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Netanyahu Calls Detention of US Journalist a Mistake


Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office, Aug. 12, 2018.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling the detention of an American journalist at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday an "administrative mistake."

Peter Beinart, a columnist for the liberal Jewish newspaper Forward and a critic of the Israeli government, was held and questioned about his politics for about an hour.

He was in Israel to visit family.

Beinart said he was asked if he was involved with groups that advocate violence in Israel or threaten Israeli democracy.

Netanyahu wanted to know why Shin Bet intelligence agents held Beinart for questioning and was told it was an "administrative mistake."

"Israel is an open society which welcomes all — critics and supporters alike. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where people voice their opinions freely and robustly," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

FILE - Prominent Jewish-American commentator Peter Beinart speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem, June 21, 2012.
FILE - Prominent Jewish-American commentator Peter Beinart speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem, June 21, 2012.

Beinart called his experience "trivial" and said he will accept an apology only when Netanyahu "apologizes to all the Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans who every day endure far worse."

Beinart said he is a supporter of Israel but has written columns critical of Israeli polices toward Palestinians.

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