ACRI Files Additional Response in Racial Profiling Petition

Ben-Gurion-AirportPhoto by Tal Dahan

Today (25 March 2012), ACRI filed its response to the State’s response in the petition against racial profiling in Israeli airports (HCJ 4797/07) – treating Arab nationality as a criterion for the severity of security checks.
The State’s response focused on the implications of ending the discrimination in airport security checks. Among these implications, according to the State’s response, are higher budget costs, queues that would be over a kilometer long, a waiting period of three hours, requiring passengers to arrive at the airport six hours before the flight, and unnecessarily burdening all of the passengers. The State further claims that the decision to allocate budgets for this purpose or for another purpose is under the authority of the executive branch and the court is not authorized to intervene. Another claim is that the time is not ripe for a ruling on this matter, since various changes are being introduced to the security procedures, and this process will only end in 2013 (although the State itself admits that even these new changes will not lead to a standardization of security checks).
In ACRI’s response, which was filed today, we stressed the fact that ethnic stereotyping of citizens is wrong and must be abolished, and that the State’s response enhances the concern that it misunderstands the severity of the harm caused Arab citizens. ACRI rejected the disdainful approach that presents the issue of profiling and humiliation as a budget matter. According to ACRI’s response, budget considerations are not the ones undergoing judicial review, and it is the court’s responsibility to rule on the legality of racial profiling without connection to budget questions. ACRI further argued that the aforementioned changes in security procedures do not ensure equal security checks and will not lead to the cancellation of Arab nationality as a security criterion; therefore, the claim that the time is not ripe for a ruling is merely empty rhetoric. ACRI noted that the respondents are attempting to draw imaginary threatening scenarios, and that other countries around the world are also faced with security threats that are no less severe, and do not resort to checking their citizens on the basis of their ethnic or national origin – and yet their security procedures are far from reflecting these threatening assessments.
More about racial profiling in airports:

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Arab Minority Rights, Racism and Discrimination, The Right to Equality

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