Israeli Supreme Court Justice’s Daughter Detained as Security Risk at Ben Gurion
There is a certain unfortunate myth among pro-Israel activists that Israel is one big happy democracy in which the Arab minority partakes of all the benefits equally with the majority Jewish population. The apologists will argue speciously about the higher standard of living Israeli Arabs enjoy compared to inhabitants of neighboring Arab countries. I say specious because the comparison should be to other Israelis and not to citizens of foreign countries. And if you compare the Israeli Arab standard of living to the general Israeli standard, the former is at the very bottom rung of society. Another argument is that Israeli Arabs vote and participate fully in Israeli democracy. While this is true, it ignores the fact that there is such a stigma among the Jewish-dominated political parties against cooperating with Israeli Arab parties that none will probably ever be brought into a coalition government. Which in turn weakens the political voice of the Arab minority.
But the issue at hand today is Israel’s outrageous airport security program at Ben Gurion which automatically labels ANY Israeli Arab traveler as a security risk. I’ve written here about the distinguished Hebrew University law professor who was ignominiously detained at the airport and prevented from attending an academic conference due to the humiliating security procedures. Hardline Israel bloggers pooh-poohed my charges of bias. I wonder how they’ll argue away this latest outrage reported by Ynetnews:
A Foreign Ministry cadet and the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Salem Jubran, Rania, was recently subjected to humiliating security inspections at the Ben Gurion and Barcelona Airports.
Jubran, 26, the first Israeli Arab ever to complete a Foreign Ministry cadet training course, was asked by security personnel at the airports to prove that her Ministry employee documents were authentic and that her father was indeed a Supreme Court justice.
Several days ago, Jubran sent an angry letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and on Wednesday Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin announced that the inspection procedures at airports will soon change.
The only silver lining in this story is that Israel apparently actually has some shame and feels compelled to reexamine its security procedures regarding Israeli Arabs. That being said, the Israeli security apparatus has a long history of appearing to respond to public outcry over incidents like this only to relapse into the same old bad treatment as soon as the furor dies down. So we’ll have to see whether anything really changes at Ben Gurion.
Here is what happened to Jubran at the airport:
Two weeks ago, Jubran arrived at Ben Gurion on her way to a vacation in Barcelona. The security guard at the airport ordered her to open her suitcase and tagged it with a yellow label indicating it was considered a high security risk.
“At this point,” Jubran described in her letter to the prime minister, “I asked to sort the matter out with the shift manager. Following my request, two shift managers appeared. I presented to them my Foreign Ministry employee certificate, but they ignored it and began repeating the questions I had already been asked before.”
“The inspection was carried out in a rude and disrespectful manner towards me personally, as an Israeli citizen, and more so as a Foreign Ministry employee,” she added.
Only after Jubran contacted the Foreign Ministry’s representative at the airport was she allowed to board her flight.
And lest you think the affair ended there, the same thing reoccurred on her return:
On her way back to Israel from Barcelona, Jubran was forced to undergo a similar experience. Her luggage was again labeled with a special “security risk” tag, a procedure reserved for most Israeli Arabs.
Jubran tried presenting the documents attesting that she was a Foreign Ministry cadet and the daughter of Justice Jubran, but this raised even more suspicion.
“The security guard started questioning me about the Foreign Ministry employee card and the Foreign Ministry’s location, as if I was a fraud,” she described.
When she was about to board the flight, Jubran was again told that she would not be allowed to get on the plane, and the matter was resolved only after she was found to be telling the truth.
I should make clear that I am all in favor of high level security procedures to maintain the security of Israeli citizens both within Israel and abroad. But I am absolutely opposed to racial profiling of all Israeli Arabs as security risks. This is just a lazy person’s way of doing security. You place all the onus on the particular Israeli Arab victim to prove them ARE NOT a risk, rather than putting the onus on the security apparatus to maintain profiles of those specific Israeli Arabs who may pose a real security risk. And I should add here that Israeli Arabs in general have proven just as loyal to the State of Israel as its Jewish citizens. So the idea that as a class they should be suspected of disloyalty or allegiance to a terror group is simply preposterous. All this does is fuel mistrust and suspicion among Israeli Jews of their fellow Arab citizens.
Let the Shin Bet actually do its job and find any Israeli Arab suspects out to harm Israel, rather than putting all Arabs into the box of being a potential terrorist.
16 thoughts on “Israeli Supreme Court Justice’s Daughter Detained as Security Risk at Ben Gurion – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Glad we have you to report the news. This is something that I haven’t seen anywhere so you see how important your words are.
It’s a shame this only came to light when the daughter of one of the token Arabs within Israeli gov’t structures was targeted. This has been going on for years and years for Palestinians of all nationalities (of course those from the WB and Gaza are not even allowed to enter the airport) but no-one in Israel bothered to take their pain seriously. Even now, entry for Palestinians of foreign citizenship is not guaranteed and at exit through the airport is always accompanied by humiliation and degradation.
Every time I read stories like this I think, thank g-d someone is still doing their job in Israel.
I take the substance of your comment & agree with it. But this particular part of yr comment is just not correct. How do you think any of us would even know about this incident or the prior one I wrote about unless the Israeli media cared enough to publicize it? If, however, you’re referring to the callousness of the government & security apparatus, then yes I fully agree with you.
The shin-bet or whoever is in charge of security at ben-gurion airport, are apparently doing something right (knock on wood). I say, keep up the good work and don’t let political correctness get in the way. BTW, EVERYBODY at the airport has a security check, but of course to a different degree. Profiling is undoubtly only one aspect of security. The last time I flew from Israel, while I was at duty free, my name was called on the speaker and I was asked to report to security. Something about me or my luggage made them suspicious ( I don’t know what) and they removed it from the rest of the lugggage. They wanted to make sure I was getting on the plane with my luggage. i did. Go figure.
That depends on whose ox is being gored, now, doesn’t it? If you’d been detained & prevented fr. making a flight to attend an academic conference or you hadn’t made that flight out which you mentioned merely because you were an Israeli Arab & automatically viewed as a terror suspect, then you wouldn’t be whistling such a happy tune, now would you? I never cease to be amazed by the inabiity of many Israeli & Diaspora Jews to see things fr. the minority’s perspective. Empathy is sorely lacking.
If a terrorist attacks a plane departing from tel-aviv, the Arabs on board will be killed just like the Jews. Most Isreali Arabs probably realise this and most of them probably also realise that Arabs (but not only Arabs) pose a greater security threat than Jewish Israelis or American Jews (not that being a member of the latter two groups means you can’t be a terrorist – that’s why profiling is only one aspect of security), so for this reason I assume most Israeli Arabs accept the need for greater scrutiny checks among them, even if this is an added burden. Reading the ynet article, it appears that Jubran was more troubled that someone of her status was subjected to the same scrutiny as “common” people, than that she was profiled as an Arab. BTW her brother was the first Arab flight attendant to work for El-Al (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3225277,00.html).
This is PATENTLY ABSURD! Israeli Arabs pose no greater terror threat than you do & you know it. Pls. point me to a single act of terror at Ben Gurion or involving an Israeli flight perpetrated by an Israeli Arab. For every Israeli Arab who’s participated in any sort of terror activity against Israel I can point to an Israeli Jew who’s committed a terror act within Israel either against a fellow Jew, Israeli Arab or Palestinian.
Of course, as you note, Israeli & American Jews can be, and are terrorists. That’s all the more reason that racial profiling is rubbish. It’s rubbish here in the States and it’s rubbish in Israel. It’s not a security precaution, it’s a political statement meant to demean and insult. Perhaps the intelligence agents BELIEVE it’s a security precaution (though I’m sure most of them realize it can’t be since they’ve never found a single Israeli Arab terrorist by this means), but if so they are deluded.
Why in heaven’s name would you assume that you know what Israeli Arabs think? In fact you are WRONG. MK Hilou has registered her extreme displeasure with Avi Dichter who has promised to change the procedures. I’m sure glad he’s Interior Minister & not you. Because if you were nothing would ever change.
If you wish to describe racist profiling & automatic harassment and humiliation as merely being a “burden” instead of an intolerable act of state sponsored hostility, go right ahead.
Horse manure! You conveniently overlooked this quotation:
In other words, though she is an Israeli Arab she is an ISRAELI CITIZEN & so should’ve been treated like Israeli citizens who are JEWISH.
I’m on my way to work, but I plan to respond. One point – I wrote “(not that being a member of the latter two groups means you can’t be a terrorist – that’s why profiling is only one aspect of security)” – pay attention to the first word in the sentence.
I note yr correction & my misreading. I’ve edited the comment accordingly. Sometimes double negative statements like yours are hard to follow esp. when you’re reading quickly.
I still insist that very few members of the Israeli general public have for years given a hoot about how badly the airport security people have treated Palestinians and those who may associate with them — citizens or not. Of course a handful of Israeli organizations have spoken out, but only those considered on the fringes of public debate. Yet every single day old women and men are pulled aside in the airport and subjected to the most humiliating treatment. Here’s a story I know of personally: an acquaintance of mine, a Palestinian-American woman with cerebral palsy was ‘profiled’ as she was leaving through the airport in a wheelchair. She happened to be having her period, and through the entire experience in the airport was not allowed to go to the bathroom. Worse yet, her personal possessions were not allowed to be taken on the plane with her — including hygenic supplies. So she was placed on the airplane and made to fly in the most personally humiliating fashion… you can imagine what it must have been like. This happens every single day and only when the daughter of a supreme court justice is inconvenienced do a few (and only on the left) bother to raise an eye. There is no security justification for most of what they do — it’s pure racism.
Let me be clear, the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arabs are not involved with terror. This is self evident and does not need to be substantiated. Nevertheless, Israeli Arabs do not pose an equal security risk as I do.
You said: “For every Israeli Arab who’s participated in any sort of terror activity against Israel I can point to an Israeli Jew who’s committed a terror act within Israel either against a fellow Jew, Israeli Arab or Palestinian.”
Since Arabs are 20% of Israel’s population, you need to find 4 Jews for evey Arab I find. Since September 2000 until March 2005, 236 Israeli Arabs were involved in planning or perpetrating terrorist acts killing 136 Israelis and wounding 790. (source: http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/pa_t_e/isr_arb.htm). Now find me 944 Israeli Jews that have done the same.
About Avi Dichter, he was head of shin bet for 4 years. If he thought profiling was wrong, immoral, or inefficient her could have cancelled it. In fact, Yuval Diskin, the present head of GSS, answered MK Hilou that new and expensive technological innovations will make profiling unecesary in the future. Whether this is true or not I don’t know. I just hope that the GSS are not compromisng security for the sake of political correctness, because if this is the case, it’s only a matter of time.
Not true again. This time it is you who have not read carefully what I wrote. A good intelligence operative will realize that diff. targets should be treated differently in security terms. You should also gauge your procedures to your history of vulnerability. And the truth is that while there have been terror attacks on Israeli planes & at Ben Gurion precisely NONE have involved Israeli Arabs. None have involved Israeli Jews. So at Ben Gurion airport, which is the subject of the post, you & an Israeli Arab pose an equal security risk, which is just about none.
Hence, once again, racial profiling at Ben Gurion is ineffective, unproductive & done merely to insult Israeli Arabs & remind them of their inferior status.
Actually, in the latest census I read, Israeli Arabs are almost 25% of the population. But I won’t quibble with you.
Not at all, for the reason I outline above.
Your numbers of course are skewed due to the fact that Israeli justice pursues Israeli Arab or Palestinian terror suspects to the fullest extent of the law and barely prosecutes any Israeli Jews involved in acts of terror. In this latter category, I include acts such the unpunished murder of unarmed Israeli Arabs in Nazareth, if I’m not mistaken, by Israeli police during the first Intifada (again, if I’m not mistaken); or the savage harassment of Hebron residents by settlers forcing the former to live in iron cages; Or vandalizing entire olive groves thus preventing Palestinians from earning a living on their land; Also, IDF soldiers & Border Police who engage in lawless acts of criminality against Israeli Arabs such as the Aramin incident are barely investigated, let alone charged for their excesses. Virtually the only Israel Jew prosecuted for terror would be someone who actually kills, or perhaps maims an innocent victim in a massacre a la Baruch Goldstein or Natan Zada. I also documented an incident in which Border Police threw a Palestinian boy out of their jeep & killed him, not to mention the Border Policeman who forced a Palestinian shepherd to have sex with his donkey. Or the Gaza farmer killed along with his donkey by a an Israeli missile (all of these are documented incidents here in this blog). So there is no way to make a fair comparison bet. the two groups.
And lest you say that these are not acts of terror in the same sense you are talking about–I’d challenge you to ask a Palestinian victim of such treatment whether or not they feel terror at such treatment.
Treating an Israeli Arab the same way as an Israeli Jew IS NOT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS & I object strenuously to yr moral obtuseness in not understanding this distinction. Rather, it is common decency. Such treatment here in the U.S., even after the Bush anesthetization of civil liberties, would draw howls of protest and the immediate firing of the airport security officer & possibly the cabinet officer responsible. The fact that it draws derision and dismissal from you & other Israelis only indicates how far you have yet to come before Israel becomes a society with equal justice, security & opportunity for all. Oh I forget most Israelis don’t even believe their society SHOULD provide equal justice or opportunity for your minorities. Boy, you have a long way to go.
Yes, you are right & I stand corrected. It was Diskin & not Dichter.
I knew you couldn’t come up with anywhere near the number of terrorist incidents committed by Israeli Jews as I showed you have been committed by Israeli Arabs. Even if I did consider them all to be terrorism (and frankly the name is irrelevant) none of them have anything to do with security at the airport, since the airport is not a Palestinian target. If you’re trying to prove to me the Jews can be evil, then save your efforts, I already know that. The uprooting of olive trees or the brutal suppression of protesting Arabs are not relevant to the airport or airlines. That’s not to say that Jews do not pose a potential security threat. I already said they do, but to a lesser extent (Tali Fahima would be an example).
I’d like to quote JB Tucker: “When countermeasures block one avenue of attack, terrorists often improvise some new means of inflicting damage. After a series of aircraft hijackings in the 1960s forced Israel to improve aviation security, terrorists began to target Israeli embassies overseas. When security at embassies was strengthened, terrorists responded by attacking markets, buses, and pedestrians in Israeli cities.” The reason Israeli Arabs have not been sent to commit acts of terror at the airport is because they are doomed to fail because of the policy of profiling. This should be obvious. (source: http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/Articles/tucker-israel.html#end6, I suggest you read the whole thing)
Concerning the last paragraph of your comment. I do not consider the USA airport security as the gold standard all other nations should be measured up against. What you said about America is true. Everybody in Afaghanistan and Iraq knows it is true. The Israeli security has proven itself in the past 30 years to be highly effective and I hope it remains that way. Profiling is only one aspect. If it can be eliminated without compromising security you will find no objection from me. I believe though, that to some extent it will remain. Every effort should be made to make it as unintruding as possible and to be performed corteously and with respect. Contrary to what you think about me, I feel the coexistance between Arabs and Jews is of utmost importance, but a terror attack on an airplane is a strategic attack which could lead to war. If just one Israeli Arab were to commit such an act it would set back coexistance for years.
To conclude, I spoke to a coworker who is an Israeli Arab that returned recently from Europe. She said that she purposely took El Al because she feels it is the safest airline. She found the security check (particularly before the return flight) to be degrading (it lasted 15 minutes) and resented the fact she was accorded special attention just because of her last name and where she lives. On her next flight, she assured me, she will be flying El Al. I’m not making this stuff up. People want to be safe on planes. MK Hilou and Rania Jubran want to see their names in the paper.
This is my last response in this thread & your last response was your previous comment. Time for both of us to move on to other subjects.
Not at all. I completely reject the terms you have laid out. The object of my blog is not to respond to terms you lay out. I’m clearly correct in saying that you’ve chosen a stacked deck in your proposition, one I reject. Israeli justice pursues vigorously acts of Arab terror & hardly pursues acts of Jewish terror at all. When Israel develops a system of justice which pursues both equally then we can objectively tally comparative numbers of terror acts by Jews & Arabs.
PRECISELY my point. So if it is not a Palestinian target why should Israeli security personnel treat Israeli Arabs as automatic terror suspects there???
I am trying to prove to you (well, not trying to prove because I don’t believe any amt. of argument would persuade you to abandon yr prejudices) that Jews have just as much evil inside them as Arabs & both are equally capable of committing acts of terror and do so on virtually a similar scale.
Absolutely, utterly FALSE. First you’re talking about RACIAL profiling, which flat out doesn’t work. If you were merely talking about using a plain terrorist profile that was based on psychological or behavioral factors that would be one thing. I wouldn’t be opposed to such profiling since they would be based on standard security methods. But RACIAL profiling is utterly useless as a security precaution.
If this is the case it is because of OTHER procedures than racial profiling that are used to screen for terror vulnerabilities.
If you were intellectually honest you would concede that virtually NO effort is made to treat Israeli Arabs with courtesy and respect at Ben Gurion & you would join me in condemning the current treatment. Alas, no hope of that happening I’m afraid.
And why is it that you evince aboslutely no sensitivity to the fact that acts of Jewish terror set back coexistence for years??
This is a shameful statement. You have the balls to claim you’re in favor of Jewish Arab coexistence yet you belittle two Israeli Arabs who stand up for their fellow Arabs and demand the same respect accorded to you.
Please do not bother to reply to my comment. I do not wish to continue this conversation with you here. You may feel free to comment in other threads as you choose.