Academy Award-Nominated Director Emad Burnat Held At LAX Airport: Why?

An Academy-nominated Palestinian film maker suffered the ignominy of being held at LAX airport after customs refused to believe that he was entering the country in order to attend this weekend’s Oscars.

Emad Burnat is nominated for his documentary 5 Broken Cameras, which also stars his youngest son Gibreel. The pair, alongside Emad’s wife were held at LAX and were forced to prove that they were who they said they were. Talking about the experience Burnat commented “Immigration officials asked for proof that I was nominated for an Academy Award for 5 Broken Cameras, and they told me that if I couldn't prove the reason for my visit, my wife Soraya, my son Gibreel and I would be sent back to Turkey on the same day.” In the statement, The Guardian reports that he went on to say "After 40 minutes of questions and answers, Gibreel asked me why we were still waiting in that small room. I simply told him the truth: 'Maybe we'll have to go back.' I could see his heart sink."

Though a hard time for Burnat and his family, he explained it was something they’d got used to back in his native Israel. He said that it was "a very minor example of what my people face every day." Continuing, he added: "Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank. There are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks, and other barriers to movement across our land, and not a single one of us has been spared the experience that my family and I experienced yesterday."


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