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Selective prosecution: In Israel, not all citizens are created equal

What does it say about a democracy when a law is enforced selectively in order to further a political or personal vendetta against a private citizen?

Illustrative photo of an interrogation room (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Illustrative photo of an interrogation room (Photo by Shutterstock.com)

In Israel there is something called the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which prohibits citizens from traveling to a list of so-called “enemy states.” The law is little known and almost never enforced. In fact, it is common and widely accepted practice for Israeli businesspeople and journalists with additional citizenship to travel to “enemy” countries using their alternate passports. Some journalists, like Channel 2’s Itay Anghel, are famous for having used alternate passports to report from places like Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria. They are regarded as intrepid reporters who bring valuable insight to Israeli news consumers.

I only learned about the law’s existence when the police accused me, during an interrogation that took place in November 2007, of having violated it when I traveled to Beirut, where I reported for Israel’s Channel 10 one year after the July 2006 war.

It is not pleasant to be interrogated by the police. At the time I felt angry and also vulnerable, because I was a freelancer without the protection of familial ties in Israel. But in retrospect the interrogation itself was not really traumatic. Two plainclothes detectives, who I suppose were low level Shin Bet officers, gave me coffee and asked me some not particularly intelligent questions for three hours or so, while one of them painstakingly pecked out my responses on a computer keyboard, using his two index fingers. A couple of weeks after the interrogation one of the officers informed Israel Radio that I was under investigation, which was the lead story for a few hours or maybe a day. At the shuk, the guy I bought peppers and tomatoes from yelled that I was a troublemaker who had endangered the state’s security. So I bought my vegetables from another seller, the story eventually died and I heard nothing further from the authorities.

Going into the interrogation, I did not understand why I had been singled out. But about an hour into the questions, one of the officers showed me a letter from Danny Seaman, then director of the Government Press Office. He had sent the police a DVD recording of my Channel 10 report, together with a letter outlining the Law Against Infiltration. A year earlier, I had filed a formal complaint against Seaman with the Civil Service Commission. I accused him of using threatening and abusive language against me, and of pursuing personal vendettas against qualified journalists by withholding their press credentials. That is how I came to understand that this law against infiltration had been dusted off and was being used indirectly by a senior civil servant who was pursuing a vendetta against me.

Flags and masks of Lebanese politicians at a Beirut shop, 2007 (Lisa Goldman)

Flags and masks of Lebanese politicians at a Beirut shop, 2007 (Lisa Goldman)

This week, a 24 year-old Palestinian-Arab citizen of Israel named Majd Kayyal was accused of breaking the same law. Like me, Kayyal traveled to Beirut. He attended a journalism conference sponsored by As-Safir, a veteran Lebanese publication for which he is a contributing writer. But unlike me, Kayyal did not receive a summons to visit the police station four months after his trip. He was not given coffee and questioned for a few hours in a well lit room with an open window, before being allowed to return home. Kayyal was arrested immediately upon landing. He spent five days in a windowless cell, without a bed, the overhead light kept on ’round the clock so that he would lose his sense of time. He was interrogated aggressively and not allowed to see his lawyer. He was accused of having made contact with enemy agents, and with having violated the Law to Prevent Infiltration, but his lawyers were not allowed to be present during the initial court hearing. And a judge granted the Shin Bet’s request for a gag order, so the media did not report on the arrest either.

Today (Thursday), Kayyal was released on bail. The charge of contact with an enemy agent was dropped, but he is still accused of having violated the Law to Prevent Infiltration. In other words, a law that is not enforced at all against prominent, male Jewish Israeli journalists and only used slightly to intimidate a female Jewish freelancer who is an immigrant without any real connections, is enforced to the fullest, cruelest extent against a native-born Israeli citizen who happens to be a Palestinian Arab.

Kayyal is a political activist. He participated in one of the attempts to break the Israeli army’s blockade of Gaza by boat. He is the editor of the website for Adalah, a NGO that works to protect the legal rights of Arab minority citizens of Israel. Last week he traveled openly to Beirut, writing about his trip in Arabic for the website Jadaliyya. In other word he pissed off the security establishment, which dislikes dissent in general — but particularly dissent from Arabs. And because Kayyal’s activism and his ethnicity frighten those who regard “Arab Israelis” as a potential fifth column, most Israeli Jews will accept the Shin Bet’s claim that he represents a security risk, despite the lack of evidence to support this claim. They will turn a blind eye to the fact that Kayyal was denied his legal right to see an attorney. They will somehow justify his having been thrown into a windowless cell and interrogated for five days, even though the only law he is accused of breaking is the one Jewish Israelis violate with impunity, on a regular basis. They will forget that he is a citizen, who is supposed to have the same rights as they. Because in Israel, not all citizens are created equal.

Every Israeli high school graduate knows what happened in 20th century Europe when laws were enforced selectively based on a citizen’s ethnicity or religion. They know this is wrong and anti-democratic. But somehow when it comes to current events in their own country, they can’t connect the dots.

Read more:
Arab journalist freed after being held incommunicado by Israel
Israel’s double standard on cross-border loyalties

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    COMMENTS

    1. Kolumn9

      A person with a history of anti-Israeli activity travels to an enemy country. Upon his return he is interrogated. Where is the problem?

      Reply to Comment
      • Branko

        You must have misread the article. He wasn’t interrogated. He was arrested for several days without legal representation. If after being reminded of that, you still ask “where is the problem”, then I think you have just located the problem. It is you.

        Also, what is exactly “anti-israel activity” that the journalist has engaged in? If we are arresting people for “anti-israel activity”, half the settler leadership should be in jail. There is nothing more “anti-israel” than expanding the settlements.
        How about we call this incident by its name? Religion-based witch hunt.

        Reply to Comment
        • tod

          Branko, kolumn read the article very well. Simply put, he is a blind ideologic person, no more no less.

          Reply to Comment
        • John

          Danny Seaman… isn’t he the guy who was fired from his tenure as head of the Government press office, and was later forbidden to ever post on social media again after he caused a diplomatic row with Japan?

          Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        His “anti-Israel” activity includes open resistance to Israel’s racist, colonialist and apartheid policies. If that is the definition of being anti-Israel, count me as one too!

        By the way, you’re a little slow on the uptake. The article clearly states that he wasn’t just interrogated upon his return; he was put in administrative detention for a week, which included intensive interrogation sessions.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          “His ‘anti-Israel’ activity includes open resistance to Israel’s racist, colonialist and apartheid policies.”

          Yes, that definition of anti-Israel activity is also used by organizations that target Israeli civilians like Hamas and Hezbollah. So, when a “reporter” that believes he is fighting a war against Israel illegally goes to an enemy country that should and does set off alarm bells at the Shabak. Once someone believes that they are fighting a just war, what precisely is to stop him from going to Lebanon to get weapons training or to coordinate other violent activity against Israel? He wouldn’t be the first person with such political opinions that jumped the very narrow distance between justifying attacking Israel and actually doing so.

          Reply to Comment
      • Ari

        Dozens of thousands of Europeans and Americans travel or even live in Lebanon. Beirut is one of the best places to party in the world. You should go there and see for yourself.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Y.

      As-Safir, as any non-uninformed person knows, is now one of Hizballah’s house organs (wiki calls it ‘close to Hizballah’). That’s not nearly the same as any of the other cases.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        Wikipedia has only one source with regards to As-Safir’s “closeness” to Hezbollah. That’s to an article from “The Free Library,” which originated with the “Daily Middle East Reporter,” which as far as I can tell is another Lebanese newspaper, but seems to be impossible to find online. The article itself doesn’t really elaborate on said “closeness,” which doesn’t really prove anything in the way of “formal” ties (e.g. bankrolling) except that the newspaper likes Hezbollah somewhat. Big deal, lots of Lebanese are “close” to Hezbollah, in that they sympathize more with them than with Bibi & Co.

        Reply to Comment
        • Y.

          ‘Formal’ relation? What would that be? Hizballah buying the paper? According to your ‘standard’, we can’t prove that ‘Israel Hayom’ is linked to Bibi, or that ‘Fox News’ is tied to the Republican party, but people with working cerebra manage to understand that, and that As-Safir is linked to Hizballah…

          Reply to Comment
    3. Rehmat

      If one study Zionist history from an objective source, he will find out that Zionism is based on racism and not equality of humanity. European Jewish Zionists have always been racist toward fellow Jews from Africa, Russia, Asia and Middle East.

      On August 14, 2004 – Israel’s Channel 10 showed a documentary 100,000 Radiation, exposing the ugliest secret of Israel’s Labor Zionist founders; the deliberate mass radiation poisoning of nearly all Sephardi youths.

      http://rehmat1.com/2010/09/01/can-jews-kill-jews/

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        ” the deliberate mass radiation poisoning of nearly all Sephardi youths.”

        Quick, you better tell this to Israel’s Sephardi youth. They will surely rise up and destroy Israel for you. If only they knew what your feverish imagination knows.

        Reply to Comment
        • shachalnur

          It’s called “The Ringworm Affair”.

          They won’t rise up,because after being damaged for life they were given well paid jobs in the Army,Police and Shinbet as luxury slaves ,damaging Jews and Arabs alike,serving the Ashkenazi rulers.

          Social engineering and Wiedergutmachung Zionist style.

          And they know it and won’t forget,but there’s not a lot they can do about it ,right now.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Very unsophisticated propaganda.

            Keep it up. This won’t hurt us. It just makes you look ridiculous. You sad little man.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            About half of the Israeli population are of Sephardi descent, about 2.7 million people. And there are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are children of mixed marriages of Sephardis and Ashkenazis.

            Need one say more?

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            Every Marrocan Spharadi Jew in Israel has a father,mother,uncle,aunt,or grandparent with braindamage or worse from the radiation that bombarded their brains upon arrival in Israel in the fifties in an experiment perpetrated by the Ministry of Health,paid for by the US Army.

            My wife is Marrocan ,and I saw the damage done to the older generations in their family,and the shame and unease to talk about it.

            The damage was instant and there’s genetical damage for the next generations.

            I looks like you don’t know any Spharadim or some one trusting you enough to tell you the truth.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “I looks like you don’t know any Spharadim or some one trusting you enough to tell you the truth.”

            I have cousins who are products of mixed marriages between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

            Every second person with whom I interact on a daily basis is of Sephardi descent.

            What are your credentials, Shakhalnur? Crude Arab, Nazi, Extreme leftist propaganda rags?

            Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            I don’t trust you either.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            “I don’t trust you either.”

            Boo hooo …

            Reply to Comment
    4. Tzutzik

      “which prohibits citizens from traveling to a list of so-called “enemy states.”

      Is Lebanon a so-called “enemy state”? I think most of us Israelis who consider Lebanon as an enemy state are just delusional. Don’t we know that Hezbollah is really a figment of our imagination? So are their rockets, their terrorist raids, their abductions of our soldiers and their rhetorics against us.

      I think that those of us who think of Lebanon as an enemy state should just take a chill pill.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Roy

      While many of the comments in the article are valid, the overall tone and some of the “facts” undermine the writers points. For instance, Lisa writes as if this law is only used against political activists and “to intimidate a female freelancer” and not used at all against prominent male journalists. Somehow she forgets that when she was interrogated, so were Noam Sheizaf, and Ron Ben-Ishai, one of Israel’s most prominent security reporters with strong ties in the establishment (see here: http://www.themarker.com/law/1.465649). It is true that this law is not often enforced, selective enforcement according to policy cosinderations is not at all a rarity in democracies when dealing with laws limiting liberties. But the truth is that it is far from rarely being enforced. Several Arab MKs were interrogated after visiting enemy states. And there are tens of other incidents of indictemnts based on that law. As to Israeli business people – I don’t know that this is the case, but the reporter should know that one can visit an “Enemy state” if one gets a permit from the interior ministry. For isntance, thousands of Muslims visit Saudi Arabia for the Hadj annualy under such a permit. And the reference to the holocause, based on this story, come on..

      Reply to Comment
      • 1.Noam Sheizaf was most certainly *not* interrogated for visiting enemy states. He has never done so.
        2. Ron Ben Yishai was interrogated the same week as I was (as was Tsur Shezaf, who is probably the person you’re thinking of), but we figured out very quickly that they were added at the last minute because Ron had just been to Syria the previous month & it would’ve looked extra weird to single me out while overlooking Ben Yishai. But when the investigation was announced on the radio, only my name was mentioned. Tsur Shezaf discovered that the investigators hadn’t even realized from reading his article about travel to Lebanon that he was writing about a trip that had taken place in the 1990s, when Israel occupied southern Lebanon.
        3. It is true that some Arab MKs were interrogated for visiting enemy states, but in their cases the main charge was suspected contact with enemy *agents*. Given their parliamentary immunity, visiting an enemy state was not an indictable offense. Also, please note that these are Arab MKs so you are actually confirming my point about selective enforcement of the law.
        4. Yes, the Min of Interior does give permits for Muslims to travel to KSA for the haj. It does not give permits to businesspeople and journalists.

        Reply to Comment
    6. shachalnur

      The arrest was an attack on Adalah.

      Adalah,amongst other things, is a defender of Bedouins in the Negev,who are currently being removed from their lands by the Israeli govt.

      The current geopolitical developments are causing panic in the Israel Land Authority(ILA).

      In case you didn’t know,93 % of land in Israel is owned by ILA,and if you “buy” land in Israel you’re the proud owner of a 49 to 99 year lease on that land.

      So Keren Kayemet Le’Ysrael can steal any land they want,and hand it over to ILA(owned by a foreign Bankerfamily-read respected British Jewish historian Simon Schama,”Two Rothschilds and the land of Israel”)(1978).

      The ILA will lease this stolen land to Jews for a period,needless to say ILA can take this land away from you after the lease is finished.

      The owners of the land of Israel only work according to longterm plans,half a century at least.

      1897 creation of political program called Zionism,

      1901 KKL starts stealing land in Ottoman ruled Palestine,

      1948 -Creation of the State of Jewish Shame.

      2012-decision to dump the State of Shame ,after she served the interests of the Bankerfamily,and became obsolete.

      The fight over the ownership of land in Israel has become the main fight,and any organization making trouble will be harrassed.

      The target is Adalah,and what they stand for,not an individual.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Piotr Berman

      “So, when a “reporter” that believes he is fighting a war against Israel…”

      I wonder where the belief on the nature of Kayyal’s beliefs comes from. Like Lisa, Kayyal is a political opponent of the current government, and tolerance of opposition is the litmus test of democracy.

      By the way, is there another country with similar policies? Pakistan and India are formally still at war, the border being the armistice line, but citizens are allowed to travel. Similarly with People’s Republic of China and China. Ethiopia and Eritrea?

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        “By the way, is there another country with similar policies? Pakistan and India are formally still at war, the border being the armistice line, but citizens are allowed to travel. Similarly with People’s Republic of China and China. Ethiopia and Eritrea?”

        So says you. Have you any proof? Any link to a believable sober site, rather than to the usual propaganda sites that you guys cite?

        By the way, what happens to Israeli citizens who try to travel say to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria, Lybia and a few other Arab states with an Israeli passport?

        Or even to non Israeli citizens who visited Israel and have “Israel” stamped in their passport and then they try to visit the above Arab countries with the same passport?

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          Here, read the following link. There are many others that say the same thing about how people are petrified to having the word “Israel” stamped in their passport and then visting Arab countries. Read the link and eat your own accusations about the restrictions that Israel imposes on it’s citizens to visit such Arab countries.

          http://www.theexpeditioner.com/2012/03/14/are-you-banned-from-certain-countries-if-you-have-an-israeli-stamp-in-your-passport/

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Here Piotr

            You might want to read this too about your Pakistan assertion:

            “Nationals of Israel are not allowed entry as it is not recognized as a nation by Pakistan. Despite much on-line information to the contrary, Israeli stamps and visas would usually pose no problems for entry into Pakistan, though you may be subject to more stringent questioning by immigration officers.
            Indian nationals can apply for 30 day tourist visas but must travel in a group through an authorized tour operator. Visitor visas to meet relatives or friends are more easy to obtain, and come with some restrictions. Religious visas are granted for groups of 10 or more for 15 days.
            Nationals of Afghanistan are refused entry if their passports or tickets show evidence of transit or boarding in India.
            Holders of Taiwan passports are refused entry except in airport transit.”

            http://wikitravel.org/en/Pakistan

            Have you got any more simplistic assertions to make?

            Reply to Comment
      • Deborah

        Why bother? These people aren’t even looking for a debate. They’re ultimately looking for ways to call whoever they disagree with a “threat,” a “terrorist,” a “delegitimator,” a “self hating Jew,” an “anti-Semite.” Facts like the obvious–Israeli Jewish journalists travel to Lebanon without incident are beside the point. They just want to go to war. Let them go with themselves.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          “Facts like the obvious–Israeli Jewish journalists travel to Lebanon without incident are beside the point.”

          Such people did not travel to Lebanon using an Israeli passport. That is fact. And he got back without incident? Yeah this time. Who knows why? Could it be that the Hezbollah types didn’t know he was Israeli? Or if they did, could it be that they thought he was one of those anti Israeli Israelis whom they could use for their propaganda purposes? My point is that you can’t extrapolate to the general population from one case.

          And my more major point is that Israel’s position on this matter is no different from the norm when countries are in a state of war with one another.

          As for us not wanting to debate. I presented links, neutral links not from pro Israel sites, which back up my claims. What have you lot done to back up YOUR claims? All you do is assert so called facts that you make up or interpret arbitrarily, Deborah.

          Reply to Comment
    8. Tzutzik

      “Facts like the obvious–Israeli Jewish journalists travel to Lebanon without incident are beside the point.”

      In fact, I just looked it up. Itay Anghel only travelled to Lebanon as a war correspondent who was embedded with an IDF unit.

      AND he travelled to other Arab countries with alternate passports. Not Israeli passports.

      “Itay Anghel, are famous for having used alternate passports to report from places like Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria.”

      Why do you think … ????!
      Is it because those places are JUST “so called” enemy states?

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik. Majd Kayyal did not travel to Lebanon using an Israeli passport. Lebanon does not admit bearers of Israeli passports. He obtained travel documents from the Palestinian Authority. Now, I have noticed your long string of repetitive and ignorant comments and I am quite tired of seeing them pollute this thread. You have more than made your point and you have very much outstayed your welcome. Since it is clear you have nothing of value to add here, I am calling a halt to your comments on this thread.

        Reply to Comment
        • Tzutzik

          Comment deleted.

          Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          Lisa, you’re speaking of “ignorant comments” that pollute the thread, yet this thread has Rehmat’s wonderful comment. I’m not sure he’s capable of writing anything that’s not silly and hateful.

          So you should do one of the following – delete Rehmat’s comment, restore Tzutzik’s comment and let the readers decide, admit that you have double standards.

          Somehow I have a feeling you will do neither, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

          Reply to Comment
        • Rab

          Too bad, he was actually providing a measure of sanity to this discussion.

          The fact that you barred Tzutzik and not someone like Shachalnur is a little disturbing, to say the least.

          Reply to Comment
          • shachalnur

            You can put lipstick on a Rab,it’s still a Bar.

            Writing names backwards to hide your identity has nothing to do with Judaism.

            Requesting someone to be banned is behaviour that becomes you,as a 1897 Zionist.

            Reply to Comment
    9. The only people who wrote intelligent, thoughtful comments here are Branko and Piotr Berman. By no coincidence at all, they both use their real names and provide authentic contact information.
      The rest of you are destructive, shrill little people with far too much time on your hands. I have a full time job and a life; otherwise, believe me, if I had the time to monitor comments regularly, instead of popping in once in awhile to weep over the nonsense I see here, I’d kick most of you off this platform. Why don’t you all band together and start your own blog, called thingsihateabout972mag.com? That’s what freedom of speech is all about, and the internet makes it so easy! But you are not going to turn my personal channel on this site into your troll sandbox. Go. Away.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        The contempt you demonstrate for your readers is not unsurprising.

        Reply to Comment
        • MY contempt?! How dare you. It is precisely the opposite. The real contempt is that shown by the majority of commenters here toward the +972 contributors. I have had it with people who use this space to engage in shrill, insulting diatribes that too often have *nothing* to do with the actual article.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Comment deleted.

            Reply to Comment
    10. IlonJ

      Comment deleted. Anything further regarding commenting policy will be deleted.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Tzutzik

      Lisa

      In line with your wish, I wasn’t going to come back to your blog EVER. But then you made the following assertion:

      “I have had it with people who use this space to engage in shrill, insulting diatribes that too often have *nothing* to do with the actual article.”

      Where exactly was I insulting to you, other than in my last response to your insult to me when you called me ignorant?

      And why do you say that my comment had nothing to do with your article? Didn’t you say the sentence below?

      “which prohibits citizens from traveling to a list of so-called “enemy states.”

      I called you on your phrase “so called”. Are you really saying that Lebanon is NOT an enemy state?

      Yes, I called you on it twice. Was that your real problem?

      Anyway, I will leve your blog, this time for good, on that note. Do with this post as you please. I don’t really care.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Samuel

      In fairness, I think Lisa was complaining that the point of the article was the apparent discrimination between the Arab Israeli journalist as opposed to the Jewish Israeli journalists and the phrase “so called” enemy state is just a side issue.

      But she is wrong. The fact is that both Jewish and Arab Israeli journalists breached Israel’s laws. It is however not unreasonable for the authorities to take a greater interest in a journalist who is a member of the minority group whose ethnic group is in a formal state of war with Israel.

      That isn’t discrimination. That is common sense. The great Western democracies were guilty of much worse apparent discrimination during WW2 when they interned their own citizens, thousands of them, who were migrants from Germany, Italy and Japan for the entire duration of the war. Israel hasn’t done anything remotely resembling that. So to pick on Israel for interrogating an Arab journalist more thoroughly after he ilegally visited an enemy state is somewhat disingenuous.

      Unless of course Lisa would like to see Jewish Israeli journalists too treated the same way? Maybe that would be the correct thing to do in order to deflect the apparent charge of discrimination. But not to do any interrogation of anyone breaking the law is surely not the answer.

      Reply to Comment
    13. David Schalit

      Kayyal contradicts your claims, Lisa. He got coffee too, and was treated “nicely” as well. His words. Stated right here on 972! In fact, getting coffee and being treated nicely was his evidence of his interrogators racism! Kind of like, NOT raping Arab women is a sign of Israeli Jewish racism! 

      You guys need to get your stories straight. I know it’s hard creating reasons to justify rebellious attitudes, but the above is pretty pathetic.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Lisa Goldman

      David. It’s quite true that both Majd Kayyal and I were offered coffee by the Shin Bet. Also, that we were both asked rather stupid questions. But if you have read both his account and mine, then you must have noticed a rather glaring difference: I was invited in for questioning that took place at a police station, in a well lit room with an open window. Then I went home. I was never charged with any crime. Majd was arrested at the border and thrown into a windowless cell that did not even have a bed. He was held incommunicado for five days. His lawyers were not allowed to see him. He was questioned for five days. And he was charged in court with two crimes — traveling to an enemy country and contact with an enemy agent. Luckily for him, the judge dismissed the latter charge.
      For more information on the difference in how the law is applied to Jewish Israelis versus Palestinian Arab Israeli citizens, see Itay Anghel’s account: http://972mag.com/veteran-israeli-reporter-i-was-never-detained-for-visiting-enemy-states/89990/

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        I’d be very interested to see whether you’d be treated in the same way today. Back when you traveled to Lebanon, you were not yet as active or recognizably critical of Israel as you have been over the past several years. My guess is that if you were still living in Israel and made another excursion to Lebanon, upon your return this time you would be treated to a nice long visit with the Shin Bet.

        Kayyal is an anti-Israel activist, of course he’s going to be detained after a visit to Hezbullah land.

        Reply to Comment
        • Your refusal to acknowledge that a citizen’s rights have been violated based on his ethnicity is very revealing. There’s really nothing more to say, barrab. We get the point: you prefer authoritarianism to democracy and you think governments should apply laws selectively based on a citizen’s ethnicity. That is very sad, and perhaps a worldview that you should keep to yourself.

          Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            First of all, Lisa, I only use “Rab” because somebody on your site banned “Bar” for a couple of days (and maybe still, I haven’t checked). You’ll notice I’m not hiding which is why I used the same three letters.

            Second, you may have missed my previous comment where I suggested that you, a caucasian Jewish woman, would probably receive the same treatment today by the Shin Bet. Because the issue isn’t ethnicity, but the likelihood that someone who is sympathetic to Israel’s enemies might take steps to support them.

            Third, in a perfect world, there would be no profiling and there would be no terrorism and there would be no wars on Israel. However, in the real world, wars and countless terror attacks have been launched by Arabs against Israel. And in the real world, we have seen some Arab-Israeli organizations, politicians and civilians support Israel’s enemies. Having Israel’s security services call one of these individuals for a conversation after he goes to a country dominated by Hizbullah is prudence, not bigotry.

            By the way, nobody has responded to my question in the interview article with Kayyal. It’s a simple question: did he meet any Hezbullah members?

            Reply to Comment
          • I don’t respect commenters who (a) hide behind false names; and (b) spend all their time hovering over this site, leaving repetitive, argumentative and frequently ill-informed comments — for example your speculation regarding how the Shin Bet would interact with me today. You have no way of knowing anything about the matter.

            According to his interview with Gideon Levy for Haaretz, Majd Kayyal did not meet Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon. At least not knowingly. They don’t wear a sign. And they do not stay in Lebanon, either. Hypothetically, if Kayyal were interested in meeting a Hezbollah operative, he could meet him anywhere in the world. Surely you are not suggesting that a citizen who is critical of the state should be prevented from traveling abroad.

            http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/twilight-zone/.premium-1.587161

            Reply to Comment
          • Rab

            Lisa, I’m not interested in your respect. You use your real name because you made/make your living writing about this conflict. I don’t.

            Regarding my comments, they certainly are argumentative. I hate to tell you this but the folks here who tend to be supportive of the constant Israel criticism prevalent on this site are precisely the commenters who are the least impressive. This would be a red flag for most people and should be for you as well.

            Regarding my being well-informed or ill-informed, I’m the former. You are right that my shin bet interaction comment was speculative, but that doesn’t make me ill-informed. I think you’ll find that I’m equal to most of you regarding knowledge of both Israel, Israeli politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, I disagree strongly with your group’s conclusions.

            If you don’t want debate here, then why allow comments? And why wouldn’t you want debate? It’s hubris to assume you know everything or that your views may not be challenged. I read your group’s articles and do it with an open mind. You should try to do the same with comments here that you dislike.

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      • David Schalit

        He stated he got coffee and was treated “nicely”. You stated otherwise, for obvious reasons. The less nice treatment than yours is because of his previous history, which is meaningless to you.
        By the way, the way you treat people here is obnoxious. You in charge of interrogating people wouldn’t be “nice”.

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    15. Lisa Goldman

      You don’t debate. You express your opinion, repeatedly. Your questions about Majd Kayyal have been answered in great detail, but rather than acknowledge the facts you simply change the subject. This forum does not exist as a platform for you to express your opinions. If you have facts to offer, then do so. If I catch you repeatedly planting erroneous information here, also known as disinformation, I will ban you.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        You will “catch me?” LOL. You are welcome to point to things I’ve written that are factually inaccurate. You may disagree with my interpretations, and that’s certainly fair, but I’m pedantic about facts.

        Regarding the Kayyal question, I didn’t change the topic at all. Once you wrote that the question was answered in a Levy interview, I tried to view it but it’s behind the Ha’aretz wall and I refuse to get one of their subscriptions. I googled the interview but couldn’t find it anywhere else. So while I accept your word that Kayyal denied such contact, since I am a pedantic pursuer of detail and fact without being able to see the actual question, response and context, I didn’t feel comfortable commenting. I also didn’t change the subject. I responded to your remarks.

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    16. Lisa Goldman

      Please bear in mind that commenting in this forum is a privilege and not a right.

      Reply to Comment
      • Rab

        Fair enough. Have a nice evening.

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