By Belen Fernandez
Perhaps I am out of the loop, but is it normal in mainstream U.S. media these days to suggest that domestic airport security be outsourced to the Israeli Shin Bet?
At first glance, you might not guess that this is the gist of Caroline Baum’s Nov. 28 Bloomberg article “My Breasts Pass Unchecked by Airport Screeners”, which begins with Baum admitting she was jealous to learn that an Orlando passenger had been subjected to additional airport screening due to the size of her breasts.
Upon learning that this Orlando passenger was not the only one to receive such treatment, Baum excuses “breast stares” from male Transportation Security Administration agents as follows:
“What’s so bad about that? There was a time — think Marilyn Monroe — when women encouraged longing looks from the opposite sex with cinched-in waists and cups that runneth over.”
As long as we are reducing female worth to physical appearance, let me go ahead and say that I sympathize with the TSA decision to waive the pat-down in Ms. Baum’s case.
After reviewing additional details such as that “far more graphic material [than that generated by full body scans] is available at a newsstand in most airports”, Baum arrives at the Shin Bet connection:
“Could we do smarter security? Of course. We could learn a few things from the Israelis, maybe even outsource airport security to the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, which is charged with protecting El Al, the national airline.
“Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv has been recognized as the safest in the world. By the time passengers arrive at the airport, Israeli security agents know who they’re looking for. The screening process begins when a ticket is booked.
“Israel employs ethnic profiling, spending more time interviewing a young Arab male with a one-way ticket paid for in cash than an elderly Jewish grandmother or Hebrew University students off on a summer holiday. Muslim Arabs may be singled out unfairly, but they’re the ones committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. It’s this same group — albeit a small minority — that’s targeting the U.S.”
The phrasing of the final two sentences leads us to believe that all Muslim Arabs are committed to the destruction of Israel while a small minority targets the U.S. However “unfair” ethnic profiling is, it is thus necessary.
Luckily for Ms. Baum, she will also be exempt in the event the TSA decides to adopt other methods perfected by the Shin Bet, such as shackling Muslim Arabs in unnatural positions and depriving them of sleep for prolonged periods.
I would meanwhile advise Bloomberg columnists who end their odes to Israeli security with jokes about push-up bras to consider taking the time to speak to people who have far more to worry about than whether or not security officials are looking at their breasts.
– Belén Fern