Gary Spedding was detained after landing in Tel Aviv ahead of meetings with parliamentarians and activists. He says his phone was hacked and contacts extracted. A high-profile member of Northern Ireland’s Alliance Party and a long-standing activist for human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories, Gary Spedding, was detained on arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday and told would be deported and banned from the country for 10 years. Speaking from the airport, after being held for eight hours, Spedding told +972 that the interrogating officers hacked into his mobile phone, and copied email addresses and telephone numbers. He also…Read More... | 57 Comments
ben gurion airport
When Yoav Haifawi joined radical left organizations in Israel, he had no idea that the airport security services would begin searching him for explosives. A true story about the security services' modus operandi. By: Yoav Haifawi (*) The following story is 100% true. It tells us a lot about the modus operandi of the security services, and not necessarily only in Israel. During the seventies, I was active in The Workers’ Alliance - a leftist organization. It so happened that I represented this organization in several meetings and conferences in Europe. In those days, the security services shared the left’s…Read More... | 7 Comments
'My suspicious ethnic identity coupled with my criticisms of Israel were enough to get me banned from Israel and more importantly, barred from being able to tell stories from the West Bank.' By Anna Lekas Miller "Do you think we are some kind of joke? Do you think you can start over with us?” The Shin Bet officer looks at me across his desk, his eyes seeming to pop through his glasses like I was some kind of insolent teenager cum social pariah. I straightened my posture and tried to smile, although my eyes probably expressed more disgust than anything…Read More... | 35 Comments
The very first thing visitors to Israel see when they walk through Ben-Gurion International Airport's arrivals hall is an illuminated, panoramic landscape photo showing an area where the West Bank meets Israel. Right smack dab in the middle of it is none other than Israel's separation barrier. (The road can be seen in the center, with two barbed-wire outer fences on either side and a lighter weight fence in the middle.) It is as if Israel is proudly saying to its visitors: Welcome to the land of milk and honey, segregation and oppression. As if the wall/fence/barrier has become such an integral…Read More... | 26 Comments
Palestinian citizens have many rights in Israel, but they are not equal citizens. Only by removing all discriminatory elements from the legal system will Israel cease to be a democracy of racial profiling. Following one of his visits to Israel, Jewish-American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg praised last year the ease with which he underwent the security procedures at Ben-Gurion International Airport, compared with the long waits he experienced in U.S terminals. Racial profiling made all the difference: while Israeli Jews and many white Westerners – especially those with Jewish names - are rushed through the lines in Israeli terminals and gates, every person…Read More... | 16 Comments
We wrote in January [Hebrew] about Supreme Court Justice Yoram Denzinger permitting the deportation of an Israeli boy and his Polish mother. Yesterday at 5 a.m., the mother and her son were arrested ahead of their deportation. This time again, Justice Denzinger refused to get involved. The boy was born in Israel in 2005 to a Polish women and an Israeli man. The boy has no connection to his father, received Israeli citizenship, and grew up in Israel from birth. In August 2010, the mother submitted a request for status on the basis of a government decision stating that children…Read More... | 12 Comments
'As soon as I got my passport stamped, the Airport Authority employee demanded I sign a commitment not to enter the occupied Palestinian territories. The document stated that should I breach this 'order,' I could be deported and not allowed back into Israel for another 10 years. I refused to sign it...the document was torn in front of my face, and my entrance to Israel was denied.' By Dáša Raimanová My name is Dáša Raimanová. I am a filmmaker. At the end of August, I was meant to join a grassroots organization operating in the Palestinian territories to create a documentary…Read More... | 14 Comments
The Israeli Airports Authority has withdrawn a directive ordering cab companies servicing Ben Gurion Airport employees to refrain from hiring Arab taxi drivers. Dimi Reider reported on Sunday that the airport’s transportation manager sent a letter prohibiting a cab company contracted by the Airport Authority from employing of “minorities” – a term used in Hebrew to refer to Arab citizens. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel last week sent a complaint (Hebrew) to the Airport Authority, calling the directive a violation of constitutional principles of equality and freedom of occupation, particularly grave coming from a public institution. The Airports…Read More... | 3 Comments
In the air between Geneva and Tel Aviv, I spent some time talking to the international activists who joined the "Welcome to Palestine" campaign. Activists who told this writer in the Geneva airport that they are traveling to Palestine cheered quietly and smiled as the plane took off. However, a number of those activists declined to be interviewed. Several who had said, in the airport, that they were part of the action became skittish and recanted, claiming that they were visiting Tel Aviv or that they didn’t speak English at all. Two men, aged 25 and 49, said that they…Read More... | 23 Comments
Jeffery Goldberg, one of the most well know Jewish American journalists, had an entry in his blog raving about Israeli security procedures at Ben Gurion airport. Ben Gurion (TLV) has no naked-scanning machines and you don't have to take off your shoes. Instead, security personnel use racial profiling, thoroughly checking Arabs in back rooms while exempting Jewish Israelis and tourists with a few standard security questions. "I find answering a series of questions about my travel less invasive than posing like a mugging victim in a machine that takes pictures of you naked," Goldberg concludes. A perfect example of self-inflicted blindness: As…Read More... | 20 Comments
Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg just flew out of Israel and decided to write a post revering security at Israel's Ben-Gurion airport, comparing it to the much less effective and what he considers more humiliating American airport security. (I do agree with him that Israeli security is way more effective than American security, since Israel is indeed better at racial profiling). He appreciates that he doesn't have to worry about packing his nail clippers and understands that non-Jews face problems at the airport - he notes that he knows of some Arab-Israelis and Arab-Americans who have been stuck in the screening proces…Read More... | 25 Comments
The following op ed in Haaretz [Hebrew only] revisits the theme of how unpleasant it can be for an Arab citizen, native-born in Israel, to use his or her national airport to travel freely. Many people have heard this theme before; my colleague Aziz Abu Sarah has written about it thoughtfully, and I reported on a potentially positive Supreme Court ruling a year ago. At the time, I quoted my friend Adeeb Awad and a few others about their experiences. In his op ed this week, Adeeb expands his thoughts about an experience not often discussed: That of an Arab…Read More... | 14 Comments
Israel responded to the "flytilla" with a wildly disproportionate deployment of police and extraordinary security checks. But Palestinian citizens of Israel are discriminated at the Ben Gurion Airport on an hourly basis - and are now able to racially profile themselves, using a specially provided form to warn the airport authorities of their arrival. In the see-saw of travel-craving and homesickness preceding any trip abroad, there's one moment when you can feel the balance finally shifting and you becoming glad to be leaving Israel: When you arrive in your car or taxi to the airport gates and a burly, submachine…Read More... | 42 Comments
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