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Israeli BDS activist detained upon entering the country

Matan Cohen was informed he is classified as ‘a suspect of hostile terrorist activity’; he was released after three hours

Israeli activist Matan Cohen was detained by Israel’s internal security agency (ISA, or ‘Shabak’ in Hebrew) at Israel’s international airport yesterday. According to Cohen, his belongings were searched, and he was informed by a policeman that he is considered “a suspect of hostile terrorist activity.” (מוחשד פח”ע)

Cohen, 22, lost his sight in one eye five years ago after being shot by soldiers in an unarmed demonstration against the Separation Wall. He is active in the BDS movement and was one of the four protesters who heckled PM Binyamin Netanyahu during a speech in New Orleans (a video of the incident can be seen here).

Yesterday, Cohen returned to Israel for the winter vacation. According to his report, two security people waited for him outside the plane and escorted him to passport control. Later, he was taken by a policeman to a side room, where he was held for three hours. Cohen was told by police that his detention was an order from the ISA.

“I wasn’t interrogated and wasn’t charged with anything,” said Cohen in a phone conversation. “They searched my stuff and then asked me to sign a form, on which it was written that I am ‘a suspect of hostile terrorist activity.'” Cohen says that he was told that this sentence doesn’t relate to a specific charge, but rather is a permanent status, determined by the ISA.

“In the past, I’ve gone through special interrogations before boarding planes, but I was never detained upon entering Israel,” said Cohen. “I feel this has to do with my activity in the BDS. I know of international activists who were questioned or denied entry to Israel because of BDS activity. Perhaps it [the detention] had also to do with New Orleans.”

Related Stories:

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    1. Ben Israel

      I don’t know anything about Cohen, but, as an exmample “Jerry Haber” who has posted here at 972 has stated that he will make an alliance with anyone who opposes Jewish settlements on the West Bank. “Anyone” could possibly include HIZBULLAH, HAMAS, Ahmedinejad, Syria, etc since they all agree on this point. BDS is the same, it brings together a lot of disparate groups. If BDS supporters like Cohen are either conciously or unconciously cooperating with out and out enemies of Israel, I can see that the security organs would possibly take an interest, to clarify with whom Cohen has been in contact.

      Reply to Comment
    2. lior

      that’s all very nice, until you get to the part where he says “I wasn’t interrogated and wasn’t charged with anything”.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Amir

      He still has site in his eyes. I think you didn’t mention that. Yes he got shot but it was TEMPORARY blindness.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Gil Franco

      Maybe they were just preventing him from busting the boycott.

      Reply to Comment
    5. […] has recently expose 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 of intimidation. With the rampant racism that is sweeping the country in recent weeks, attacks on the ability of […]

      Reply to Comment
    6. Miri

      Omg. It’s ok for a 17 year old be to be shot in the eye, at an unarmed, non-violent demonstration??? Where’s your decency, Amir?

      PS I think he is partially blinded from that attack.


      Reply to Comment
    7. maayan

      It wasn’t a non-violent demonstration. Three policemen hospitalized.

      Reply to Comment