Palestinian journalist is humiliated by Israeli security at US ambassador’s July 4th party

This very disturbing Associated Press news item from the New York Times appeared in my mailbox this morning. An expanded version of the story is, here, from the Star Tribune (Minneapolis).

The U.S.-funded Alhurra network said Thursday that one of its cameramen was interrogated and strip-searched by Israeli security men while covering a July 4 party at the U.S. ambassador’s residence near Tel Aviv….

…when cameraman Samer Jallad arrived, he said he was detained for questioning, ordered to remove his shoes and sit in the sun for more than half an hour, and then taken to a room where he was forced to remove his pants for a body inspection. He said he was held for more than 90 minutes before he was permitted to enter.

It was the latest in a string of incidents in which Israeli security have used heavy-handed tactics against Arab journalists, a practice Israel has defended as necessary for security….

The Foreign Press Association, which represents international media in Israel, called on the U.S. Embassy to condemn the incident….

…The embassy and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had no immediate comment.

It is bad enough that the U.S. sends a partisan Jewish Zionist like Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, whose background raises questions about his ability to represent U.S. interests in Tel Aviv, but he is not the first pro-Israel advocate to hold this post and undoubtedly will not be the last.

However, I think the American people have a right to know if the U.S. Ambassador to Israel believes that it is appropriate for him to sit around the American embassy with the Israeli Prime Minister on the Fourth of July while Israeli security grossly and publicly violates the human rights of a Palestinian cameraman – a transgression that had absolutely no possible security justification. It is plainly another demonstration of Israeli racism.

Given the lack of response of the U.S. embassy to the Foreign Press Association request to condemn the incident, I think it is appropriate to ask if being a proper host for Shapiro means tolerating or maybe even participating in this vile deployment of Israeli security.

Maybe the next thing we will learn about this Fourth of July party at the embassy is that it included Shapiro and the embassy staff eating barbecue while meekly listening to Netanyahu tell Palestinian jokes.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , ,

{ 14 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. just says:

    The whole thing is astonishing, and not a peep from Kerry’s State Dept! I’ve been checking since the AP put it out yesterday.

    From your cite, this blew me away yesterday as well:

    “It was the latest in a string of incidents in which Israeli security have used heavy-handed tactics against Arab journalists, a practice Israel has defended as necessary for security. Jallad, who said he has covered Netanyahu on many occasions, is a Palestinian from east Jerusalem who holds full Israeli residency rights and has a government-issued press card.”

    Democracy??????

    Ira– I promise you they would not be listening “meekly” during jokes.

    Thanks for writing about this blatant and apparently US endorsed racism.

  2. Denis says:

    With respect, Ira, I think the right question has to be asked here: Was this reporter singled out for such treatment or is it applied to non-Palestinians as well? We can’t tell from what we have.

    It’s like the IRS “scandal.” The right wing-nuts blew up b/c the IRS was searching on the term “Tea Party” for phony applications for 501(c)(4) status. But that was not the proper question. If the IRS was searching on all reasonable terms — right and left — and “Tea Party” was one of those terms, which it should have been, then there was no foul.

    Discrimination does not occur when one side has been treated badly unless the other side has not. We don’t know that is the case here, however likely it may be.

    • Inanna says:

      Oh please, stow the sanctimony. The comment right above you by just tells how this is a pattern with Arab and Palestinian journalists. Anyone who read the linked article or followed this site on a regular basis knows that this is not an isolated incident against Arab journalists in Israel and that non-Arab journalists are not treated this way (except those who cover the Friday protests in the West Bank who get skunk and tear gas canisters aimed at them).

      You hide behind faux logic and ‘lawfare’ but you cannot hide the rotten core of zionism – theft, massacre, ethnic cleansing, deep, deep guilt assuaged by projection and hyper-militarism to maintain its ill-gotten gains.

      • seafoid says:

        Ya Inanna

        It’s the colonial system. There are 7 steps.

        There is no point in getting sucked into arguments about whether or not the strip searches were applied to everyone . Just refer to whatever stage of the system they are defending.

        Humiliation does not apply to the colonising party. Neither do any of the other six.

        link to nybooks.com

        “Fulbrook demonstrates that what to Klausa was “only administration” was in fact the implementation of policies that

        1 humiliated
        2 expropriated
        3 exploited
        4 impoverished
        5 starved,
        6 uprooted,
        and
        7 finally murdered “

      • Denis says:

        Stow the sanctimony?? I’m just warming it up.

        The position I stated was that it doesn’t do us any good to be too simple minded about these accusations of discrimination, but I see you disagree. No problem, simple mindedness fuels a lot of worthwhile sentiment in this world. But I am incredulous at your assertion that: “the comment right above you by just proves there is pattern of discrimination against Arab and Palestinian journalists.”

        Proves???? You calling that comment proof?? Let’s check it out. . .

        “just” quotes from an anonymous StarTribune article dated Jul04 that Ira linked to in the post. This quote is apparently the one that has your dander up for it is the only part of that article relevant to your assertions of generalized discrimination against Palestinian journalists. I reproduce it here once again because it is your “proof”:

        It was the latest in a string of incidents in which Israeli security have used heavy-handed tactics against Arab journalists, a practice Israel has defended as necessary for security. Jallad, who said he has covered Netanyahu on many occasions, is a Palestinian from east Jerusalem who holds full Israeli residency rights and has a government-issued press card.

        Look closely and you might be able to see your glaring lack of logic. That quote, when read fairly, is actually evidence that there is no such generalized discrimination.

        The paragraph says that Jallad, who was the one who had to drop trou at the US embassy, is an Arab reporter who has “covered Netanyahu on many occasions.” And yet there is no assertion whatsoever that Jallad has been previously harassed or “strip searched.” I mean, the whole purpose of that line is to emphasize how outrageous it is that in this instance an experienced reporter has been subjected to (what they are calling) a “strip search.” The StarTribune hack did not say: “And for the 50th time in his career covering Bibi, Samer Jallad was once again singled out for harassment.”

        There is no assertion from Jallad – or anyone except the anonymous StarTribune hack – that this misadventure was same-old-same-old for him or any other Palestinian reporter. The event is newsworthy precisely because it was a one-off violation of Jallad’s press credentials. The fact that the Foreign Press Assoc is making a stink further indicates that it was not an everyday event.

        So, what we have is a tiny poll with n=1 in which a single Arab journalist who has covered BiBi for years has – for all we can tell by all the information before us – only been subjected to this type of harassment one time, and that was when gaining access to the US compound. And this is “proof” of what????

        You feel that you are somehow able to devine proof in the comment by “just” or in the StarTribune article that Arab journalists are routinely subjected to such harassment while Jewish or other pro-Israel journalists are not. Well, if an anonymous StarTribune hack saying “[i]n the latest string of incidents” is all you need to be convinced that there is a string of such incidents, then I would like to hook you up with a rabbi friend of mine in Brooklyn who wants to sell you a really decent bridge.

        And before more echo chamber cockroaches come out to misrepresent my position, I am not condoning what happened to Jallad, and I thank Ira for bringing this event to our attention. What I’m saying is that I am not willing to generalize from this single event to the conclusion that harassment of Palestinian journalists is a part of the whole Israeli apartheid thing.

        Of course, I would not be shocked if they are not harassed; those in power almost always screw with whatever messengers are trying to expose their misdeeds – witness Snowden and Manning. But Bibi smoozing Shapiro on the Fourth of July is hardly a misdeed worthy of targeting reporters with international credentials. This Jallad event, however annoying it is, does not “prove” anything except that the US ambassador to Israel is surrounded by dick-head security, and even that conclusion is provisional until we get their side of the story.

    • Citizen says:

      @ Denis
      Yes, it’s like the IRS scandal (no quote bumpers) because that involved the fact that more than the majority of those targeted were from Tea Party type organizations, and most of those targeted that were not, got their stamp of approval in a timely manner, while the Tea Party groups did not, and that hampered their impact on the last POTUS elections. Both the heavily disproportionate targeting and the much longer delay regarding the Tea Party applicants for 501(c)(4) status is analgous to the negative disparate treatment of Arab and Palestinian journalists.

      • Denis says:

        @Citizen: “the heavily disproportionate targeting”

        I think you are absolutely on the right track in bringing that word “disproportionate” into the discussion, both of the IRS and racial profiling of journalists.

        Nobody seems to be talking disproportion with respect to the attack on the IRS. But some are: link to logophere.com

        I have no idea where your assertions are coming from, and you don’t say. I don’t know of any analysis that says the Tea Party hunt was disproportionate — the question is pretty well ignored, certainly by Issa. But the right wing-nuts came out of the woodwork after Citizens United and Gregory of the IRS said that those right-wing groups were the predominate ones going for the 501(c)(4) tax breaks, which would seem to mean that any competent IRS mule would focus on right wing-nut names when drawing up a “be on the lookout for” list. See LogoPhere link above.

        Did the security mules at the US ambassador’s residence disproportionately search Arab journalists? Well, there is absolutely no evidence to support that allegation in the post or in the articles linked to in the post. Nothing but empty, imaginative accusations by commenters here who weren’t there.

  3. Rusty Pipes says:

    Perhaps they were celebrating the Fourth of July by talking about the high ideals of America’s original documents. Inspired by the 18th Century attitudes of our Founding Fathers, if Israel ever gets around to writing a Constitution, would it define Palestinians as 3/5 human or only 1/5? When Netanyahu was visiting the US, they even strip-searched a pregnant Arab American reporter who had been invited to an event for him.

    • amigo says:

      When Netanyahu was visiting the US, they even strip-searched a pregnant Arab American reporter who had been invited to an event for him.
      RP

      Recall the treatment given to the Palestinian 5 Cameras Oscar nominee.

      Denis and his fellow travelers should travel a little more and deal with their self inflicted myopia.

  4. American says:

    Do not appoint anyone with a confirmed zionist background to any US position.
    There will always be a conflict of interest.
    Even if there is no question of disloyalty to the US there will still be their emotional attachment to Israel that will affect how they carry out their job in many ways. And in the case of Ambassadors, how they represent the US to the world and in this case in partcular, what Shapiro says to Israelis behind closed doors and how he chooses to ‘frame”what he passes on to the US from Israel.
    It doesnt work 99 x out of 100…doesnt matter how otherwise ethical or loyal they may be, it’s not worth the risk for the US…..just like the otherwise respected Goldstone, the pressure to cave to Israel on something critical will always occur and few would be able to stand up to it.

    • Citizen says:

      “Do not appoint anyone with a confirmed zionist background to any US position.
      There will always be a conflict of interest.”
      I agree. But I feel the urge to state the obvious: the only failsafe litmust test for US elected officials and their top level appointees is administered by AIPAC & it’s network, forming the influential Jewish Establishment in USA. Your recommendation would reverse the Israel First priority present reality in USA politics. How can that be done, given current US campaign finance system and the complicity of the mainstream media? (And I haven’t even mentioned the Hagee input, nor the military-industrial-security complex, which is Big Business)

  5. ymedad says:

    well, at least you’re “retired”.