Israeli Official Defends Profiling, Says America Does It Too

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Israeli Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Israeli Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

A senior Israeli official justified the “profiling” of Muslims as potential security threats on Monday after U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said Americans should adopt Israel’s disputed practice.

Trump, the Republican front-runner who has been buoyed by Americans’ worries about Islamic terrorism, said on Sunday he believed that “profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.”

“You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation”.

Asked about the remarks, Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz declined to discuss the U.S. election campaign but was unapologetic about Israel’s methods.

“Ultimately these [security] apparatuses … must build a profile of characteristics as to where the danger comes from and locate it,” he said in a briefing to foreign journalists arranged by the Israel Project advocacy group.

“It is not the whole population, but sometimes when there is a specific form of terrorism, you can seek out Islamic terrorism only among Muslims.”

Katz, who confers with foreign counterparts, said “profiling” on the basis of ethnicity was a de facto U.S. practice.

“The United States does do this, by the way, beyond the debate over whether they refer to terrorism as ‘Islamic’ or do not refer to terrorism as ‘Islamic’,” he said.

“Contrary to the Europeans, who do not do either — some of them neither define [potential threats] nor take this action — the Americans do do it, and do know how to take action, and they do this activity.”