Shalala’s disgrace

Donna Shalala at the University of Galilee. Witnesses say she only used the shovel to plant a tree.

UPDATE: Shalala now says Israel’s ethnic profiling perfectly justified .

First the lobby justified Israel’s criminal siege of Gaza, now it is conspiring so that millions of Arabs die of laughter.

Among the American Jewish Committee‘s vast operations there is one called Project Interchange. It arranges junkets for ‘opinion makers’ so that they are presented with the Israeli position and turned into sympathetic allies in the countries of their origin. While in Israel the PI-attendees meet with government officials, academics,  journalists, etc., and of course, there is the mandatory visit to the Yad Vashem memorial. One recent beneficiary of the AJC’s generosity was Clinton apparatchick Donna Shalala who was visiting as part of a group of American university president’s fighting the ongoing campaign for the academic boycott of Israel. Shalala, who is incidentally an American of Arab origin, sang for her shekels. She denounced the boycott campaign and even discussed cooperation with the controversial Bar Ilan University which established the Ariel University Center of Samaria illegally in the occupied Palestinian territories as a regional branch. Alas, her Uncle Tom act failed to impress the masters. YNet reports:

This is not how she imagined her visit to Israel. Prof. Donna Shalala, who served as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years under Clinton and is currently the president of Miami University, was held for two-and-a-half hours at Ben Gurion Airport during which she underwent a humiliating security debriefing because of her Arab last name – all this despite the fact that her hosts notified the airport ahead of time that she is a VIP.

The fact that Shalala arrived in Israel as part of an official delegation of the heads of universities fighting against the academic boycott against the Jewish State also seemed not to help her.

doShalala, 69, was born in the US to Lebanese immigrant parents. She is considered a true friend of Israel and has visited the country many times in the past…

During their visit, members of the delegation met with President Shimon Peres, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad…

When Shalala arrived at the airport, she was not recognized as a VIP and was even afforded what she claims to be “special” treatment because of her Arab last name. She claims she was held for two-and-a-half hours during which she was asked invasive and humiliating personal questions. Despite the delay, she managed to board the flight to the US. Officials who spoke with her said she was deeply offended by the treatment she received.

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Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

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