A British-educated journalist was apparently barred from covering the Duke of Cambridge’s meeting with the Israeli prime minister after security quizzed him about Islam.
Nebi Qena was held up until after the media opportunity for the historic summit with William and Benjamin Netanyahu at the PM’s official residence in Jerusalem was over.
The Associated Press’s (AP) chief television producer Mr Qena, originally from Albania which has a large Muslim population, arrived two and a half hours early for the facility after being accredited to cover the event.
But he was repeatedly asked by security guards about his “extraction”, while other AP journalists were probed about his religion and whether he was a Muslim.
Mr Qena was only let in by security once other reporters were leaving.
The Foreign Press Association (FPA) condemned the incident as “disgraceful” and described it as “ethnic profiling”.
The visit itself comes against amid increased tensions in the region, not helped by the US’s decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In addition, dozens of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during protests this year at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip in the run-up to celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
The FPA said the incident involving Mr Qena, who was born a Muslim but does not practice religion, was “just the latest in a long line of offensive and unprecedented behaviour by security staff, including inappropriate personal questions and strip searches of journalists trying to cover the news”.
In a statement, the FPA said: “We call on the prime minister’s office to apologise immediately, and urge the Duke of Cambridge’s office to speak out against this offensive behaviour, which has marred a historic visit.
“Enough is enough.”
Kensington Palace declined to comment.
Mr Qena has been a journalist since 1997, working out of Israel for three years.
He previously went to school at Dean Close in Cheltenham, before studying for a Masters at Warwick.
An AP spokesman said: “The Associated Press decries this blatant ethnic and religious profiling of an AP journalist and calls on the prime minister’s office to cease such biased practices immediately.”