Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg just flew out of Israel and decided to write a post revering security at Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport, comparing it to the much less effective and what he considers more humiliating American airport security. (I do agree with him that Israeli security is way more effective than American security, since Israel is indeed better at racial profiling).
He appreciates that he doesn’t have to worry about packing his nail clippers and understands that non-Jews face problems at the airport – he notes that he knows of some Arab-Israelis and Arab-Americans who have been stuck in the screening proces for a whopping two hours.
But despite his appreciation for the well-honed army profiling skills of the screeners, after being asked what “community” he belongs to at the airport, he has come to the conclusion that the screening line at Ben-Gurion could run smoother and faster, and he has just the solution:
I noticed that the line to be screened was quite long this morning, and it struck me that if these screeners simply cut to the chase on this one crucial question [Are you Jewish?], they’d be able to process passengers more quickly. I think the process at Ben-Gurion is sufficiently invasive that direct questions aren’t going to be judged terribly offensive.
Goldberg has no problem with being asked personal and invasive questions, since its better than having to take his shoes off. He thinks that if Israeli security wants to know whether someone is Jewish, they should just directly ask so as to expedite the process, instead of beating around the bush about it.
For whatever reason, Israeli security screeners won’t ask departing passengers whether or not they are Jewish. But they are nevertheless desperate to know.
He reasons that its fine to just ask someone straight out because there is no room for “political correctness” at the airport anyway. Apparently Goldberg hasn’t read my colleague Aziz’s post on the regular harassment he has experienced at the airport as a regular traveler for work – or this one either. Goldberg’s boasting of just how much less humiliating the Israeli airport security experience is compared to America’s – because there are “no TSA-naked-scanning machines to be found” – completely ignores the routine humiliation that Palestinians must go through. Furthermore, is Goldberg implying that all security needs to know is whether a traveler is a Jew because a Jew could never pose a threat to airport security?
What annoyed me most about this post is that Goldberg, with a name like his, feels he is in a position to not only judge the merits of Israeli airport security – but to offer a way to make it faster, since he cannot be bothered to wait in line that long.