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Two officials of Center for Constitutional Rights are detained by Israel, then deported

Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and Katherine Franke, chair of CCR’s board and Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Columbia University, were detained Sunday, April 29, for 14 hours and interrogated at Ben Gurion International Airport, then denied entry into Israel and deported, arriving back in New York early Monday morning.  Warren and Franke were questioned about their political association with human rights groups that have been critical of Israel’s human rights record.
“The Israeli government denied us entry, apparently because it feared letting in people who might challenge its policies. This is something that we should neither accept nor condone from a country that calls itself a democracy,” Warren said. “Our trip sought to explore the intersection of Black and Brown people’s experiences in the U.S. with the situation of Palestinians, and Israel could not have made that connection clearer.”
Warren and Franke were part of a trip that brought together mostly Black and Brown civil and human rights leaders working on domestic U.S. justice issues who have not had an opportunity to visit Palestine and Israel. The justice delegation was planned to provide an opportunity to better understand the human rights situation in Israel and Palestine, including the history of systematic displacement and institutional racism, as well as the work of human rights defenders there.  
Over the next several days, members of the group who were allowed entry will meet with a variety of prominent legal advocacy and human rights organizations, academics, and community leaders in Israel and Palestine, as well as visit various impacted communities. The group is posting about its visit on social media at #JusticeDelegation.
“My interrogation in Tel Aviv made it clear that I was banned from entering Israel because of my work in the U.S. on behalf of Palestinian rights,” said Franke, who is also a member of the executive committee of Columbia’s Center for Palestine Studies. “No government is immune from criticism for its human rights record. The abusive treatment Vince Warren and I received at Ben Gurion airport ironically illustrates how the state of Israel refuses to respect the political and civil rights of its own citizens, of Palestinians, and of human rights defenders globally.”
Israel has a well-known history of denying human rights advocates and other possible critics of its policies entry to Israel, even if those individuals only seek to visit and meet with Palestinians—whose borders Israeli fully controls.
Israel’s denial of entry to foreign citizens must be seen in the context of its ongoing efforts to repress human rights activism within Israel and Palestine, and its regular denial of entry to Palestinians, including U.S. citizens of Palestinian origin. It has been 70 years since the mass killing and eviction of Palestinians by the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, 50 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and 11 years of its punitive closure of Gaza, whose residents have been shot and killed in nonviolent protests in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Israel continues to expand its West Bank settlements, annex East Jerusalem, and increase attacks on human rights defenders and incarceration of political prisoners.
Center for Constitutional Rights

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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10 Responses

  1. pabelmont on May 2, 2018, 1:34 pm

    Seems Israel is not afraid of tarnishing its reputaion (its “brand”?) by this and other such actions. If it is willing to openly shoot unarmed-and-unthreatening kids, how much trouble can it get into by harassing a couple of NYC lawyers, anyhow?

    OTOH, maybe they’re wrong. Wonder if this was a planned provocation by Franke et al., who must’ve known that such a response from Israel was a distinct possibility.

    Do Israeli border guards (at airports) coordinate closely with the “political echelon”?

  2. Maghlawatan on May 2, 2018, 3:01 pm

    Zionism is not stable. This is hugely important. Zionism is a pathology.
    And the deeper the pathology’s influence, the clearer Israel’s path becomes.
    Even Jews will have to turn away. No dissent is tolerated because anyone who thinks rationally represents a threat to the groupthink.

    Israel couldn’t go back to where it was 20 years ago even if it wanted to.

    • Misterioso on May 3, 2018, 10:33 am


      “Zionism is not stable.”

      Precisely!!! And it is increasingly obvious that its adherents are in panic mode.
      Immigration of Jews to the entity known as “Israel” is in significant decline and emigration is soaring. At the same time, Jews living in the U.S., especially youth, are becoming disgusted with and abandoning Zionism in ever increasing numbers. The writing is on the wall and the Zionists are reading it.

    • JosephA on May 3, 2018, 1:09 am

      I have seen Amy Goodman speak on many occasions. She is a true journalist and a consummate professional, with such dedication. I am so glad that she and the Democracy Now team picked up this story.

  3. JLewisDickerson on May 2, 2018, 5:46 pm

    RE: “Two officials of Center for Constitutional Rights are detained by Israel, then deported”

    MY COMMENT: I guess this is Israel’s way of “upping (or raising) the ante”!
    up the ante
    up the ante (third-person singular simple present ups the ante, present participle upping the ante, simple past and past participle upped the ante)

    (poker) To raise the stakes of a hand of poker
    With three aces and two jacks, he thought it was safe to up the ante.
    (dispute) To take an action that raises the stakes, i.e. that increases the chances of conflict.
    (idiomatic) To make something more desirable.
    The school system cannot raise teachers’ salaries, so they are providing better benefits as an effort to up the ante.

    2011 November 3, Chris Bevan, “Rubin Kazan 1 – 0 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport‎[1]:
    After a slow start, it was the home side who began to up the ante. Gokdeniz Karadeniz caused Spurs problems with his raids down the right and Alan Kasaev fired narrowly over from one of his pull-backs.

    sweeten the pot
    raise the stakes

  4. Pepou27 on May 3, 2018, 8:44 am

    The inexorable descent of Israel into abjection.

  5. Arby on May 3, 2018, 4:49 pm

    Obviously, Mass murderers and terrorists and invaders, who are major human rights violators by definition, are not going to welcome those who investigate, for real, violations of human rights.

  6. Elizabeth Block on May 3, 2018, 5:15 pm

    We have to think about how shocking this is. It’s hard to realize it, because it has become normal operating procedure for Israel. We mustn’t get used to it.

  7. Citizen on May 5, 2018, 9:21 am

    Any information on what the local US representative official or officials did when & if they were contacted by these people arrested, detained in Israel? What is official US policy in this situation?

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