Over 100 Minnesota law enforcement officers attended a 2012 conference organized by the Israeli consulate in which Israeli police trained them. Israeli forces often use the knee-on-neck restraint on Palestinians. (Meanwhile, Congress is poised to pass a bipartisan $38 billion package to Israel)… Read two reports below:
Minnesota cops ‘trained by Israeli forces in restraint techniques’
By Jon Collins, reposted from the UK Morning Star newspaper (embedded links added by IAK)
Officers from the US police force responsible for the killing of George Floyd received training in restraint techniques and anti-terror tactics from Israeli law-enforcement officers.
Mr Floyd’s death in custody last Monday, the latest in a succession of police killings of African Americans, has sparked continuing protests and rioting in US cities.
At least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the second time such an event had been held.
There they learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations.
The so-called counterterrorism training conference in Minneapolis was jointly hosted by the FBI.
Israeli deputy consul Shahar Arieli claimed that the half-day session brought “top-notch professionals from the Israeli police” to share knowledge with their US counterparts.
It is unclear whether any of the officers involved in the incident in which Mr Floyd was killed attended the conference.
Israeli forces broke necks
But in a chilling testimony, a Palestinian rights activist said that when she saw the image of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, she was reminded of the Israeli forces’ policing of the occupied territories.
Neta Golan, the co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said: “When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee as he cried for help and other cops watched, I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique of leaning in on our chest and necks when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.
“They started twisting and breaking fingers in a particular way around the same time. It was clear they had undergone training for this. They continue to use these tactics — two of my friends have had their necks broken but luckily survived — and it is clear that they [Israel] share these methods when they train police forces abroad in ‘crowd control’ in the US and other countries including Sudan and Brazil.”
Israeli training of US police is widespread
The training of US police officials by Israeli forces is widespread.
Even Amnesty was compelled to report that hundreds of police from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state and Washington DC had been flown to Israeli for training.
Thousands more have been trained by Israeli forces who have come to the US to host similar events to the one held in Minneapolis. According to the somewhat selective rights organisation, many of these trips are taxpayer-funded, while others are privately funded.
Since 2002 the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have paid for police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains to train in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), it said.
The Minneapolis Police Department was contacted for comment.
[Editor’s note: Anoka County (north Minneapolis region) Sheriff James Stuart traveled to Israel last December for a similar training.]
The knee-on-neck, long a staple of Israel’s occupation of Palestine
Excerpted from TRTWorld
….For Palestinians living under military occupation in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, the worst excesses of the kind seen in the US recently, are a near everyday occurrence.
In the aftermath of Floyd’s killing, Palestinians were quick to draw parallels between the final images of the man suffering under the knee of the officer, and similar choke holds used by Israel occupation forces.
“Crazy how the same thing happens in Palestine but the world chooses to ignore it,” Palestinian athlete Mohammad Alqadi wrote on his Twitter above four separate images of Israeli soldiers pinning Palestinians to the ground with their knees on their necks or head.
Israeli forces have killed numerous men, women, and children
Killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces are also a regular occurrence: in 2019, 135 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces with 108 in Gaza and another 27 in the West Bank, according to the UN. [See a Timeline of Israelis and Palestinians killed here.]
The similarities do not end there, as some activists have drawn parallels between the way US police have handled protests against police brutality in the aftermath of Floyd’s death and the way Israel has dealt with protests in Gaza.
Such comparisons come with caveats, as US police officers despite the controversy over their tactics have yet to kill anywhere near the numbers Israel killed in the Gaza right of return protests that began in 2018, for example. Nevertheless, some of the tactics used are the same, according to pro-Palestinian groups.
On Twitter, the BDS and Palestinian Solidarity working group within the Democratic Socialists of America wrote: “The police violence happening tonight in Minneapolis is straight out of the IDF playbook. How many times have we seen uprisings in Gaza met w/ a storm of tear gas? How many times are Palestinians in the West Bank doused w/ skunk water during a protest? US cops train in Israel.”
Police training in Israel
Amnesty International has warned that hundreds of police departments have been training in Israeli alongside military officers, who “have racked up documented human rights violations for years.”
The rights group notes that one of the departments involved in the training, the Baltimore Police Department, had been cited by the US Department of Justice for “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation.”
Both Amnesty and the US State Department have cited incidences of Israeli security officials engaging in brutality against Palestinians.
The rights group said: “Baltimore and other police departments should find partners that will train on de-escalation techniques, how to handle mentally challenged or ill citizens, on the constitutional rights of citizens concerning filming and how to appropriately respond to those using non-violent protest to express their opinions. Israel is not such a partner…”
Progressive Except Palestine / $38 Billion to Israel
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has expressed appropriate outrage at the murder of George Floyd, while serving on the board of an organization that advocates for Israel despite its discriminatory system and long record of violating international law. Frey has referred to “the extraordinary things that are happening right now” in Israel.
(Meanwhile, the US Congress is currently poised to pass a bipartisan $38 billion package to Israel despite devastation to the US economy and Israeli human rights violations, and the media have failed to tell Americans about the legislation.)