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5 Broken Cameras: ADC Questions US-Israeli Agreement

5 Broken Cameras: ADC Questions US-Israeli Agreement

Today ADC called on the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Emad Burnat. Also, ADC formally requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent CBP officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel. Click here to view our official request.

As you might already know, immigration officials at Los Angeles International Airport detained the Burnat family as they arrived into Los Angeles yesterday. Burnat is a Palestinian director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “5 Broken Cameras.”

Burnat told ADC this morning that he, along with his wife, and their 8 year old son were questioned and threatened with deportation. Burnat told ADC that immigration officials did not apologize to him after his ordeal. “No one apologized to me and my family,” Burnat said, “all the told me was: you are free to go.”

Burnat visited the United States six times last year and never faced any issues during previous visits. ADC President Warren David said today: “ADC is concerned that detaining Burnat came a result of a recent agreement between the United States and Israel.” Last week ADC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding that DHS-CBP provide information pertaining to an agreement between CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, and the Israeli Tax Authority’s Authorized Economic Operator Program.

ADC is inquiring about information being shared under the agreement, and whether that information is being used to racially profile Arab nationals and Arab Americans arriving to the US from abroad. As we know, Customs and Border policies used by Israel are notorious for aggressive profiling techniques, often resulting in extensive secondary searches for individuals of Arab descent. Many US citizens travelling from the US to and from Israel have been forced to strip-searches, and a number of individuals have flatout been denied entry.

The practice of using information to target Arab nationals is one used by the US government in the past. ADC has obtained exclusive documents that show how in the 1970’s the implementation of “Operation Boulder” resulted in the profiling of Arab nationals, including Arab Americans. In another FOIA filed by ADC in 2008, results obtained show that the US government shared sensitive information about Arab nationals with other nations. A memo obtained exclusively by ADC dated October 13, 1972 directs the US Embassy, Tel Aviv, to send telegrams to Washington, DC about Arabs residing in Israel or occupied territories visiting the United States. The telegrams contain “brief physical description, estimated date of arrival in the United States, local residence, and individual to be visited in the United States.” The info was furnished to the FBI, and shared with other nations.

ADC will continue to address allegations of racial profiling at our borders. If you or anyone you know suspects an occurrence of racial profiling, please contact the ADC Legal Department at legal@adc.org.

ENDS

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