He's at it again. This time he is so incensed that some NBA players are visiting Israel that he is telling them that Israel is responsible for every time a black person is assaulted or killed by an American cop.
On December 12, you were one of several Sacramento Kings players to wear an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups. The shirts were worn to commemorate the last words of Staten Island’s Eric Garner and protest his death at the hands of the New York Police Department. It was a brave act, a link in a chain, which aligned some of the NBA’s biggest stars with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.Zirin is not the first idiot to make this argument. Rania Khalek did the same in May, and I demolished it then:
Of course, lethal police brutality has been directed at black Americans for as long as there have been police. But the #BlackLivesMatter movement has emerged out of a dramatic spike in this violence. Roughly 400 people were shot and killed by police over the first five months of 2015, according to a Washington Post analysis. That is more than twice the average of the past decade. Those killed are primarily black and brown, as police departments have outfitted themselves in military fashion. Finding justice for those killed has proven to be a near impossible task.
This epidemic of killings has been aggravated by the influence of Israeli police practices on US policing. Since 9/11, police chiefs and high-ranking officers from across the United States—from Ferguson to New York City—have traveled to Israel for training in the arts of suppression. As Ali Winston reported, “[a]t least 300” chiefs from across the country have gone to Israel for these workshops. Former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer called Israel “the Harvard of antiterrorism” after one all-expenses-paid trip. The NYPD, which took the life of Eric Garner and broke the leg of NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, now has an office in Tel Aviv.
Since 9/11, Israel has turned its repressive capabilities into an exportable commodity. It instructs on surveillance, crowd control tactics, and psychological operations like keeping lights on police cars at all times.
First of all, the programs that Khalek highlights are not for riot control. One of them mentions a demonstration of "crowd control" during a terror attack - not a training session - but most of the training was for counterterrorism techniques such as intelligence gathering and operations to capture terrorists before they begin their operations; border security, mechanisms to delay terrorists on their way to a target such as checkpoints; and site security - the protection of the restaurants, shopping malls and buses that are the preferred terrorist targets, preventing bombings, securing airports and border crossings and performing mass rescue operations.The same goes for readers of The Nation who buy this garbage.
Secondly, even if Israel did offer training in riot control, it is up to individual police departments to decide on their techniques. They wouldn't photocopy Israel's manual for riot control. They take the lessons that they like and incorporate them into their own programs. One has to be thoroughly consumed with hate in order to blame Japan if someone kills another with a karate kick. (In fact, I am very surprised that Khalek didn't notice that the Baltimore police offers krav maga seminars. )
(For those interested, here is a blog post from someone who took Baltimore cop riot training in 2000, with a comment from someone who took it in 2008. Nothing about Israel, of course. )
According to Khalek's moronic logic, there is another organization responsible for Baltimore police actions:
The United Nations.
Yes, the UN offers police commander training, and one of the sessions was attended by a major in the Baltimore Police Department. Clearly the UN is culpable for the Baltimore riots.
Do you hear how stupid that sounds?
That is how stupid Rania Khalek's argument, the same argument used by other Israel haters, is.
But it isn't stupidity that animates Khalek's half-baked theories. It is pure hate.
The Electronic Intifada readers who buy this argument, however, are truly stupid.
Zirin also mentions that Israeli police used tear gas against Ethiopian protesters, not mentioning that the response was only to those who were throwing bottles and bricks while trying to storm a police headquarters. He of course didn't mention that subsequent rallies by Ethiopian Jews who were rightly protesting discrimination were successful and changes are being made including Israeli police promising to hire more Ethiopian Jews. But that doesn't fit Zirin's narrative of racist Israelis.
The only person filled with hate here is Zirin. But blind, irrational, hate against Israelis is perfectly OK for people who pretend they are against blind, irrational hate.