High Court rules on racial profiling at Ben-Gurion Airport

Court dismisses a civil rights petition, but leaves the door open for future cases.

Ben Gurion Airport (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ben Gurion Airport
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday carved out a middle ground in one of the most important recent cases to be decided on the issue of racial profiling, with the particular case relating to security at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The court dismissed the petition calling for the complete elimination of racial profiling and partially accepted the state’s argument that it could not completely change without heavily burdening all travelers.
But it reimbursed the petitioner – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel – NIS 30,000 for its legal fees and recognized that the petition had already gotten security to be less discriminatory.
The dismissal was only procedural, leaving the door open to ACRI to file a new petition in the future if necessary.
ACRI itself issued a mixed reaction, taking credit for some degree of an improvement in the situation and some reduction in racial profiling. But ACRI lawyer Aooni Bana said that because it did not rule on the broader issue of whether racial profiling is illegal in principle, “the High Court wasted an opportunity to stop formal ethnic discrimination in the Israeli airports. Arab citizens are stigmatized as suspects and undergo a separate and demeaning process only because of their ethnic identity.