Journalists invited to a party hosted by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were forced to undergo an intensive strip search Thursday, taking off pants, shirts and bras. Now the Israeli Press office says sorry for the stripping.
The controversy was dubbed "bra-gate" by the Israeli press, owing to the fact that Al Jazeera reporter Najwan Simri Diab (above) was turned away from the party after she refused to remove her bra for security. (Apparently, Israel also "-Gates"?) The incident prompted the Foreign Press Association to issue a statement, after a number of journalists were given the TSA-from-hell treatment:
While we appreciate the need for security, it is not remotely acceptable to invite people for cocktails at a five-star hotel and then make them undress at the door.
Several members were forced to remove their underwear, waiting for as long as 20 minutes in this humiliating situation while security checked their documents. Others, including the bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, were strip-searched and forced to take off their pants. A number of members walked out of the event in disgust following this despicable treatment.
And Sharine Tadros had a good burn in a blog post:
As female journalists working in this region we constantly find ourselves putting clothes on to please Hamas and taking them off to please the Israelis.
We have to say, this does seem very strange. At American media parties all the stripping happens after the party, at the bar next door. [New York Times]