5 Broken Cameras: ADC Questions US-Israeli Agreement

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Logo

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue an immediate apology to Emad Burnat for detaining him and his family yesterday. In addition, ADC formally requested DHS Office of the Inspector General to initiate an immediate investigation to determine to what extent Customs Border Patrol (CBP) officials engaged in racial profiling based on a recent agreement between the US and Israel.

Yesterday, immigration officials at Los Angeles International Airport detained the Burnat family. Burnat is a Palestinian director of the Oscar-nominated documentary "5 Broken Cameras." Burnat told ADC this morning that immigration officials did not apologize to him after his ordeal.

Burnat visited the United States six times last year and never faced any issues during previous visits. ADC President Warren David said today: "ADC is concerned that detaining Burnat came a result of a recent agreement between the United States and Israel." Last week ADC filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demanding that DHS-CBP provide information pertaining to a 2012 agreement between CBP's Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, and the Israeli Tax Authority's Authorized Economic Operator Program.

ADC demands to know what information is being shared under the agreement, and whether that information is being used to racially profile Arab nationals and Arab Americans arriving to the US. According to the ADC, Customs and Border policies used by Israel are notorious for aggressive profiling techniques, often resulting in extensive secondary searches for individuals of Arab descent. Many US citizens travelling from the US to and from Israel have been forced to strip-searches, and a number of individuals have flat out been denied entry.

ADC has obtained exclusive documents that show how in the 1970s the implementation of "Operation Boulder" resulted in the profiling of Arab nationals, including Arab Americans. Through another FOIA request, ADC has exclusively obtained a memo dated October 13, 1972 which directs the US Embassy Tel Aviv to send telegrams to Washington, DC about Arabs residing in Israel or occupied territories visiting the United States. The telegrams contain "brief physical description, estimated date of arrival in the United States, local residence, and individual to be visited in the United States."

Founded in 1980. ADC is the largest Arab American grassroots civil rights organization with chapters and members in all 50 states.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=9802

CONTACT: Raed Jarrar www.ADC.org Media@ADC.org (202) 244-2990

Source: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee