George Bisharat grossly misleads readers when he claims that bipartisan legislation I introduced would allow Israel to "continue racially profiling Americans of Arab and Muslim heritage who travel to Israel."
My legislation would give Israel the opportunity to join the U.S. visa waiver program, allowing Israeli citizens to travel to the United States without first obtaining a visa — a privilege extended to 37 other countries. But to qualify, Israel must meet a number of stringent requirements related to U.S. national security and equal treatment for U.S. citizens.
The current visa waiver program requires participating countries to offer "reciprocal" travel privileges to Americans. My bill does not waive this requirement. In fact, it gives us important leverage to ensure Israel welcomes Americans by requiring a certification from our secretaries of Homeland Security and State that Israel has made "every" reasonable effort to grant reciprocal travel privileges to "all" Americans.