Racial Profiling Doesn’t Work Says Israeli Airport Security Chief

In this National Public Radio piece, Rafi Ron, the former chief for security at Ben Gurion airport argues that racial profiling is not effective. Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is Israel’s largest airport and has a generally excellent reputation for security.

In the piece, Ron squarely addresses the effectiveness of racial profiling:

“One of the problems with racial profiling is that there is this tendency to believe that this is the silver bullet to solve the problem. In other terms if you are a Middle Easterner or if you are a Muslim you must be bad. If you are a European and Christian, you must be good.

But back in 1972, Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv was supposed to be attacked by a Palestinian. It was never attacked by one. It was attacked by a Japanese terrorist killing 24 people and it was attacked in the mid-80s by a German terrorist with blue eyes and blonde hair answering to the name Miller.”

In response to the Obama administration’s decision to single out national of 14 countries for extra scrutiny, Ron say, “I think it would be a mistake to use only that as the single criterion.”

Ron even goes on to blame the failure to spot shoe bomber Richard Reid as the terrorist was because of racial profiling. Ron cites testimony from a flight attendant at the foot of the airplane door that Richard Reid entered. According to the attendant’s testimony, Mr. Reid “name” and “perfect English accent” persuaded her to allow him on the plan despite her initial misgivings with his behavior.

Perhaps hearing a security expert who served at an airport with a track record of success will help persuade administration officials that profiling does not work and is not effective.


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