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Palestinian Director

Airport Officials Treated Me

Like Dirt

2/20/2013 4:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

022013_director_tmzlive_launch
U.S. Customs treated Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Emad Burnat like a NATIONAL THREAT last night at LAX -- putting him and his family in an isolated room and ordering him not to use his cell phone -- so says the director ... but law enforcement says he's exaggerating.

You'll recall ... Burnat's friend Michael Moore flipped out while Burnat was detained at the airport, tweeting like mad about the injustices of U.S. Customs and Border Protection ... and today, Burnat joined us on TMZ Live to discuss his experience.

Burnat -- whose documentary "5 Broken Cameras" is up for an Academy Award -- told us, he was stopped by immigration upon his arrival in the States ... and what followed was nightmarish.

Burnat says the customs officers did not believe him when he told them he was an Academy Award-nominated director ... so they put him and his family into an isolated room to question them, threatening to deport them back to Palestine.

Burnat says he tried to show the agents the email he received from the Academy -- which contained his Oscar invite -- and even tried to show his hotel reservation ... but they weren't having it.

When he tried to text and email friends for help, Burnat says he was instructed not to use his phone. Luckily, Burnat says he was able to slip a message to Michael Moore informing Michael of the situation ... and Michael sounded the alarms, notifying Academy officials who then contacted their lawyers.

Burnat says he was detained for roughly an hour-and-a-half total -- and when he was finally released, he was never given an apology.

But law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Burnat is embellishing the story ... and that he was only sent to a secondary screening area simply to answer questions ... and was only detained for 25 minutes, total.

We raised the issue with Burnat -- but he's adamant, he was mistreated.

143 COMMENTS

No Avatar
16.

tucker    

Relax pal. They detained a 3 year old in a wheelchair on her way to Disney World. She didn't whine as much as you did. This is the world today - deal with it and thank the terrorists.

609 days ago
17.

diane    

His movie sucked . Couldn't even finish watching it. Michael Moore should take him home and stay with him.

609 days ago
18.

DaveT    

TSA, Homeland Security = just another taxpayer funded entity that exists to profit bureaucrats and fill their pockets with our money
Hasn't helped a thing in airports and certainly hasn't stopped any supposed terrorism; like most taxpayer funded progs they simply tell the public every once in a while that they "found something suspicious" as a scare tactic to keep the public support

609 days ago
19.

dave P    

So he got detained. Big deal. Lots of people do. I want border crossing to be as difficult as possible to deter terrorists from entering. Just because you can produce a film doesn't mean you trump border checking processes.

609 days ago
20.

DaveT    

The TSA now costs Americans $8 billion a year and has cost approximately $60... billion since its inception. The FY 2012 Consolidated Spending Act (Public Law 112-074), signed into law in December, appropriated $7.85 billion to TSA, an increase of $153 million from 2011, and included funding to expand the deployment of body scanners to smaller airports
-
And people wonder why they can't afford their rent, mortgage and groceries.

609 days ago
21.

Saints fan    

Uh Oh! Michael Moore flipped out and tweeted like mad! We should all be scared!! SMDH

Screw that lard ass nobody, he needs to shut his pie hole. Just because this terrorist is a friend of his, doesn't mean he gets a pass.

609 days ago
22.

CaTeacher    

As an American, coming in from Australia can be up to 45 minutes for me to clear customs; so 90 mins does not seem too bad.....

609 days ago
23.

Brian    

Typical...Palestinian playing the martyr. Maybe if so many of your people weren't terrorists and flinging bombs every day or strapping bombs to yourself in the name of 'allah', this wouldn't have happened.

609 days ago
24.

PINK PILGRIM SHOE    

What?! You mean to tell me that stamping your foot and shouting "Don't you know who I am?!" at an immigration official who doesn't do just roll out the red carpet for you when you are VISITING a foreign country doesn't work?! I am SHOCKED!

609 days ago
25.

Mrugowsky    

They were profiling. That's what they do. Did this guy not expect a little scrutiny???

609 days ago
26.

Master P    

Then maybe this D-bag I've never heard of should have a word or two with his fellow Pelistinian bomb peddlers. How dare this guy raises his voice when USCIS is trying to protect us. Follow the effing rules - I'm sure this idiot didn't even care to arrange for a Visa prior to his arrival. Kick his explosives-containing rectum back to Israel or wherever this joker comes from. Oh, and by the way, on a bad day, even an American has to stand in line for 25 minutes to clear an international arrival at LAX.

609 days ago
27.

MC    

Oh cry me a river (and then Michael Moore can bathe in it). TSA is a drag. We all know it. We all deal with it. I've been hassled, delayed, missed flights. In today's times, it's the price you pay.

This guy sounds like a huge baby. I hope he cries when his movie loses; then he'll have a reason to cry.

609 days ago
28.

CorkiDeCat    

He should just get over himself... whiny baby...

609 days ago
29.

DeeMaree    

So we shouldn't bitch when our rights are violated as long as we are safe? Are we going to apply that everywhere in our lives? We could live in a totally safe country if that is what you want. First, submit to any and all humiliations by government agencies. They are there to help you and keep you safe. They put their hand in your four year old daughter's crotch? Did you have a safe flight? Then what's your problem? From now on your guilty until proven innocent; we are also going to send our military out to confiscate all weapons not willing turned in; jail or shoot all those who disagree...hey, wait, this has been done many times, Mao Tze Tung, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler...didn't turn out to well for their citizens but I guess they had safe cities, streets, and airports. It was their government coming for them that they feared. Don't be quiet when our government crosses the line. Write your Congressmen, our President, and scream it out loud. People will make fun, people will cower and say, but we are safe. Exactly which enemy is the biggest threat to our freedoms? TSA SUCKS.

609 days ago
30.

DeeMaree    

I feel so much better. Now who the hell is this guy?

609 days ago
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