2 weeks ago, as I was crossing back into Israel from Jordan, I was separated from my family and detained by Shin Bet. “We can make it so you don’t see your kids for a long time” I was warned.
This is what happened next
I was floored. This is how interrogations begin in police states.
“I don’t hate Israel,” I replied.
“But you hate our Prime Minister.”
“I’m sorry is your Prime Minister Israel?”
“He was democratically elected!” (No he wasn’t but let’s just drop that)
“So was Trump and I hate him and still love America.”
I forgot the Israeli Right Wing’s affection for our racist Neo-Nazi loving president.
“You don’t think Israel should exist yes?”
That’s absurd. I’m against the occupation not Israel.
Then the police state part began in earnest
Write down names of journalists you associate with
Write down names of Palestinian organizations you support
And constantly, repeatedly, this threat: “if you don’t cooperate it will be a long time before you see your kids again.”
But (again the police state tactic): every answer I gave she told me was lie.
“Stop lying!” She’d yell.
“Who did your father work for in Iran?”
I don’t know. I was 7 when we left
“Oh Mr Scholar! You can tell me everything about the Ottoman Empire but you don’t know your own father’s history?”
For the record I am not an Ottoman scholar.
That my friends is the classic police state trick. Iran has perfected it
This was my 4th trip to Israel in ten years and every time it’s gotten worse. It’s becoming unrecognizable as a democracy. It is becoming a full-blown police state.
When I was released my evangelical in-laws were in shock.
“I had no idea it was like this,” they said. Now they do. So do more Americans each day. And if Israel loses them, who will continue to shield it from pressure to change course?
The clock is ticking