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Scandinavian Airports Reject Shin Bet Racial Profiling Security Screening Procedures

flying while arabSo 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.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Daniel F. April 19, 2012, 2:44 AM

    Hate to have to say it but you’re right,Israel is increasingly out of step with Europe,a state of affairs we ignores at our peril.
    This, in and of itself, is a bigger strategic risk that that posed by more tolerant security screening procedures.
    …..and if we had more tolerant security screening procedures what’s the worst that could happen…..an increased risk of an terrorist attack?….not necessarily, not if we’re smarter and find better ways to screen for potential terrorists.There is a lot of new technology that is not being adopted out of apathy.
    We expect the world to meet us on our terms and that is simply not going to happen.

    • Richard Silverstein April 19, 2012, 5:48 PM

      Amen to that, brother.

    • David April 20, 2012, 10:03 AM

      How is it that Israel has that expectation in the first place? Could have arisen from the lack of dissent and criticism worldwide in the past? And how do we account for that?

  • Deïr Yassin April 19, 2012, 4:21 AM

    SAS cut off the flight Copenhagen-Tel Aviv about 10 years ago, and only El Al served the destination. Arkia took over El Al’s flight last summer, and was prevented by the Danish state to employ it’s own Israeli security guards in the airport “due to respect of human dignity” (as if the Israelis know what that means) and to wear weapons in the airport. Since last summer there’s has been no direct flight to Tel Aviv, but I read somewhere a couple of days ago that SAS – unfortunately – is going to take up the destination again later this year due to some arrangement between Israel and the EU (it’s called the 28th member anyway…).
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-may-halt-flights-to-denmark-over-security-row-1.369714

    I think you’re too optimistic about Europe. The Scandinavian countries are apart : Copenhagen City Council voted a boycott last year on compagnies involved in the West Bank, so did Den Danske Bank, Norway is even further on the BDS, some national institutions have endorsed BDS too.

    But Holland is moving the other way, and France is completely ‘Aipaced’. French citizens have been wounded in the West Bank, no reactions or only very timid ones, the French-Palestinian consul to France in Gaza was wounded when the IDF dropped a bomb close to his house last year in a civilian area, his wife had a miscarriage, a French diplomat was on the Shin Bet blacklist on Sunday. Story after story that never makes it to the MSM.

    I think the behaviour of the Scadinavians during the war towards their Jewish compatriots is one of the reasons for their standing apart. The psychological blackmailing using the European guilt is still used again and again, at leat here in France. Look at the Gunter Grass-affair. A German can simply not critisize Israel, no matter what. The smallest critique and we hear the : “They want to reopen the gas chambers…”. [Sigh]

    • herenot April 19, 2012, 4:42 AM

      ” “due to respect of human dignity” (as if the Israelis know what that means) ”

      you mean all israelis, right?

      • Richard Silverstein April 19, 2012, 5:43 PM

        Snark, fake wit, & one upsmanship is not appreciated here.

      • Deïr Yassin April 20, 2012, 12:54 AM

        If you read ‘in context’ I think it’s clear that I was talking about the Israeli authorities. Do you care about human dignity for non-Jews ? I think I can remember your comments well-enough to answer myself….
        Nothing to say about the fact that Scandinavia has no direct flight to Israel any longer ? You think they can survive without ‘your’ hummous, beaches and …hmhm….gay rights.

        I’ve read various testimonies these last days by ordinary ‘White’ Frenchmen who were interrogated for hours in Charles de Gaulle before flying off to The-Only-Ethnocracy… One guy told how his father who simply took him to the airport was interrogated separately in order to verify that his story was true. He was just going to see Israeli Jewish friends. That was years ago, it was his first, last and only trip to Israel. But I guess you don’t care about your image in the world, after all, the whole world is antisemitic….

  • Fred Plester April 19, 2012, 4:36 AM

    No-one has really tested the legaility under English law of Israeli screening policies (and I maintain that what some El Al staff at Luton Airport did was an assault). I would expect that the outcome would be the same sort of caning that Easyjet and Ryanair have received over the years for various abuses of disabled passengers.

    If British Airways or Virgin Atlantic did the same sort of things, it’d be a matter of days before someone, probably the “Equalities Commission” took them to court.

    Not that BA or Virgin ever would: British businesses have a healthy tendency to perceive Arabs as “customers.”

  • pabelmont April 19, 2012, 7:54 AM

    “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.”

    The world is mad. With 44 years of Israel’s blatant failure to comply with GC4 (settlers, settlements) (and 32 years after UNSC ordered Israel to remove all settlers and dismantle all settlements UNSC-465) and 8 years of failure to comply with the law as interpreted by ICJ (remove the wall) — after all that, Europe gets a slight bit hot under the collar about airport checkin procedures for people seeking to travel to Israel.

    What the world should do is put Israel into quarantine — for instance by closing down all commercial air traffic with Israel — until Israel complies with UNSC-465 and GC4 and ICJ-2004. Call it nation-state BDS if you like.

    What the world will do, if the past gives a prediction, is ignore the law and let Israel do as it pleases. Had Hitler limited himself to the holocaust and not attacked most of Europe and USSR, the world — based on these ethics — would never have seen fit to intervene. After all, Stalin murdered 6M Ukrainians in 1933 by deliberate starvation, and the world did nothing.

    Did the world refuse to act from fear of Hitler’s and Stalin’s great power? Perhaps. Or perhaps from inertia and a lack of a sense of responsibility. Does it refuse to act w.r.t. Israel today because Israel is too powerful? Israel-cum-USA is quite powerful. But even having undertaken to ensure respect for GC4 under all circumstances, the world is curiously content not to bear responsibility to clean up Israel’s mess.

  • dickerson3870 April 19, 2012, 11:05 PM

    RE: “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?” ~ R.S.

    ALSO SEE: “The Norwegians, the settlers, the zealot, the olive seedlings– and the Palestinian’s suit against ‘Nobody’ “, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 3/18/12

    (excerpts). . . First, here is the International Middle East Media Center’s report on the Norwegians’ work at the village of Beit Iskaria, near the Israeli settlement Eleazar, on March 7:
    On Wednesday morning a group of 11 Norwegian students and their teacher joined Yassin Da’doua on his land to plant 200 olive trees as part of the olive tree planting campaign organized by Joint Advocacy Initiative of East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine.
    The group along with the Palestinian farmer and his family managed to plant half of the trees on Wednesday before the leader of the radical settler organization ‘Women in Green’, Nadia Matar, arrived along with two other Israeli settlers who started taking photos of the young Norwegians.
    “Your grandparents have killed my grandparents in the holocaust and now you are helping the Arabs to steal our land. This is the land for the people of Israel. You are helping the wrong people. You are like the Nazis.” Matar shouted at the Norwegian students. . .
    . . . “How can they call me a Nazi? My grandparents fought the Nazis during the second world war,” said one of the Norwegian students responding to Matar comments.

    Video [takes a long time to load, but it is well worth the wait – J.L.D.] is here… – http://www.tv2.no/nyheter/utenriks/her-blir-norske-elever-skjelt-ut-som-nazister-paa-vestbredden-3727428.html

    SOURCE – http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/the-norwegians-the-settlers-the-zealot-the-olive-seedlings-and-the-palestinians-suit-against-nobody.html

  • William Giuliano October 18, 2012, 7:49 PM

    Arabs and other Muslims are no more likely to attempt a hijacking or bombing of a civilian airplane than anyone else. Anyone who seriously believes that is mentally ill.