Hearing Michael Bublè’s “Home” while riding in the back of a police van was probably the last thing Federica Marsi expected while working in Israel early September.
In a recent Vice article, Marsi told her firsthand account of being deported from Tel Aviv while illegally reporting on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
After what she described as a “stern, hard-boiled female officer with red fingernails” finding a recent article she (Marsi) wrote entitled “The Dangers of Stone Throwing” (explaining Israel’s recent attempted murder charges against some Palestinian teenagers who threw stones at a settler) she was interrogated about her freelance career in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.
She tried playing every card in the book. She blamed a namesake, she blamed her inability to embrace Judaism, but eventually her cameo of spending a holiday at her (fake) Italian cousin’s place in Haifa began to unravel.
“From the moment I found out about my impending deportation, I entered a ‘security procedure,’ meaning I was stalked by a border officer,” who then made sure she could not speak to anyone from her country, especially the embassy. In fact, she was only allowed to make one call before her phone was confiscated along with her other belongings before she was taken to a holding sell where she spent three days. She then found herself with a one-way ticket back home and a three-day stay in the Ben Gurion removal center. Marsi is now banned from entering Israeli until 2019.
Marsi attributes Israel’s banning witnesses to the occupation is what makes it difficult for them to come back and update their international audience on the plight of the Palestinians. She says that Israel seems to be extending the concept of “security threat” to anyone expressing oppositional political views.
In addition to Marsi’s deportation, Israeli authorities similarly denied entry to U.S. linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky between Jordan and the occupied West Bank in May of 2010 and international law and global politics professor Richard Falk who was denied entry at the Ben Gurion airport and put in a holding room where he was interrogated and put through an inch by inch body search.
“The only advantage of being deported, I discovered, is avoiding the check-in lines,” Marsi said the border officer dropped her off right under the plane and handed her passport to the plane crew. Before she headed to her seat she turned to the guard and said, “Free Palestine.”