Open Letter to President of Virginia State Bar regarding cancellation of trip to Israel










Dear Mr. Martingayle,

Let me start by putting you on notice.  My actions regarding this perversion of ethics will not be limited to this letter.  I intend to take every action necessary to lobby as many people as possible behind the process challenging the Virginia State Bar’s cancellation of its trip to Israel.

I wish to start however by challenging the very ambiguous wording in your statement regarding this matter. You made the following statement. CLICK HERE TO READ HIS STATEMENT

It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation.

What practices are you referring to exactly?  Are any of these “practices” as you call them recently implemented?  I suppose they must be seeing that I  am certain you would not have made a decision to travel to Israel originally if they were in place at the time. When you say discriminatory do you mean these policies are targeting specific people merely because of what they are or, seeing that you do use the term border security, would these policies indeed be responsible as opposed to discriminatory?  You also say these policies affect travelers to the nation.  Could you please clarify what impact any of these policies would have on any member of the Virginia Bar Association?  Muslims belong to the Israeli Knesset, so I am certain the Muslim members of the Virginia State Bar would not have to be concerned with having their movements restricted.

You went on to say the following:

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 Israeli trip and exploration of alternative locations.

The strain in the relationship between the United States and Israel is well documented, but that didn’t stop me from checking further into your claim.  I know I’m not as smart as you are, after all you are the President of the Virginia State Bar and I’m just some dumb Zionist with a big mouth, but I usually am pretty good at finding information on websites.  I looked on the State Department website and could not find anything resembling these advisories you are referring to in your statement.  Maybe you found them in the same location you found your “other research.”  I’m also curious as to which leaders you are referring to in the statement.  Leaders within the State Bar?  Community leaders? Political leaders? I am not a resident of Virginia but I do believe if you are going to make a statement such as that one, people have a right to know.

The final quote I wish to address is this one:

Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members.  But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action.

I read your subsequent statement clarifying that this is not an anti-Semitic action, and assuming you believe what you are saying I will make the following observation.  Although I have no way of backing up this statement with facts, and unlike some who are far more intelligent than myself I always feel the need to do so, I would guess that the majority of those disappointed by this news are indeed Jewish.  Clearly their needs and desires don’t carry the same weight of the other members the Bar Association is bending over backwards to appease. I speak of the nameless 37 that many claim coerced the State Bar into this decision. If you truly are, as you claim to be a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, I have two questions for you.  Would this inclusion include giving in to the political demands of a group of people whether their demands were justified or not?  And how does turning your back on the only democracy in the Middle East help to increase this maximum equality you claim is so important?

I am sure when you made this statement you expected controversy, but I am not sure you expected to be challenged on the specifics. For all I know the position of President of the Virginia State Bar is a more ceremonious position and you don’t so much make policy as much as you represent the policy once it is implemented. Maybe you are just following orders.  Of course we all know what happens when people take that approach, and it is nothing resembling “maximum inclusion and equality”.

This action on the part of the Virginia State Bar is without any merit whatsoever and establishes a precedent damaging to the country’s entire legal system.  To take this extreme action against an important ally, and to insult an important segment of the legal community without clear explanation damages the credibility of an organization that is nothing if it is not credible.  I hope you see that, and then I hope you respond, but frankly every element and carefully worded nuance of your statement tells me that you won’t. But with the help of many more who feel as I do, this will not go away.  I care too much about America’s legal system to allow that to happen.


David Groen

Global Coalition for Israel









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