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Palestinian Director

Airport Officials Treated Me

Like Dirt

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

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.


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Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


upto I saw the receipt which had said $4861, I didn't believe that my neighbour had been realey bringing home money parttime online.. there friends cousin had bean doing this for under 20 months and a short time ago took care of the loans on there villa and got a brand new Cadillac. go to,

611 days ago


Welcome to our life the poor people.It must be tough to be rich & not famous . Boo hoo

611 days ago


And I should care why?? I would have held anyone from that piece of crap country that hates the US. Used to like Michael Moore, now wish he would just go away. Maybe Moore should care more about Munich 1972.

611 days ago


Good. Stay in Palistine

611 days ago


Moore and Maher r two examples of why I am so proud to not be a liberal anymore. Grew up a brain washed libertard. Actually thought Roger and me was great at one time. So embarrasing! Moore may be the smuggest idiot liberal of all time and thats saying alot. god I cant stand the sight of him but only because a know whats about to come out of his mouth. His Arab friend was detained. Not beaten, Not tortured, not beheaded. not raped, not killed, Detained! And this idiot thinks we should all be offended because... in his warped liberal suedo intellectual koolaid infected brain he hates this country and believes everyone but him and his ridiculous friends are bigoted racists, screw u m.m. and the horse u road in on. The only reason he is not dead or in prison is because he lives in the greatest nation the world has ever seen. Freedom reigns supreme. So rock on u fat piece of crap! lol

611 days ago



609 days ago
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