Anti-Zionist Historian Ilan Pappé Detained by FBI

“Am I a Hamas supporter?” In a post on social media, the Israeli author said he was questioned for two hours at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Monday.

Ilan Pappé in 2012. (Elena Torre, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

In what one observer called “a whole new level of insanity and paranoia,” renowned Israeli historian and professor Ilan Pappé — a staunch critic of Zionism — was detained and interrogated this week by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents as he entered the United States at Detroit’s airport.

In a Wednesday Facebook post, Pappé said that he was questioned by F.B.I. agents for two hours after arriving at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Monday.

He wrote:

“The two-men team were not abusive or rude, I should say, but their questions were really out of the world! Am I a Hamas supporter? Do I regard the Israeli actions in Gaza a genocide? What is the solution to the ‘conflict’ (seriously this is what they asked!) Who are my Arab and Muslim friends in America… What kind of relationship [do] I have with them?”

“They had [a] long phone conversation with someone, the Israelis?” he added, “and after copying everything on my phone allowed me to enter.”

“I know many of you have fared far worse,” Pappé wrote, referring to Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, a British Palestinian plastic surgeon and rector of Glasgow University in Scotland who last month was denied entry to Germany — and by extension all 29 Schengen Area nations — before the ban was overturned earlier this week.

[See: German Police Shut Down Palestine Conference]

“The good news is — actions like this by the USA or European countries taken under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby or Israel itself smell of sheer panic and desperation in reaction to Israel’s becoming very soon a pariah state, with all the implications of such a status,” he added.

Pappé’s treatment sparked outrage among Palestine defenders.

“The detention and interrogation of internationally renowned Israeli anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé at Detroit airport by the F.B.I. is latest in the long list of episodes of intimidation and bullying across the West to defend the indefensible — the Israeli genocide of Palestinians,” University of California, Berkeley history professor Ussama Makdisi said on social media Wednesday.

WATCH: CN Live! — John Pilger & Ilan Pappé on Palestine

Entrepreneur and geopolitical commentator Arnaud Bertrand said, “We’ve reached a whole new level of insanity and paranoia.”

Pappé, 69, is a scholar of Palestinian history at the University of Exeter in England. He’s published over 20 books including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, an examination of the Nakba expulsion of more than 750,000 Arabs from Palestine by Zionist militants — who sometimes massacred Palestinians to sow terror among them — during the establishment of the modern state of Israel in the late 1940s. 

He has also been a leading Israeli critic of Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, which according to Palestinian officials has killed, maimed, or left missing more than 125,000 people since the Oct. 7 attacks. During a Wednesday interview with Al Jazeera marking the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, Pappé asserted that Israel’s current onslaught is “even worse” than the 1948-49 ethnic cleansing in many ways.

[See: WATCH: Ilan Pappé — ‘Dehistoricizing Oct. 7’]

“What we see now are massacres which are part of the genocidal impulse, namely to kill people in order to downsize the number of people living in Gaza,” he said. “Ethnic cleansing is a terrible crime against humanity but genocide is even worse.”

Pappé’s latest title, Lobbying for Zionism on Both Sides of the Atlantic, details “how pro-Israel lobbying groups influence the Middle East policies of Britain, the U.S., and others.”

Reacting to the author’s detention, ACLU human rights lawyer and New York University professor Jamil Dakwar said, “One wonders if this ‘VIP welcome’ related to his anti-genocide activism and his new book.”

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “Anti-Zionist Historian Ilan Pappé Detained by FBI

  1. Tom Hall
    May 18, 2024 at 03:33

    We’re constantly being told that America’s Jews are in danger from roving hordes of anti-Semitic students, doctors, nurses, teachers- you name it. But if you count up the number of Jews who are being subjected to investigation, arrest, interrogation, re-arrest, blacklisting, threats to their safety, loss of income and more, you’ll find that American Jews really are in danger- from the Israel lobby and the U.S. government. Of course, Ilan Pappé isn’t actually an American. But he now has the honorary status of one, thanks to the FBI. “We’re your FBI- spying, lying and denying for a hundred years, keeping America in a safe.”

  2. CaseyG
    May 17, 2024 at 17:37

    OMG, FBI—–Did we suddenly become the land of the NONfree?

    Has “We the People,”morphed into THEM the CONTROLLERS? Does FBI now stand for Fermented Brains Incorporated? Why does Israel have so much power over Biden?

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    May 17, 2024 at 15:27

    Nazi tactics in israel…and now Nazi tactics in America. Is this what is called ‘progress’???

  4. vinnieoh
    May 17, 2024 at 12:50

    “…Israel’s becoming very soon a pariah state, …”

    In the minds of many throughout the world that threshold has already been passed. The tragedy is, the more apparent that becomes, the more openly vicious are the actions of the Zionist hardliners. These past few days a passage from The Brothers Karamazov keeps popping up in my mind. Old man Karamazov is talking to a friend and confides to him: “I once played a dirty trick on that man, and I have hated him ever since.”

  5. Efram Zimbalist
    May 17, 2024 at 11:25

    Welcome to America.

    The FBI has never been what democracy looks like. It was always a political police that emerged from the Democrats’ Red Scare. The FBI has always been a political police that attacks political movements that the Elites do not want to see or hear. You see any movement for freedom and justice in America, and you will find FBI informers.

    The FBI has never been what freedom looks like. I doubt that Ben Franklin or any of the other participants in the Constitutional Convention could have ever agree with forming the FBI under their rules. They wanted a weak central government with a weak executive where the Congress made the decisions. The FBI breaks this model of freedom on both levels, by creating a stronger central government and by giving more power to the executive branch.

    The F … B … I …. what democracy and freedom do not look like.

  6. Michael McNulty
    May 17, 2024 at 09:17

    If they were right they wouldn’t do it and if they were winning they’d have no need to.

  7. mgr
    May 17, 2024 at 08:25

    Land of the free. Home of the brave… or “Stranger in a Strange Land”…

    • Tom Hall
      May 18, 2024 at 03:21

      Land of the spree. Home of the knave.

  8. Em
    May 17, 2024 at 03:23

    The Gestapo have changed their attire!

    • Efram Zimbalist
      May 17, 2024 at 11:38

      Its what those suits they always wore always symbolized. The merging of corporate power and state power, symbolized by the corporate suit combined with the state badge of authority. They were always the walking embodiment of Mussolini’s description of fascism.

      • Susan Siens
        May 18, 2024 at 14:47

        Thank you, Efram! How can one inform the comfortable class that this has always gone on? It really does seem as though “If it’s not happening to ME, it’s not happening.”

  9. Jeff Harrison
    May 16, 2024 at 22:00

    Of course this is because of his writings. He is denying the US’s excuse for being complicit in genocide.

  10. Lois Gagnon
    May 16, 2024 at 21:31

    The empire is definitely in panic mode. Things will probably get dicey for a while. Let’s hope it’s just for a while.

  11. Michael G
    May 16, 2024 at 20:12

    “Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the
    street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and
    though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour
    in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The
    blackmoustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was
    one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING
    YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. Down
    at streetlevel another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind,
    alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a
    helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a
    bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol,
    snooping into people’s windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the
    Thought Police mattered.”

    -George Orwell

    I lived in Detroit for a while, it was cold, and I would see trash in the little eddies of wind, and there didn’t seem to be any color in anything.

    • Efram Zimbalist
      May 17, 2024 at 11:29

      “I lived in Detroit for a while, it was cold, and I would see trash in the little eddies of wind, and there didn’t seem to be any color in anything.”

      A nice description of the capitalist heart of America.
      Works on both literal and figurative levels.
      Cold, trashy and lacking color.

  12. Graeme
    May 16, 2024 at 20:08

    In Australia the slogan “From the river …” has been politicised by politicians (of all stripes) and corporate media as being a racist slogan, antisemitic.

    Pity the didn’t do their homework.

    This is from al-Jazeera:
    Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, which describes itself as conservative and nationalist, has been a staunch promoter of the concept of “Eretz Israel”, or the Bible-given right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.

    According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the party’s original party manifesto in 1977 stated that “between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty”. It also argued that the establishment of a Palestinian state “jeopardises the security of the Jewish population” and “endangers the existence of the state of Israel”.

    Seems that Palestinians will never get the same acknowledgement as Israeli Jews.


    • Efram Zimbalist
      May 17, 2024 at 11:33

      Now there’s a concept …. freedom from the river to the sea.

      Is it my fault that I dream of the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean when I hear that phrase?
      I’d even settle for only half of America being free, and letting the Wall Street gang have their own state in the other half.

      • May 18, 2024 at 09:48

        I’d hope you might come up with a less-risky and more permanent solution. Really, can you leave them with any power or even alive?

        • Susan Siens
          May 18, 2024 at 14:53

          You make me think of Che and his deliberate execution of the Cubans he felt would do everything to overturn the revolution and reinstall a puppet government for the U.S. Most of these people are not rehabilitatable due to the fact that they are missing critical parts of being human (conscience, empathy, shame, love). It is death to a society when they elevate the worst among them.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      May 17, 2024 at 15:29

      And even more pitiful that the entire white Anglo/Saxon world has fallen captive to the Zionists and their barbaric machinations.

    • Tara
      May 18, 2024 at 00:46

      The problem with Australia is that, for all its claim of sovereignty, it is not autonomous. It is, still, very much a colonised state, taking its cues from the US and UK.

      That every potential Prime Minister makes a visit to the US to get Murdoch’s blessings and pay homage to the US President is surely evidence enough?

Comments are closed.