U.S. Protests to Israel over Bias Against Arab Americans

The State Department has reiterated its objection to the confiscation of passports and other restrictions against Palestinians, who are American citizens, when they arrive in Israel.

Department spokesman Charles Redman said the United States has expressed its “concern” about what it called “discrimination” to Israel recently and in the past.

The Department released a statement last Thursday in which it noted that last summer there were a “large number of complaints” by Arab Americans that they were “harassed and discriminated” against when they arrived in Israel. This included confiscation of passports, the posting of bonds assuring that they would leave Israel after their visit, and in some cases, refusal to allow them to enter Israel, the statement said. After the U.S. complained the number of such charges dropped “substantially,” the Department said. But it added that recently there have been reports of passport confiscation.

The statement stressed the U.S. told Israel that it cannot accept “discrimination” against American citizens based on “race, religion or ethnic background.” The statement said the U.S. will “continue to protest vigorously with the government of Israel any reports of discrimination against Arab Americans.”

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