Megabyte: Israeli Border Police Shoot Laptop of American Student

American student Lily Sussman, 21, likely has a new appreciation for our TSA personnel after encountering the Israel Border Police. Israeli officers allegedly interrogated her after she entered Israel via Taba, Egypt two weeks ago and ended up shooting her Apple laptop computer. It appears that the Border Police are PC people.


Sussman says that officers demanded to know about any boyfriends and whether they were Palestinian or Arab. She was asked why she was visiting Arab areas and not Israel. They went through her personal photos and her personal journal. They then shot her Apple Mac computer. As a Mac user, I find this last point deeply disturbing. It is one thing to shoot a PC (which deserve whatever they get), but a Mac? That is over the top. Of course, given the difficulty that I had getting the warranty honored on my IPhone (here — they eventually did replace the phone), I think that Sussman may have some difficulty at the Apple store when she asks a “Mac genius” to look at problems that she is having with the laptop.

If I were the border patrol, I would be much more concerned about Steve Jobs than any Jihadi. Jobs is known to show no mercy when people mess with the Mac (here).

Sussman said that she was given no warning about the computer execution until a voice came over the public announcement system that said “Do not to be alarmed by gunshots because the Israeli security needs to blow up suspicious passenger luggage.”

She says that an officer then came up to her and said “I’m sorry but we had to blow up your laptop.”

That certainly makes TSA look a look more reasonable.

While Israel obviously faces more severe threats from terrorism than we do, this story is one of many concerning abuses by border personnel. There appears to be no limits or restrictions or balancing in these decisions by border personnel. There has also been no record of a formal objection from our embassy on the treatment of one of our citizens.

For her account on her blog, click here.

For the full story, click here

27 thoughts on “Megabyte: Israeli Border Police Shoot Laptop of American Student

  1. So, we have border patrol folks aggressively and belligerently interogating and demeaning an American citizen while entering Israel. The woman who, judging solely from her name, might well even be Jewish. One doesn’t have to wonder for long how a Palestinian might be treated by these thugs on any given day for any or no reason.

  2. I understand that the screen saver was a head shot of Glenn Beck, and confronted with that visage I think the soldier’s actions are justifiable under the Doctrines of Military Necessity or Proportionality of Response.

  3. “I’m sorry but we had to blow up your laptop.”

    When I read quotes, I like to imagine what the person making the statement would have sounded like. the only voice that pops into my head has an Indian accent.

    Damn you tech support!

  4. This is the third account of border patrol officers acting like thugs I have seen in as many weeks; Canadian, Israeli and US.

    For those of you that didn’t see this one:

    “Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border”
    (Of course, he was charged with assaulting a federal officer thought he and his witness say that he did not.)

    “But now Peter faces a felony rap for “assaulting a federal officer” (Peter and the witness in the car say he didn’t do a thing, and I believe them). Defending this charge will cost a fortune, and an inadequate defense could cost Peter his home, his livelihood and his liberty.”

    http://www.boingboing.net/2009/12/11/dr-peter-watts-canad.html

  5. From my understanding, the girl was told to leave her bag outside while she was being reviewed by the border cops. leaving an unattended bag outside, particularly at a border point, is a huge no-no. Of course, this seems like the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing and one of the other border guards saw the bag was unattended and saw to it to make sure it wasn’t a bomb so he had had one of the bomb-robots put a few bullets in it. AT least that’s the impression i’m getting.

  6. Obviously the Israeli border guards recognized that this girl was hostile to Israel and a sympathiser with Palestianian terrorists. Guite rightly they punished her by killing her laptop.

  7. David G

    “At least while they’re shooting laptops, they’re not shooting Palestinian children!”.

    I think Israel has plenty of bullets left for Palestinian children.

  8. Carlyle, unfortunately you’re right!

    Of course the U.S. makes sure that the IDF have an unlimited supply of weapons and munitions and the means to deliver them.

    When Israel is eventually charged with war crimes, the U.S. must be charged as an accessory!

  9. It is worth reading through the comment on the relevant thread on Lily Sussman’s blog.

    The dominant opinion seems to be that Lily was stupid to be carrying so many signs of interest in Arabs and their issue with Israel and that she was at best naive and at worst a Jew hater and the border guards were well justified in whacking her evil laptop. It had stickers in Arabic on the keys.

  10. Gee… some people have to read beyond the headlines!!

    Let’s see… this girl is trying to enter Israel from Egypt with stamps on her passport from Syria, Qatar and the UAE. She’s carrying a Palestinian guidebook, Arabic phrase book, a camera with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish images and pictures of the aftermath of Israel’s attack on Gaza. Her computer is password protected and had “peeling Arabic stickers on the
    keyboard.”

    She admitted to living in Egypt and is not Jewish (she was asked questions about Judaism she could not answer). Israel has tightened the border with Egypt to prevent the importation of arms by smugglers into the Gaza. What wasn’t said by anyone was the country who issued her passport but her first blog post identifies her as a Northeastern and her second post as a resident of NY. Probably a US passport… and considering the political tensions over the building of settlements in the West Bank, the US is not exactly well liked in Israel. Let’s not forget the Americans who have visited the Middle East in search for terrorist training camps to join.

    She had a hand drawn map of Jerusalem with directions to the central bus station and a nearby hostel after traveling through countries not exactly friendly to Israel. Even though there were no explosives found, could the computer contain a program that could detonate a bomb from long distance?

    Israel has experienced more than its share of terrorism and is allowed to be paranoid about who enters their country. The convergence of circumstances gives Israel the right to be paranoid leaving only victim in this is her naiveté for thinking the Israelis were wrong. If security costs them a
    MacBook, then it’s a small price to pay for risk management.

    Yes, as a Mac user I am saddened about the shooting of a perfectly good MacBook, but you have to be really stupid to think you can walk into Israel with all those Arab and Palestinian references on you and think they’re not going to consider you a threat!

  11. Former Fed.

    Israel may be rotten to the core but it today is no more so than the USA and Australia were when they were in corresponding stages of the necessary genocide or ethnic cleansing of the previous occupants of the land.

    However in the USA most of the ethnic hygiene work was done by the end of the nineteenth century. Australia was somewhat later, I believe the last large scale massacre was carried out in 1928. Historical amnesia has blotted the knowledge of these facts from the consciousnesses of present day Americans and Australians. In Israel the dispossession of the indigines phase of colonization is still in progress. It looks no nicer on TV than would events in nineteenth century America or Australia would have looked had TV been in existence then.

  12. Scott B in DC: “a camera with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish images and pictures of the aftermath of Israel’s attack on Gaza.”
    ———-

    Cameras just take pictures of what is, light reflected. If the images were of the aftermath of Israel’s attack on Gaza and they showed Israel in a bad light that’s hardly Ms. Sussman’s fault. Taking pictures of military caskets coming back from Iraq is just what is, saying they are anti-U.S. is a value judgment.

  13. this incident was bound to happen given the mindset of the girl in question.
    I love how she says in interviews that her family is “partly Jewish” after she says the Israelis were cold to her- as if they should have behaved in a friendly manner. clearly she got her back up after that reception. First of all, she is not “partly jewish”- she is 100% Jewish, although maybe she identifies with her Christian stepmother (daddy’s 3rd wife- a penniless white trash woman with 3 mouths to feed but who was in a prime situation to idolize her new husband) which is weird because lily’s primary residence was in her Jewish mother’s house. Daddy issues much? wrapped up with a confused personal identity? You decide. common sense: don’t travel to Israle with pictures of swastikas, a map of a bus station and addresses in the west bank and have no idea what the jewish holidays are while claiming to be partly jewish. remember anne marie murphy- the white girl used as a bomb courier by her arab bf? apparently lily couldn’t see the parallels. Due to her father’s bent as an overzealous civil rights lawyer, she assumed that she had some Consitutional rights at the Israeli-Arab border. somewhere in her blog she writes about her disrespect of the Israeli border guard, indicating she was provincial and hadn’t travelled out of Israel much (as if the burden of proof was on the guard to assume lily’s behavior all had a rational explanation instead of the burden being on lily to make it through the screening process). Note to travellers- some deference is due the people with guns at the borders- they think about security 100% of the time- you think about it the .o5% of the time you actually cross a border!
    If you google daddy sussman, you will find ample documentation of his very bad rep- the courts yanked his law licnse for a year for taking clients’ funds out of escrow (this is viewed as stealing by the courts and the profession) and he takes a lot of bogus cases like “oh I’m hispanic, I lost my job because of my race even though I did a crap job” and “oh, I was unfairly arrested by police after I took it upon myself to go down a blocked street to get to my son’s school faster”. but when you throw enough paint at the wall, sometimes it sticks, so he manages to cajole enough institutions into giving him a payout. daddy sussman also hosted a summit for his little girl called “murder and piracy on the high seas” after the turkish flotilla incident so they could both publicly condemn Israel. It’s the wrong conclusion as the consequence of flawed thinking and it was on display here at the border. check out lily’s blog and videos for more ramblings about how israel is quasi fascist and aggressive (never mind the fact that the arab country the girl spent half a year in has basically imploded under the weight of internal fascism there, which poor lily was too stilted to notice).
    she says this incident doesn’t make sense to her? lily, you don’t make sense at all.

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