University of Miami president detained for questioning at Israeli airport: The Pride and Shame of Being Jewish in 2010

by mgopin on August 8, 2010 · 6 comments

I was reading this headline in Ha’aretz and by sheer accident, it was in the same column as another headline, “A superb day for the Jewish people’: Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court judge”

And I was just struck by the paradox of pride and shame of being an identified Jew in 2010. On the one hand, another Jewish woman reaches the most honored position of legal wisdom in the United States, an achievement that in my youth I would have called a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of the Divine Name, a testimony to the hard work of centuries of her forebears who kept alive Talmud study and the search for knowledge and wisdom and now, thankfully, yielding the proper results with the honor of women as equals in achievement.

And then, and then….The same page, also an enormously distinguished good woman, my cousin as a Jew, someone of Lebanese descent, detained by the robots at Israel’s international airport for the crime of being of Arab descent, and just to make a point, just so that Arabs the world over know that they are to be humiliated and unwelcome, she must be included even though she is a former Cabinet member of the United States Government. This is the Ayalon/Lieberman era of shaming to win, shaming to achieve meaning and purpose and identity. This is what I would have called in my youth  a Hillul Hashem, a desecration of the Divine Name, because the Divine Name is on all human beings and he who honors human beings brings honor to the Divine and vice versa.

So, in essence, kudos and honor and respect to the American Jewish community for their 200 years of  hard work, their nurturing of a battered people to such a degree that their descendants, their daughters, enter the Supreme Court. And shame on the community for aiding and abetting the travesty and dark pall of racism that has descended on the Holy Land at the hands of this same people.

My personal apologies to every single Arab who has ever been humiliated at Ben Gurion Airport. Perhaps it is fitting because it symbolizes the unfinished business of liberation and independence and statehood in that land. For there is no liberation there is no independence there is no statehood as far as I am concerned until everyone is equal.

A former secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department says she was detained and interrogated at the Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel last month.George Bush and University of Miami President Donna Shalala Former U.S. President George Bush giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to University of Miami President Donna Shalala in 2008Photo by: APDonna Shalala, who is of Lebanese descent, is now the president of the University of Miami. She was visiting Israel in July as part of a delegation of university leaders invited by the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange.Shalala stayed after the convention to meet with a group setting up a new medical school in Israel.University spokeswoman Margot Winick said in an email that Shalala was detained as she was leaving Israel to undergo a set of security questions and a luggage search that took nearly 3 hours. But she didn’t miss her flight.Israeli airport authority officials said there was no record of the search.

via University of Miami president detained for questioning at Israeli airport – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

© Marc Gopin

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