Virginia State Bar: Anti-Israel discrimination

 COMMITTEE FOR ACCURACY IN MIDDLE EAST REPORTING IN AMERICA 

Virginia State Bar, a Government Agency, Appeases Anti-Israel Boycotters

April 1, 2015

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Attention CAMERA E-Mail Team:

In an act of anti-Israel discrimination thinly disguised as resistance to unfair discrimination, the Virginia State Bar announced on Friday, March 27, that it was canceling a planned November study seminar in Jerusalem. The State Bar is not the Virginia Bar Association, an umbrella group for lawyers, but rather an quasi-state agency that regulates admission to the bar and administration of lawyers in the Old Dominion. Bar officials claimed they feared, based on a State Department travel advisory, that “Arab, Muslim and Palestinian” members might be singled out for scrutiny or even denied entrance by Israeli authorities. They reportedly cancelled the trip after receiving an online petition signed by less than 40 of the Bar’s approximately 40,000 members "and others".
 
Bar President Kevin Edward Martingayle and President-elect Edward Weiner's explanations don’t pass the smell test. From their own statements it sounds like they crumbled at the first demands of those who want to marginalize the Jewish state and undermine American support for it as part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. BDS aims not at Arab-Israeli peace but at destruction of the Jewish state.

You have more of an impact when you share your thoughts in your own words. Please use the information included here as background for your letter instead of forwarding, or cutting and pasting from, the Alert.

Especially if you are member of the Virginia State Bar, or have privileges in Virginia, or are an attorney as a matter of professional courtesy, please undertake these actions. If you know an attorney in Virginia, please forward this alert to him or her. 

• Write to Virginia State Bar President Kevin Edward Martingayle at martingayle@bischoffmartingayle.com or by snail mail to Bischoff Martingayle PC, 3704 Pacific Avenue, Suite 300, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Or call his office, (757) 416-6009, or his cell, (757) 589-2224.

• Contact President-elect Edward Weiner through FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or by snail mail to Weiner, Spivey & Miller, PLC, 10605 Judicial Drive, Suite B6, Fairfax, VA 22030. Or call his office, (703) 273-9500, and toll free, 1-877-611-0605.

Urge them to reverse their mistaken cancellation and reopen reservations for the Jerusalem study seminar.

Everyone, attorney or no, please undertake the following actions:

• WTOP FM’s coverage last weekend was one-sided; the only sound bite came from Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood derivative founded by members of the terrorist group Hamas (Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement) but treated by news media as a civil rights organization. Write WTOP FM at newsroom@wtop.com.

• The Washington Post covered the news in somewhat more detail and should be encouraged to do in-depth follow-up reporting. Write to Donna St. George and Steve Hendrix at The Washington Post, donna.stgeorge@washpost.com andsteve.hendrix@washpost.com.

• Likewise, Valerie Richardson and Kellan Howell of The Washington Times also covered the news better and should be encouraged to pursue in-depth coverage of this story. Reach them at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com andkhowell@washingtontimes.com.

• On March 29, William J. Howell, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, wrote a letter to Martingayle strongly urging the State Bar to reconsider its cancellation of the Jerusalem seminar. Thank him by writing delwhowell@house.virginia.gov, to William J. Howell, General Assembly Building, Room Number 635, P.O. Box 406, Richmond, Virginia 23218. Or call his office at 804-698-1028.

As always, make your points courteously but directly.

Please send blind copies (bcc) to letters@camera.org