Posted by: John | January 24, 2008

My crime in Israel – being an individual!

Having passed through Ben-Gurion airport and having been appalled by the attitude of the security personnel I found this on a website:

`That’s why Ben-Gurion Airport security staff emphasize intelligence gathering in security. Every passenger going through Ben-Gurion Airport undergoes questioning. Israel won’t divulge the specifics of its process, but it will say that screeners ask a multitude of questions fitted to each individual. The questions allow screeners to assess behaviour patterns. The screeners, most of whom are young people who have finished their compulsory military duty, learn exactly what to look for and how to rate a passenger as a possible threat. The more suspicious a passenger, the more intensively screened that person will be.`

My `crimes` were

a) Rubbing out my father’s first name for being too twee on the who to contact in emergencies and replacing with Mr & Mrs Abrams

 b) Having an old photograph (passport is 9 years old)

c) Having the audacity to stay in Tel Aviv for 6 days

d) Having the problem of broken glasses taped up and thus a ticket that is altered to get back home to have new ones

I am heartened to see on the website that they class me as the same as Richard Reid the shoebomber! Thanks Israel.

What it all means of course is that a holiday there will become a real hassle – having to keep all museum receipts, all hotel receipts, not being able to stay with friends or with Ebab accommodation. Then the fact that you’re not really trusted in the country.

The Security and Immigration services of a country is the face of a country. If I find that they are not welcoming and polite I will go elsewhere.

Of course what it means for us in Britain is to vehemently say no to ID cards – what ID cards do is to allow questioning by the state of any `irregular` behaviour and thus free-thinking individuals.

It seems that because I didn’t have a regular `story` for the security officials ie I’m an independent traveller who goes where he likes in a country, takes his time in places and has an open mind that means I’m under suspicion.

Well sorry Israel you can p*ss off.

I’ve been to Auschwitz, Birkenau and Berlin holocaust museum – I even cried at Auschwitz.

Israelis and Jews get real.

The holocaust was 52 years ago. Yes it was awful, yes we should remember but don’t take it out on innocent people like me. Get over it!



  1. Look, the security forces at the airports are rude and aggressive, probably unnecessarily so. But really, grow up. Stop being so precious. Israel genuinely does have security problems and enough people motivated to attack its civilian targets, like planes (remember those hijacked el al flights or the attempts to shoot planes down in Kenya?). Now I think most security checks are for the benefit of keeping people calm not catching criminals and as such are unnecessary. However, if you don’t like it, don’t go. They feel they have to be rigorous and intrusive, you feel you have to be prissy. Those two can’t coexist. They have less reason to budge than you so you can just never go there again. I’m sure they don’t mind.

    As for you holocaust comment, that is very offensive. So what if you cried at Aushwitz, what difference should that make? The holocaust may be a constant scar on the minds of a lot of Jewish people, especially the Ashkenazim, but to try to link the security apparatus in an airport, which is there to safeguard against hickjackings and bombings which have occurred with relative frequency, with the horror of the holocaust. They are not linked. As for get over it. Now, of course we should all try to get over the second world war but that does mean forget. Once forgotten those crimes can occur again, as history shows us. Tell the Jews to get over it? Get over yourself.

    As for the equating of all Jews with some border guard thugs at Ben-Gurion airport, well that’s a very disturbing leap of logic. You do realize that the majority of Jews don’t live in Israel and don’t have Israeli citizenship. That’s a choice because all those who were good enough for Hilter’s ovens are good enough for the state of Israel. So not only are you generalising about all Israelis but you are tarring at least some 9 million other people with the same brush. Now this sort of racial generalization leads to certain things when people forget. Remember?

  2. I have nothing but praise for the diaspora who I think are remarkably integrated people.

    It does seem that Israeli jews are precious themselves.

    I could say the same about how I was treated by being a Gay man at 17 – but hey life moves on and things turn 180 degrees in many respects.

    You are right – the Israeli authorities care not whether or not I travel there – so I definitely won’t be going again. Then why should they care when the US subsidises the place by billions of dollars?

  3. One must be careful to always distinguish between the Government of the State of Israel and ‘Jews’. There are millions of Jews who are horrified by the ‘terrorism’ carried out by the Government of Israel against the Palestinians. James Schneider treads the well worn path of casting the State of Israel as ‘victim’. If that ever was true it has not been so for well over a decade. The history of how we got to where we are from the terrorism of the Jews against the British in the aftermath of WWII (remember the bombing of the King David Hotel?) via the crackpots (mostly British) who drew straight lines on a map to carve out ‘nations’ in the middle east with no regard to the culture & history of the people that lived there, through the Arab/Israeli wars, is material for academic text books. It is easy to be selective to prove ones point.

    But, as politicians love to say, we are where we are, and since 1967 the US in particular has allowed the Government of Israel to literally get away with murder. It is fact that Israeli attacks in Palestine have killed many times more Palestinian women & children than Palestinian terrorists have Israelis. It is fact that Israel was allowed to develop a nuclear arsenal and jailed their own citizen who exposed this to the world. It is fact that the Government of Israel is in breach of more UN resolutions,(not including those that the US vetoed) and for longer, than Saddam Hussein ever was. It is fact that Israeli settlements on the West Bank are on stolen land – and the best land. It is fact that Israel is building a dividing wall regardless of any legality. Hard luck Mr Palestinian if this wall cuts off your house from your land. And so on and so on.

    And in spite of all this effort by the Government of Israel its’ citizens are as insecure as they ever were, if not more so. Can they, and the likes of James Schneider, not see that this Israeli policy, and the casting of Israel as victim, has been a policy failure of heroic proportions.

    I am not arguing that the Palestinian (or Arab) leadership is blameless in all of this. Far from it. But it is Israel (and the US) that hold all the power play cards, both politically and militarily, and it is THEY who have to make the changes and sacrifices that are necessary for peace. The Palestinians have almost nothing left to sacrifice and talk of ‘even handedness’ between the State of Israel and the Palestinians in the pursuit of a peace accord is just political bull shit.

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