No, Israel Isn’t Turning into a Police State—but the Shin Bet Shouldn’t Be Interrogating Journalists at Airports

Aug. 23 2018

Last week, the American journalist Peter Beinart—a relentless left-wing critic of the Jewish state and a supporter of boycotts of the settlements—wrote a story for the Forward recounting his extensive questioning by Israeli police upon his arrival at Ben-Gurion airport. He asserted that, based on the questions he was asked, he was being harassed because of his political beliefs. While no admirer of Beinart’s politics, Ben-Dror Yemini believes something is amiss with the Shin Bet, the Israeli agency that oversees internal security matters:

[It] is a state’s right to deny entry to those who reject its right to exist. Any civilized nation has a list of undesirables, and Israel’s lists are not much different from those of Britain or the U.S. But something has changed. Someone has [become] trigger-happy. Now it’s the “questioning” of Peter Beinart, which follows other unnecessary questioning of “suspects” whom there was no reason to suspect of anything. Not everyone who wrote an article against Israel or against one policy or another of the Israeli government needs to be questioned. And if that were the case, then 80 percent of academics, NGO members, and journalists . . . would have to be detained and questioned.

[It would therefore seem] that in recent months, someone at the Shin Bet has decided to act in the service of Israel’s vilifiers and provide proof to those who claim Israel has stopped being a democracy. . . .

These detainments, [however], don’t point to an Israel deteriorating and turning into a police state, or to the end of democracy. They point to the loss of discretion and to a severe level of stupidity, and that is no less grave. . . . [E]verything Beinart and his ilk have to say, they say in writing. They don’t belong to any underground movement. . . . We don’t have to wait for it to happen to know that every detainment like this is on the one hand a propaganda gift to Israel’s haters, and on the other hand useless. . . .

The Shin Bet needs a political [director] who understands the global left-wing map. Someone who could differentiate between activists of the campaign to eliminate Israel—who should be denied entry—and journalists or [run-of-the-mill] left-wing activists who have a right to criticize Israel, call for a boycott on settlement products, and even curse the Israeli government without being detained as they enter or leave the country.

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Peter Beinart, Shin Bet

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror