When is an American Not an American–When Israel Says So
People with deeper knowledge of this subject will have to let me know if I’m wrong, but it seems pretty unheard of (not to mention absurd) for a country to determine that a citizen of another country is of an entirely different nationality. But Israel, in its infinite wisdom has decided that Arab-American U.S. citizens are not really U.S. citizens, but Palestinians in disguise.
The bizarre case began last month when a Lakeland, FL Arab-American family attempted to board a plane at Ben Gurion to return home after a long visit with family in Ramallah. Not so fast, said the Israelis. Though the mother, Wedad Yacoub, had been born in Kuwait, her husband was born in the West Bank. Israel now considered her husband (who’d been refused ENTRY to Israel earlier) Palestinian, and not American even though he’d been a U.S. citizen for 20 years and lived here for 30. Designating him as Palestinian somehow turned his children into Palestinians as well, even though they were all born in the U.S. They now needed a Palestinian passport (frankly I didn’t even know there was such a thing) and could only exit Israel via Jordan. This of course would render the airline tickets she’d purchased for her large family worthless and force her to buy new tickets from Amman to her U.S. home.
After some consideration, the Israelis decided that only Mrs. Yacoub could exit via Ben Gurion with her three youngest children, but that seven others had to remain in the West Bank. After frantically arranging for local family to come to the airport to pick up her children and care for them, Yacoub flew out of Israel. Later attempts by the remaining children to fly from Ben Gurion also failed. So six of the seven remaining children registered as Palestinians, received their Palestinian passports and traveled via Jordan back home to Florida. To misparaphrase the Mastercard commercial: Cost: Not exactly priceless–in fact, $15,000 (for the tickets from Jordan and not including the tickets they couldn’t use from Ben Gurion).
Lest you think that U.S. officials might make a big stink about this in defense of U.S. citizens being denied the right to call themselves U.S. citizens on Israeli soil–you’d be mistaken:
[CAIR community relations coordinator Jamila] Baraka said pleas to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and American authorities here have fallen on deaf ears. The publicity has resulted in calls of support but no real help, she said.
Baraka said she doesn’t understand why U.S. officials don’t step in.
For some time, Israeli officials have been making it very difficult for Palestinian-Americans to travel to and from the Occupied Territories. But this is the first time that I know of I’ve heard of a family being denied the right to EXIT Israel.
And let’s not forget the single family member, Yacoub Yacoub, who was so incensed at Israel’s chicanery that he refused to accede to the demand that he admit he is Palestinian and take out a Palestinian passport. He still sits stewing in Ramallah waiting for Israel or the U.S. State Department to come to their senses and let him leave as a proud U.S. citizen the way he came in–via Ben Gurion.
I find it astonishing that Israeli officials would try this bit of blackmail on the family:
[Ahmed] Bedier, of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the family was told the problem could be solved if they signed a paper renouncing their Palestinian heritage and all future intention to become Palestinian citizens.
The Yacoubs immediately contacted U.S. State Department officials, who were sympathetic, but told the family it was Israeli policy.
Bedier said his organization had sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Aug. 29, urging her intervention.
“Our organization has received a rise in complaints over the summer from folks traveling in the West Bank as far as unfair treatment by the Israeli authorities, either on their way in or out. … We find that this treatment is unacceptable, that no American citizen should be subjected to this kind of humiliation. We’re puzzled by the double standard in the treatment,” he said.
Zvi Solow, an Israeli affiliated with Meretz wrote to me his speculation on what may lie behind the clampdown:
About 2 years ago two British citizens, tourists, of Arab & Pakistani origin, turned out to be suicide bombers (probably el Qaida). One blew himself up in a beachfront Tel Aviv cafe killing the waitress (who oddly enough was a young French citizen, a tourist, Jewish but not an ola – her family in France lamented “she wasn’t even a Zionist”). The other one tried to get away by swimming & drowned in the sea.
Since then there was a policy to treat Western tourists of Arab / Muslim origin with suspicion & in certain cases refuse them entry. As Western tourists don’t need a visa here, possibly some genius in the Interior ministry thought up this “patent”. In any case it was supposed to block entry of undesirables but not exit & some bureaucratic idiot at Ben Gurion decided to apply it on only part of a departing family.
I’ve forgotten how to say “dunce” in Hebrew. It seems an appropriate term here. When a reporter asked one of the returning family members when they’d be returning to visit their Palestinian family in Ramallah, the answer was: “Never.” I’d say that’s what Israel intended with this draconian policy.
Here’s my Swiftian “modest proposal” to address this issue and set Israel straight on honoring U.S. passports: I would propose that the U.S. government determine it will no longer honor all Israeli passports but force non-native Israelis to apply for passports from their birth countries and exit from the U.S. via Mexico, rather than New York City. How does that sound Mr. Olmert? What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander, no?
40 thoughts on “When is an American Not an American–When Israel Says So – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This story really sickens me for some reason. When we put the arbitrary, oppressive (and frankly racist) whims of a foreign country ahead of the rights of U.S. citizens, something really disgusting is going on. For the U.S. to not IMMEDIATELY react to the perverse, deeply Orwellian behavior of the Israelis in this instance is just mind-blogging. What is objectively demonstrated in this instance is that the powers that be in our country obviously seem to care more about deferring to another nation’s paranoid delusions regarding a Palestinian-American family visiting relatives back in the “old country” than the human dignity and welfare of these our own citizens. If this episode doesn’t underline the timeliness of Walt and Mearsheimer’s book, I don’t know what does. This makes me feel ashamed of my government (for not stepping in to reverse this injustice). Truly sickening. Even given the everyday morally revolting behavior displayed by Israel, this is hard to believe. You’d think at least Israel would show some deference to the citizens of her cash cow and benefactor. What this actually shows on a deeper level is how these Israeli officials responsible for this outrage must basically–deep down–have contempt for America and the American people. Otherwise, one would think their consciences wouldn’t allow them to do this.
the family was told the problem could be solved if they signed a paper renouncing their Palestinian heritage and all future intention to become Palestinian citizens.
One of the many Orwellian stories in modern days Israel (not an Apartheid country as Israelis desperately claim) . Well should Jews in the western countries be demanded renouncing their Jewish heritage and all future intention to become Israeli citizens. Let us remember how Jews are encouraged to get military training in Israel and are publicly encouraged to join Mossad and act as helpers (katsa). Maybe its time to demand such signing such a renouncing papers.
Israel is making all it can to destroy her international reputation. That little what is left.
All Arab states treat former citizens who have acquired a 2nd nationality/citizenship as if they still have original citizenship. In some cases, Egypt for instance, it is legally impossible to give up the original citizenship – once you’re Egyptian you’re always Egyptian.
A US citizen of who used to have Syrian citizenship will be treated as a Syrian in Syria and the US embassy can’t do anything regardless of whether they want to or not.
Iran has a similar policy.
Of course, in the case of Palestinians and Israel, the problem is compounded by the fact that the occupying power, i.e. another country, is putting extra hurdles on the issue, which are to 99.99999% pure hassle and serve no purpose other than to denigrate Palestinians.
Re: Palestinian passports – they were introduced right after the Rabin-Arafat handshake & Arafat’s return to Gaza/Jericho. They were printed at the Federal Print in Germany and conform to the latest standards in international passport regulations. Obviously, they’re also quite useless …
This is complete psychosis.
Try to get the story right. Wedad was born in Kuwait, which is why she was allowed to leave via Ben Gurion airport. Her husband Steve was born in the West Bank. Otherwise the story makes no sense. It’s true that other news reports got the story wrong as well, so I can’t come down too hard on you. Lets face it, those aren’t high quality sources reporting on this somewhat trivial (as far as world events go) event, and they didn’t even get the simple facts straight, so I wouldn’t count on them having gotten the whole story right.
Second. Israel is a sovereign nation. An American passport and American aid does not give Americans the right to dictate to israel who lets in or out through Ben Gurion Airport. The tone of the post and comments is very arrogant.
Having said that, if the details of the story is true, the policy is very stupid. What kind of ethnic cleansing is that? (sarcasm). Forcing upon American kids of Palestinian heritage a “right of return”. I bet the palestinian Authority is in on this too, since they are the ones who register the people.Yacoub Yacoub was the smartest one of the bunch. His simblings may be subject to Palestinian taxation or even military conscription at some time in the future.
As long as us American taxpayers constitute your cash cow and primary enabler (perhaps you’d like to suggest that my country cut off all aid and support to Israel), I’ll be as arrogant as I feel like concerning these issues. Without the backing and pathetic acquiescence of my government, Israel would be compelled to be more humane and conciliatory toward the Palestinians, and even, as it now seems, Palestinian-Americans. My anger is primarily directed at my own country on this–the issue here is that my government didn’t step in to correct this and protect our citizens from this kind of harrassment and psychological warfare. I’m less surprised about Israel treating people of Palestinian background like trash. I don’t know where you’re coming from with the comment on ethnic cleansing. This case isn’t in remotely the same moral category as past Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or the IDF’s regular maiming and slaughter of Palestinian civilians. Obviously such actions are much more morally heinous than what we’re talking about in this post thread. Try to avoid this sort of straw-man nonsense, it makes you look intellectually dishonest. Perhaps in my first response I exagerrated the moral dimensions of this issue. I suppose considering all the support, military hardware, backing in the Security Council, etc., America provides for Israel, the utter contempt shown for these Americans in this case just galls me.
Israel, even today, is accused by leftists of policies whose purpose is to make Palestinian emigrate. Here it is doing the opposite. Forcing ethnic Palestinians, born in America, to take up Palestinian residency/ID cards. My comment on ethnic cleansing was sarcastic. When you say: ” Without the backing and pathetic acquiescence of my government, Israel would be compelled to be more humane and conciliatory toward the Palestinians” I get the feeling that you oppose US aid to Israel even before you read about this story.
The daughter of a friend of mine got a student’s visa to the US. She flew to the US two weeks before the semester started to find an apartment. From the airport she was sent back to Israel at her own expense and told to come when the semester started and that they wouldn’t let her in before. I said to my friend (her father) tough luck, their country, they make the rules. You should’ve inquired ahead of time.
Sorry for all the typos.
Amir: Where did you read that Wedad was born in Kuwait? Has this been covered in Israel? If so, I’d like a link if you have it.
Ah, now that I know she wasn’t born in Palestine the rest of the story does make perfect sense! Right. Where is the sense of it. Perhaps you can explain it to the rest of us. Perhaps you can also explain how her 3 youngest children were considered American enough to leave via Ben Gurion & her 7 older children were considered too Palestinian to do the same?
World events build one individual or family at a time. This may be trivial to you but I assure it’s anything but trivial both to the family, to all Arab-Americans & to those Americans who will hear about it. Try being out of pocket $15,000 for wasted airline tickets & see how trivial you think it is then. It is “trivial” injustices such as this multiplied many times over that bubble in a cauldron for decades till they explode in rage & hatred. Then they do indeed become “world events.”
The policy in this case (& if you read the NYT link I provided in the post you’ll see this even more clearly) is to prevent Palestinians living abroad from returning to Palestine. This is what I’d call “soft” ethnic cleansing since it’s trying to ensure that Palestinians who’ve already left stay away permanently & their children as well.
And I will not defend U.S. immigration policies which, esp. since 9/11 have become totally draconian & ludicrous in their treatment of foreigners. Some of the finest musicians in the world either can’t perform here or have the most heinous difficulties in getting here to do so. It’s a shande. Students are esp. poorly treated considering that we believe they’re all potentials terrorists or future freeloaders.
MSK: What’s odd about the Israeli treatment is that most of this family were never any other nationality than American (the children). And even the parents left 30 yrs ago before there was a Palestinian passport. So I don’t know what nationality you’d consider that since they were under Israeli Occupation in 1978.
Thanks for posting about this. This situation horrifies me, what kind of precedent does this set?
St. Petersburg Times (Florida) August 5. As far as I can tell, it is no longer online. Even in the article you link to from the ledger, it says the problem is that the father was born in Palestinian territories, not the mother. I didn’t see this covered in the Israeli press, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it popped up in Haaretz, even in Gideons Levy’s column.
There was no problem with Wedad at the airport, since she was born in Kuwait, but they told her that her children couldn’t leave through Ben Gurion. Of course, this should not have come as a surprise since her daughter Palestine was already refused entry through Ben Gurion. I doubt that Palestine was refused entry without being told why. It is also unlikely that Wedad didn’t ask her daughter why she didn’t come to the wedding. She might have inquired at this point what the policy is, regarding hr other children. Anyway, at the airport, as a gesture or compromise, they let her take her three youngest children with her.
So let me get this straight, the reason the Yacoub children couldn’t be acknowledged as U.S. citizens & allowed to leave via Ben Gurion was because their FATHER, who’d already been denied entry to Israel & wasn’t even with them, was considered Palestinian? Now, you’ve really got me scratching my head. This certainly does start to strike me as racialism run amok. Despite the fact that these children are American and born in America, they are considered Palestinian by Israel because their father was born in the Territories?? Is that the thinking?
Any more info on why the US embassy or consulate refused to help US citizens? I’ve been told more than once that US embassies don’t help ordinary citizens much, and that in real emergencies, you’re better off going to the Canadians, but this is pretty extreme. I’d expect Arab-Americans members of Congress to protest, to say the least.
As for Arab countries not allowing people to renounce citizenship, this is common world wide. France and Argentina, to my knowledge, do the same, even mailing draft notices to individuals. Britain allows one to renounce citizenship, but one can reclaim it easily, too. China grants citizenship to anyone of Chinese descent. I believe it’s fairly easy to get Irish citizenship, if of Irish descent.
Zhu Bajie, alive in the bitter sea
Ramallah is in the Palestinian Authority. Israel is not obligated to serve as a conduit for Palestinians, Americans or any one else wishing to visit the Palestinian territories. Israelis waste millions of dollars when they fly to the East (India, Nepal etc) because the Arab countries (Saudia Arabia) don’t let their civilian airliners fly through their airspace.
As far as the whole Palestinian identity for American borns goes, I admit that Israel should not force them to accept Paestinian identities but I find it far stranger that second, third and fourth generation Lebanese of Palestinian heritage are denied ANY Political AND Civil rights in their country of birth and are considered refugees by world agencies. A family of Americas who were slightly inconvenienced during summer break is much more interesting.
Five years ago I was attacked by crazed settlers in the tiny Palestinian village of Yanoun. They beat me mercilessly (a woman easily old enough to be their grandmother) and robbed me of everything I was carrying — passports, plane tickets, credit cards, ID, cash, and camera. (While IDF soldiers sat in a jeep nearby and watched; they admitted they knew who the criminals were, but there was never a prosecution or retrieval of my possessions)
In Jerusalem a few days later I found the US consulate to be extremely unhelpful, and after trying unsuccessfully to get a replacement passport for the stolen one, I walked over to the British Consulate, where I should have gone in the first place. They made me tea, drove me to British Airways office to get my ticket replaced, without penalty, and within hours delivered a new passport to my hotel.
I discovered that when Israel is involved in abusing American citizens, the US doesn’t get involved.
It’s sad that you can’t just admit that what Israel did was wrong in a direct, unambiguous way. I agree that there are larger moral transgressions going on in the world today, but I think it’s the dark Orwellian dimension to this case–the assault on basic logic and reality via forcing/coercing people to deny their legal, official nationality when it is plain as day for all to see–that seriously disturbs some people on this thread. If you can’t see this and just plain admit it, then I would say there’s some pretty heavy myopia going on at your end. You could use a course in basic ethics. Sorry if I sound condescending, but, frankly, your obtuseness on this issue, which comes across as willful, annoys me.
Mary Hughes Thompson: I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal. But I am glad you’ve written about it here for my readers to see. I am unfortunately not surprised at the IDF response (or lack of one). They seem more in collaboration with the settlers than an honest broker actually trying to keep the peace. Did you ever find out who yr attackers were or at least what settlement they came from? I’d love to use this blog to “out” people like that.
I hope that when you return to the U.S. you raised as big a stink as you could & took the names of the U.S. officials who were so unhelpful & reported this to yr Congressional representative. We have to hold people like this to account as much as possible.
I’m in full agreement w. Warren’s response to Amir. It’s only a minor inconvenience to Amir because it happened to people he cares little for. If it had been him (& I already wrote this) or a loved one he’d have a much diff. response. It is interesting how little sympathy some Israelis can muster for anyone they deem as identifying with the Palestinian side.
You get very little sympathy fr. me because you have to fly thousands of miles out of your way to live in Indian ashrams. If your government negotiated a peace agreement in good faith with those Arab nations you’d be able to fly directly there w. no inconveniences. You can have peace & no inconvenience or you can have no peace & inconvenience. It’s yr choice.
The young hoodlums were from Itamar settlement. They had destroyed the village’s generator and poisoned the water supply. As a result of nightly raids on the village, every single villager had fled. Israeli peace activists were sufficiently concerned that they promised to maintain a continuous presence, day and night, if the villagers would return, and eventually most did.
After the settler attack (on four of us; a young Irishman, a youing Israeli, and a retired American college professor older even than I) Israeli police took us to Ariel police station to look at mug shots. We were able to make positive identification, and the police confirmed they already knew the identities of the attackers even before we ID’d them. They promised we would be notified and given the chance to appear in court if charges were filed. We never heard anything further and none of my property was ever returned.
Some time later I read on a blog that my attackers were posting my address and my driver licence and passport numbers, and I became concerned about my safety. They are able to act with impunity in Palestine, and I don’t feel completely safe here either. I have had my tires slashed several times, and dog feces smeared all over my windshield and windows. My friends feel I am a target so I try to keep a low profile nowadays. I probably shouldn’t be using my full name here either.
The incident was reported around the world, but not in the US. The day after the event, the village was filled with press and representatives from the US and British Consulates. (It was the first time internationals had been attacked by settlers, and because a couple of us were respectable retired people I guess it was considered newsworthy) I actually got a phone call at the hospital from a member of the US consular staff, promising to help me replace my papers, but when I got to Jerusalem no help was forthcoming. And no member of our government at any level, either there or in the US, was the least concerned about what happened to me.
Three months later Rachel Corrie was murdered, and her death was ignored by Washington. If it had happened anywhere else, or if the killer had been anything other than Israeli, it would have been big news over here.
Consequently it isn’t surprising that our State Department looked the other way when an American family was abused by Israel when attempting to leave Ben Gurion. We would never allow any state other than Israel to treat US citizens that way, and the fact we let such things be done by Israel is further proof of America’s unwillingness to stand up to Israeli mendacity.
That sounds like the MO of the Kahanists I have known. You are brave to do what you’ve done & I can understand yr concern for yr safety. But I feel that we have to do what we can to stand up to these bullies. If you have any blog links to the blog you refer to I’d be willing to follow up on this case. I’d like to know where they posted yr private info so people can know what criminals these people are.
Just as an aside: here’s the link to Mary’s account of her ordeal published at Counterpunch. This is a good report as well.
Is it the policy you ae opposed to, or the fact that an exception was not made for Wedad’s children. Because if it’s the policy you oppose that’s too bad. Israel has taken a lot of unpopular measures to keep its citizens safe from terrorism including the seperation barrier and these policies have proven themselves. We have no intention of going back to the days of exploding buses and shopping malls. As far as I’m concerned, if you want to visit the Palestinian Authority you can get there from Jordan. If you think the problem is that an exception was not made for Wedad’s children than I can sympathise with you. But I was thinking, how do we know that the exception wasn’t made when they entered the country. Would it make a difference to you if it turned out that when they entered the country they were already told that they would have to leave through Jordan but Wedad decided to try to leave through Tel Aviv anyway? I don’t trust her or CAIR to volunteer this information.
This post and the articles on this subject especially the news reports I saw on Youtube are slanted. For example, nobody denied they were Americans. You may be surprised to learn though that being American doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want all over the world. For example, if you are an American and have an American passport but have visited Israel in the past and it is stamped in your passport, many Arab countries won’t let you in. You can scream that you’re American until your face turns blue but it won’t do you any good. Also, the family was not “seperated” by Israel. Wedad could have stayed in Ramallah with all her children. Coming back to America was HER CHOICE under the circumstances. Her children were not “stranded.” They were at their grandmother’s house. There are worse things in the world than playing Uno and watching Arab televsion (unless its Farfour reruns). On the news reports they even said that the kids would “now have to make the dangerous journey to Jordan.” What’s dangerous about that?
I’m sorry I annoy you. I try not to make my posts personal against RS or any of the comment writers I disagree with.
That means that two wrongs make a right. Is that yr argument??
Generally, I’ve found you to be a worthy adversary in many of yr contributions here. But this is a new low. And frankly if all you can manage is this sort of low snark, frankly I’m bored & wish you’d take yr snively tone elsewhere. Do you think separating 7 children from their mother is a vacation for the children? Have you ever had the experience of security personnel preventing you from accompanying your mother anywhere? Do you even have any children? Frankly, I can’t believe that you do. Because if you did, you would have just a smidgen of empathy of children & parents separated from ea. other & families torn asunder.
Did it ever occur to you that Wedad Yacoub might’ve had commitments in the States like a job that she HAD to return to thus forcing her to leave her children behind against her will?
“families torn asunder” – ???
So Wedad’s commitment to her employer overides her commitment to her children?
I have children, but I never paraded them in front of tv cameras at a CAIR propaganda, I mean press conference.
“For example, if you are an American and have an American passport but have visited Israel in the past and it is stamped in your passport, many Arab countries won’t let you in. You can scream that you’re American until your face turns blue but it won’t do you any good”
If you have a stamp in your passport to show you have visited almost any “Arab” country, the Israelis won’t let you in. But before telling you that, they probably strip search you, treat you like dirt (or if you’re Palestinian like a cockroach) and then put you in jail until they put you on a plane out of Israel.
If I wanted to visit Israel I would accept this as just further proof of Israel’s apartheid policy. But I go to Israel because it’s the only way I can get to Palestine. I have also entered Palestine from Amman, but since Israel illegally occupies the Jordan Valley in addition to the West Bank, it is still necessary to pass through Israeli security. And speaking of the Jordan Valley, the Israelis are now in the process of cleansing the area of its indigenous population, by destroying modest homes and tents where they have lived for generations.
Have you seen the Apartheid wall, Amir? If Israel had built this monstrosity along the green line one might believe the propaganda that it is about security. But the wall snakes deep inside illegally occupied Palestine, and it’s not just a single wall but many walls designed to steal more and more of the best Palestinian land land and to isolate its legal owners, Palestinians, from their families and property, to prevent them from getting to school or work. And of course to divert Palestinian water to illegal Jewish settlers and to Israel.
The only terrorism taking place in Israel and Palestine is what is being done by Israeli soldiers and settlers whose goal in life is to make life a hell for people whose only crime is that they own and inhabit land coveted by Israel.
This doesn’t sound right to me since I know many people that have visited Syria, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Israel accomodates them by not stamping their passport, but Syria and Saudi Arabia don’t. In fact thousands of Israeli Muslims make the Haj every year (they go to Jordan and get special travel permits without any Israeli markings). But, giving you the benefit of the doubt I googled “entering israel” and the first return was titled “Travel Experience in Entering Israel”
Here are some quotes:
Basically, all the travellers that had been to countries hostile to Israel were allowed into Israel. Some, were interrogated more and some less, but they were all allowed in. In fact the internet is full of personal accounts by people who were interogated but for the most part were allowed to enter Israel. Your statement is plainly not true.
The tone of your comment, you’re denile of the fact that Israelis are victims of terror and your disregard for truth (as in the example above) have led me to the conclusion that anything you say is basically unreliable.
The post is basically a story about six brothers and sisters, some of whom are adults and can care for the others, spending eight weeks at their grandparents house rather than the planned six weeks. All the rest is media hype produced by CAIR and their friends.
Anyone who travels to Israel/Palestine often, as I do, well knows that Israel denies entry to those who have stamps in their passport from most Arab countries. And asking to have the Israeli entry visa stamped on a separate piece of paper usually aggravates the situation, and often leads to the person being denied entry to Israel just for asking. It may not be official Israeli policy (Israel’s propaganda machine doesn’t always like to flaunt its apartheid policies) but in practice this is what happens. In fact the US State Department issues duplicate passports to people who want to travel to Arab countries without an Israeli stamp, or to travel to Israel with stamps from other Arab countries. I was surprised to learn how easy it is to get a second US passport on that basis.
I don’t deny several countries won’t admit people who have an Israeli stamp — after all Israel has never been a good neighbor. But please don’t deny that Israel does the same thing.
Getting back to the question of the US response, the situation has some parallels with what happened with Maher Arar and certainly the US has never admitted any wrongdoing in shipping Arar off to Syria. It’s not difficult to wonder if the US is failing to intervene on behalf of the Yacoubs because of the Arar situation, and the potential blowback from that.
If you have a commitment to return fr. a vacation to work & don’t you lose yr job & cannot support yr children. What’s more important having a job & feeding yr children? Or flying home with all of them after a wait of God knows how long to get out of Israel?
As for having the children at a press conference, all the ones featured were grown enough to decide if they wanted to be there or not & I’m certain felt they were doing something important in being there. Second, you’ve never had yr entire family separated & refused exit from a country now have you? I’ll bet you’d be in front of TV cameras if you’d felt mistreated by another country esp. one who you felt treated you hostilely because of yr religion or ethnic origin.
The idea that you do have children makes me amazed that cannot muster sympathy for a family treated as the Yacoubs were. I presume you can muster sympathy for yr own family & children. It’s just other people’s children for whom you cannot do this.
Seven, not six.
You are completely obtuse &, like Pharaoh, have a hard hardened to the sufferings of others.
Now that’s a piece of hyperbole isn’t it? Or do you deny that Mary was assaulted, her arm was broken, & thousands of dollars worth of personal property & cash stolen by hooligans from Itamar who did so with complete impunity?
I actually didn’t think you were being personal with me. I was “annoyed” by the lack of substance to your post, but it’s not a personal issue at all. I notice you don’t specifically address my comment but rather appear to go off on your own trip. Try to stay focussed on the issue at hand. I do think your comment to Mary shows an extreme hard-heartedness that is really quite appalling, especially considering that your country-men viciously attacked her. Try to imagine how you might look to others who don’t share your evident prejudices, just a thought. Nowhere did I claim that Americans should be able to do whatever they want. You seem fond of these fantasy ‘straw-man’ arguments.
You know, your contempt for America and Americans is pretty clear for all to see, and if you had any self-respect or intellectual honesty, you would be adamantly calling for your country to cease being such an abject dependency of mine. The fact that you can show such contempt for a nation and people that your country simultaneously sucks the teat of–that’s quite a feat! Keep on advertising your disdain, amir, for all us Americans to see. It’s quite informative and revealing.
I don’t know which press conference you’re taliking about, but the one at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saATtSelthU showed some pretty young kids. My favorite part of this news report is that the kids will now have to take a dangerous trip to Jordan. One might imagine that they have to embark on a month long camel caravan on the lookout for marauding bedouins rathe than a few hours on an air-conditioned bus and a couple of more at a border crossing.
I didn’t count Yacoub Yacoub who still hasn’t returned as far as we know. And I completely support his refusal in not accepting a Palestinian ID and think that reps from the US, Israel and PA should make sure he is able to return home promptly whether by air, land ot sea without Palestinian citizenship.
Once again, this is a lie. I do not doubt that you know many people who have been denied entry to Israel, if these people are associated with groups such as the ISM who teach their members how to lie at the border entrance or to other organizations to get free flights to Israel. Israel has tourist visas, student visas, working visas and immigrant visas. They do not issue “hostile political activity visas”, “interfering with security forces visas” or “endangering selves and others visas”. When they start issuing those, I’ll let you and your friends know about it.
I’ve never heard of this wall before. I’m pretty sure you are making this up.
Warren, I haven’t said anything that shows contempt for the United States. I admire the United States, probably more than you do. Anyone reading your comment may conclude that you are the one that has contempt for the United States. I believe, as opposed to you, the the United States acted properly in their responce to this situation, that is respecting Israel’s sovereignty over its border. You are the on that said: “When we put the arbitrary, oppressive (and frankly racist) whims of a foreign country ahead of the rights of U.S. citizens, something really disgusting is going on.” What rights would those be? Is it an American right to fly in and out of Ben Gurion airport? That’s the kind of arrogance I’m talking about and I am referring to comments left at this post not about Americans in general or the United states as an entity.
Ummm, how about the press conference pictured in the image in this post? Those children look old enough to decide for themselves whether they wish to be present at such a press conference.
Yes, it is. A right negotiated by international air travel agreements. So as I wrote in my post–when Israel is prepared to have its citizens treated as harshly, arbitrarily, & selectively by our security personnel as Israeli personnel treat our Palestinian-American citizens, then I’ll be satisfied with yr system. For example, since YOU were born in the U.S. if I recall something you wrote recently–if you would be prepared to have our airport security personnel treat you & yr children as a suspect person because of your place of birth & ethnicity & force you to take out a passport for a country you’ve had any affiliation with, then yes it’s fine to criminalize Palestinian-Americans at Israeli airports.
Until then, the U.S. government should stand up for its citizens & not roll over & play dead as they do now.
Well, I’m talking about the first news conference CAIR staged before her older kids returned when she paraded her three younger children, aged 10, 5 and 3 in front of the tv cameras. Do you still think they are old enough to decide for themselves.
I have made it perfectly clear at least twice that I don’t think that Israel should force them to take Palestinian passports.
Apparently, the right to fly in and out of airports has its limitations.
I have 2 questions for you:
1. do you think these children were old enough to decide for themselves whether to be used for propaganda purposes?
2. which is a greater act of child abuse?
I don’t mean to imply that you support the actions of the parents of these children or even of the settler movement. But let’s be clear that Jews and Palestinians both have the capacity to abuse their children for partisan political purposes. I’m not even saying that I agree that the Yacoubs did that in this instance. But it’s certainly possibly for other Palestinians to have done so to their children.
2. The “Karadi-shoot me” picture
Without a doubt. No hesitation.
Any more questions?
amir: Your message of callous indifference to the unjust predicament of these American citizens does indeed suggest a deeper contempt for the U.S,, and I sadly get the feeling, the world generally, outside of Israel. You can try to wiggle out of it, but I’m afraid your own smug lack of concern betrays you. Issues of justice and human dignity (in the universal frame) evidently don’t interest you very much.
The fact that I criticize policies of the U.S. government (which I do vehemently and often on a whole host of issues) would merely suggest that I am a thinking person capable of critical reflection. You see, criticism of one’s own country does not connote lack of patriotism or respect. I acknowledge this might be a difficult concept for you to understand based on your comments (take heart, many hard right-wingers in my country possess the same lobotomized attitude that you Israeli hard rignt-wingers do). The notion that you could possibly love or respect America more than I given your utter indifference toward the human dignity of American citizens who have done nothing wrong, is a preposterous claim on its face. Have more intellectual self-respect, amir! I’m sure you can do better than this.
No, I’m just glad that we can agree on some things once in a while.
Re: passport stamps causing trouble, this is why the US used to allow Americans travelling in the Middle East to get TWO passports. I don’t know if it’s still possible, but it used to be handy for archaeology students who wanted to visit sites in both Israel and Syria.
It appears a sif even the US government finds the Israeli government attitude objectionable.
From today’s English Haaretz
U.S. officials object to Israel’s treatment of Arab-Americans
By Barak Ravid
American officials have complained recently that Israeli immigration authorities harass American citizens of Arab origin at Israeli border crossings.
During meetings between senior State Department officials and their counterparts in Israel, the Americans said that in recent months there has been a troubling increase in the number of complaints by American citizens of Palestinian and Arab origin, regarding the treatment they receive at border crossings and airports in Israel.
The Americans complained about long delays, a suspicious attitude, and degrading security checks.
The State Department officials stressed that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was very perturbed by this issue and said they expected immediate improvement.
They also warned their Israeli counterparts that unless there was a change, they would update the travel warning for Americans visiting Israel to include a statement that “Israel harasses American citizens of Arab and Palestinian origin.”