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US: Ilan Pappe interrogated by FBI at Detroit Airport

May 16, 2024 at 2:59 pm

Prof Ilan Pappe at MEMO and EuroPal Forum conference The Palestine Question in Europe on 23 November 2019 [Middle East Monitor]

Prominent Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, known for his strongly anti-Zionist views, has revealed that he was subjected to a two-hour interrogation by the FBI upon his arrival at Detroit Airport on Monday. During the ordeal, US security officials recorded everything on his phone. The 70-year-old professor, who has long been a vocal critic of Israel in his speeches and books, took to social media to share his experience.

In his statement, Pappe described the questioning as “out of this world,” with the two FBI agents asking him about his alleged support for Hamas and whether he considered Israel’s actions in Gaza to be genocidal. “They asked me what I believe is the solution to the ‘conflict’ (seriously, this is what they asked!),” wrote Pappe, expressing his disbelief at the nature of the questions.

The professor said that he was interrogated about his personal connections, with the agents inquiring about his Arab and Muslim friends in America, the length of their relationships, and the nature of their interactions. Pappe responded by directing the agents to his published works in some instances, while providing brief “yes” or “no” answers in others, citing exhaustion after an eight-hour flight.

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He also mentioned that the FBI agents engaged in a lengthy phone conversation with an unidentified party, which he speculated could have been an Israeli official. Following the conversation, the agents copied the contents of his phone before allowing him to enter the country.

Despite the troubling nature of the interrogation, Pappe believes that such actions by the US and European countries, taken under pressure from pro-Israeli lobbies or Israel itself, are indicative of “sheer panic and desperation” on their part. He believes that these reactions are a response to Israel’s increasingly tarnished reputation, which he predicts will soon lead to the country becoming a “pariah state”.

Prof. Pappe’s experience comes after recent incidents where Palestinian academics, including the Rector of Glasgow University, Ghassan Abu Sitta, were denied entry to France and Germany. These events have raised concerns about the treatment of individuals critical of Israel’s policies and the influence of pro-Israel lobbies on foreign governments.