Minnesota Cops Trained by Israeli Police, Who Often Use Knee-on-Neck Restraint

ANGLO AMERICA, 15 Jun 2020

Alison Weir | Israel-Palestine News - TRANSCEND Media Service

2 Jun 2020 – Read four reports below:

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian protestor on March 12, 2019.

  • 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.
  • Israel has been training law enforcement officers around the US for many years, despite the fact that Israeli forces have a long record of human rights violations.
  • (Meanwhile, Congress is poised to pass a bipartisan $38 billion package to Israel)…

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. See information about Palestinian rockets 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.”

***

Mohammad Alqadi  @ALQadiPAL

Crazy how the same thing happens in Palestine but the world chooses to ignore it

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

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…”


U.S. Police are Being Trained by Israel—And Communities of Color Are Paying the Price

In recent years, Georgia has experienced troubling trends in fatal police shootings. As this has unfolded, the state continues to pursue a “police exchange” program with the state of Israel.

reposted from The Progressive

In recent years, Georgia has experienced troubling trends in fatal police shootings. These incidents nearly doubled in the state, up 77 percent between 2017 to 2018. By May 2018, Georgia was already reportedly experiencing a more rapid rise in officer-involved shootings than the rest of the country. According to an investigation of deadly police shootings in Georgia, in the six years after 2010, 184 people were shot and killed by police; almost half of them unarmed or shot in the back.

In 2019, Georgia has already recorded twenty-two fatal police shootings, The Washington Post reports.

As this has unfolded, Georgia continues to pursue a “police exchange” program with the state of Israel. Run through Georgia State University, the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange arranges for American law enforcement officials, corporate security executives, and police officers to engage in trainings, briefings, and seminars with governments including that of China, Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the original and primary focus of the program, Israel.

For twenty-seven years, police departments in Georgia have received grants from the U.S. Department of Justice that subsidize these trainings. Since the program’s inception in 1992, it has trained at least 1,700 participants, including officers from the Atlanta Police Department.

Law enforcement from other U.S. states have participated in the program, including those from Tennessee, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Floria, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wahsington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Open records requests have forced program leaders to reveal some of its content topics, including border policing, community policing, and urban policing.

Activists in Georgia are pushing for an end to Atlanta’s police exchange program. Seventy local organizations and leaders—including our organizations, Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta and Project South—are demanding that Atlanta get out of these deadly police exchanges.

Among other objections, activists point to Israel’s clear record of human rights abuses and state violence toward Palestinians, Jews of color, and African refugees. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2018 brought a 69 percent increase over the previous year in Israeli settler violence toward Palestinians, and a rise in Palestinian deaths and injuries in Gaza. In the year since 2018 Great March of Return demonstrations began, more than 190 Palestinians were killed and 28,000 were injured by Israeli Forces.

Regardless of how the Israeli government coalition is shaped after its recent elections, its two largest parties show no indication of ending the fifty-two year Israeli military occupation of Palestine, nor its militarized tactics to control the Palestinian population.

This systematic repression of Palestinians by Israel warrants the U.S. public’s refusal to accept such training programs for their police departments. Racism and violence are endemic problems to police departments around the country, and the influence of Israeli military police trainings only threatens to exacerbates the problem.

Two examples of police violence in Atlanta bring this home. In 2006, one elderly Atlanta resident, Kathryn Johnston, was mistaken for a cocaine dealer and killed by SWAT team  conducting a “No Knock” drug raid. In January 2019, twenty-one-year-old Jimmy Atchison was fatally shot in the face by Atlanta police—even though the robbery he was accused of may have never taken place.

*****************************

In April 2018, the Durham, North Carolina city council voted unanimously to pass a policy barring Durham’s participation in militarized police exchange trainings with Israel and other foreign countries.

The initial petition, created by a coalition of ten Durham organizations states that “the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of color.” One coalition member said, “training [with Israel] makes it worse in terms of racial profiling and use of force in crowd control.”

The victory in Durham highlights a national movement that seeks to disband military and police training exchanges with Israel.

In December 2018, grassroots organizing efforts succeeded in forcing the Vermont State Police and the Northampton, Massachusetts police chief to pull out of a police exchange program managed by the Anti-Defamation League.

Clearly, many in Atlanta feel it must do the same.

“As long as these programs exist,” says Dawn O’Neal of Us Protecting Us, formerly Black Lives Matter Atlanta, in an email, “as long as police are sent into war zones to train, there will continue to be Tamir Rices and Trayvon Martins. There will continue to be Kathryn Johnstons.”

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