Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Will Israel's Lax Attitude Towards Her Security Reach The Airports?

This story about Abdur-Rahim Jackson seems to be making the rounds:
A performer with the famed Alvin Ailey dance troupe on Tuesday said he was twice forced to perform steps for Israeli airport security officers to prove his identity before he was permitted to enter the country.
John Podhoretz writes about this, and shares a humorous experience of his own, concluding that:
Everybody who has traveled to Israel more than twice has some kind of story like this. Everyone.
Maybe. I've been to Israel more than twice and have yet to have Israeli security pay any attention to me. But according to the article, if some have their way such stories will be a thing of the past:
The incident was reported in Israel's largest newspaper and on an Israeli television news and interview program. "The security guards should be sent home or (the airport) will become a mental asylum," said Motti Kirshenbaum, a veteran commentator and host of the Channel 10 TV program.

Israel is constantly on the alert for attack because of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and extremist Islamic rejection of the Jewish state's existence. Security is strict at all entry points and inside the country.

Israel is famous for the effectiveness of its airport security. But a key element in its security checks is ethnic profiling. The practice has been criticized by Israeli human rights campaigners as racist because it singles out Arabs for tougher treatment.
At a time when Israel's enemies are becoming more confident and there are indications that Hizbollah is looking to kidnap Israelis abroad, relaxing security is not the way to go. Airport security would be one more area of Israeli prowess to be downsized. Let's face the facts: if Arabs come in for tougher treatment, it may have something to do with the percentage of anti-Israel terrorists who are Arab.

An incident like this is not reason for Israeli security to lose a step.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Anonymous said...

I don't think he was forced to dance. The same interrogation type deal, but over much longer period of time, happened on my trip. They also sat me between 2 soldiers (in street clothes), but I just figured almost everyone's a soldier over there. They just want proof for who you claim to be and what you claim to be doing in going to Israel. Totally fair. Lots of American blacks choose Islamic names rather than are born with them, and since Islam is an not only a religion but an ideology, it's not really fare to say he was being profiled for religion either.

Daled Amos said...

From the description in the article--that he did not really dance, just moved a bit--it was enough that he did something...anything, I guess without showing hesitation.

Daled Amos said...

The proof that I am right comes from a commenter who responded to what Podhoretz wrote:

I recall flying to Israel, and being asked to explain quantum gravity, to prove I was
really a physicist.

Since it is unlikely the security person had a background in physics, it is likely he wanted to see the reaction to the request to prove himself, regardless of whether the person danced or gave a discourse on quantum mechanics.