Israel questioning of US journalist was mistake: Netanyahu

Israel questioning of US journalist was mistake: Netanyahu
Netanyahu "half-apologised" after an American Jewish journalist was interrogated at Tel Aviv airport.
2 min read
13 August, 2018
The prime minister's office said Netanyahu had looked into the incident (Getty)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the lengthy questioning of an American Jewish journalist on arrival at Tel Aviv airport was the result of an "administrative mistake".

Peter Beinart of The Forward, a Jewish American magazine published in New York, said he was questioned for an hour Sunday on his political views by a Shin Bet intelligence service agent.

A supporter of a pro-Palestinian boycott of goods from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, Beinart said he was asked repeatedly for names of organisations with which he is associated.

The journalist, who said he was in Israel on a family visit, described his experience at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, where travellers are often interrogated for hours on arrival and departure, as "depressing".

The prime minister's office said he had looked into the incident.

Netanyahu "heard of Mr Beinart's questioning at Ben Gurion airport and immediately spoke with Israel's security forces to inquire how this happened", it said in a statement.

"He was told it was an administrative mistake. Israel is an open society which welcomes all – critics and supporters alike."

Reacting to the premier's intervention, Beinart tweeted that Netanyahu had "half-apologised for my detention yesterday at Ben Gurion airport".

"I'll accept when he apologises to all the Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans who every day endure far worse," he wrote.

In March 2017, Israel's parliament passed a law banning the entry of supporters of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), a movement inspired by measures against South Africa before the fall of apartheid.