Pro-Palestine Israeli historian Ilan Pappe interrogated at US airport for two hours on Gaza views

Pro-Palestine Israeli historian Ilan Pappe interrogated at US airport for two hours on Gaza views
The author of ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’ said he was detained and questioned for two hours by the FBI, and his phone was copied.
3 min read
16 May, 2024
Ilan Pappe was interrogated about his views on Palestine by US authorities [Getty]

Israeli author and historian Ilan Pappe, known for his pro-Palestine views, said he was interrogated at Detroit airport by the FBI late Wednesday over Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza.

The author of 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine', which examines the violent events during the 1948 creation of Israel, wrote on Facebook that he was hauled in for questioning for two hours by the FBI, who also took his phone.

Pappe was asked if he supported Hamas, if he regards Israel’s actions in Gaza a genocide and what he thinks the solution to the "conflict" was, he wrote.

He added the investigators also quizzed him on who his Arab and Muslim friends were in the US, as well as how long he knew them, and what his relationship was with them.

Pappe, who is a professor at the UK’s University of Exeter, said he had just ended an eight-hour flight and that the exhausting questioning after the long journey was intentional.

"This is part of the idea," he said.

Online many activists and campaigners shared Pappe’s post, sounding the alarm and calling the move "the latest in the long list of episodes of intimidation."

"They had a long phone conversation with someone, the Israelis? And after copying everything on my phone, allowed me to enter," Pappe wrote in the post.

"The good news is – actions like this by the USA or European countries taken under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby or Israel itself smell of sheer panic and desperation in reaction to Israel’s becoming very soon a pariah state with all the implications of such status."

Pappe recently penned an article detailing how Haifa University cancelled his conference where he was due to present recent developments on Israeli and Palestinian historiographies on the Nakba of 1948.

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A senior professor at the university, Aryeh Ratner, phoned the head of the social sciences and spoke to Pappe, ordering them both to cancel the conference.

The questioning of Pappe at the airport comes as Israel continues its indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, which has killed over 35,200 Palestinians and wounded at least 79,000 others.

The bombing campaign has levelled entire neighbourhoods, destroyed the enclave’s healthcare system, as well as schools, places of worship, medical facilities, and bakeries.

The UN estimates it will take 80 years to rebuild Gaza, with around 80,000 buildings destroyed.