Lawyers run for cover as uproar explodes over Virginia State Bar’s canceled trip to Israel

It’s always fun to watch lawyers squirm! Its times like these where people’s true character shines bright, or the opposite.

Virginia State Bar leaders said the decision was being misinterpreted and did not in any way represent a boycott or other political action.

“We are not a political group,” said Edward L. Weiner, the group’s president-elect. “We are making no political stand whatsoever. We are not making any statement about Israel, Israel’s security policy, zero.”

A spokesman said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had no comment on the state bar’s action, noting that the governor does not belong to the bar or work with it regularly.

There are some lawyers who stand by their principled objection to holding the meeting in Israel:

Laurie Forbes, 62, a lawyer in Fairfax, said she hadn’t heard of the controversy until she received the e-mail announcing the cancellation. She looked up the petition, went to the State Department Web site to read the travel warnings and then added her name. Forbes said she has sympathy for both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but views the border procedures as profiling.

“The Israeli government has a right to put in place whatever policies they think they need to protect themselves,” Forbes said. “But if those measures result in discrimination against members of my organization based solely on their surname or their religious background, then my organization has no business going there.”

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