On a recent Aegean Airlines flight from Greece, a group of Israeli Jews “decided“ that two Arab passengers “constituted a security risk.” They demanded their removal, prevented the plane from taking off by standing in the aisles, and, one imagines, shouting and threatening.
Am I missing something here? Shouldn’t these Jews have been removed from the plane? They were the ones causing a disturbance, inconveniencing the other passengers, forcing an additional security check, bringing in the police and delaying the flight for more than an hour and a half.
A lot of terrible things are happening on both sides of this accursed battle every day – a Palestinian family burned to death, a Jewish couple murdered, the cold-blooded murder of a teenage girl with a knife on a Jerusalem street, politicians encouraging “shoot-to-kill” orders, a “suspicious” woman driver riddled with bullets – in short, permission to kill anyone who someone else might consider a threat, no questions asked. Compared to this, being kicked off a flight seems pretty trivial.
It happens. Recently a British Muslim family of Pakistani origin, including several children, on their way to Disneyworld, was prevented by U.S. authorities at a London airport from boarding a flight there. But in this case at least it was the authorities who made the decision.
When passengers, private citizens, are allowed to decide who can fly and who cannot, what does this mean? Did the airline and the Greek authorities cede their power to a gang of bigoted and unruly Israeli Jews? Will this mean that any private citizen (as long as he has pale skin, belongs to the “ruling class” and shouts loud enough) can henceforth make the rules? And the airline will submit? It feels like anarchy.
What’s next? Could a passenger from Im Tirtzu object to someone he recognizes from the infamous “foreign agent” video? Will an Arab-hater see a member of the Joint List and demand he be removed from the plane? Will a right-winger object to a Meretz leader or an official of the New Israel Fund? Maybe a passenger carrying a copy of Haaretz will be suspect?
The Haredim [ultra-Orthodox] are already refusing to sit next to women. Perhaps women wearing head scarves (Muslims) or not wearing a head covering (Jews) will be next on the unwanted list. The possibilities are infinite when hatred, fear and disdain for the law are running rampant and expanding every day with the backing and open encouragement of Israel's government.
I wonder if the obstreperous Jews who caused the ruckus on Aegean Airlines will suffer any adverse consequences. Will they at least be questioned and warned by the Israeli police, or barred from future flights, at least on Aegean, and fined for the humiliation and delay endured by the Arab passengers?
If not, if the airline and the Greek and Israeli authorities do nothing to make clear that there is no tolerance for this kind of outrageous behavior, then all of us have moved even deeper into the thickening morass of lawlessness and contempt for common decency that is threatening to choke us all.
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