Sunday, June 14, 2020

  • Sunday, June 14, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The New York Review of Books Daily edition has an article by Michael Shank titled “How Police Became Paramilitaries.” It includes the lie that Israel is somehow responsible for how US police act.

Law enforcement has, in fact, been training for a moment like this—specifically by learning techniques and tactics from Israeli military services. As Amnesty International has documented, law enforcement officials from as far afield as Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state, and the D.C. Capitol have traveled to Israel for such training. These programs, according to research backed by Jewish Voice for Peace, focus on exchanging methods of “mass surveillance, racial profiling, and suppression of protest and dissent.” The 2018 report has prompted some cities, such as Durham, North Carolina, to oppose police training with Israeli security partners because of concerns about “subsequent harms to communities of color” in the US.

The actual “Deadly Exchange” report from 2018 by Jewish Voice for Peace and Researching the American Israeli Alliance (which is essentially JVP’s research arm) is a 57 page masterpiece of implying lots of relationships that don’t exist between US police and Israel.

The “research” is a large set of failed attempts to blame Israel for three specific attributes that US police forces are said to have: surveillance, racial profiling and use of force. Practically all of the report is to catalogue specific examples of each in both the Israeli side and American side, but every attempt to link US practices to specific Israeli training fails.

For example, the report says

Throughout Israeli counterterrorism trainings for American police and security forces, direct parallels are made between the Palestinians and those who are presumed to threaten American safety, bolstering the idea of a US-Israeli alliance against Muslims and Arabs. Israeli trainings in counterterrorism reinforce a highly militarized discourse that calls for institutionalized racial profiling and state violence targeting Black and Brown communities and social movements that seek racial justice.

The “direct parallels” link comes from this section of a Jerusalem Post article:

Craig W. Floyd, president and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund, said the significance of the US officers coming to Israel to hold a 9/11 ceremony during the present international terrorism wave cannot be overstated.

“I think the timing is certainly very appropriate, because we’re involved in a global war on terrorism, and we need to work together and build solidarity between law enforcement officers from around the world to combat that terrorism, and win that war,” said Floyd.

They are talking about terrorists. No one in Israel or the NYPD is saying to target Muslims or Arabs as a whole, and to pretend that the NYPD shouldn’t care about international terror is to tell New Yorkers that they aren’t a target.

In fact, that exact same article included this quote that contradicts the entire Deadly Exchange report:

Asked why the relationship is so strong between the US and Israeli police forces, [chief of the Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office Deputy Division Michael] Safris noted respect for Israel’s efficiency and advanced tactics, coupled by its ability to enforce the law in a humane manner, despite dealing with countless depraved terrorists.

The entire report is filled with this kind of sleight-in-hand where is asserts one thing but when you follow the links and footnotes, they don’t prove a thing.

This all ignores the simple fact that US police are the ones responsible for US police methods and procedures. Israel doesn’t write the police manuals – thousands of US police departments do, independently. Israel doesn’t decide whether US police use tear gas or which brand they use. 

One more example of deception in the report comes from its very first footnote:

The NYPD also ran a “Demographics Unit” to spy on daily life in Muslim communities in New York City. Informants known as “mosque crawlers” were deployed to visit mosques, bodegas, and student organizations, and kept extensive dossiers on Muslim communities. Founders of this program admitted that they were inspired by Israeli practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.[1]

That program started soon after after 9/11, way before any of the ADL or JINSA-sponsored trainings that the report discusses.

Another link in that same paragraph points to this article about a visit to Israel by the Mansfield, MA police chief, where we learn that he also met with Palestinian police chiefs – and extolled the cooperation that Israeli and Palestinian police shared. Here is a photo of his meeting a Palestinian police leader.




Perhaps US police brutality is a result of meeting with Palestinian police. It makes exactly as much sense as blaming it on Israel.

In this same article you can read the truth about what happens at these trainings, and it is nothing like what JVP says:

The Israelis …recommended obtaining high quality intelligence, creating physical obstacles like cement planters to protect areas, adding more police to the streets and use of technology.

They discussed how important it was to have police embedded in the community to get intelligence about a problem before it happens.

Sellon said they have a very strong effort to search and monitor social media to prevent radicalization.

“There is no such thing as a lone wolf,” Sellon said they told them.

Another focus is BOSAR (Behavioral, Observation and Suspicious Activity Recognition) training which is something Mansfield is already implementing. The goal is to notice not the individual but what he or she is doing or not doing.

“You profile behavior not appearance,” Sellon said.

The most well known example was when law enforcement viewed the behavior of the Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev during the race on video. The brothers were looking and moving in a different direction from the rest of the crowd.

The group visited a prison where PLO and Hamas prisoners are kept.

“You could see the mutual respect between prisoners and warden,” Sellon said.

One third of the “Deadly Exchange” report claims that Israel teaches racial profiling to the US police – and this article explicitly says the exact opposite!

But the NYRB cannot be expected to actually fact check a document by the rabidly anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace. Why would they lie? it is a slick PDF with lots of footnotes, so it must be true!


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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