During a campaign interview this week, presumptive Republican candidate for the US presidency, Donald Trump, used Israel as an example of the kind of racial and religious security profiling he feels is necessary to keep America safe.
“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” the real estate mogul said. “Other countries do it, you look at Israel and you look at others, they do it and they do it successfully. And I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense and we have to use our heads.”
A former senior Israeli security official told the Ynet news portal that it was erroneous to draw parallels between Israel’s security methods and the type of profiling most people assume Trump is talking about.
“A person who poses a threat either by his luggage or himself is taken care of immediately, without regards to his religion, sex or race,” explained Yaron Bloom, a former high-ranking official in the Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent of the FBI.
Bloom insisted that one must “differentiate between what Donald Trump said versus what goes on in the Israeli system. Here, there isn’t any profiling for a certain population, but rather a method of classification aimed at isolating and being certain that every passenger that gets on a plane is free of explosives or the intention to carry out an attack of one kind or another.”
Israel, Bloom noted, “has been performing security classifications on Israeli flights for decades on the basis of threats, threat assessments, and situational assessments. On that basis, they identify which passengers are suspected to be involved as supporters of terrorist acts of one kind or another. If they’re Muslim, Christian or an Israeli Jew, it doesn’t make a bit of difference.”