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Early this morning, a journalist from Finland’s state broadcaster who is accredited by the GPO was forced to undergo an overly zealous and demeaning security check at the prime minister’s office when she arrived to cover the arrival of Mike Pence.

The woman was taken behind a curtain, questioned, patted down and scanned with a metal detector _ all apparently because she is of Palestinian descent. Security personnel then ordered the woman to remove her bra, and when she refused, barred her from the event.

Unfortunately, this was just the latest instance of  journalists being needlessly hassled by Israeli security in what we believe is clear ethnic profiling. The repugnant practice of strip searching journalists puts Israel in a category all of its own and is a mark of shame for a country that boasts of its democratic credentials.

The FPA has repeatedly expressed its understanding of Israel’s unique security needs, and we are all used to the lengthy check-in process at official events. But given all of the technology and intelligence at Israel’s fingertips, we fail to see any good reason for the continued humiliation of professional accredited journalists and can only conclude that this only-in-Israel practice is aimed at making people feel unwelcome and keeping them away.

 We urge all members to keep reporting to us any difficulties with security, and would encourage those who are covering the Pence visit to mention this incident.

January  22, 2018