By Randa Darwish
A Jewish-American journalist wrote an article in the Forward on his detention in the Israeli airport of Ben-Gurion while traveling to Israel, prompting other activists to share their stories of detention while traveling to Israel and being interrogated on their political opinions.
Beinart was traveling to Israel for the bar mitzvah of one of his nieces, when he was questioned on his political affiliations and his ties with groups that call to boycott Israeli products.
Shortly after Peter published his story on details of what happened with him, the Israeli media reported that PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement claiming it was an “administrative mistake.” The statement also read: “Israel is an open society which welcomes all - critics and supporters alike”.
This comes despite the fact that in the recent few months, several reports had emerged on American Jewish activists being detained on the Israeli border or in the airport due to their activism against Israel.
However, Peter later tweeted saying this is “half an apology,” refusing to accept it unless Netanyahu apologises to “all Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans who every day endure far worse”.
Weighing on the story, several activists went to share their stories when detained by Israeli forces while entering Israel.
Reza Aslan, the American-Iranian writer and former CNN host also went to Twitter saying he was encouraged by Peter’s experience to share his story in a thread.
Reza was detained by Shin Bet and interrogated on political issues, and before they release him, the officer threatened him saying: “I may let you into Israel but, who knows, I may not let you out. I will keep you here and kick out your family. It depends on you. You would miss your kids yes?”
Meanwhile, Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights who is also a human rights lawyer tweeted saying Reza and Peter’s stories encouraged him to also share his experience. When he was detained for 14 hours while trying to enter Israel, before being sent back to New York.
The shared threads gathered momentum and were retweeted by thousands of users. It led many people backing the stories in which Israel obviously appears to be far from being a democratic state by detaining activists for expressing critical views.
They also found critical voices that debunked their stories and accused them of jumping to the story looking for fame.
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