They are deporting clowns now

Posted: May 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News | Tags: , , | 6 Comments »


It seems that Israel’s security services have lost their mind in their hunt for subversive elements:

Ivan Prado, the most famous clown in Spain, did not expect to be put on a return flight back to Madrid soon after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport late last month, after spending six hours with officials from the Shin Bet security service and the Interior Ministry. The officials accused Prado of having ties to Palestinian terror organizations.


Prado, director of the International Clown Festival in Galicia, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on April 26 with a Spanish national of Arab origin. They planned to go to Ramallah to help organize a similar festival, but at passport control Prado was taken aside by a Shin Bet officer who asked him about his planned visit to the West Bank and about his connections to various Palestinian organizations. He and his female companion were held for six hours, during which they were questioned repeatedly, and their passports were confiscated.

They were sent back to Spain after an Interior Ministry official informed them that they would not be permitted into Israel.

Read the full story in Haaretz.

Beside the grave PR mistake by the Israeli Authorities, the important issue here is that in today’s Israel, being a friend of the Palestinians, traveling with an Arab or expressing critical views on Zionism is enough to get you in trouble. And if the only argument this government’s supporters can come up with is “in Iran and Gaza things are much worse”, it tells you a lot about the point we’ve reached.

6 Comments on “They are deporting clowns now”

  1. 1 RTB612 said at 3:05 am on May 6th, 2010:

    Other clowns working on war zones dont take sides, or at least not in public, couse their work is beyond politics. He, on the other hand, is a self-procalimed political activist:

    Leaving aside the ethical questions about doing political propaganda with children, it is indeed a clever PR trick to combine it with clown work. So clever that he seems to have fooled at least one person: you.

    In fact, you are saying Israel should not deport a political activist tied to terrorist organizations such as the Zapatista Movement in Mexico (and presumably some of the local ones too), becouse he wears funny cloths. Very insightful.

  2. 2 noam said at 4:20 am on May 6th, 2010:

    RTB: no, what I’m saying is that Israel should not deport people for their opinions or for sympathizing with the Palestinian cause.

    Since Israel controls all access points to the PA, preventing people from getting in or out because Israel doesn’t like what they are saying or doing (national security cases aside) is another form of siege, and I oppose it.

  3. 3 Noam said at 7:05 am on May 6th, 2010:

    Another thing that I found amusing about this story is the response of the Shaback to the requests from the Israeli Embassy in Spain for the reason for deportation.

    The Shabak answered “it is for security reasons”. In Israel, this is enough of an answer for most political questions – but happily it doesn’t work like that in most other places around the world – only the people in the Shabak are so engrossed with themselves they do not comprehend that their word does not carry the same weight outside their captive audience.

  4. 4 chris said at 10:42 am on May 6th, 2010:


    this is a good one , only Israel is allowed to terrorize it’s neighbours- supersonic flights over Lebanon, shooting at fisherman in a area these people are allowed fishing leving the problem of the millions refugees to its neighbours- silly people like them always fell themselves so smart.

  5. 5 Tamar said at 12:14 am on May 7th, 2010:

    Politically, I oppose this stupid act of paranoid anti democratic bullying. Personally, I am happy there is a strict policy towards clowns, and would appreciate the same measures taken against mimes and stilt walkers.

  6. 6 Gert said at 12:20 pm on May 8th, 2010:

    Israel is slowly descending into the status of police state, make no mistake about it. And the fact that there are other and far worse cases elsewhere doesn’t change that.

    I don’t think much else can be expected from a state that increasingly sees everything through the lens of ‘National Security’. National Security concerns can of course also be used as the pretext for the State’s tightening grip over its citizens lives, many of whom it seems can easily be convinced to sacrifice some of their civil or demographic rights when they’re told it’ll keep the bogeyman at bay. And Israel’s Military Industrial Complex has the ideal Bogeyman: the Arab!