My colleague on +972, Noam Sheizaf, recently exposed another attack on freedom of expression in which a young Israeli BDS activist was held at Ben Gurion upon entry to Israel in a clear attempt at intimidation. With the rampant racism that is sweeping the country in recent weeks, attacks on the ability of people to freely travel to Israel are particularly alarming. Israel is not sliding towards a police state – it is already there.
Olivia Zemor, a French solidarity worker with the Euro Palestine organization, was denied entry to Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport this week. According to her statement released on their website this morning (French), she was detained and interrogated for over thirty hours at the airport. Along with other French nationals, she was asked to sign oaths that she would not step into the Palestinian areas of the West Bank. However, she was interrogated intensively because of the wealth of information about her work for Palestinian solidarity on Google. She was repeatedly questioned about all of her activities in France and the specific nature of her visit to the West Bank.
After the interrogation was finished, she was listed a security threat to the State of Israel and denied entry. The officer responsible for this decision informed her that she was a security threat because of her organizing in France and not because of any concrete work she had done in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
This is alarming. Not only is this an attack on freedom of expression, but Zemor is also Jewish. As she writes in her description of the event, the state of Israel is now deciding which Jews are “more kosher than the rest.’ This action by Israeli security also demonstrates another significant point – ie, Israel/Palestine are de facto one state. Everything in the West Bank is controlled by Israel including the ability of foreign nationals to travel there. While pontificating the dynamics of a one state/two state solution, it is beneficial to move from what we have now. We live in one state. Israel controls the entire area with a system of institutionalized discrimination in various parts and an apartheid-like system in other parts.
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