ADL took US cops to Israeli prison, occupied Hebron and settler winery during counter-terror seminar

US Politics
on 43 Comments

The cops flew into Tel Aviv on a Sunday afternoon. Four hours later, they met with an Anti-Defamation League official and an Israeli professor, who gave them an “introduction to Israeli politics and society.” A week later, the officers got time for an “optional walk on the Mediterranean Sea,” and in between their Tel Aviv arrival and their idyllic walk, they traveled to occupied Hebron and drank settlement wine in the Golan Heights.

Those are some of the details of a recent U.S. law enforcement trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The itinerary for the 2016 ADL National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, obtained by Mondoweiss from a public records request to the Orlando Police Department, provides a look into what American cops do when they’re flown into Israel to meet with Israeli security officers. (The document is embedded at the end of this article.)

Since 2004, the ADL has taken American law enforcement on annual trips to Israel, where, the ADL says, the cops get “strategies and best practices in fighting terror” from “Israeli experts.” The ADL trips, and similar jaunts sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, are promoted as ways for U.S. law enforcement to learn how Israel deals with terrorism and to forge ties with Israeli security forces. The pro-Israel groups typically pay for the officers’ trips to Israel.

But the trips have come under withering controversy from Palestine solidarity activists and Black Lives Matter protesters. In an age of police militarization and a growing movement to combat police brutality, critics see these trips as potentially fueling harmful police tactics. And they point out that the Israeli army and police are occupying forces that have repeatedly been accused of violating Palestinian rights.

These trainings, Amnesty International’s Edith Garwood recently wrote, put U.S. police “in the hands of military, security and police systems that have racked up documented human rights violations for years”–including extrajudicial executions, torture, surveillance and excessive use of force against protesters.

The ADL and Orlando Police Department did not return requests for comment.

This year’s one-week trip began on July 31, and included members of the New Jersey State Police, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Illinois State police, and the heads of the Orlando and San Bernardino police, two cities recently hit by mass shootings.

The ADL and the police departments do not release details about what specific tactics the U.S. police learned in Israel. John Mina, the head of the Orlando Police Department, told the Orlando Sentinel that the information he received was “law enforcement sensitive,” and that he “learned about how the Israeli Police respond to and investigate terrorism.” He told the paper he liked the random Israeli checkpoints security forces set up, and that while he wouldn’t do that in Orlando,  “it did give me a few ideas about security measures here in Orlando that I won’t share.”

The itinerary Mondoweiss obtained does provide specifics on where the officers traveled and who they spoke to. On August 1, they met with Roni Tidhar, who does security work at Ben Gurion Airport. Security forces at Ben Gurion Airport routinely racially profile Arabs and Muslims, including Americans, and subject them to invasive interrogations.

The next day, after meeting with Palestinian Authority police in Bethlehem, the American officers traveled to occupied Hebron, the most distilled microcosm of the Israeli occupation, where Israeli soldiers and police protect around 800 extremist settlers who routinely abuse Palestinian residents. In Hebron, they spoke with Israeli Police Commander Ron Gertner and received a “security overview” of the Cave of the Patriarchs, a holy site in the city.

On August 4, the delegation traveled to Gilboa Prison, a site criticized by lawyers and Palestinian rights advocates as a place run by authorities who have tortured prisoners and withheld air conditioning units in extremely hot cells. Later that night, they traveled to the Golan Heights, an area taken from Syria in the 1967 war, then occupied and annexed by Israel. An estimated 20,000 settlers live in the Golan Heights. The police officers visited the Assaf Winery, a well-known winery, and drank wine and had lunch there.

U.S. law enforcement trips to Israel have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. In July, Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Atlanta called for the end of “the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.” But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pushed back on that demand, saying he believes Israel has “some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world” and that it “benefits our police department.”

Despite the criticism from activists, programs to forge relationships between U.S. law enforcement and Israel continue to expand. As Mondoweiss reported, Birthright recently started a program for Jewish law enforcement officers to travel to Israel.

ADL Itinerary for 2016 Law Enforcement Trip to Israel by alexbkane4538 on Scribd

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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43 Responses

  1. Emory Riddle
    August 26, 2016, 11:35 am

    Every time the ADL is presented as a Human Rights Organization, be sure to point out that they are in fact the opposite.

    In fact, a much more appropriate name would by the Defamation League as that is their true main function. Defaming anyone who does not go along with their racist per project, Zionism.

    • Mr.T
      August 26, 2016, 3:47 pm

      Yup. They claim to be for religious freedom, but the “ground zero mosque” case, and their opposition to that proved that the ADL’s commitment to religious freedom extends to themselves and not much further.

  2. hophmi
    August 26, 2016, 12:24 pm

    They also met with the head of the Palestinian civil police in Bethlehem and toured Christian holy sites.

    Real journalists don’t omit things that contradict their narratives.

    • Emory Riddle
      August 26, 2016, 1:28 pm

      We can all read the full itinerary, hophmi.

      No need for your dishonest cherry picking.

      • hophmi
        August 26, 2016, 2:15 pm

        Apparently, Marnie cannot read it.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2016, 5:22 pm

        “No need for your dishonest cherry picking.”

        Usually, to pick cherries you reach up.
        Maybe we should call it ‘cherry-tomato picking’.

    • Mr.T
      August 26, 2016, 3:56 pm

      “They also met with the head of the Palestinian civil police in Bethlehem and toured Christian holy sites.”

      LOL!!! Yeah, and corporations used to have one or two token black faces that they’d trot out to show that their 99% white companies weren’t “really racist…”

    • Walker
      August 26, 2016, 6:00 pm

      They also met with the head of the Palestinian civil police in Bethlehem and toured Christian holy sites.

      Oh, wow! Toured Christian holy sites. That will certainly help them understand the issues.

      As for the rest, they had a one hour meeting with that Palestinian police chief to balance their 20 meetings with Israelis over 7 days. Plus all of those breakfasts, luncheons and dinners mingling with their wonderful hosts. Yes, they certainly were exposed to all sides.

      This kind of training/indoctrination is disgraceful. One of the worst things that has happened to our country since 911 is the adoption of Israeli behavior and tropes.

      Great article, Alex.

    • eljay
      August 26, 2016, 10:38 pm

      || hophmi: They also met with the head of the Palestinian civil police in Bethlehem and toured Christian holy sites. ||

      The Selective Anti-Defamation League serves up an indoctrination tour and you’re impressed by a bit of window dressing.

      But I suppose you also truly believe that any similar tours of Iran…
      – sponsored by pro-Iranian groups; and
      – which include visits to a couple of Jewish sites and synagogues,
      …present the unvarnished truth about Iran.

    • REALITY CHECK 101
      August 27, 2016, 6:19 pm

      Did any of those Christian sites still have “price tag” graffiti on their walls, or was it surreptitiously removed the night before the visit?

      You know..graffiti like “Death to Christians”… “Jesus was the son of a whore”… and “We will crucify you”?

    • inbound39
      August 29, 2016, 7:34 am

      Real People don’t make weak attempts to cover up another Governments criminality Hophmi. You do know the Occupation of Palestinian Land is illegal as are settlements don’t you Hophmi. You are rapidly losing traction with your simplistic and extremely thin protestations….but I understand you are scratching for defenses these days. Israel is getting harder and harder to defend isn’t it?

  3. Marnie
    August 26, 2016, 1:49 pm

    “They also met with the head of the Palestinian civil police in Bethlehem and toured Christian holy sites. Real journalists don’t omit things that contradict their narratives. ”

    Why don’t you prove how great you think you are and provide the sources for the many bogus claims you make here? Do you actually think anyone is going to believe anything you write? You never have sources – only your opinions. Another limp noodle trolling the pages of MW.

    • hophmi
      August 26, 2016, 2:13 pm

      Not too deft, are we Marnie. It’s right on the schedule Alex Kane provided. #readingisfundamental

      • italian ex-pat
        August 26, 2016, 9:37 pm

        @hophmi

        Indeed. A couple of hours spent visiting Christian holy sites, out of a whole week being indoctrinated – oops, I mean educated – by the top brass in the IDF and wined and dined in the illegal settlements seems like a fair scheduling of their time in Israel. After all, most of these cops must be Christians, don’t you think? Gotta make SOME concession.

      • Marnie
        August 27, 2016, 1:53 am

        So happy I provided you the opportunity to use a hash tag. Gloat away hophni.

  4. Kay24
    August 26, 2016, 2:13 pm

    The tactics used by the US police who have harassed and shot at African American citizens, have similarities to the tactics used by the IDF against unarmed Palestinians.

    The ADL is not interested in the rights of Americans, only those of the zionist type.

    They are an Arrogant, and Dangerous Lot, that keeps defending the crimes of the zionists and making sure no one dares to speak out against it here. That hateful man Foxman who is still associated with the ADL seems to be an Islamaphobe too:

    “Several critics have spoken against Foxman’s opposition to the Park51 Islamic community center near the World Trade Center site, citing hypocrisy, since ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” Fareed Zakaria, a recipient of ADL’s Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, has returned the prize and its $10,000 honorarium, saying that he “cannot in good conscience hold onto the award or the honorarium that came with it.” Zakaria has “urged the ADL to reverse its decision.”[27]”

    Between the ADL and AIPAC Israel control us and we know it.

  5. ritzl
    August 26, 2016, 3:28 pm

    Counter-terrorism techniques, eh?

    How do the Israelis define terrorism again? Human beings who on any given day they – collectively or individually – simply don’t like? Must repress! The only rule is there are no rules? The beatings will continue until morale improves? (Which btw seem to be the takeaways from this grand experience. Woe is us.)

    It would be illuminating for these repression tourists (er, police administrators), and for the rest of us to see their reaction, if some Palestinian got hold of their Hebron schedule in advance and tried to walk down a Jews-only street while the tourists were observing potentially-transplantable Israeli “policing” techniques.

    It would be double interesting if an Arab or Muslim attendee declared that heritage and asked some mild “what if…” questions while walking down a Jews-only street during one of these jaunts. I suspect the fundie settlers there would go uncontrollably nuts.

    • ritzl
      August 26, 2016, 3:53 pm

      To expand…

      I’d REALLY like to see that last not-so-hypothetical play out.

      The Muslim cop’s Israeli escorts would immediately take the side of the crazies. If the US cop was armed, there could be a weapon drawn on Jews by a Muslim on a zealously-maintaining Jews-only street in illegally-occupied Hebron where the escorts would have respond with force or the Netanyahu government would lose its settler bloc and fall.

      Headline/law enforcement grapevine: Israelis shoot US police officer for violating racist protocol/asking questions/provocation/being uppity/protecting himself/resembling a Palestinian/no reason/whatever. (Some of which would be seen as good things in some police circles, no mistake.)

      Hmmm. Popcorn.

      Of course the Israelis could avoid risking this not-so-hypothetical by simply not asking any Arab/Muslim officers on this tour. Or heck, if that would be unacceptable in some circles they could just set up separate (but equal, of course) itineraries for the questionable officers.

    • Mr.T
      August 26, 2016, 4:02 pm

      “Counter-terrorism techniques, eh?”

      Takes a crook to beat a crook, I guess. Israel is, after all, one of the largest if not the largest purveyor of state terrorism around these days.

  6. Mr.T
    August 26, 2016, 3:59 pm

    “Optional Walk on the Mediterranean Sea”

    Is this a typo or is the ADL mocking Christians?

    • CigarGod
      August 29, 2016, 9:35 am

      Ha!
      Could be.
      Maybe it will become as humorously and unthinkingly imbeded as “christian holy sites.”…where we visit buildings built by Jews and Palestinians, go for walks where only Jews and Palestinians walked, and journey where Jewish disciples traveled…and visit where a Jewish wise man preached, prayed, died and came alive again.

  7. Talkback
    August 26, 2016, 4:18 pm

    What’s missing in the official document is for example:
    – Introduction into state terrorism
    – How to plant or fabricate evidence
    – How to kill innocent children and get promoted
    – How to be a medic and execute wounded
    – Advanced techniques to kidnap and torture children
    – Stripping civilians of human rights and their property

  8. klm90046
    August 27, 2016, 8:48 pm

    As one occupier said to another…

  9. rosross
    August 28, 2016, 1:24 am

    I wonder how many Americans are aware of the role the IDF plays in training US police. The expertise they offer is in maintaining occupation, colonisation and apartheid using brutal and murderous means. Is that appropriate from a country which claims to fight for justice and freedom?

    • silamcuz
      August 28, 2016, 3:04 am

      This is not quite correct. Yes IDF is collaborating with the US police but the latter group are bad on their own accounts without needing to associate with the IDF.

      Please understand that the American police we have now is an extension of slavery and white supremacy, which is why they are so keen to work with IDF in the first place.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 4:14 am

        what is “not quite correct” silam?

        is wondering “how many Americans are aware of the role the IDF plays in training US police” not correct?

        is “The expertise they offer is in maintaining occupation, colonisation and apartheid using brutal and murderous means” not correct?

        or are you suggesting it is “appropriate from a country which claims to fight for justice and freedom”?

        and if american police are “so keen to work with the idf” as you claim, why is the adl and their co horts paying for these (free to US police) excursions? they are getting wined and dined are they not. how many of these police have opportunities for free international travel? why are you making excuses for this program, diverting attention from the designers of this program? “please understand” my ass. diverting from the source of responsibility for these programs is what you are doing.

        and given, as you claim, “the American police we have now is an extension of slavery and white supremacy” why are you not condemning these programs full stop?

      • silamcuz
        August 28, 2016, 5:03 am

        What is not correct is implying the cooperation with the IDF is the corrupting factor of an otherwise positive organisation.

        I am arguing that the American police force is bad intrinsically due to their origins of being instrument of the state to protect slavery and enforce racist laws.

        As such, I call for the eradication of both institutions with equal vigour and contempt.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 5:23 am

        iow, you think wondering “how many Americans are aware of the role the IDF plays in training US police” implies the cooperation with the IDF is the corrupting factor of an otherwise positive organisation. hmm.

        iow, you think “The expertise they [idf] offer is in maintaining occupation, colonisation and apartheid using brutal and murderous means” implies the cooperation with the IDF is the corrupting factor of an otherwise positive organisation. hmm.

        tell me, do you think the expertise they [idf] offer in maintaining occupation, colonisation and apartheid using brutal and murderous means is a corrupting factor in american security?

        do you think american does NOT claim to fight for justice and freedom?

        implying the cooperation with the IDF is the corrupting factor

        speaking of implications, it really does sound as tho you are implying the idf is not a corrupting factor in american security.

        do you believe the idf is a corrupting factor in american security? yes or no will do.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 5:33 am

        btw, you calling for the eradication of the idf and the american police with “vigor and contempt” is irrelevant because neither will happen. i noticed you didn’t answer my question – if american police are “so keen to work with the idf” as you claim, why is the adl and their co horts paying for these (free to US police) excursions?

        do you believe the idf is a corrupting factor in american security? yes or no. do you think the ADL taking US cops to Israeli prisons, occupied Hebron and settler winery during counter-terror seminar is a corrupting factor or irrelevant? do you think the american public is better informed knowing about these police junkets — or less informed?

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 5:46 am

        and silam, who do you think is worse off, more oppressed — african americans or palestinians living under occupation?

        where would you feel safer raising a teen — aida refugee camp or Indianapolis?

      • silamcuz
        August 28, 2016, 5:58 am

        do you believe the idf is a corrupting factor in american security? yes or no will do.

        Can cancer be corrupted with AIDS? Can murder be corrupted with rape? Listen to yourself, you are delusional and in denial.

        It’s pathetic but more so sad.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 6:26 am

        speaking of pathetic, you’re a coward

        where would you feel safer raising a teen — aida refugee camp or Indianapolis?

      • Citizen
        August 28, 2016, 7:49 am

        @ silamcuz

        If U have cancer, there’s some problems.
        If U have aids, there’s some problems.
        If you have both…..I imagine it’s the worst condition.

        Nobody here has implied the US police force didn’t have problems before they started getting indoctrinated by Israelis in Israel and/or, even worse, it’s occupied territories.

      • Talkback
        August 28, 2016, 8:06 am

        Silamcuz: ‘This is not quite correct.’

        And this is a straw man argument.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2016, 11:29 am

        “This is not quite correct.”

        My dear “Silamcuz”, someday, someday, maybe you can make these people understand that it was all those “white supremacy” people who forced the Jews into Zionism, and directed every one of it’s crimes. The Zionists, and Jews who support them, are simply victims of “white supremacy”! Of course! (Hint: the “white supremacy” folks beat us Jews into submission by Holocaust, see? Can’t go wrong with that one.)

        And please, “Silamcuz” continue to fight it out along this line. You are relieving a lot of my guilt feelings. Darn those alabaster hippies anyway.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2016, 11:43 am

        “It’s pathetic but more so sad.”

        Okay, “Silamcuz” you got ’em on the run! Now is the time to posit that violence is the best solution for injustice, and a “good old fashioned slap” will tame those police forces. Stand by your comments!

    • Naftush
      August 28, 2016, 12:08 pm

      It’s hard to be aware of the IDF’s role when the IDF, according to the itinerary, played no role in the mission and entered the scene only in these commenters’ imaginations.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 28, 2016, 12:50 pm

        naftush — you think the security overview and the security tour lead by idf major and brig general (res) respectively is merely coincidental? and roni tidhar coordinator of Ben Guriont’s security division, for a better understanding of who she coordinates with read this: http://i-hls.com/2014/05/offshore-security-conference-special-report-border-protection/

      • DaBakr
        August 28, 2016, 11:50 pm

        @a

        solve the controversy:
        simply have Abbas use a tiny fraction of his billions to fund a trip of US law enforcement to tour the palestinian areas of the west bank (with an afternoon tour of the palestinian mansions and palazzo’s on the hills) and coordinate with hamas to take an ‘optional’ day trip to the beaches of gaza where they can learn from expert Hamas militants how to keep any recalcitrant citizens in line along with a final visit to the PA controlled prison in Ramallah then a tour of christian holy sites in Bethlehem. I am certain ‘black lives matter’ would take no offense at this.

    • CigarGod
      August 29, 2016, 9:53 am

      Salesmen.
      Knocking on the doors of law makers, police departments, unions and police associations, selling fear, revisionism, training, munitions, equipment…and junkets.

  10. John O
    August 28, 2016, 8:28 am

    And another thing. Were the policeman quaffing at the winery drinking while on duty?

  11. Ossinev
    August 29, 2016, 1:46 pm

    So they went to an illegal winery and presumably got a free taster session as well as a few free samples to take away. I hope they managed to go to a JSILi skunkwatery had a smelling session and got to take a few free samples away also. Two classic examples of Zionist stench.

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