So much for the vaunted Israeli security screening procedures the media was touting only a few years ago in the aftermath of the Nigerian underwear bomber. Now, airports in Sweden and Denmark have rejected the racial profiling techniques employed by the Shin Bet to screen passengers boarding Israel’s Arkia Airlines flights to and from Israel:
Israeli security inspections…involve ethnic and personal profiling, extensive questioning and selective inspections based on the perceived degree of risk to security.
That’s a polite way of saying that Israeli intelligence doesn’t like anyone flying while Arab or Muslim. Israel’s security procedures have taken a beating over the past week as well as the world watched while an entire nation seemed to shudder in the face of a thousand foreign activists who merely wanted to visit Palestine. Of the 1,200 individuals on the Shin Bet’s Do Not Fly list, over 400 had no known connection to Palestinian support groups and weren’t even planning to protest while in Israel. Haaretz reported this based on a source in the Israeli foreign ministry. Further, a Frenchwoman was removed from an Air France flight in Nice merely because she was not Jewish and did not have an Israeli passport. A Merck executive flying to Israel for a ceremony launching a Weizmann Institute project in which the company had invested $10 million was forced off his flight.
So one has to ask the question: if the Israeli secret police can’t tell the difference between a Palestinian sympathizer and someone who is non-political, how can they tell the difference between a terrorist and a non-terrorist? Further, is what they’re really looking for not terrorists, but Arabs? Are all Arabs terrorists or potential terrorists?
Max Blumenthal told me once the only question he was asked by Israeli security during his security screening was: which Hebrew school did you attend? I presume that means if you attended Hebrew school you couldn’t be a terrorist. But if you didn’t you might be. Which raises a further interesting question: would an assimilated or secularist Jew be more likely to be a terrorist? I’ll leave you to ponder that one for a while.
The upshot of all this means that Arkia may no longer fly to these European nations and no Israeli airline will serve them. Thousands of Israelis hoping to enjoy a Scandinavian summer vacation may be out of luck.
Arkia’s CEO warns that other EU countries may follow suit:
“It seems from the international media that additional European countries waving the flag of civil rights and equality will refuse the Israeli security demands, which I’ve warned would happen,” said Arkia CEO Gadi Tepper. Arkia and other Israeli airlines would face serious difficulty if much of Europe is blocked to them, he said.
“We are talking with security authorities in Sweden and other countries where problems have surfaced, to understand the meaning of the new restrictions imposed on Israeli flights,” said the Transport Ministry, noting it was working with the Foreign Ministry, the embassy in Stockholm and Israeli security authorities.
What does it mean? It means that Europe, unlike Israel, won’t countenance overly intrusive, racist security screening procedures. They won’t accept Arab women being stripped to their bras or bullets being shot through laptops (that only happened at an Israeli border crossing and not in Europe…yet).
Israel is obsessing about BDS and attempts to de-legitimize the “Jewish state.” In this case, it has to look no farther than itself to find the source of delegitimization. It is Israel’s security forces themselves who have set the nation apart from the rest of the world. In the rush to judgment regarding who is a terror suspect, Israel has run roughshod over human rights, dignity, and privacy. Some countries aren’t prepared to take it anymore. Let’s raise a glass to Denmark and Sweden. And as Tom Lehrer sang: who’s next?
Another reason to raise a glass to Denmark: one of its citizens was brutalized by an IDF Lieutenant Colonel in the West Bank a few days ago. The Danish ambassador promptly lodged a formal complaint and the Danish press is abuzz with the outrage. Keep in mind, it was Denmark which saved its entire Jewish population on a single night during the Holocaust. If the “army of the Jewish people” is beating up Danes, and Denmark’s no longer your friend, who is?
On a related subject, I highly recommend Zvi Barel’s excoriation of Israel’s response to the international fly-in. He compares Israel to a jungle full of savage animals and warns that the rest of the world might want to put this strange kingdom into quarantine. Read the rest. It’s worthwhile.