capitulate to leftist and anti-Israel pressure, the Washington Post reported Saturday night - and has cancelled a planned trip to Jerusalem for November.

"Certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals have expressed objections to the VSB’s plan to take the Midyear Legal Seminar trip in November to Jerusalem," the Association stated in a letter to its members. "It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation."

"Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations," it added.

The US State Department has become hostile toward Israel over the past year, and has made increasingly inflammatory statements against the Jewish state.

Recently, it rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's apologies to Israeli Arabs and implied that it is re-evaluating the US-Israel relationship; it also called on Israel to "end the Occupation." Travel advisories released to US citizens have also implied that Jerusalem and other areas are dangerous, with warnings against visiting eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem and even public parks after dark.

VSB President Kevin Martingayle insisted to the Washington Times late Saturday night that the decision was not due to anti-Semitic views.

“We are absolutely not making a political point we are making the point that we have to care about every single one of our members,” Mr. Martingayle said. “We are a large bar, we have over 30,000 members within the state bar and we have to meet the needs of all of them.”

However, the Times suggests that the decision may have been made following an online petition against holding the conference in Jerusalem by a mere 37 lawyers - a charge Martingayle similarly denies.

Washington Post reporter David Bernstein also notes that the letter was submitted to the anti-Israel "Electronic Intifada" over two hours before it was sent to Bar members, and adds that it raises questions over who ultimately made the decision to cancel the already-booked conference.

Arutz Sheva has reached out to the VSB for comment on the connection.