Features Australia

Borderline insanity

The same people who cry ‘racial profiling’ over checks on Muslims are happy to see Israelis and Jews barred from many countries

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

Feeling disappointed

That – and I quote – is how the NSW Greens are feeling, according to their Facebook page. Their attention-seeking upper house MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi was apparently traveling to America – on a ‘self-funded’ trip, Fairfax and the ABC hasten to add – when she was – shock, horror – fingerprinted, asked for secondary identification, and questioned before being allowed past the barriers at Los Angeles. Of course, the word she used was not ‘questioned’ but ‘grilled’. The Guardian preferred ‘interrogated’.

Apparently too, the ‘whole process took about an hour’ (another shock, more horror!) and the officers were ‘really aggressive’. Outrageous, I know, but there is worse to come. ‘Australia’s first female Muslim MP’ (according to the social media posts), it seems, was ‘racially profiled’. The whole affair went south, we are told, when it was revealed that Faruqi and her husband were born in Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the world’s safest havens for Islamic terrorists (Bin Laden, you’ll recall, was captured whilst holed up in Abbottabad), and is a government sponsor of terrorism, especially against Afghanistan and India. Many analysts believe Pakistan is in fact still the most active sponsor of terrorism in the world today, even despite extensive terror-funding efforts by the Saudis, Syria and Iran.

But how dare the border agents of what many Pakistanis – and Muslims, for that matter – regard as the Great Satan question Faruqi. If her vain and sanctimonious twitter tweets are anything to go by, there would have been a lot of ‘how dare you!’ in the exchange with officials, and ‘don’t you know who I am?’ But despite having to endure ‘about an hour’ of mad ranting by a Greens MP, the border agents treated her with respect and courtesy, no doubt feeling vindicated in their decision to investigate her further. How do I know this? Because someone who posts this kind of make-believe victimhood on social media would certainly have let the world know had there been a genuine complaint of harassment or intimidation.

Like most of her supporters, the Greens MP and the party organisation are quick to claim racism and sexism, playing both the ‘female’ and the ‘Muslim’ cards from the victimhood pack. In this case, neither are true.

But, of course, true racism does exist at international checkpoints, as does true sexism. You would see the former if, say, Minister for Resources, Energy, and Northern Australia (and occasional Spectator Australia diarist) Josh Frydenberg tried to enter Algeria. Clearly Frydenberg’s presence would be even less risk to that country than Faruqi’s in America, and yet despite his place of birth listed as Melbourne, he would be inconvenienced for more than an hour, and the religious profiling would likely end in him being put on the next plane out of that desert hellhole.

Or if Labor MP (and regular Spectator Australia contributor) Michael Danby took a self-funded trip to Faruqi’s place of birth. For all of her complaints about how Pakistani-Australian Muslims are treated in the US, I have a feeling Jews in Pakistan fare worse. If Danby was travelling on an Israeli passport, he wouldn’t have a chance of getting into the country, although why would he want to?

In fact, the list of countries where an Israeli passport results in automatic exclusion is long and perhaps surprising. Of course Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria are on the list. But so too are Bangladesh, Sudan, Malaysia, and Kuwait (I’m sure there were no Jews among the American or Australian forces which liberated it from Saddam Hussein in 1991), Indonesia (‘our most important relationship’ according to the Prime Minister), and the United Arab Emirates (although they graciously allow Israeli passport holders to stop over and spend money in Dubai). In these places hour-long ‘interrogations’ are the least of the worries of Jewish travellers.

And frankly, they would be the least of my worries too – while Jews seem to hold a special place in the Muslim psyche and religious framework, the presence of Christians, or even mere Westerners, seem to upset them as well. In most places on that list, women would not be allowed to move about with their heads uncovered; in some places on that list their faces would need to be hidden and even then they would need to be accompanied by a male relative. Maybe Ms Faruqi was travelling with her husband, just to be sure!

But it’s not even just Jews or Israelis who fall foul of the blatantly racist immigration and border enforcement policies of Islamic states. The fact that I have Israeli stamps in my passport would preclude me from entering Lebanon, Libya, and Yemen – again, why would I want to? – as well as many of the usual suspects above. Which of course is fair enough: why should they risk importing any filthy Jewish-ness that I may have inadvertently picked up in Jerusalem in 2011?

Racial profiling has been proven to be ineffective. Religious profiling too, is problematic. In any case, these methods – and we will have to take Faruqi’s word (or her Twitter feed) for it that they were used at LAX – are unseemly and regrettable. But religious and even racial profiling are not worse than victimhood grandstanding, and they are not worse than real racism.

Faruqi can criticise American immigration policies and practices all she likes, but she cannot escape the reality of her own reluctance to speak up for women in the Islamic world, or against anti-Semitism generally.

Likewise our governments at all levels, and other institutions, need to confront their own racist realities. While claiming to abhor racism in all its forms, and falling over themselves to identify with ‘victims’ such as Adam Goodes, our political and cultural leaders give governmental hatred of Israel and Jewish people a free pass. There are no university boycotts, the Uniting Church isn’t calling for divestments, and this kind of official racism results in no sanctions against the perpetrator countries.

Instead, these racist regimes that hate Jews are feted by those in government, commerce, and academia, thereby encouraging the grandstanding victimhood of privileged Greens MPs when they are delayed for ‘about an hour’.

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