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Waiting at the Airport - Two letters to the Editor
By Ronald Benjamin and Marty Rosenbluth
The New York Times
23 Nov 2010
To the Editor:
Re “Some Suggest U.S. Look at Israeli Airport Screening Methods” (news article, Nov. 23):
Having visited Israel a few times recently, I am impressed with its airport security system. Some might call it profiling, but its security personnel just ask each passenger a few questions. For example, where are you staying in Israel? Whom are you visiting? How much money are you carrying into the country?
If any of the answers seem questionable, that person is pulled out and interviewed more intensively. This lets the thousands of other passengers board their flights and inconveniences only the few.
A different level of experienced personnel would be needed for this system. But the outcome would be what the Transportation Security Administration wants. And it wouldn’t need to screen kids or other law-abiding passengers.
Most of all, the system works.
To the Editor:
As a human rights researcher who spent over seven years living and working in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and thus had to travel frequently through Ben-Gurion International Airport, I find the suggestion that American airports switch to Israeli-style screening to be frightening.
My “screenings” at the airport often lasted three to four hours. I was asked questions about the purpose of my trip, who else was going to be at my meeting, what the agenda was and so forth.
The security people also insisted on looking through all my papers and frequently demanded to photocopy them. I was also interrogated about what I was researching at the time, and about my co-workers and friends.
If I am asked similar questions at an American airport — like “why are you going to Washington and whom are you meeting with?” — I will probably just drive.
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