As my colleague Rusty Weiss at his site Mental Recession reported, on Monday CNN falsely quoted Republican nominee Donald Trump. What the Republican nominee said was:
“But Israel has done an unbelievable job and they’ll profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile. They will take that person in,”
CNN ran the quote under the header, “Trump says ‘racial profiling’ will stop terror,” but Trump never said the word “racial” in relation to profiling.
Rusty correctly said that Trump didn’t elaborate about what criteria investigators should use when they profile a potential terrorist. But I can fill that hole and explain the “Israeli” way of profiling. It’s totally different than what is done here in the U.S., but it is effective.
The real difference between the Israeli and American approach is the goal. Israel tries to identify and stop the terrorist while in the U.S. we try and stop the bomb or other weapon. The Israeli approach is totally void of politics and is consistent no matter who sits in the Prime Minister’s office. The Israeli government realizes the fight against terrorism is a fight for its very survival. Thus her government and citizenry have a view of preventing terrorism that is unencumbered by the political correctness which restrains efforts in the United States.
Donald Trump is correct, the political correctness has to stop if we are going to prevent terrorism in America.
This doesn’t mean preventing everybody from one faith or another from entering the country. It’s an entirely different approach which the ISA (the Israeli Security Agency also known as Shin Bet) calls looking for the“human factor.”
Some parts of that human factor would cause Al Sharpton’s ears to bleed just before he shows up to picket the Airport because ethnic profiling of passengers does have a role in Israel’s multilevel approach. However,ethnicity is only one element of the profiling, country of origin, religion, general appearance and the most important elementbehavior, are all part of the data used to profile.
Wherever that profile is being made, no matter what country a flight is leaving from, if the destination is Israel, an Israeli doing the screening. Israel does not believe in trusting its security to citizens of other countries and neither should the United States.
All passengers traveling to and from Israel are questioned by security staff. For Jewish Israelis, the process takes a couple of minutes at most, with passengers being asked whether they packed their luggage alone, and whether anyone had access to the luggage once it was packed. Jewish tourists also usually pass through security within a few minutes.
When my family entered the El Al terminal at Newark Airport before our last trip to Israel, we were greeted at the entrance by someone who asked where we came from and where were going.
When we made our way to the check in line, a ISA security employee in a suit and tie asked my then 12-year-old son out of my ear’s range why we were going to Israel. He was asked if we were Jewish and when my son answered yes, the screener followed up by asking the name of our Synagogue and our Rabbi’s name. My son’s answers didn’t really matter. The entire time he was asking my son questions the ISA employee was looking at my wife and me, gauging our reaction to the questioning of our kid. The entire process with my son took less than 30 seconds.
When the security guy was done with my son, he came to me and asked me the same questions (plus the typical who packed your luggage-type queries). Once again he was gauging my reaction very closely, and looking over at my wife to see her reaction. He was checking our behavior.
The process continued with my daughter and my wife.
Like the Mossad, tank drivers, and air force pilots, Israeli airport security has that super hero, no-nonsense, get to the point directness, efficiency and professionalism, “Who packed your bags?” “What was your Bar Mitzvah portion?” “Why are you visiting Israel?”
This quick-fire interrogation was not bothersome but reassuring. It gave us feeling we were dealing with people who knew what they were doing. After all it was very important to us that when we returned to the ground it was because our plane was landing, not because it was blown up somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean.
Non-Jewish tourists tend to be questioned a bit more thoroughly, and may be grilled over the purpose of their visit and about their accommodation.… the procedure for Arabs and Muslims who are not Israelis can sometimes be lengthier and irritating. Visitors who have passport stamps from countries hostile to Israel are also questioned intensively in what can be a traumatic experience for the uninitiated. Of course many in the politically correct set would object to that procedure, but Arabs and Muslims are not banned, they are just asked some more questions. But then again if one tries to travel to the UAE and your passport has been stamped with a visit to Israel, you may be denied entrance into the country and sent home.
Of course anyone admitting to leaving their luggage at an airport or bus station left-luggage area before check-in will have their suitcases stripped, with each item individually checked and re-packed.
The individual check also happens with “wise-asses,” like the people who were in line in front of me when I was flying to Israel. These security people are serious but polite and expect the same out of the passengers.
Being Muslim or Arab won’t get you the extreme bag-check treatment, but it will make the questioners pay a bit more attention to your behavior.