Trump praises Israeli policy of ethnic profiling following bombing in Manhattan

US Politics
on 13 Comments

On Monday, Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed counter-terrorism tactics that civil rights advocates found alarming, especially as Islamophobic attacks are on the rise amid rancorous campaign rhetoric. 

Their comments come after a Saturday night bombing in Manhattan injured 29 people. An Afghan-born suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, is in police custody, charged with federal and state crimes for his alleged role in the Saturday night bombing that only caused minor injuries. The explosive devices could have caused severe injuries or death, authorities said.

Trump praised Israel’s ethnic profiling policies, and De Blasio said that an emergency alert with a terror suspect’s name would be useful in a manhunt.  In a bizarre morning, a Democrat and a Republican both endorsed different forms of racial or ethnic profiling, with the Republican presidential candidate recommending it as a practice for law enforcement and de Blasio, while not mentioning profiling itself, said the public and their smartphones would be tools for law enforcement in tracking down fugitives. 

The alert sent out to mobile phones by the NYPD. (Photo via ooyuz.com)

The alert sent out to mobile phones by the NYPD. (Photo via ooyuz.com)

The message sent via the city’s Office of Emergency Management read “WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old-male. See media for pic. Call 9-1-1 if seen.” Such advisories have so far been reserved for weather emergencies or abducted children.

It’s not the first time Trump has hailed Israel’s security policies as a model for the United States. The Republican presidential candidate has called for other collective punishment of Muslims, including a “temporary” ban on Muslim immigration, as a way to stop attacks before they happen.

“You know in Israel, they profile,” Trump told Fox and Friends’ just hours before Rahami’s arrest Monday in Linden, New Jersey following a shootout.

“They’ve done an unbelievable job — as good as you can do. But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they’ll profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will profile. They will take that person in. They will check out.”

So far, ethnic profiling did not play a role in Rahami’s capture. But the emergency alert might have, according to de Blasio, who hailed it as “the future” of getting the public to assist law enforcement.

“We think it’s a very valuable tool. From what we know right now, it definitely contributed to the successful apprehension of the suspect,” de Blasio told reporters Monday. Ramahi was found by a barkeep, passed out in the vestibule of a bar, but other evidence, including a cell phone rigged to an unexploded device and surveillance video, also helped identify him. 

Lamis Deek, a civil rights attorney, said that the policy puts the public at risk, because the public’s zeal to catch the bomber could lead some to take profiling into their own hands. More than that they might not know how to approach an individual who is armed and willing to die, as investigators say Rahami was, citing his journals, the AP reported.

“It struck me as very irresponsible, it almost led an attempt to encourage civilian engagement, a civilian witch hunt of sorts it’s really how it appears the fact that it also showed up with a name, a name that is quite common among Muslim community, which cuts across all ethnicities. Anybody, especially children, could have been harmed by an encouragement to take action or behave violently or aggressively. We’re fortunate that so far nobody has been hurt,” she said.

The message, delivered to millions of phones with a klaxon blare at 8:00 am, relied on the public to “know what the right thing to do is.”

In keeping with Trump’s persistent appeals to be a friend to law enforcement, he said authorities hands are tied by political correctness, even though they know who the bad guys are. They could profile, and get things right.

“Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are. They are afraid to do anything about it because they don’t want to be accused of, uh, profiling. And they don’t want to be accused of all sorts of things,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News’ morning show, Fox and Friends.

After a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in June, Trump also called for an Israeli-style security system that treats people as suspects thanks to their appearance or name. Visitors to Israel who have gone through Ben Gurion have experienced this kind of profiling based on their ethnic background, with security officials often asking fliers for the origin of their names and the birthplaces of their parents.

Trump’s “we have no choice” attitude in matters of security has alarmed civil liberties groups and Muslim Americans, who already feel vulnerable to profiling and attacks by fellow citizens against them and their places of worship. Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims coincided with a steady rise over the last year in assaults against Muslim Americans, often women whose faith is sometimes reflected in wearing hijab.

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that profiling was both ethically wrong and useless.

“Law enforcement experts have repeatedly stated that racial and religious profiling is counter-productive to making our nation more safe and more secure,” Hooper said. “ You have to base law enforcement on actual criminal activity or actual evidence of criminal wrong doing. To merely target people based on their race or ethnicity or national origin or faith alienates the very population you need to reach out to conduct proper law enforcement,” Hooper told Mondoweiss.

“And it is really is unconscionable that Donald Trump once again goes to the lowest common denominator and fear-mongering to boost his political campaign based on guilt by association,” he added.

Trump’s call for Israeli-style profiling comes 50 days before the general election. The real estate developer, who bested 16 other Republican candidates for the nomination, has been gaining in polls against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. After holding a lead through most of August, Clinton and Trump are now in a statistical tie nationwide, and Trump has caught up to Clinton in major battleground states like Florida and Ohio, according to 538.  

About Wilson Dizard

Wilson Dizard is a freelance reporter and photojournalist covering politics, civil rights, drug policy and everything else. He lives in Brooklyn with his bicycle, camera and drum set.

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13 Responses

  1. amigo
    September 21, 2016, 2:18 pm

    Racial, profiling is already practiced in the USA .Ask any POC.

    • Marnie
      September 21, 2016, 11:55 pm

      Racial profiling has been in the united states for hundreds of years. https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS91cl5WaES3woatRe7NtBPCHMwCIU3WzTr7UVJgduOJ35Jxt1vhw

      Trump just found an opportunity to demonstrate his undying love and affection for ‘israel’.

      “But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they’ll profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will profile. They will take that person in. They will check out.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/09/israel-profiling-trump/#comment-855557

      He has the communication skills of an 8-year-old when given the assignment to write a paragraph using the word ‘profile’.

      • amigo
        September 22, 2016, 1:41 pm

        “He has the communication skills of an 8-year-old when given the assignment to write a paragraph using the word ‘profile’. ” Marnie

        You just insulted a lot of 8 yr olds.

      • Marnie
        September 23, 2016, 12:06 am

        Unintentionally and I apologize.

      • john_manyjars
        September 23, 2016, 1:32 am

        Consider Trump’s ‘target demographic’.

        Sadly Hillary, while much better-spoken, also will put the ‘Mideast’s Sole Democracy’s’ interests ahead of her own country’s- a treasonous action, by any definition.

        Neither has any business being allowed anywhere near the White House.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        September 23, 2016, 9:23 am

        I think Trump’s main skills are celebrity skills. It’s a way to earn a living and not everyone is capable to do it. In that respect he has significant communication skills. He knows he has to be larger than life. He managed to get nominated. So he’s similar to Paris Hilton, another presidential candidate .

  2. Kate
    September 22, 2016, 4:53 am

    Why Trump’s Call for Israeli-style Racial Profiling Is a Terrible Idea, According to an Israeli Expert

    Blanket profiling of any racial group is counterproductive and a waste of resources, says former security head at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

    …Where Trump gets everything wrong, Schiff says, is that in Israel profiling is not done on the basis of blanket racial distinctions. In fact, Israel’s history is proof that profiling suspected terrorists on a racial, ethnic or religious basis is ineffective. The current Israeli profiling system, for instance, was developed in the aftermath of the attack on what was then called Lod Airport in 1972, when three Japanese militants opened fire in the airport lobby and killed 24 people.

    Attacks by non-Arab, non-Muslim terrorists have been rampant throughout Israel’s history with air travel security, from the German terrorists who aided Palestinian terrorists in the kidnapping of an Air France flight Tel Aviv to Entebbe in 1976, to “Hugo Muller,” the Dutch passport holder who brought a bomb into Ben-Gurion Airport that same year. And of course, there was Anne-Marie Murphy, the pregnant Irish chambermaid who in 1986 almost boarded an El Al flight with a suitcase bomb that was placed in her bags, unbeknownst to her.

    For this reason, the Israeli system of profiling places a great deal of effort on behaviors that are deemed suspicious. Israeli security officials are reluctant to explain what those behavioral signs are, what exactly triggers security officials, and how much of the people that trigger security personnel just happen to be Muslims. But according to Schiff, Israeli profiling focuses on a large number of triggers, from suspicious appearance, to shifty demeanor, to a backstory that just doesn’t sound right….

    http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/.premium-1.743497

  3. yonah fredman
    September 22, 2016, 6:39 am

    Objections to the phone alert by mayor DeBlasio seem flimsy. Including the public in a manhunt is common and including the wanted man’s name is common as well.

  4. eljay
    September 22, 2016, 9:24 am

    … “You know in Israel, they profile,” Trump told Fox and Friends’ just hours before Rahami’s arrest Monday in Linden, New Jersey following a shootout. “They’ve done an unbelievable job — as good as you can do. But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they’ll profile. They profile. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will profile. They will take that person in. They will check out.” …

    You know in Israel, they assassinate people. They’ve done an unbelievable job – as good as you can do. But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they’ll assassinate. They assassinate. They see somebody that’s suspicious. They will assassinate. They will shoot that person dead. They will execute.

  5. K Renner
    September 22, 2016, 2:15 pm

    Hopefully we see alerts each and every time there’s a criminal of the Hebrew persuasion on the loose.

    I’d enthusiastically support that.

    • john_manyjars
      September 23, 2016, 1:34 am

      Geez, that’s pretty much our whole State Department/DoD leadership

      • Mooser
        September 23, 2016, 3:09 pm

        Hello, “john_manyjars” . I’m sure it’s inadvertent on your part, but an underscore (“_”) in a user-name will prevent comments from archiving (when the archiving goes back into operation.)
        I think a hyphen (“-“, same key, but lower-case) could replace it without depriving you of a comment archive (when the archiving works again).

  6. Ossinev
    September 23, 2016, 12:28 pm

    Speaking of profiling , radical interpretation of religious texts, refusal to integrate and yes misogynistic practices – no I am not talking of Muslims:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/ultra-orthodox-rabbi-issues-letter-warning-to-women-it-is-a-sin-to-wear-skirts-revealing-their-knees-a7322726.html

    As one of the commentators on the article pointed out:

    “Extremist Rabbi or does extremism only apply to a certain religion? Can you imagine the garbage newspapers like the DailyMail and TheSun having a field day if an Imaam had sent this letter out to women!”

    This article of course relates to affluent Stamford Hill in London , often referred to by the right wing JSILi freaks as “Londinistan ”

    Speaking of right wing JSILi religious freaks it can`t be long now before the Zealots who have taken over Jerusalem set their sights on the “Sodom and Gomorrah” which Tel Aviv has become and their fellow travellers in the city start to “profile” and target the LGBT community and women and girls who dare to expose their ankles and wear anything other than coffin shaped black clothing.
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.669230

    Given the Yahoos growing dependence upon these loons even the ravishing Sara may well have to jettison all of her revealing outfits:
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/saras-lacy-dress-irks-fashion-police/

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