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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘American Civil Liberties Union’

Noted Author Reading The Jewish Press Detained at JFK

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Perhaps it is a coincidence that it happened to be The Jewish Press that caught the attention of security officials at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 5, but that fact certainly caught the attention of The Jewish Press reporters.

Phyllis Chesler, one of the doyennes of the feminist movement, professor emerita of psychology and women’s studies at CUNY, ardent Zionist, and author, most recently of An American Bride in Kabul, which won the National Jewish Book Award for memoir this year, was traveling from New York to Florida Wednesday afternoon.

Chesler’s flight was delayed due to the ice storm. Still, she felt somewhat lucky, as most of the flights were cancelled.

As she waited, Chesler pulled out the latest edition of The Jewish Press, which she had with her.

Chesler noticed that as soon as she took out the paper, one of the security agents looked at her sharply. He came over and asked to see her newspaper. After looking at the cover, the agent then took The Jewish Press and brought it over to another security agent. The two agents then had a discussion, apparently about the newspaper and about Chesler. She was then told to open her luggage, which the agents proceeded to search.

While Chesler’s luggage was being rifled through and she was being interrogated, she noticed another woman stride unmolested past her and the security agents, and disappear on through to her destination.

The woman who sailed through without being stopped was dressed in a niqab. The niqab is an Islamic head covering which covers a woman’s entire face except for the eyes.

niqab.jpg Chesler recounted that she saw no one in security ask this other woman – whose face was impossible to see – to lift her veil so that they might check her facial features against her identifying documents. The unidentifiable woman went right past security, no questions asked.

Chesler’s interrogation ended after the security agents found nothing more dangerous than a water bottle.

The episode was relatively brief, but it reveals a great deal about who security agents at JFK airport think is dangerous and from what they are protecting Americans.

The issue is not that the Jew was the one who was stopped and the Muslim was the one who sailed through security.

The issue is that merely the word Jewish on a newspaper was sufficient to draw the agents’ attention and suspicion, while someone whose identity was impossible to discern, who could be hiding who knows what, was ignored by security – security! professionals.

Had the situation been reversed, there is little question that the Committee on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), would be up in arms. So would the American Civil Liberties Union and probably half a dozen Jewish organizations. But in this real life situation, a Jewish woman was stopped as a potential security threat in an airport in New York because she was reading a Jewish newspaper.

Will anyone be up in arms?

 

Ann Arbor TA Bars ‘Boycott Israel’ bus Ads

Friday, June 7th, 2013

A federal judge has agreed that the Ann Arbor Transit Authority had the right to reject a bus ad campaign by an anti-Israel activist. The ad shows a spider crushing skulls, framed by the words: “Boycott Israel, Boycott Apartheid,” CBS News in Detroit reported.

ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin said he was disappointed by Judge Mark Goldsmith’s decision, and Blaine Coleman, the anti-Israeli activist that Korobkin is representing—was also disappointed.

In 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the AATA and its CEO Michael Ford on behalf of Coleman, over the agency’s refusal to accept Coleman’s advertisement calling for a boycott of Israel.

“His view is that Israel should be boycotted because it’s equivalent to apartheid, and, as the ACLU, we don’t take a position on the validity of that opinion,” Korobkin told WWJ Newsrasdio 950′s Sandra McNeil. ”But we feel very strongly that, no matter what someone’s opinion is, that speech should be heard.”

A key to the ACLU’s position, according to The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is a 1998 case involving a labor union that had proposed an advertisement on a regional transit authority’s vehicles, but had the ad rejected on the grounds that it was “too controversial and not aesthetically pleasing.” The case was argued and won by the union in the U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.

Part of the ACLU’s argument, explained the Chronicle, relies on the idea that the AATA has, in fact, through its past pattern of accepted ads, established a “public forum,” although the AATA’s ad policy explicitly states that the AATA “does not [with its ad program] intend to create a public forum.”

The AATA said the ad violated their advertising policy, reported CBS News’ Sandra McNeill.

“There is no doubt that some people find this ad to be offensive and maybe even personally hurtful or outrageous,” Korobkin argued. “But that kind of speech has always been protected by the First Amendment by our country, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be protected here.”

He stated: “It is not the government’s role to censor speech. Even when the speech is controversial, offensive or unpopular.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ann-arbor-ta-bars-boycott-israel-bus-ads/2013/06/07/

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