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A peek inside the Israeli subconscious as revealed at the King Hussein crossing from Jordan

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An American friend of mine recently traveled from Amman to Jenin. She was going to participate in the annual olive harvest that occurs across countries in the region at this time of year. In Palestine, olive-picking – painstaking labor conducted in the sometimes fierce autumn sun – is something that people do together. It requires coordination among villagers and in places like Jenin extended family and friends freely offer their help, which is freely accepted. The harvest has always strengthened bonds among people. But in Palestine, it has come to represent something more.

Travelers from Jordan know that occupation regime controls all entry into the country. Upon reaching the King Hussein crossing my friend was pulled aside by the Israelis on the Palestinian side of the terminal.

“What’s the purpose of your visit?”

My friend opted for the truth.

“I’m visiting a friend in Jenin.”

The questioning proceeded in the usual way before:

“Where are you staying?”

“With his family,” she replied.

That led to deeper, more intrusive questions. The kinds of things that normal people in normal countries aren’t required to share about themselves. Finally, in an aggressive tone the Israeli interrogator asked her whether she knew that the man she was visiting in Jenin was a “Muslim.”

My friend – who struggled to work through the implications of the question – was undeterred. Yes, she knew that the family she was visiting with was a Muslim one.

The Israeli looked at her. She stared, then asked earnestly, “Are you afraid?”

Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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14 Responses

  1. Karl Dubhe on October 20, 2014, 11:41 am

    I would be very tempted to answer that ‘yes, I was very afraid’

    Not finishing the sentence with ‘of not being let in to help.’

  2. just on October 20, 2014, 11:56 am

    wow.

    Thank you Ahmed.

  3. Talkback on October 20, 2014, 12:19 pm

    A occupation soldier wearing a kippa … The kippa has become a symbol of oppression for me. Wherever I see someone wearing it outside a synagoge I connect it mere public display with the support of Israel’s crimes. Can’t help it, that’s just the way it is.

    • Xpat on October 20, 2014, 9:24 pm

      It’s not just outside the synagogue. it’s inside the synagogue too. That is where you will hear anti-Muslim/Arab racism spoken in a casual tone. Synagogues have become safe places for Jewish racists to speak honestly. These racists are mainstream, upstanding people. There are enough of them to warrant calling synagogues out for not doing enough to counter the perception by Jews that Judaism is racist.

      • Talkback on October 21, 2014, 8:04 am

        Yes, but there are also obvious reasons for wearing the kippa in the synagogue.

        Wearing it outside seems to me to increase the probabilty for being a national rather than a religious symbol.

  4. Bornajoo on October 20, 2014, 3:35 pm

    @Talkback
    You’re not alone on that one. I’m afraid it also has the same effect on me.

  5. piotr on October 20, 2014, 3:58 pm

    This is not subconsciousness, but systematic indoctrination and prejudice. I visited Israel around 1990, and got a bit lost near Cesarea on Friday afternoon, together with my family, and that means onset of Shabbat and loosing the last ride on public transit. An Orthodox man “saved us”, inviting to his home and calling a Shabbat breaking taxi driver (a Ukrainian), and commented that we were in danger, because if we continued walking in the direction we tried, we would reach an Arab community. I could imagine a similar situation in Brooklyn or Queens.

    Even somewhat liberal Israelis would discuss the Israeli Arabs as “enemies”, and the Muslim under the occupation are of course “savages” — at least to the majority of Jewish Israelis who are not “somewhat liberal” anymore.

  6. Eva Smagacz on October 20, 2014, 6:39 pm

    This story still hounds me – can’t get it out of my mind:

    On July 18, 30-year-old Muath Dureidi crossed the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank, excited to take a job in his native Palestine after receiving word that a local company had accepted his application. His excitement turned to horror, however, after Israeli forces detained him and kept him isolated from the outside world for the next 28 days. By the end of his ordeal, Dureidi had suffered a complete mental breakdown, and today sits completely mute in the Arab Specialized Hospital in Nablus.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/detained-crossing-breakdown

  7. Horizontal on October 20, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Screwed up situation where saying that you aren’t afraid is the wrong answer. This neurosis has to stop, and soon.

    Thanks for sharing your story and I’m glad you’re safe.

  8. American on October 20, 2014, 11:00 pm

    A peek also inside the US zionist….
    I dont what their objections are to the Death Of Klinghoffer play at the Lincoln Center but you should see the pictures that go with Max’s tweets on this…real sick crowd.

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 3h 3 hours ago

    The self-proclaimed “Klinghoffer Marshal” is handing out yellow Stars of David to fellow Jews

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 3h 3 hours ago

    A scene outside the Met – What can you even say about this?

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 3h 3 hours ago

    One of the signs being waved by Zionist fanatics outside the Met – very clever

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 3h 3 hours ago

    Some pro-Israel speaker is now attacking Met Director Peter Gelb on the basis of his Judaism, likening him to Arafat.
    0 replies 22 retweets 5 favorites

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    The JDL is handing these out and organizing outside Lincoln Center. Rudy Giuliani is due to speak soon

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    Zionist fanatics are shouting at theater goers at Lincoln Center, calling them “Nazi pigs”

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    This Zionist anti-art rally at Lincoln Center is filled with Kahanists and members of the violent extremist JDL

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    This woman, also wearing a yellow star, recognized me. “Max Blumenthal, disgusting Jew!” she shouted

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    This Zionist anti-art demonstrator is wearing a yellow Star of David

    Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · 4h 4 hours ago

    A few hundred Zionist fanatics are outside Lincoln Center protesting

    • American on October 20, 2014, 11:05 pm

      Someone in the crowd brought what looks a hundred year old woman in a wheel chair with no teeth and pasted a yellow start on her,,,…I wonder if she even knows where she is.

  9. 666 on October 21, 2014, 1:01 am

    wow ! incredible story ………………………so sad

  10. Accentitude on October 21, 2014, 2:18 am

    Unfortunately this is the sad reality we all now face. Whether at the Jordan/West Bank border crossing or at the Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion) airport, racism and hostile treatment is felt quite thoroughly. Recently I flew to a city in Europe and decided to go via the Israeli airport in order to save time and avoid any unnecessary delays (my destination was not that far away). Out of 168 people who were to board my flight only one of them was strip searched and that was me. When I got to the European City, I passed through customs and airport security very easily. Unlike their Israeli counterparts, they were very polite and respectful.

    On my way home, I reached the passport check at the Israeli airport and waited in line with all the people who didn’t have Israeli passports. In front of me were a group of African tourists who were all wearing the same color shirt and hat which said “Holy Land Tours” on it. Each person walked up to the counter, got their passport stamped and received a visa in less than a couple seconds each. When it was my turn, I walked up, turned on my smile, greeted the lady at the counter and handed her my passport. She flipped through it and after seeing my photo and reading a name which was clearly an indication that I was an Arab. She picked up the phone, called someone and said something in Hebrew which I obviously didn’t understand. Then she hung up, took my passport and laughed in my face, saying, “I’m sure you know procedure. Go to the waiting room in the corner over there.” Ah yes, the dreaded waiting room. We call it the “VIP room for Arabs” where the Shin Bet call us in one by one and run us through “security checks.” Great. It took me an hour and a half of intrusive interview questions…where are your parents? Do you have any other passports from other countries? Are you Christian or Muslim? Where are you staying? What is your father’s name? What are your cellphone and landline numbers here and in the United States? Where did you go to school? What is your job? Do you talk about politics? How many Arabs do you know? What is your email address? Why did you come here and not through Jordan? And after they’ll all done, they tell you to go wait for your passport. Another 45 minutes until someone comes over, calls your name, hands you your passport and with a fake smile says “Welcome to Israel.” That’s if you’re lucky. If you happened to get itchy with them, they’ll tell you “I’m sorry but you won’t be visiting Israel today.” I’ve seen that happen too.

  11. Citizen on October 21, 2014, 4:27 pm

    That reminds me, what’s the status on that bill floating through US Congress that would waive visa requirements for Israelis–at least Jewish ones?

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