ROCKVILLE, Md., March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington today unequivocally condemns the reprehensible political decision of the Virginia State Bar, a state agency, to cancel its Midyear Legal Seminar in November in Jerusalem, Israel, an action which stands in direct opposition to the will of Virginia's citizens and the Commonwealth's state elected leadership. Just five weeks ago, the Virginia state legislature unanimously passed a resolution declaring "…Israel is the greatest friend of the United States in the Middle East" and cited the friendship between Israel and the Commonwealth of Virginia as a relationship "that strengthens each passing year." In fact, since 2000 the Virginia Israel Advisory Board, a state funded entity that promotes Israeli investment in Virginia, has helped to create approximately 1,810 new jobs in Virginia and roughly $54.3 million in state tax revenues – only further demonstrating Virginia's commitment to its relationship with Israel.
The decision of the Bar to announce its decision on a Friday evening only strengthens the evidence that the Bar hoped to evade public scrutiny. As a state agency, the Bar should immediately release of all documents related to this decision.
Every year millions of people of different backgrounds from around the world travel to the state of Israel without any hindrance or delay, including numerous American tourists, church and synagogue groups, and professional associations. Furthermore, the Bar has held seminars in nations with abysmal human rights records, but yet singles out Israel – a democracy -- for this discriminatory treatment. Indeed, it is particularly ironic that the agency that is charged with the regulation of lawyers in the Commonwealth of Virginia itself clearly failed an obligation that it undoubtedly expects all of its member lawyers to uphold, namely the proper and thorough investigation of all relevant facts.
The Bar's decision to single out Israel, whether intentional or not, provides comfort and a rallying cry for supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), whose entire movement is based on the international delegitimization of Israel.
The only just course of action is the immediate reinstatement of the trip to Israel and for the Bar to apologize to its membership and the people of Virginia.
SOURCE Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington