Israeli Security Labels American Professor Terrorist, Then Realizes It Was Mistaken Identity
Today, Haaretz confirms what I suspected yesterday, that the American professor forced to endure a full body search and whose privacy was invaded by a male officer entering the examination room while she was partially naked, was confused with another person. There are a lot of Heather Bradshaws in the world. That Shabak, which ordered the humiating treatment for Prof. Bradshaw, didn’t realize this after she presented her passport displaying four previous entry stamps for Israel, an academic conference invitation and other documentation proving her identity, attests either to incompetence or utter indifference (or both).
But there is something that makes no sense about the new Haaretz story, which says the following:
American prof. subjected to intense El Al search shares name of pro-Iran activist, Haaretz learns
Haaretz learned yesterday that there is an American activist of the same name who has been working on behalf of Iranian and Pakistani exiles and is involved in resettling them in the United States….It is thought that this other Heather Bradshaw may have appeared on a list that resulted in the close security scrutiny.
How many activists do you know who are involved in resettling Iranian refugees are “pro-Iranian?” That part of the story makes no sense. Either Shabak considers anyone who is involved in any way with Iran, regardless of their politics, as a potential security threat to Israel. Or this is a bogus claim. Frankly, I’ve tried to find this mysterious Heather Bradshaw online. You’d think such an activist would’ve left some kind of online trail. I don’t know many activists whose work isn’t documented in some way online.
The only Heather Bradshaw I’ve been able to identify who remotely fits this bill isn’t American and doesn’t appear to be resettling refugees, let alone Iranian and Pakistanis. But as I noted in yesterday’s post, this Heather Bradshaw may have had the “misfortune” (in the Shabak’s eyes) of being raised in remote villages in Iran, Pakistan and Libya because her father was a public heath specialist:
Ms. Bradshaw spent her early childhood in the remote hills and dusty towns and villages of Iran, Pakistan, and Libya where her father often worked to use technology to bring clean drinking water, refrigeration, employment, skills, and more sustainable livelihoods to people who had not yet experienced these benefits.
As I wrote yesterday, I don’t know that this is the Shabak’s Heather Bradshaw. But it sounds at least plausible. And if I am right, then this makes the error even more incredible since this is a British PhD student whose online bio lists no current activities whatsoever having anything to do with the Middle East other than performing “aid work” (no region specified). It is frankly astonishing that a single sentence published online about one’s childhood can land one in hot soup with the Shabak.
I’ve been trying to find Zohar Blumenkrantz’s e mail to ask him about this Bradshaw and what he knows about her. But Haaretz doesn’t offer an e mail address. If any readers know how to reach this Haaretz reporter please let me know. I’ve also e mailed Prof. Bradshaw who appears to be still in Israel at her conference.
UPDATE: The Hebrew version of the Haaretz article linked above appears much more credible in that it states that Prof. Bradshaw was confused with another Heather Bradshaw who is a human rights activist involved in helping Iranian and Pakistani refugees. Nothing about this Heather Bradshaw being “pro-Iranian,” which simply didn’t make sense. All of which means that if you’re any type of human rights activist working in the Middle East, no matter what your politics, you’ve viewed as a threat to Israel. Crazy, isn’t it?
In the article, Prof. Arik Rimmerman, who filed a complaint with El Al on Prof. Bradshaw’s behalf, says about the case of mistaken identity:
If Prof. Bradshaw’s ill treatment did stem from a case of mistaken identity, then this troubles even more because they treated the misidentified person as a potential terrorist despite the fact that all the facts confirmed that it was otherwise.
Of course, not a word from Rimmerman questioning why a human rights activist, not even working in any field concerning Israel, would be treated as a potential terrorist.
27 thoughts on “Israeli Security Labels American Professor Terrorist, Then Realizes It Was Mistaken Identity – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“Aid work”? Now that’s suspicious….
Haaretz has a list with Email addresses of all reporters – http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/specials/EditorsReportes.jhtml (Hebrew).
I remember an episode in the TV series “Boston Legal” where the senior partner was denied boarding since his name appeared in the “no fly” list. I guess it was based on someone’s real life experience .. So it happened again now, in Israel.
His e mail is listed with the Hebrew version of the article but not the English version. Weird. Anyway, I did e mail him.
It’s bad enough to be denied boarding rights, but to be stripped & then browbeaten for something that is Shabak’s error, that’s low.
THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE THAT MAKES NO SENSE!
Suppose this Heather Bradshaw HAD been pro (or anti) Iran (as the other HB is said to be). SO WHAT? How does that justify humiliating her/
Indeed, just to be clear, how does Israel justify humiliating ANYBODY, EVER?
(Punishment and control of prisoners is doubtless another matter, but even prisoners have rights to be treated decently.)
That Israelis seem to fail to ASK this question says a lot.
That YOU fail to ask this question says a lot.
I assume that even a full-body-search (with cavities) can be accomplished in a b brief time, without UNNECESSARY humiliation, and without knowledge of the precise pedigree of the person searched. Let El Al search every passenger as a matter of routine if it likes,
But no humiliation. Be professional, Say you are sorry.
(And let Israel not grant VISAs to people it is prepared to treat this way or to fail, at its border, to admit).
I’m quite used to seeing discrepancies between Hebrew and English in the Israeli information systems.
I suppose it could be argued that there is a difference between being pro-Iranian and pro-Iran. I would consider myself pro-Iranian in the sense that I feel a good deal of sympathy for the Iranian people, but anti-Iran in the sense that I dislike the regime.
But as I’m sure you’d agree, most readers of Ha’aretz would not make that distinction. Anything even remotely connected with Iran must be portrayed as pro-Muslim, pro-Iran, and therefore pro-terrorist.
I am amazed to see how many advises people give to others, when they do not have to share the risks resulting from these advises.
If you haven’t been around in the last 100 years, you may want to update yourself with the hate, threats, risks and acts of terror Israel is dealing with daily. Only when you will be part of us, live here, pay your taxes here, risk your life in military service to protect others, then you be eligible to give advises on how we should run our business here.
I’d like to see one of you making these comments to a TSA agent in a US airport. Or maybe protest against US acts in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Come, live with us, be part of our community and then give us advises.
Cut the crap. In case you didn’t notice, nobody has a problem with the need for security checks. The problem is the uneccessary humiliation, the disrespect for peoples dignity and privacy, and unaccountability when these occur.
No, you wouldn’t. Your little hasbara mind switches on only when Israel is criticized. Save it. Your little routine about “100 years”, “Terror” etc as justification for humiliating a guest is not really helping your cause.
If your country ran its affairs better and didn’t make such a mess of things & bring the region to the brink of war, no one here would be arguing about Israeli policy. You collectively brought this on yrselves. We outside don’t want to clean up after the mess you make. So you’ll have to endure our opinions untill you can get a gov’t that doesn’t threaten to embroil all the rest of us in potential nuclear conflagration.
Concerning hate, threats & risks facing Israel–you might want to update yrself concerning the hate, threats & risks Israel has caused the region to endure.
I don’t need yr approval or permission to write this blog. I will continue writing it until a sane, sensible Israeli government which brings real lasting peace puts me out of business (may it be soon).
“Advice” is always singular and unlike in Hebrew is never plural.
# Azi Ronen)
“Come, live with us, be part of our community”
Thanks a lot. I have family members who haven’t been able tp go back to Akka since ’48. They’ll be really happy for your invitation. Do you think they might even get back their houses, land and various enterprises ? Where do they register ??
It’s very plain and simple actually. The excuse provided (the cover up) here was shotty, as is ALWAYS the case with the IDF. Being that the IDF is really a conscription army of lied to youths, it only takes a few weeks in any particular unit to quickly see the true face of Israeli policy as it is extended upon the Palestinians like a morning visit from the Angel of Death.
They claim that this was a case of mistaken identity. This assumes that the intended target or suspect is still guilty in Israeli lies. That is, the Heather Bradshaw they confused this professor with is still a “terrorist” at large. Okay, well then, there should exist enough information, I’m assuming at least from all of the civil work they claim she did “resettling” Iranian and Pakistanis in the United States (“a terrorist act” according to how they treated her as a result of thinking this) to illustrate the IDF’s concerns. Funny thing though, when you do even a detailed background search, not one Heather Bradshaw with such activist background is found. Instead, this professor’s biography is all over the internet and indicates that, AS A CHILD, she lived with a father-activist who helped Pakistani and Iranian villagers in those poorer areas. There is no alternative Heather Bradshaw to be found as the IDF has suggested. That is, not unless the IDF has been keeping tabs on activists in the United States who try to resettle Muslims INSIDE the United States and away from their home countries (Pakistan and Iran in this case). There must be some damning existential threat from this potential brain/manpower drain, as Israel, in this case, has implied that resettling poor Pakistanis and Iranians in the United States for a better life is damning to the Jewish identity and homeland.
That IDF policies and behavior have largely been extra-legal (read: illegal) and outside of international norms and the global legal lexicon in this case is nothing new. Quite literally, the faction’s identity is akin to the “one-eyed, inbred mutant child chained in the basement”, lashing out with mongloid anger at even the slightest hint of pushback on its brazen land-grabbing policies. The country’s paranoia and siege mentality reminds me of a closed-cult, like North Korea, always afraid that its bankrupt ideology at home will be exposed and disintegrate in an instance if scrutinized whatsoever. The IDF has created an unmaintainable behavior for itself: it seeks to choke the Palestinian under its boot while the cameras fix on his smile and all but ignore what’s happening below the soldier’s shoulders (the Palestinian under him). They seek to weave a new reality – a farce, an illusion. A stack of cards that won’t stay standing on its own but must be held, taped or glued in place — and then repatched every now and then or the whole thing blows like a dam. I can’t imagine anyone in US military circles not thinking the Israelis are bat shit after the flotilla fiasco. That’s at least what my sources indicate the train of thought towards Israel has been as of late.
While Israel may not hold itself accountable to the world, the world renders its opinion of Israel irrespective of Israel’s own delusional tablulations. The more they keep making blunders like this, the more they will have to keep lying to themselves and their citizen Israelis. This is a sure road to illegitimacy or at least the fundamental weakening of the Israeli political reputation such that the country finds itself poised to be in the same position as an apartheid South Africa. You can’t strong-arm a world that’s witnessed a rag-tag militia make you look like a pee-wee paintball league in 2006.
A quick correction. There ARE two Heather Bradshaws I’ve found online. One is the professor in this case, the other is another woman who is a Brit PhD student. The latter is the one whose father raised her in Muslim countries. Prof. Heather Bradshaw was not raised as a child in Muslim countries..
Ah, you are right, Richard. I made my own error in assuming the IEET scholar was the same person. Except, I didn’t spend 5 hours course correcting and certainly didn’t force anyone to strip naked over it.
Richard you are missing one MINOR point.
no fly lists are shared by the western countries, israel included.
The name was most likely added to the no fly list, by your own FBI. any critique towards them ?
There is no indication a “Heather Bradshaw” is on any no fly list except one maintained by the Shabak. There is no indication there is an American Heather Bradshaw who is a human rights activist specializing in Pakistani or Iranian refugees. I’d like all you Shabak apologists to do some homework for a change & find out who they’re talking about. Until you do either she’s a figment of a Shabak officer’s imagination or she’s the woman I’ve noted who has absolutely no known connnection to human rights activism on Iran or Pakistan, which is what I suspect.
This comment is nothing more than deflection & disinformation planted for the purposes of moving the debate in directions less damaging to the Israeli secret police.
She was not on a no-fly list. There’s a reason why its called a “no-fly” list. What happens when you are on a no-fly list is that you aren’t allowed on the plane in the first place and you don’t arrive at Ben-Gurion airport to be humiliated by Shabak idiots. If they( Israeli officials) confused her with some unknown human-rights activist/”terrorist” then she wouldn’t have gotten a visa to enter Israel in the first place. The FBI has nothing to do with this. Its silly to even mention them in this context.
Thank you for some sanity. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, but thank you for doing so. What fools these hasbarist mortals be.
It may depend on how a person is identified in the list. If this is done by name only (such as the case in this TV episode I mentioned) then there should be a process in place to see if the person is the one on the list or not. This could be the case here, so it does not mean that an identical name is not on the list.
I believe that around 10,000 tourists arrive to Israel every day. Not all of them go through this unfortunate process.
i see you were educated.
when you have no arguments resort to ad-hominem argumenta, Pravda is working over time ?
I would brush up on my Latin if you think that the phrase “little Hasbara mind” constitutes an Ad-Hominem attack. Keep in mind that as an Israeli who has friends with diverse political opinions, I get quite a few offers to volunteer for Hasbara and get sent documents detailing how to deflect certain questions.
Regardless, care to respond whether you consider the added humiliation as part of the security procedure?
I have heard personally fr. a number of Israelis in fact who’ve been approached to work on behalf of Mossad
So have I naturally but this isn’t the case here. There is a strategy of sending out chain email detailing what good Israelis should reply when facing a vicious online attack on Israel. The mails are usually forwarded by your co-workers, friends, etc. Could also be a Facebook group sending out the mass emails.
Funnily enough, one of the emails that I received detailed when a volunteer should stop listening to the other side in an argument. I think that it was when it seemed that the other side was knowledgeable about the facts and brought up international law. I should really try to dig up some of these gems. Problem is, none of them are official so they are easy to disown.
# Ariel Shatil)
“The mails are usually forwarded by your co-workers . . ”
Yep, and not only in Israel. A friend of mine with a ‘semitic’ first and family name was literally harassed by a few co-workers in a big international pharmaceutical company in France. Actually she’s an atheist with some long-back Muslim background. After months of reflexion, she told them that not only she wasn’t Jewish but also very preoccupied by the Palestinian grievances. They never spoke to her again, and she eventually changed her job as a result of being ostracised by the group of whom one was more or less her boss.
I’d be curious to see ’em if you get any in future. I always like to study the other guy’s game plan. If you haven’t read my posts about Frank Luntz’s hasbara manual. It’s pretty instructive as well.
Boy, you made me laugh a good laugh
“There is no indication a “Heather Bradshaw” is on any no fly list”
and you are saying that because you have a copy of the no fly list ? or you say that because you know that she wasn’t searched while flying for the US to England ?
the truth is you don’t know, nor you ever saw a copy of the no fly list, nor you know what a no fly list is.
because if you did know what a no fly list was, you would have realized that no one country can maintain such a list and everything comes from a sharing resources.
and no it’s not an attempt to deflect blame, the entrance of the mail into the room was wrong regardless. but that was the one and only wrong part.
and if you don’t like the security level provided by elal, hey there are many other companies flying in and out of tel-aviv including Egypt air, Jordan Air, Delta, British, don’t fly El-Al.
Don’t be dense. You know as well as I that Shabak makes up its own rules as to who can and can’t enter Israel. It has nothing to do with no fly lists. It maintains a separate database of its own. There’s no chance that Prof. Heather Bradshaw is on any no fly list anywhere in the world. None. But her name appears in some Shabak database. That’s why she was apprehended & abused.
That’s quite an image. I’ve never seen a piece of mail ogle a bare-breasted woman.
That should be the airline’s new slogan. I think these incidents reinforce that message to the flying public. I know Heather Bradshaw won’t be flying El Al again. Nor will I. But they can get ya even if you don’t fly El Al.
Such loophole does not exist. If a proper security check is not performed on departure it will be done on arrival to TLV by the same bad people.
You are welcomed to try your luck and fly other airlines, with no security – Domestic or international.
I am relieved to see that it is not everyone that goes through this Shabak inspection, but only those on the “list” (any of you guys?). After all, it is not every day that we hear something like this.
RE: “if you’re any type of human rights activist working in the Middle East, no matter what your politics, you’ve viewed as a threat to Israel. Crazy, isn’t it?” – R.S.
HASBARA: Better safe than sorry!