Your point is a good - and old - one. There is more critical, open debate about Israel IN Israel than what is allowed in the US. It is so tiring and I think it ought to be something we push for more aggressively.
But there is one other point that is, in my view, quite distressing. We expect there to be "Right' and "Left" voices sparring with each other. Right now, however, the "Left" or "progressives" can't unite long enough to tie their shoes.
One glaring example is Norm Finkelstein, who has been virtually blackballed by the mainstream "pro-Palestine" activists for criticizing BDS. If we cannot have different opinions within our own movement that, at the same time, present our primary goal of universal human rights and self-determination for the Palestinians, how can we present a generally united front to the public?
There are fierce backers of Palestinian human rights blacklisted from writing for the Electronic Intifada. There are speakers too radical or allegedly "anti-Semitic" who are unwelcome within Jewish Voice for Peace. There are dedicated writers and activists whose voices we never hear because they haven't adopted the "correct" ideology. I've seen, over the years, bitter divisions within leftist activist groups.
How disconcerting that people and groups within the Palestine human rights movement are turning around and silencing any criticism they get from within. It's a disgrace and does our movement no service whatsoever other than divide and fracture it. What a perfect gift for the other side. If we want our ultimate goal to be realized we have to stop silencing each other.
What I find most sinister in your account is the Israeli soldier’s comment, “I don’t care about your ID.” The brutality of her treatment of the American sisters is commonplace. It happens all the time to Americans & people of other nationalities in part - and certainly where the US is concerned- because no Western government is going to intervene on their behalf.
This isn’t a new development either. When the IDF murdered or maimed Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, James Miller, Brian Avery, Ian Howe and other Americans or foreign nationals, coverage in the media here was minimal (at best) and almost no protest came from the halls of power.
Even in 2003, the year the American activist, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by an IDF soldier driving a Caterpillar armored D9 bulldozer in Gaza, 1 person (out of more than 100) in my course on contemporary Middle Eastern politics and history had heard of her - to say nothing of Hurndall, Avery (maimed for life) or any of the others there to show solidarity or educate people about what was happening in the Occupied Territories.
Soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank stole the passport of an Iranian American traveling with a group of people on a peace delegation to Palestine in 2001. Had the person not noticed in time and gone back with with his companions to demand its return - given haughtily by the checkpoint soldier who had taken it & while his comrades laughed and fired their guns into the air— he would not have been able to prove his American citizenship and would have ended up detained, deported to Iran, or worse.
The situation was no better later on when American and other non-violent activists on various flotillas aimed at breaking the siege in Gaza were detained with no immediate legal recourse or knowledge of what would happen to them. They’d been apprehended by Israeli naval gunmen who forced their humanitarian aid ships to stop while still out at sea and redirected them to the Israeli port of Ashdod where the passengers were arrested.
The US government barely uttered a peep when Furqan Dogan, a Turkish American, was shot and killed on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
My point is that the two American Muslim citizens beaten and cuffed by a soldier at the Dome of the Rock days ago were getting the same kind of treatment and with the usual impunity Israel receives from its allies.
The comment, “I don’t care about your ID” wasn’t made in the heat of the moment; it is standard fare — designed to keep certain Americans and others from entering Israel or the OPTs. This kind of ruthless intimidation is as acceptable by the US as it is by Israel. It is therefore up to us to bring sustained, unrelenting media coverage to such actions. In the meantime, the often deadly treatment of foreign nationals, including Americans, will continue to be standard fare.