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August 16, 2018 2:34 pm

Israeli Minister Sees End to ‘Stupid’ Airport Grilling of Leftists

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Ben-Gurion International Airport. Photo: George Dement via Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli security cabinet minister on Thursday denounced the interrogation of left-wing activists at the country’s main airport, and predicted that it would end after the singling-out of a visiting US Jewish columnist stirred controversy.

The questioning of Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday prompted the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, in a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, to describe the incident as “an administrative mistake.”

After Beinart, a columnist with the Jewish daily Forward, went public with his experience, several other liberal or pro-Palestinian activists — both foreigners and Israeli citizens – said that they had been similarly treated at Ben-Gurion.

“This is stupidity,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said when asked about the airport interrogations of left-wingers. “It cannot be explained. It is folly, ridiculous.”

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“I am certain that now there will be someone who stands there and will check that such stupidity does not recur,” Hanegbi told Israel‘s Channel 13 television.

Security screening at Ben-Gurion has always been stringent, but left-wing activists accuse authorities of subjecting them to scrutiny on political grounds as the right-wing Netanyahu government tries to counter pro-Palestinian boycott campaigns against Israel.

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