"Arab Americans attempting to enter Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories are now frequently being forced to open up their emails so Israeli border security can go through their messages and chats. When 42-year old Palestinian American Sandra Tamari refused to log into her Gmail to let Israeli border police go through it, she was expelled from the country."Point #1: It's not just Arab Americans. All sorts of people have been screened in this way, from many different countries and backgrounds. The race card is the whole basis of Mr. Baddar's article so he uses it early and often, even if he ends up contradicting himself later.
Point #2: Do you see the contradiction here? Ms. Tamari didn't let the border police log into her Gmail and so she was not allowed in. Therefore, she was not "forced," as Mr. Baddar claimed. No one is forced to do anything at a security checkpoint, whether in an airport or anywhere else. If you don't comply with the police, no problem, you just get turned around and sent home. It happens all the time, and I think Mr. Baddar knows that.
Point #3: She wasn't expelled from the country. She wasn't allowed into the country. That's what it means to be stopped at the border.
So right in the first paragraph Mr. Baddar is already spinning a story to try and wring even more water out of that stone. This pattern continues throughout the story, let's take a look at a couple examples:
"For decades, the Arab American community has suffered discrimination and harassment by Israeli authorities upon attempting to visit Israel or Palestine. "Boo hoo. Guess what: everybody gets treated badly at the airport. It doesn't matter what nationality you are, there are hundreds of people inconvenienced by airport security not only in Israel but in America too. Even Jews get pulled into interrogation rooms sometimes, not that Mr. Baddar would ever admit it. But I'm not blind, I'm sure that Arabs are treated differently in Israeli airports. But again, there's a reason for that, not that Mr. Baddar would ever admit it.
But no, it's much easier to just throw down the race card, throw up your hands, and start complaining. And the thing is, this is a place where Israel probably deserves legitimate criticism. After all, in this particular interest they were not screening for terrorism they were screening for terrorist-supporters (aka "human rights activists") and accordingly the security requirements of the state does not mandate searching their email. The trouble is that Mr. Baddar doesn't give the issue the kind of measured and objective analysis that it deserves. If he had said that yes Arabs have a long history of shooting/bombing/hijacking Israeli airplanes even if it follows with the inevitable BUT..., I still would have given him more credit. Instead he just piles one complaint on top of another and has no intention of looking at any other points of view.
At this point he quotes a letter that he wrote three years ago with another laundry list of accusations, including that the Israelis make Palestinians give up their US passports, which I find suspicious. Other complaints include:
"Arab Americans trapped in Gaza and prohibited from exiting into Israel...numerous reports from American-born U.S. citizens of Palestinian descent or Arab heritage being singled out for prolonged questioning on entry and departure, and burdensome and discriminatory visa requirements imposed upon Palestinian Americans severely impacting their families and businesses."First of all, Mr. Baddar isn't fooling anyone with this Gaza complaint. If they are trapped there then how did they get into Gaza in the first place? Probably through Egypt, the existence of which Mr. Baddar apparently forgot about when he wrote this article. Israel isn't obligated to let anyone in from Gaza, whether they are Americans or not. Funny how the demand for American exceptionalism returns when an opportunity appears to drive a wedge between us and the Israelis.
As for everything else this goes back to what he was saying before: there are consequences to being part of a nation with a history of murdering Israelis, even if you do hold American citizenship. Mr. Baddar doesn't appear to mind that Jews aren't allowed to go to Arab countries under any circumstances, nor does he appear to care about indignities suffered at American airports. As I said before he has a legitimate case here but as usual has to try and blow it up into another scandal. Fortunately based on the reaction of the commentators below the line, he doesn't appear to be fooling anyone.
Let's move on:
"The U.S. government has a serious responsibility here to tell Israel, a country that draws unprecedented (indeed, too much) military aid and diplomatic support from the U.S., that they must treat all our citizens with respect, regardless of their ethnic origin."As close as I can tell, Israel's border police treats everyone the same i.e. guilty until proven innocent. Regardless Mr. Baddar's whining is incredibly disingenuous. Egypt receives almost as much aid as Israel does but Mr. Baddar doesn't care how they treat Americans. Nor would Mr. Baddar care if tomorrow an America was murdered by one of his fellow Arabs. So let's not pretend that this is about Americans, because it isn't. It's about Arabs. Complaining, again, because they tried to go to the West Bank and throw rocks and soldiers but got caught.
When it comes to airports and border security, there is no such thing as "respect." Not in America, not in Israel. I have a feeling that Mr. Baddar has flown recently so he is surely aware of it. Coming to Israel (and any foreign country) is not a right, it's a privilege that can be revoked at any time. Earlier Mr. Baddar complained that America is not defending its citizens "right to travel." Of course they aren't, because there is no such thing as a right to travel. If there were, 95% of the Arab League would be violating millions of Americans' rights to travel on a daily basis, and have been for decades. Not that Mr. Baddar would ever write an article on the Huffington Post complaining about that. Heck no, selective outrage is all he'll produce.
Finally, here's a concluding paragraph in which he completely contradicts his own article:
"If you haven't noticed signs of this, consider the strip-searching of Dan Rather's camera crew, the "blatant cruelty" that a pregnant New York Times journalist faced, and countless other examples of Israeli mistreatment of visitors. This is the time for all Americans to demand a stronger position from our government on this troublesome trend."So after hammering on the race card the entire article, Mr. Baddar now admits that the Israelis will just as easily "mistreat" a white person than anyone else. If that's a legitimate point of view, okay with me. I've never been a fan of the airport security either here or there. But if that's the position you want to take than take the Arab thing out of it, and make it about people (or at least Americans) in general.
But somehow I think Mr. Baddar isn't so willing to do that.