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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Noor Wazwaz’s ordeal on El Al Flight

Incident on El Al flight, Noor Wazwaz alleges ethnic profiling and invasive screening. Her ordeal raises concerns on airline policies.

The recent incident involving Noor Wazwaz, an Arab-Muslim American journalist, highlights the ongoing struggle faced by individuals of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim backgrounds while traveling with El Al, Israel’s national airline. Allegations of discriminatory practices and invasive security measures have led to mounting concerns about the treatment of passengers based on their racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

Troubling Incident

Noor Wazwaz’s attempt to board an El Al flight on July 18, 2023, from Newark to visit her relatives in the West Bank turned into a harrowing experience. She alleged that both Israeli security agents and American TSA officials subjected her to an extensive body pat-down and removal of clothing based solely on her Arab-Muslim identity. Furthermore, she was denied boarding after her laptop allegedly tested positive for “explosives,” an accusation that her advocates assert is frequently used to block Palestinian Americans from traveling to the occupied territories.

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American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Response

Abed Ayoub, the National President of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), denounced the treatment faced by Noor Wazwaz as unacceptable. The ADC demands an immediate investigation into all of El Al’s policies and firmly believes that airlines should not create different rules and procedures for passengers based on their racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Ayoub highlighted the historical targeting of US citizens with Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim backgrounds by El Al and stressed the need for change.

Allegations of Detainment and Privacy Invasion

Not only was Wazwaz barred from her original flight, but she also faced further issues upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Israeli security detained her for an extended period and reportedly deleted documents from her cellphone after an extensive security examination. Ayoub revealed that Wazwaz was asked to provide a list of all her contacts with Palestinian or Israeli country codes, emphasizing the invasion of privacy faced by passengers with Arab-Muslim backgrounds.

Israel’s Bid for Inclusion in the US Visa Waiver Program

Despite the mounting concerns and complaints of discrimination against Arab-Muslim passengers, Israel has been lobbying for special privileges under the US Visa Waiver Program. These privileges would allow Israelis to travel to the US with minimal security requirements. However, the recent incident involving Noor Wazwaz has put Israel’s bid in a challenging position, as it raises questions about the treatment of American citizens at Israeli airports and ports of entry.

Impact of Discriminatory Practices on El Al

The incident involving Noor Wazwaz and the broader allegations of discriminatory practices could have severe implications for El Al’s reputation. As a national airline, El Al represents Israel to the world, and such incidents may tarnish the country’s image. Addressing these concerns and ensuring fair treatment for all passengers, regardless of their background, is essential for El Al’s future credibility and success.

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This has shed light on the distressing treatment of Arab-Muslim passengers on El Al flights.. Discriminatory practices and invasive security measures not only harm individuals like Wazwaz but also reflect poorly on El Al and Israel’s image as a whole. Addressing these issues and promoting inclusivity and fairness in airline travel is crucial for fostering positive international relations and ensuring the rights and dignity of all passengers are respected.