From Tel-Aviv to Baltimore With Love


In Tel-Aviv, as in Baltimore, it is clear that Israeli and American police share the same philosophies and practices. All citizens, especially if they are Black, are “Palestinians” to be dealt with in the same way, as suspected terrorists.

Immediately after 9/11, and taking advantage of having one of its own in a high ranking position in Homeland Security, JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, made it a point to create a close (if perhaps too close) relationship between it and the national security agencies of Israel and America. This included Defense, CIA, Homeland Security and the police.

The view was that Israel having a close relationship with the military-industrial complex could contribute to the national security of the US with the aims to “engage the American defense community about the role Israel can and does play in securing Western democracies’ interests in the Middle East”.

There is no reason to go into detail about “who’s whom” in JINSA. Many served as top officials of the US, while serving at JINSA. All of them, without exception, played a key role in America’s wars against Afghanistan and the destruction of Iraq, promoting “not just invasion, but total war on Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Palestinian Authorities” (ref.: The Nation, September 2, 2002).

So it should not come as a surprise for all of us, especially the Blacks and the Black leadership, that JINSA through its Law Enforcement Exchange Program enabled tens of thousands of police men and major city police chiefs to train in Israel. The “Week long program designed to strengthen American law enforcement counter terrorism, practices by facilitating dialogue with and studying techniques used by their Israeli counterparts to keep citizens safe”.

In November 2008, the International Association of Chief of Police honored the Israeli National Police at is annual conference in San Diego. Recognizing the role JINSA’s program in shaping American police rules of engagement.

Last week in Tel-Aviv, Israeli police used “stun grenade” clubs and tear gas, at the rally organized by Jewish Ethiopian-Israelis, who were demonstrating against not only police brutality but also deep-rooted racism by White Israeli Jews. The protests came three days after police officers in Holon, a Tel-Aviv suburb, severely beat an Ethiopian-Israeli who was in IDF army uniform, and whose beating, from the video shown on public television, was without provocation… breathing-while-Black is sufficient.




Desperate for immigrants to meet its demands for cheap unskilled labor, the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency began to look around the world to see which group it could “define as Jews”, and organize them to come to Israel.

The Falasha Jews of Ethiopia were one such group. Poor, unskilled and almost illiterate qualified this group to serve as cheap labor on Israeli farms, and to clean city streets, pick up garbage, serve in cheap restaurants and do the jobs White Israelis no longer desired to do.

In 1984, with the help of the late Sudan president Jafar Numairi, Israel was able to airlift some tens of thousands directly to Israel. Today the Falasha’s numbers around 135,000 or 2% of the Israeli population. Like the Blacks in the US, they have the highest rates of incarceration (1/3 of the total prison population), and the highest rates of unemployment, divorce, domestic violence and suicide.

Since racism runs deep in Israel, even the chief Rabbinate in Israel had and does have grave doubt about their “Jewishness” requiring “conversion” rituals before approving marriage.

Adding insult to injury, in 1966, the Israeli Health Ministry “dumped” donated Ethiopian blood because of fear of HIV. For businesses, there were many signs appearing around the country, “no rent” “no sell” to Ethiopians.

However, one must not feel so sorry for these poor people. They display and engage in the most brutal attacks on demonstrating Palestinians, as they are ready to shoot to kill, and they display the most vulgar racist attitude toward the Palestinians. Ethiopian-Israelis are also trespassers and land thieves, just like White Israelis.


American Sociology and Policy

A protester kicks a tear gas canister back towards police after protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown turned violent near Ferguson, Missouri

Here in America, not only we will need to question the wisdom of sending our police force to train in Israel but we also need to redraw new social contracts between citizens and police, especially between Blacks and police.

To be fair to the police, they are in a clear and present danger every day they are on the beat. America and Americans are the most violent nation in the world.

Nowhere else do we see the kind of killings and murder that takes place in America. A call on a domestic violence case can end the life of a policeman. Even a routine traffic violation stop can also end the life of a policeman or a trooper. Not only the police has to reform but we as a society has to change and reform.

No segment of society is in need of change or makeover more than some segments of the Black community in America. They have major social, cultural, racial, and economic challenges that our government alone can not solve.

Our Welfare system as we know it is the worst thing that could happens to Blacks. It created generation after generation of reliance, which perpetuates the a cycle of “social neglect” and demeaning that contributes a great deal to Blacks having the highest risk of incarceration from among the many ethnic or social groups. The breakdown of Black family structure acts as a cancer that kills hope.

Granted, the deck is stacked against the Blacks from the day they are born. They have to work harder, overcome so many obstacles to even catch up with other groups. They have to be exceptional to make it in commerce, and in the profession. Prominent leaders, those who made it are often targeted for closer scrutiny with the intention to defame, humiliate and demean the community.

But, while I do not claim to have all the answers or pretend to be an expert in sociology or psychology, I believe it is time for the Black leadership in America to stop going to funerals and public rallies and rather to call for a National Summit of Black Americans, not only in the White House, and Congress, but in every city and house.

It is time for the Black community to take charge of its own destiny, to solve its own chronic problems and issues. Time for the Black community to learn from other communities that arrived later in America.

Indians, Arabs, and Orientals have made it in America. They came off the boat or plane without English language for the most part, with extended families stuck together living in the same house which allowed members of the families to work two jobs; these later immigrants had kids who excelled in school and who are among the top graduates from major universities, who then moved toward successful careers in business, industry, medicine, science, IT, law and academia.

There is NO reason that the Blacks could not learn from these immigrant communities, who must be doing something right. There is nothing “intrinsic” about the Blacks that hold them back. Skin color is not an impediment to success — poor excuses are.

The Black leadership working within the community must set a goal of one generation to get the economically-challenged Blacks out of the perpetual trap they are in. Family, schooling, education, and commitment to self-help can transform a society.

Here in America we have and must learn to demonstrate against wrongs, to go out in the hundreds of thousands and demonstrate peacefully, without resorting to violence or property destruction or looting.

The police also have to learn that we as citizens have the right to demonstrate against police violence, wrongs, and racial profiling. We must remember, our safety and security is also the police safety and security.


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Sami, a Palestinian-American and a US Army Veteran (66-68), recipient of the "soldier of the month award and leadership award from the 6th Army NCO Academy, is an international legal and business consultant with over 40 years of international experience, in construction, hospitality services, conservation, and defense, in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Sami is a holder of BA, MPA in Public and Environmental Affairs, Jurist Doctor from Indiana University. While at IU he was elected class president, student government president and chairman of the Indiana Students Association, Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.