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22 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Israeli-Style Behavioral Profiling in Airports is Superior to the American Tech-Based System

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/16/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,794 times Debate No: 17535
Debate Rounds (4)
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I recently debated this topic with an opponent who abruptly left the site after being caught plagiarizing on another debate. Since I feel robbed of the end of my debate, I'm putting it up again in the hopes that I may find a better (read: more honest) opponent and actually finish the debate.

First round will be for acceptance, second round for arguments, third for rebuttals and cross-examination, and fourth for closing arguments.

Please note that part of the Israeli system involves ethnic and behavioral profiling. This is one of the factors that I am arguing in favor of. This may or may not affect a challenger's decision to accept the debate.

I look forward to debating whoever accepts! Thank you for your time.


I accept your challenge.

For the sake of clarity to those who may be unfamiliar with the subject, behavioral profiling is where they ask you simple questions and check for how you respond. Ethnic profiling is where they look at your ethnicity. If you are of the wrong ethnicity or answer the questions in a way deemed by the airport authorities to be suspicious, you are taken for additional screening. The American tech-based system is where they check your person and luggage for chemical markers that may indicate you are carrying an explosive or other dangerous devices (knives etc), for instance, passing through a heavy-metal detector. Looking at the resolution, it is not limited to any particular country.

The burden of proof in this debate is on my opponent. She needs to give compelling reasons why the Israeli system is superior, and I need to show why those reasons are not compelling.

I wish my opponent good luck, and look forward to a fun debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you to my opponent for his gracious acceptance!

[Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I wish to state that my argument is cut and pasted from the last debate I did on this very topic. This will stand as my opening argument, and I will rebut Con's arguments as needed. Thank you.]

Evidence shows that profiling is effective within the context of human intelligence, and its use in airport security cannot be understated.


1. I will explain the need for profiling.
2. I will explain the American system.
2. I will explain how the Israeli system works.
3. I will show that the Israeli system is more reliable, and far safer overall based on the apparent threat.

The Need for Profiling

According to TROP, an organization that monitors Islamic terrorism throughout the world, as of today, 2011 there have been 17,446 fatal terrorist acts (including bombings, aircraft hijackings, kidnappings, etc.) committed by Islamist groups since 9/11. [] While it may be politically incorrect and unpopular to state, the truth is that airborne terrorism is committed by a very specific subset of the population, with a very specific belief system. Regardless of how we hold up the idea of being "tolerant" as correct, the fact remains that Mormons and Catholics --and Jews--are not attempting to blow up the world.

How Does the American System Work?

The United States uses a "patch" system that is purely reaction-driven. Richard Reid hid explosives in his shoes; therefore, we all take our shoes off. A Nigerian hid explosives in his underwear, therefore now we are subject to full body scans. Screeners are technology-minded: They are concerned with what is in a passenger's bag but pay no real attention to what is in a passenger's face, body language, or mannerisms. Most passengers go through the entire checkpoint screening process without ever being directly challenged or asked a single question.

Passengers in the American system do not come under security scrutiny until they step into the ropes, so to speak, of a security checkpoint. Post-9/11 tensions about anti-Islamic sentiment have resulted in a media storm and accompanying political uproar anytime passengers of Middle Eastern descent or Islamic faith are subjected to additional screening or kept from boarding their flight, even after exhibiting erratic behavior that disturbed or frightened other passengers or crew.

In addition, the average TSA agent may be a high-school dropout, with little or no security experience.[1] They are not trained in human behavior, nor do they receive instruction on threat detection and/or assessment. Their history is full of near-misses and outright mishaps, up to and including allowing loaded firearms on flights. In fact, sixteen airports in the U.S. have gotten rid of the TSA in favor of private security firms due to incompetence and inability to perform their job to the highest standards of safety and integrity. [3] In fact, a report released a few days ago puts the amount of "security breaches" in TSA-guarded airports at 25,000 in the last 10 years, including 14,000 people who got into secure areas of the airport, and 6,000 who made it past security without being screened. That includes instances where the unscreened passengers literally got on a plane. [4] TSA spokesmen claim that this is "only" less than 1% of the total number of passengers being screened. However, it only takes one breach to have another 9/11. What's more, Israel proves every day that a perfect record is not only possible, but absolutely demanded.

How Does the Israeli System Work?

Agents at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv are members of Shin Bet, the Israeli intelligence agency. They are all former members of the Israeli Defense Forces (prior military), speak at least two languages, and have at least one college degree. [5] They are trained in counterterrorism, behavioral analysis, threat assessment, and facial microexpressions. Agents drill constantly, and if anything gets through, the offending agent is fired on the spot. [6]

Where Profiling Comes into Play

Passengers at Ben Gurion are stopped before they even get out of their cars, and asked two questions: "How are you?" and "Where are you coming from?" The behavior of the person answering is more important than their answers themselves. Those who are Jewish and Israeli move to their plane with little hassle. However, passengers who are foreign are subjected to a far more stringent security protocol, including several conversations with Shin Bet agents who use their training to ascertain whether the passenger is a threat. Those who are of Arabic descent are given the most scrutiny, as agents use a multi-level human-factor analysis that takes into account race, religion, general appearance and behavior.

Bret Stephens, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, mused in 2010 about the point a civilization becomes incompetent, stating that “when it fails to learn the lessons of its past…when it becomes crippled…it puts innocent lives recklessly at risk. Put simply,” Stephens continued, “we do not acquit ourselves morally by trying to abstain from a choice of evils. We just allow the nearest evil to make the choice for us”.

In 1993, French sociologist Michel Wieviorka, while arguing against racism, inadvertently added more weight to the defense of profiling in security applications. “Some institutions,” he wrote, “…may use methods which, although not deliberately or explicitly racist in themselves, nevertheless contribute to the spread of serious outbreaks of violence”. The current American system of political correctness focuses more on preserving the “feelings” of certain groups than the safety of others. This has contributed to terrorist acts that would have been thwarted under a security system that allowed profiling of the group statistically responsible for air terrorism.

Does It Work?

In short, YES. Ben Gurion airport has never--ever--experienced a hijacking, even though they exist in the middle of the terrorist nexus, and are bordered on all sides by countries who seek their destruction. In addition, Israel has not seen an airborne terrorist threat in over 30 years. Contrast that with the U.S., who sees "near-misses" quite regularly.

The choice NOT to profile may give certain groups warm, fuzzy feelings but safety is not meant to feel good. The American governent's first and foremost responsibility is to protect its citizens. Profiling is about safety, period.

I would like to pose the following question to my opponent: Pretend you are in an airport, about to enter security. You have a choice of two lines. In the first, the agents may be uneducated, they barely look at you, and never once ask you anything for fear they may offend you. In the second, the agents are extremely intense yet efficient, they are highly trained, they stare you down, make you feel uncomfortable, and because they are all of these things, you step onto your plane knowing with 100% certainty--based on a proven track record--that no one with evil intent is on the plane with you. Which line would you choose?




My opponent in her last round made many assertions. I will only respond to those assertions where my opponent actually shows why something is a good point for the Israeli system or a bad one for the American system. By my count, there were only four such statements.

1. Mormons, Catholics and Jews are not trying to blow up the world
No further evidence was given by my opponent, this was just an assertion.

Try telling that to the IRA and the Munich bombers. This website describes in detail how the Mormon scripture supports terrorism: John D Lee (Mountain Meadows Massacre) was, before 9/11, among the most famous American terrorists. The fact is, Catholics, Mormons and Jews are as dangerous as all people.

The implication of that statement is, of course, that Islam is trying to blow up the world. Let me fill you in. Even the most extreme fundamentalist Muslims don't want to blow up the world. There is no mandate in Islam for blowing stuff up, and indeed Islam preaches that people should respect each other and God's creation. That is why this kind of polarising hate-speech is dangerous. It creates the false impression that the enemy is the excluded group. In fact, both the included and excluded group could, in theory, be the enemy. That is why vigilance is a virtue. Just because the IRA once bombed, doesn't mean Catholics are all terrorists. Just because some terrorists call themselves Muslims does not mean all Muslims are terrorists.

Let us take an extreme example. Buddhist monks are not particularly well-known for committing terrorism. But that doesn't mean everyone who boards a plane wearing Buddhist monk robes is not a terrorist. People may join Buddhist orders for all manner of reasons. I might be insane and want to hijack a plane out of mental illness. I might want to take revenge for the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Or, of course, I might want to take revenge for the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestine, as Al Qaeda professes. Because most states have freedom of religion, religious profiling is impossible until they invent the belief-system-mind-reader. Even then, Christians can be just as moved to commit terrorism as Muslims, who are again equally susceptible to the idea of becoming a terrorist.

What distinguishes a terrorist is not their beliefs, but their use of terrorism. Profiling won't tell you their beliefs, but even if it did, that wouldn't be of any help. Therefore this assertion is a barefaced lie.

2. The implementation of the American system sucks
My opponent notes many security handlers are high school dropouts with little training. Then security firms do it better. This is irrelevant.

What we are debating is the relative superiority of the American and Israeli systems, not the people who administer those systems. It doesn't matter who does the screening, for we are debating how they should do it. Israeli airports use much more sophisticated bomb-protection systems for their airport security staff as well, but that doesn't mean their security screening system is superior. I am all for enhancing security at the bag check - so long as the bags are actually checked. Whether or not they do is the question. The same thing goes with my opponent's praise of the Israeli model's use of military personnel. The army can, in theory, use either model, and therefore this is not the subject of the debate.

3. Feelings can compromise safety
Just because a system is unbiased doesn't mean it panders to the feelings of certain groups. I wonder if my opponent would argue against the American declaration of independence - "all men are created equal" most certainly did buff the feelings of black people, after all. But these feelings are the product of equality and impartiality. So let us actually address the question - can impartiality compromise safety?

My answer is that impartiality compromises safety less than any bias ever can. The reason why fairness is so effective is that it targets 100% of terrorists, not just those terrorists that conform to my opponent's stereotype. In New Zealand, all our aircraft terrorist attacks have been committed by Africans (well, ok, one African). Nobody would have anticipated that, because no African country or network actually has any problem with us. One lady just randomly decided to take out her problems on a whole bunch of innocent passengers. If we had used the Israeli model at Nelson airport, she would have not been caught. If we had used the American model, she would have been caught.

The same thing can be applied to the United States. Is Paul nervous about flying or does he have a bomb? Of course people will say it's the pre-flight nerves. When Mohammed Atta swiped his frequent flier number as he boarded the jet that he would smash into the twin towers, the guy at the counter became convinced it was the former. I don't blame him. But that's the true danger of profiling - it relies on feelings towards particular religions or ethnicities. If feelings compromise safety, then your model is empirically less safe. But by making all people go through a stringent screening process, nobody can slip through.

4. Israel hasn't had a major hijacking
There are two ways you can hijack an Israeli plane. Either you hijack an inbound flight. In this case, foreign security forces will stop you taking your bomb wherever you take off from (almost everywhere else in the world follows the American model). The other option is to take an outbound flight. In this case you either are an Israeli or a foreigner. If a foreigner, you would have been stopped on the incoming flight taking the bomb in. Therefore all Israeli terrorists must be Israeli nationals taking outbound flights. Given that the sale of bomb-makeable materials is highly controlled and restricted in Israel, due to the threat of smuggling by Hamas and others, making a bomb to take on a flight would be much too difficult without escaping the notice of Israeli security. Therefore any such domestic terrorists must use a non-bomb weapon, such as a knife.

That a country with one of the highest military populations per capita, where all citizens go through years of indoctrinating military service, with a population of only 7.5 million, has not yet had a major hijacking from a domestic citizen is not totally surprising. Countries of comparable size with no military service to breed patriotism also have had no terrorists. So how do they do it - is it the army or the highly advanced technique of asking "how are you?" out of formality and then choosing on a knee-jerk reaction. The answer - I don't know. Neither do you. You can't claim your answer is correct unless you can discount all of the other possible alternatives, which you can't.

You see, there are literally thousands of possible reasons why Israel hasn't had a hijacking. One thing that is certain, though, is that given the unique circumstances of the country with extremely stringent monitoring of inbound flights, Israel is not in a terrorist nexus. Their geographic location near the bases of terrorist groups makes them no less a centre of a terrorist nexus than Cuba was in a capitalist nexus during the missile crisis.

My answer to my opponent's question about security lines is simple - if they both lead to the same plane, both are equally unsafe. I don't want to board a plane administered by either shoddy agents or a shoddy system. Both lines will let through terrorists. This debate isn't about the agents, it's about the system. So let's make this a relevant scenario by making the security personnel the same people. In this alternative, I’d go for the line that logic dictates will catch all the terrorists, not one that bases its whole case on a single data point without evidence for causation. Wouldn’t you join me?

My opponent has failed to provide a compelling case for the resolution. The motion falls.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you to my opponent for his reply.

R1: Mormons and Catholics.

My statement that “the fact remains that Mormons and Catholics --and Jews--are not attempting to blow up the world” was pulled out of context by Con, who chose to ignore where I specifically mention airborne terrorism. This debate is about airport security. Con ignores the statistics on airborne terrorism and Islamic terrorists’ role in it, and instead focuses on a statement that can be taken out of context to mischaracterize my argument.

He then extrapolates his statement and accuses me of “polarizing hate speech,” claiming that I am calling all Muslims terrorists. I'm not.

Con makes one true statement, that “both the included and excluded group could, in theory, be the enemy.” Theoretically, this is true. However, as I showed at the beginning, the facts support the idea that statistically speaking, Muslim terrorists are responsible for a staggeringly large portion of airborne terrorism. Thus, Con has failed to disprove my argument.

One last thought: The Munich bombers were Muslim (if you’re referring to the 1972 Black September attack).

R2: Implementation of the American system “sucks”.

Con makes the argument that incompetence on the part of American TSA agents is “irrelevant,” and sees the debate as being between the “relative superiority of [each system], not the people who administer [them].”

It is relevant who does the screening. Incompetence in the American system is not due to computer failure, but human judgment error on the part of TSA agents who lack the training and education to do their job properly.

As for the use of military personnel in the Israeli system, this is also part and parcel of the debate, for it goes to the heart of why the Israeli system is superior. Certainly, the IDF could use a technology-based system like us, but they won’t—because it fails. It only takes cursory research to find a long list of events that have occurred in the American system that resulted in delayed flights, security breaches, or even unauthorized people getting onto planes with loaded weapons.

Richard Reid was able to get on a flight with a bomb in his shoe. A Nigerian Muslim was able to smuggle explosives in his underwear. Last week someone left a stun gun in the seat compartment of a JetBlue flight. Clearly, the system is flawed.

Isaak Yeffet, the former head of security for El Al and now an aviation security consultant in New York, explained why behavior is important.

"In 2002, we had Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. This man gave the security people all the suspicious signs that any passenger could show. The man got a British passport in Belgium, not in England. Number Two: he flew to Paris, he bought a one-way ticket from Paris to Florida. He paid cash. He came to the airport with no luggage. What else do I need to know that this passenger is suspicious?"

He goes on to say that the American system had the opportunity to change how they look at passengers...but they dropped the ball.

"What did we learn from this? Just to tell the passenger from now on, you take off your shoes when you come to the airport? This I call a patch on top of a patch."

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab's father called the embassy and told them that his son had contacted him and said his father would not be hearing from him again. He said his son was planning an airborne terrorist act, but nothing was done, even though he was on the list of people connected to al Qaeda.

AbdulMutallab paid $3000 cash for his ticket. No one in the TSA knew that, or that he had called his father and was planning an attack. No one knew he was al Qaeda. And because the American system doesn't care about people, only weapons, Abdul Mutallab got on a plane, and tried to detonate plastic explosives in his underwear.

Under the Israeli system, both of these men would have never made it onto a plane, because their heightened security net--based on the fact that these men were part of a demographic statistically known to be responsible for almost all airborne terrorism--would have unearthed their motives during the interview process.

TSA agents did not catch either of these men because a) they were not paying attention to the passenger, and b) their technology-based system failed. If Con wishes to argue that their education or training is irrelevant, then he must explain why this system failed so miserably. The scanning equipment and technology didn’t fail. The humans running the technology did.

R3: Feelings can compromise safety.

Con brings up an un-cited example of a "lady just randomly decided to take out her problems on a whole bunch of innocent passengers.” He claims that under the Israeli system, she would not have been caught. Without any further information on this particular incident, I cannot effectively rebut the argument. I call for Con to post sources for this incident. Until then, this argument is null and void for lack of verifiable sources.

I will address his statement that “the true danger of profiling [is] it relies on feelings towards particular religions or ethnicities.” This is incorrect. Raul Sela, the president of a global transportation security consultancy, explains very simply that “The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security…To [Israelis], it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behavior. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on...?”

“The whole time [they are asking questions], they are looking into your eyes — which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds.” He follows this up with a chilling statement that “There is absolutely no intelligence and threat analysis done in Canada or the United States. Absolutely none.”

Israel’s system has nothing to do with “feelings,” it has to do with threat awareness based on statistical analysis of past terrorism attacks and a refusal to trade their safety for political correctness.

R4. Israel hasn’t had a major hijacking.

Con makes the claim that there are only two ways to hijack an Israeli flight: an inbound flight, or an outbound flight. He tries to box us in by leading through a series of “logical” conclusions based on this premise.

a) If you try to get on an inbound flight with a bomb, foreign security forces (not Israeli Shin Bet agents) will stop you.

This is incorrect. El Al has agents at the ticket counter and the gate. It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from—if you’re getting on an El Al plane, you’re going to be subjected to Israeli security, no matter where you take off from.

Con goes on with the reverse situation:

b) If you take an outbound flight, you are either an Israeli or a foreigner. –True.

c) If you are a foreigner, you would have been stopped bringing the bomb in. –Assuming you actually brought the bomb in on the plane, this is also true.

d) Therefore all Israeli terrorists must be Israeli nationals taking outbound flights. –What?

e) Since the sale of “bomb-makeable materials is highly controlled and restricted in Israel,” (????), “making a bomb…would be too difficult.” Says who?

f) “Therefore, any such domestic terrorists must use a non-bomb weapon.”

This entire line of reasoning fails. There are not “thousands of reasons” why Israel hasn’t had a hijacking, just one: they do what needs to be done to ensure that it is impossible to get past their security.

Con argues again that “this debate isn’t about the agents, it’s about the system.” However, I submit that the agents administering the system ARE the system.

Lastly, Con states that he would choose the line that “logic dictates will catch all the terrorists.” Considering TSA has had 25,000 security breaches in 10 years, and Israel has had none…I think he just proved my point.



I'd like to thank my opponent for continuing her case. I note that she did not ask me any questions for crossfire. Mine are listed at the end. First, some brief rebuttals.

1. Profiling
First my opponent attempts to disprove my specific-example attack by claiming that no other religions use aircraft as weapons. Again, this is ignorant of the fact that it's not being a Muslim that is the cause of this. Indeed it is anti-Islamic to hijack aircraft. Look at this list: . Sure, there are a few Muslims in there. Then again, there are about as many Christians. But these numbers are irrelevant. What's relevant is the chance of a person using an aircraft as weapon in future on religious grounds. Practically every religion has scripture that can be cruelly perverted to mean "use aircraft for terrorism." Is it probable that, sometime in the future, a person calling themselves a "Christian" will hijack a plane? Yes. My opponent's model may catch the Muslims (at least those without ridiculously good poker faces), but they won't catch the Christian ones, or any other religion for that matter.

Second she claims she does not do polarising hate speech. I agree. That's not what the right wing Zionists, looking for any excuse to vindicate the Muslim masses to legitimise a Zionist-controlled middle-east, will think about the widespread adoption of this model. Racial profiling gives an excuse for general bigotry. If my employer was to discriminate on my religion, gender, sexuality or anything else that doesn't actually have an impact on my resolve to work, they'd be sued for hate speech generally. This is because we recognise that hate speech in the workplace gives rise to hate speech in wider society. In the same way, the fact I am a Muslim or any other religion does not in and of itself affect my resolve to terrorise - but that's not what people will think if the government starts screening all Muslims as terrorists and lets the others board the plane virtually unchecked.

Third she claims the 1972 attack was done by Muslim terrorists. The covert counter-attack was done by ... who?

She totally ignored my point about being unable to actually tell what religion people are, given that we have freedom of religion. That rebuttal actually makes all of the above un-necessary, so I'd quite like a response (though I suspect it will be too little, too late).

2. Motion
My opponent explains at great length how the American transportation security administration isn't as good as Israeli military officials. Having never dealt with either of them, I might as well agree. So what has my opponent proved?

The motion is basically calling for one side to defend "Israeli-style behavioural profiling." It does not state that side needs to defend Israeli agents, only the Israeli system of profiling, whether that is carried out by the TSA, the army, the CIA, Chuck Norris, the Indian police or anyone else. The other side needs to defend "the American Tech-Based System." It does not say they need to defend the TSA, only that they have to defend the system used by the TSA against the system used by Israeli agents.

When my opponent claims the agents are the system she is clearly being silly. The guys at the airport didn't invent that scanner or those behavioural techniques moments before you arrived. They were taught the system from the people who developed it.

It might be objected (although my opponent has not made this attack clearly, I sort of get this from her last sentence) that the TRAINING of the agents is part of the system, for agents use their training in their operations. In that case, she is presupposing a typical American airport. The trouble with this is that other countries exist, this debate isn't limited in scope to America, and dozens of countries use the American system perfectly successfully with highly-qualified staff. Therefore there isn't any problem with the training itself. That one implementation of that training is flawed has no effect on the American tech-based system at all, and especially not when used as a comparison with the Israeli system. It's like arguing against climate change while refusing to look at any temperature measurements outside of the Sahara Desert - My opponent argues against the American system by assuming only America has a tech-based system.

3. Feelings vs. Safety
As to my example, heck, it's one of only two terrorist attacks to have ever happened in our history (the other was a maritime one). It was reported in detail on all New Zealand media. Here's the guardian's take:

If the Israeli system was not based on feelings, they would not do racial profiling. No individual race has ever hijacked a plane in Israel. It's just that Raul Sela and his cronies think the Arabs might be up to something, so they profile them just in case. That's a feeling he holds against the Arabs. The same goes for religious profiling or any other form of profiling, because no Israeli plane has ever been hijacked by anybody. Raul Sela in your quote spoke of behavioural profiling, and if that was all that happened then I would have to concede this point. But racial, ethnic, religious and other profiling crosses the line.

My opponent ignores two of my points that had nothing to do with my example. The first is that "pandering to feelings" is a ridiculous way to describe impartiality. The second is that intention cannot be accurately verified 100%, no matter how well-trained you are. You can always work on that poker face, swipe that frequent flier number or script your story about your fear of flying. She also didn't respond to my analysis that the American model is NOT based on feelings.

4. My brilliant logic
4a. Inbound flight
Yes, Israeli agents will monitor you as you get on the flight - but it is my understanding that checked luggage is still run through the airport scanners, terminal access is restricted for those who haven't gone through airport (as opposed to Israeli) security. The two models are not mutually exclusive. All I need to prove is that you are subjected to the American model. Whether or not you are also subjected to the Israeli model is irrelevant.
4d. Israeli, outbound
It can't be inbound, and it can't be a foreigner going outbound because otherwise they would have been stopped going inbound. One is either a foreigner or an Israeli, therefore this must be true.
4e. Restrictions on bomb sales
My evidence for this is numerous books written by Palestinians who tried and ran away. Omar Nasiri gives a really vivid account, Morgan Spurlock interviewed one (in the book, not the film), and every now and then one is cited (although not quoted, because of fear of negative repercussions) on Al Jazeera. Even if this were not true, however, that doesn't void my point.

My logic does not stop there. Even if you reject 4e, that's still only Israeli nationals. I told you why it's not surprising Israeli nationals don't bomb their country - they have arduous military service. They have little domestic unrest. Other countries of the same size haven't had one either. My opponent does nothing to exclude these clear alternative explanations. I'm rather puzzled as to why she claims there is only been one, without any further analysis.

5. Crossfire
a) Can you provide reasoning for why only Muslims will use aircraft as weapons?
b) Can you do the same for Arabs?
c) How do you account for the large number of non-Arab, non-Muslim aircraft hijackings?
d) Why isn't your model based on stereotypes, given that it is based entirely on past events?
e) Are TSA agents "tech-based" (ie androids) or do they use a tech-based system. If not tech based, then how ARE the agents the system?
f) Why did you ignore so many of my points?
g) How is your model objective?

Looking forward to the final round!
Debate Round No. 3


I thank my opponent for his response. However, I will state that I did not ignore any of his points—I was constrained by the character limit and my opponent’s multiple arguments. I will attempt to answer more concisely this round, so please excuse what may sound curt—it’s only brevity. ;)

R1. Again, I never, at any time, said Muslims were the only group that hijacks airplanes. That would be a false statement. I also never said that Israel only pulls aside Muslims or Arabs for profiling. Granted, these are factors, given weight in the overall process, but there are plenty of other factors. Did the passenger buy a one-way ticket? Is he traveling from a known terrorist-harboring country? Did he buy his ticket at the last minute, and pay cash for it? Is he flying on this one-way, cash-paid ticket with no luggage? Is he showing signs of fear, nervousness, or even overly heightened awareness? These things are all part of the process, and they are not dependent on just race or perceived religion. Also, only between 2 and 5% of all passengers are selected for advanced screening. [1]

My opponent brings up “right wing Zionists, looking for any excuse to vindicate the Muslim masses to legitimise a Zionist-controlled middle-east.” No one on this side of the debate fence has even mentioned anything about this, nor have I engaged in hate speech on any level. Con pretends that I am advocating “screening all Muslims as terrorists and [letting] the others board the plane virtually unchecked.” At what point did I say that?

My argument has always been, and will remain, that the Israeli personal behavior-based security system—which does employ a certain amount of “profiling” in its application among other factors—is superior to a blind TSA system. That is all. Con has attempted from the first round to paint me as a bigot, a racist, a hater of Muslims. None of these are true, and I categorically reject any argument he has that uses his erroneous perceptions of me as its basis.

Side point: The 1972 Munich attack was done by Muslims. That is not something I “claim,” that is established, historical fact. And yes, the resulting counter-attack was done by the Israeli Mossad, who contrary to Hollywood’s version, were not monsters. However, this is another debate for another time.

Con says that I “totally ignored [his] point about being unable to actually tell what religion people are.” No, I didn’t. However, it’s just another manifestation of Con using his erroneous perception of my argument as the basis for his own. It’s not about telling what religion people are. It’s about using all the behavioral—and yes, ethnic and religious when it’s obvious and/or applicable, and in EQUAL parts with every OTHER factor--to determine a passenger's possible intent.

R2: Motion

Con states that “My opponent explains at great length how the American transportation security administration isn't as good as Israeli military officials. Having never dealt with either of them, I might as well agree. So what has my opponent proved?”

Well, at the risk of sounding tongue-in-cheek…if Con agrees with my argument that Israel is better, I think the answer is that I just won the debate. ;)

Con also states that “My opponent argues against the American system by assuming only America has a tech-based system.” Wrong again. The title of this debate shows clearly that the American system is what’s under scrutiny here. The fact that other countries use the system or a variant thereof is irrelevant to this discussion.

He moves on to expose some of his own bias, first seen in his “right wing Zionist” comments, by referring to Raul Sela “and his cronies.” Sela did speak of behavioral profiling, and also believes that race and/or religion is a factor that should be considered. These are not given more weight than anything else, they are simply more factors to consider along with everything else.

R3: His brilliant (?!) logic

I’m not quite sure where Con gets the idea that Israel has little domestic unrest, considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most heated and “un-rested” in the entire world. I’m setting aside this entire argument based on the fact that if Con is not aware or informed on the current Israeli state, he is probably not qualified to speak on whether their airport needs a heightened level of security.

5. Crossfire
a) Can you provide reasoning for why only Muslims will use aircraft as weapons?

I never stated only Muslims (or Arabs) do this. I only pointed to statistical evidence showing that the numbers are overwhelmingly within the last 15 years, in their favor.

b) Can you do the same for Arabs?

Re-read Answer #1.

c) How do you account for the large number of non-Arab, non-Muslim aircraft hijackings?

There have been in the decades gone by, a large number of non-Muslim attacks. However, the political and sociological climate changes over time. At one point, the Red Army Faction, or Beinhof-Maader gang, were two of the most feared terrorist groups in the world. What are they now? Climates change, and groups rise or fall. The challenge with things like airport security—or ANY security—is doing the necessary threat assessment and intelligence to find out what the threat of the month or year is, and handling it accordingly.

Asra Nomani, an American Muslim in favor of profiling, explains that “For that time [past decades of non-Muslim terrorism], those were the identities that we needed to assess. Today, the threat has changed, and it is primarily coming from Muslims who embrace al Qaeda’s radical brand of Islam.” [2]

d) Why isn't your model based on stereotypes, given that it is based entirely on past events?

Because “an analysis of terrorism cases prosecuted between 2001 and 2009 reveals that identifying race and ethnicity doesn’t mean stereotyping according to country.” The largest number of terrorists, regardless of religion, held U.S. citizenship, but were connected ethnically to “Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Jordan and Egypt, with a handful from the Muslim areas of the Balkans.” [3]

e) Are TSA agents "tech-based" (ie androids) or do they use a tech-based system. If not tech based, then how ARE the agents the system?

The agents administer the system. The most advanced computer in the world is nothing but a pile of circuitry if an incompetent, uneducated person is operating it.

f) Why did you ignore so many of my points?

Con is being confrontational, and purposefully baiting me. When one has to spend half the character limit fending off fallacious attacks on their personal beliefs or mindset, or defending accusations about being a racist and a bigot, it tends to make answering multiple, scattered arguments difficult in the stated space.

g) How is your model objective?

I have already explained this, at length, for three rounds. Israel’s system uses a statistically sound model to find passengers who pose a threat based on a list of criteria that includes everything from how they paid for their ticket to what’s in their luggage to where they’re going and where they’re from.

I have no questions for cross-examination. I do not believe them necessary. I look forward to closing arguments.






I thank my opponent for closing her case. I appreciate her attempt at brevity. I shall be very breif also.

1. Profiling
Great, so Muslims are not the only religious group that targets planes. I wonder then what "very specific belief system" IS the only religious group that my opponent believes targets planes. The truth is hijackers come from all manner of religious backgrounds.

She also notes that Arabs are not the "very specific subset of the population" who commit terrorism. In that case, I wonder who are? The truth is that terrorists can come from any part of the population, and we need to be vigilant against them all.

She also states that it isn't just ethnic profiling, but also behavioural. That doesn't negate my attack on ethnic profiling. It seems a sorry excuse to try to weasel her way out of this argument. It also doesn't negate my attack on the fact you can't ethnically or religiously profile like the Israeli authorities claim to be able to. It doesn't matter that this is not given more weight, what matters is that these irrelevant criteria are given any weight.

My opponent notes she did not mention the effect on the motivation of racist groups. That's the problem. I brought it up as rebuttal, and she explains at great length that she did not answer it. Thanks.

Then she states she did not mention only specific groups (I used the example of Muslims) are targeted. Perhaps she should re-read round one.

Finally, she says Moussad are not terrorists. In that case, Black September must be warriors. Black September openly attacked, with the intention of causing harm as opposed to fear. Moussad did the very opposite. But we digress.

I don't think my opponent is a racist, or a bigot, or anything else. I'm sure she has the best of intentions for global aviation security, and I don't mean to paint her as anything personally. When I attack the system she advocates, it should not be taken to be a personal attack. I am showing how her system is racist and encourages bigotry, that is all.

2. Motion
Here's what the motion isn't, but my opponent wants it to be: "That Israeli airport security is superior to airport security in the United States." I recommend she start another debate with that motion, her case would be brilliant for it. However, the motion states that we are debating the systems used by airports to catch terrorists. One is in the style of Israel, and uses the techniques of behavioural and ethnic profiling. One is in the style of America, and uses the technology that has been developed. These techniques and technologies make up systems for identifying and catching terrorists.

In other words, if I admit airport security staff are better in Israel, I do not admit the technique of behavioural and ethnic profiling is superior to technology. Therefore I do not concede the debate. I reminded her of this back in our acceptance round

3. Feelings vs. Safety
Oh, would you look at that. Despite her attempt at brevity she missed out one of my major points entirely. Looks like I'll have to win this one.

4. Brilliant (!!!) logic
My opponent states Israel has much civil unrest, and claims she won't rebut me because I am not aware, informed and qualified. Imagine if that was my rebuttal to all of her points (lol). I can see this is going to diverge into an argument over what exactly is Israeli territory. Certainly there is unrest, if you count Palestinian resistance to the demolition of their homes as unrest. However, these people are not citizens of the country. Occasionally they are Arabs who have crossed the border from Syria or Lebanon, and sometimes they are Palestinians from Gaza or another Israeli-controlled area who see suicide bombing as their only option. Take the amount of unrest by citizens of Israel (which is what "civil unrest" means) and you'll see it's actually one of the lowest in the world.

She did not respond to all the rest of my logic, based upon her false impression of what civil unrest is.

5. Answers to crossfire
My opponent states that terrorism changes over time. In that case, how can she claim to predict who the next group to do terrorism with aircraft will be? It may well not be the same people. Second, if you look at the link I provided last round, several recent notable hijackings were carried out by non-Muslims. Therefore this whole argument is based on a lie.

She states that building a profile based on past events is not stereotyping. Alright, then what is? Stereotyping means using past events to determine present attitudes towards people. Just because RAND Corporation says otherwise does not make it true.

She states that the agents administer the system. Administering a system and being a system are two very, very different things. I'm completely confused as to what my opponent is actually arguing for.

Next she claims I am baiting her, attacking her personal beliefs and mindset, and accusing her of racism, and therefore she cannot respond to all my points. First, by my count she had about 700 characters left. Surely she could have answered a few more of my points. Secondly, none of my points attacked her person, beliefs, or personality. I am only attacking her argument. That's not baiting her, that's called rebuttal. It tends to happen in debating.

Finally she notes that the criteria Israel uses are objective. She does not tell us, however, how the establishment of the criteria (which is what I've actually been arguing against all this time) is objective. Yet another reason why she cannot win the debate.

I'd like to thank my opponent one last time for having this discussion with me. Please vote con to keep our airports safe.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by airmax1227 5 years ago
Entertaining and well debated.. kudos to pro and con
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Strongly disagree with all of Pro's points. However, the arguments were very well written on both sides so its a tie. Spelling and Grammar was good for both sides so again it is a tie. Conduct started off well initially but soon got extremely heated so no points. Pro provided more reliable sources than Con but also provided 3 unreliable sources. Two of them were links to the homepages of CNN and Bloomberg while another was a dead link to an error page on newsweek. (continued in comment section)
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Though there is a discrepancy beween PRO's resolution and the content of her argument, but her arguments are superior and generally not addressed by CON. CON resorts to frequent strawmanning and fails to make a solid counterargument.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Both arguments are very well laid out, however I think that Larz makes a critical point. The debate is not about the implementation of a given system, it is about the system itself. If both systems had the same people implementing them, which one would be superior... that is the question. The answer, which Larz points out and I agree with, is the one that is tech based. Humans can be fooled, you can trick a person into thinking you are honest. You can't trick a metal detector.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a solid case. Con also made some very good points but he focused too much on racial profiling which was only a small part of Pros case, and also got more sarcastic as the debate went on focusing on flaws in Pros arguments rather then flaws in her resolution.
Vote Placed by CGBSpender 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: larztheloser had very poor conduct and barely used sources in what should be a fairly source-heavy debate. There was a fair bit of misunderstanding on both sides, but I think ultimately it was the speculative and accusatory nature of Con's arguments coupled with the factual-grounding of pro's arguments that gives this to pro. With that being said, con did make some good points and pro could have done a much better job.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Well thought out by both...Con does a great job refuting Pro's assertions.. but Pro ultimately makes a more convincing argument via the resolution