Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wardah Khalid's "Ordeal"

As Huffington Post bloggers go, I always thought that Wardah Khalid was a pretty reasonable one. Sure, her main qualification for writing seems to be that she is a Muslim, and that is what most of her articles are about.  And her article about visiting Israel looked like it was going to be pretty reasonable, or at least that is what it seemed at first.

We have often mentioned how much the Huffington Post loves any kind of anti-Israel article or blog post, and there is a subsection of that about airports. Anyone who goes to Israel and has something to whine about in the airport there gets an article. If you're denied entry, even better! The Huffington Post blogger stable will go to bat for you, especially if you're professional anti-Israel propagandists like they are.

That being said, Khalid starts off okay with what sounds like understanding toward Israel, i.e. why when she went there she might be given a little more attention than a white grandmother from Oklahoma:
"Friends who previously visited the region warned me that as a Muslim, I was sure to receive "special treatment" (aka a hard time) by Israeli officers when attempting to cross the border. So I wasn't the least bit surprised when the agent checking my passport a few minutes earlier asked me to wait to the side for additional questioning. I'm brown, possess an Arab sounding name and wear a headscarf. There's a good chance I'm Muslim and therefore, an automatic national security threat."
It is possible that she is being sarcastic (as the whole piece has a sense of self-righteousness and "poor me" attitude), but one would hope that she would know that Israel is under constant threat of Muslim terrorism and will protect itself accordingly. But it doesn't seem that way because she whines about how mean they are to her, a Muslim! Oh boo hoo hoo. It doesn't even matter that she is American, and therefore part of a nation that is also concerned about Muslim terrorism.

Anyway the story is that after passing a first round of questioning when trying to enter Israel from Jordan, she had to wait for a long time before going through another round. We learn that she went to Pakistan by herself, earlier. Nothing suspicious about that right?

Yep, that's it. No torture, no "humiliating" strip search, or e-mail check, or deportation. She had to wait for a long time, got questioned, and then was let into Israel. For that, we get all this whining on the Huffington Post.

Remember that sense of self-righteousness? It comes back when Khalid deploys her wit of the staircase on an Israeli TSA official:
""Sorry about the wait," she says as we sit down."I'm sure you are," I want to quip back. "Forcing me to wait for hours for no reason while you let the blonde girl in front of me go through without a hitch, making me miss what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to pray Jummah prayer in one of the holiest mosques on Earth, and treating me like a security threat simply because of my faith, which is actually quite similar to yours. Yes, I'm sure you are very sorry.""
Maybe if Khalid was paying attention to the world around here, she would know that people of her faith have been murdering people in Israel in the name of their religion for decades. If "blonde girls" had been hijacking airplanes all the way back in the 1970s, they would be the ones being interviewed right now and you would be the one bypassing the line. It isn't because of your faith that you are being interviewed, but because people of your faith have walked into Israel and committed murder literally thousands of times. Guess what? Sometimes the world doesn't work out the way that you want to it and if you don't like dealing with Israeli airport security, maybe you should try using your platform on the Huffington Post to stand against Arab and Muslim terrorism so that they wouldn't have to have it anymore. But I guess it's a lot easier to whine about Israel isn't it? That is what the Huffington Post readership really wants to hear about.

As for this complaining about the "Jummah prayer," it happens once a week and as an atheist, I'm not that sympathetic to this particular direction of whining. It isn't the Israelis problem that you don't show up on time to things that you want to do. It is their problem to make sure that you aren't going to murder innocent people when you come into their country. Similarly, this is just sad:
"I have nothing to hide, but I also don't have time to waste sitting around answering personal questions from suspicious officers in this security facility."
Listen to the arrogant American! If you don't have time to deal with their security procedures, here's a simple idea: Don't go to Israel. But since you made that decision to choose to go, you have to deal with their policies. They aren't going to change them no matter how loudly you whine. If you want to pray in a holy mosque, go to Saudi Arabia where they are no Jews around for miles. I'm sure you would be much happier.

As if all this wasn't pathetic enough, let's check out Khalid's conclusion:
 "If Israelis believe they can deter me from visiting the Holy Land through these tactics, they are wrong. Muslims, Jews and Christians all have a right to experience their rich religious history in this sacred place. If anything, my ordeal on the Israeli border only made me that more determined to try, God willing, to visit Jerusalem again one day."
First of all, if the Israelis wanted to deter you from entering their country, they would have stamped a big old "REJECTED" on your visa and shown your arrogant butt the door. Sure you would have fought back with a whiny article on the Huffington Post but obviously you did that anyway. Believe it or not the world doesn't revolve around you and any reader of the HP (including Khalid's own friends) would have told you that it is  very common for Muslims to have to deal with that when entering Israel. So don't fool yourself into thinking Benjamin Netanyahu picked up a phone and asked the TSA to "deter" Wardah Khalid from visiting Israel. You just aren't that special.

In that respect, an "ordeal?" Really? You had to wait for a long time in an airport. I guarantee you that at least half of all Americans have experienced that. The people in Syria are going through an ordeal. The people in Sudan are going through an ordeal. You are simply whining and seeking attention because you need to drive traffic to your Huffington Post column.

Finally, "determined to try, God willing, to visit Jerusalem again one day?" What the hell is up with that? You went to Israel, eventually got through border security, and went to Jerusalem without a problem? Where was your fictitious God in all of that, and where exactly was the difficulty? Did it appear at any point that they weren't going to let you in? Or do you just like sounding dramatic?

Just kidding, I think we all know the answer to that last question. Fortunately the readership all pretty much panned her for complaining, especially when she admitted knowing in advance that this might happen.


  1. Here's a thought. Before you decide to lay judgement on someone else's experience, try it yourself. Go to Israel. Wear a headscarf. Preferably change your name to something Arabic and darken your skin (unless you already have darker skin... I obviously can't tell). But THEN try and see how it feels to get into Israel. If you feel it wasn't an experience that was humiliating and frustrating, then you're entitled to your judgement on Wardah. But until then, you have no earthly idea. None whatsoever.

    -An American born to Palestinian parents who HAS been subject to the worst humiliation of her life at the hands of Israeli soldiers.

  2. Zach,

    My name is Wardah Khalid and I am the author of this HuffPost blog. While I’m flattered that you would devote an entire article to try to “dismantle” my post, I unfortunately do not have the time (or desire) to write a full response. I would, however, like to clarify a few things beginning with why you decided to discuss my blog in the first place.

    You consider yourself the anti-Semitism police, but I don’t consider myself anti-Semitic. In fact, there is nothing against Jews or Israel in my post. I was simply writing about my experience getting into the country. Go online and you’ll find people complaining about McDonald’s getting their order wrong. I hardly think it was out of line for me to express my thoughts while attempting to visit Jerusalem on my religion blog in the religion section of the HuffPost. You claim I should use my platform to condemn terrorism, but instead of reading my previous articles and seeing that I do in fact condemn it, you dismiss my words as “whining.”

    And yes, I did know what I was getting into, but that did not make the wait any less frustrating. I am human, after all. You claim I am arrogant regarding my treatment yet you are the one who suggests I should be forever grateful that I wasn’t “strip searched, tortured or deported.” I stand by my argument that endless waiting and such procedures are a means of deterrence. A big rejection stamp is not the only way to accomplish this. Also, I last visited Pakistan in 2006 with family so no, it should not arouse suspicion. Please get your facts straight before making assumptions.

    I’m sorry that you “as an atheist” cannot understand my reverence for the Jummah prayer, but as a human, at least have some respect and tolerance for my beliefs. You could start by learning that Muslims often use the phrase “InshAllah” or “God willing” to describe the future, as I did about visiting Jerusalem. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic. I was saying that if God willed it for me, I’d visit again, despite my experience getting in the first time.

    Salaam (that means peace),

    1. Hi Wardah, thanks for stopping by our little corner of the internet. I would like to have a reasonable discussion about this with you, but that is going to have to start with not putting words in each others' mouth. I referenced your piece to write my response to it, I would appreciate it if you granted me the same courtesy. With that in mind:

      I'm glad you don't consider yourself to be anti-Semitic. I don't consider you to be anti-Semitic either.

      That being said, the entire point of your piece was "against Israel." Let's not kid ourselves. You have yourself convinced that "the Israelis" (your words) have it out for you and seek to deter you from entering their country.

      I did not suggest that you should "be grateful" that you weren't strip searched, etc. What I am saying is that if you had, your claims that it was an "ordeal" (again, you words) would ring slightly less hollow. Let's be honest: you had to wait a long time in an airport and answering annoying questions. Do you think that is worse than what a child in Sudan goes through on a daily basis? Really?

      Finally, I ask you to engage in a little bit of self-reflection regarding why you and not a "blonde girl" were singled out when entering Israel. You are not a stupid person and you are capable of looking things up on the Internet. There is absolutely no reason in the world why you would not know about the thousands of terrorist attacks on Israeli committed by people who share your religion and ethnic background. Even if you don't think that's a good reason for them to give you a closer look than blonde women (hint: it is) that doesn't justify you writing a misleading piece on the Huffington Post and sweeping all those thousands of dead under the rug. Israel can't afford to.

      Just something to think about,


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