Amer Zahr in The Civil Arab:
Mr. President, I hear you are traveling to Israel next week. As a concerned patriotic American citizen of Palestinian descent, I have some pointers for you.
Now, I assume you’ll be flying into Tel Aviv. Usually, when non-Jews arrive there, especially if they are a little darker-skinned, they are asked to wait in a… let’s call it a “VIP Room.” Incidentally, the room is quite nice. There’s a water cooler, comfortable chairs, and a soda machine. It’s probably the only place in the world where you can be racially profiled and get an ice-cold Coca-Cola all at once.
To avoid the room, I would mention that you are the President of the United States. It might help.
You may get strip-searched. Saying you are an American doesn’t help much here. I’ve tried. I even sang the national anthem last time an Israeli soldier was looking down my pants. Right after I said, “Oh say can you see,” he said, “Not much.”
To escape this embarrassment, I would mention that you are the President of the United States. It might help.
In case they don’t already know, you might not want to tell Israeli security you are half-Muslim. As a fellow half-Muslim, I can tell you they don’t really care about the percentage. Any bit of Muslim freaks them out. And I’m not sure if you heard, but the fans of one of Israel’s soccer teams, Beitar Jerusalem, actually protested when the club signed two Muslim players. When one of them scored in a game last week, hundreds of fans actually walked out of the stadium. One of the fans later stated about the Muslim players, “It’s not racism. They just shouldn’t be here.” Hopefully, they don’t know your middle name is “Hussein.” Maybe they didn’t watch the inauguration.
In any case, I would mention that you are the President of the United States. It might help.
More here. [Thanks to John Ballard.]