Sunday, 3 September 2017

In Israel to be an Arab is in itself grounds for suspicion

Israel's Racial Profiling is Donald Trump's Wet Dream

In Israel racial profiling is taken for granted.  Arabs are automatically assumed to be guilty unless proven otherwise.  At Ben Gurion Airport and at bus stations if an Arab or minority member doesn’t have ID then they are automatically detained. 
Editorial in Israel's only liberal daily paper
There are of course some people who claim that Zionism is not racist.  Some are merely ignorant but there are those, like the Jewish Labour Movement, whose sole job it is to accuse Israel's critics of 'antiSemitism' in order to deflect attention from the racism of the Israeli settler colonial state.

Tony Greenstein

Racial profiling by station guards is a racist, discriminatory and illegal practice applied to Israeli minority members. It must be prohibited

The controversial profiling system – based on ethnic-national appearance – practiced at border and passport controls has spread inland and now security guards in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station have been ordered to ethnically profile Arabs.

Anyone who looks like a Palestinian Arab supposedly constitutes a risk, which justifies a security check on him. The guards demand identification from people who appear to be Arab and detain Arabs who fail to present documents, thus exceeding their authority under the law (Ilan Lior, Wednesday).

Israeli soldiers and police officer at Tel Aviv bus station
The security guards say they “only check the identification of people who look like they are members of the [Arab] minority.” Even worse – the guards don’t focus strictly on securing the bus terminal and the buses, but are “moonlighting” as policemen, without being authorized or qualified to do so. 

“It’s hunting down illegal aliens for sport. The entire system has been harnessed to it and the guards argue with each other over how many illegals they managed to catch, as though they were dealing with animals,” one guard said. Others said that on a daily basis, they detain five to 20 Palestinians who don’t have permits to be in Israel, without documenting this in their reports. A guard said their instructions are “to stop them and pull them aside and demand an ID card. If they don’t have one, we must call the police.”
Security Guards at Tel Aviv Bus Station
“Sometimes they stand for half an hour or 40 minutes until the police come,” he said.

The guards do this not only at the entrance to the bus terminal, but inside the buses as well. “Anyone who looks like a minority member I tell him please take out identification. If he does and I see it’s expired, I take him off the bus and call the police. It’s checking people like an idiot, like a robot, looking only at the faces,” another guard said.
racial profiling at Ben Gurion airport
 The security company’s director at the terminal claimed the guards’ inspection is based on suspicious signs in people’s behavior and appearance, and on the police’s instructions, regardless of religion, gender or race. But the guards say their inspection of Jews is different from their inspection of Arabs. “Jews we are allowed to detain only if they have a knife, brass knuckles or things like that. We don’t check their ID cards or anything,” a guard said.

The law for maintaining public security stipulates that security guards have the authority to detain a person until a policeman comes, if there’s reasonable suspicion that he’s carrying a weapon illegally or is about to use a weapon illegally. The law also permits a guard to detain a person if he has carried out a violent act or if there’s an immediate threat of his doing so. But the security guards at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station base their suspicions on ethnic or national affiliation.

This is a racist, discriminatory, illegal practice applied to Israeli minority members, and it must be prohibited. The police must also order the security guards to stop detaining Palestinians without permits, because this is not within their authority.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Haaretz Editorial


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