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Critics slam ADL for training U.S. police in Israel– and when Reddit AMA goes off script

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It’s a bad public relations week for the Anti-Defamation League, traditionally a group that has not gotten opposition from inside the Jewish community. The group is facing two challenges spearheaded by Jewish activists against overseas police seminars, in Israel, and against a federal bill the American Civil Liberties Union says “threatens First Amendment rights.”

The ADL is in Israel at the moment, hosting a “counter-terrorism” seminar for American law enforcement officers to train with Israeli agencies, both police and military to trade tactics and best practices, according to a Freedom of Information Request submitted by Jewish Voice for Peace.

JVP is running a campaign to pressure the ADL into dropping these trips, which JVP calls Deadly Exchange. In an email sent to supporters, JVP says American police are learning bad practices from Israeli counterparts who have engaged in human rights violations:

Nitzan Nuriel is a war criminal.  As Commander of the Golani Brigade during the first intifada, he gave orders to beat Palestinian detainees. During the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon he was among those responsible for “serious violations of the laws of war… result[ing] in the deaths of at least 1,109 Lebanese, the vast majority of whom were civilians.”

He is now an associate at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, an Israeli think tank with close ties to the military and intelligence establishment.

Why am I telling you about him? Because meeting and training with Nuriel is just one of many stops that U.S. law enforcement officers make on the ADL’s National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS).”

American police receive further training from the Israeli military and combat units. Again, from JVP’s campaign material:

“The Yasam unit, another key stop on the ADL’s NCTS trip, is a paramilitary “riot-control” unit of the Israeli Police designed to repress and attack nonviolent Palestinian protest. The unit has a well-documented history of excessive use of force, including physical, verbal, and sexual assault of Palestinian, Mizrahi, and Ethiopian citizens of Israel.2 They recruit directly from combat units in the IDF and Border Police special forces— an example of the deep intertwining of police and military power in Israel.”

Screen shot of 2016 ADL counter-terrorism seminar with U.S. law enforcement in Israel.

Palestinian civil police are also involved in the ADL-coordinated training of  U.S. law enforcement. While the JVP campaign did not address the human rights record of the Palestinian police force, the Independent Commission for Human Rights, a quasi-government watchdog, has received more than 100 complaints of allegations of torture and abuse from Palestinian officers over the last year. 

These allegations were also noted by the State Department in a 2016 country report on human rights published earlier this year, which gave poor human rights scores to both Israeli and Palestinian police agencies.  Palestinians “reported abuses by PA authorities in the West Bank included forcing prisoners, including persons accused of affiliation with Hamas, to sit in a painful position for long periods; beating; punching; flogging; intimidation; and psychological pressure,” said the State Department report.

Israeli police were cited by State for violations relating to the shootings and deaths of Palestinians: “There were reports of human rights abuses including allegations of unlawful killings related to actions by Israeli authorities.”

According to the ADL’s website, the group has coordinated joint training courses between U.S. and Israeli officers since 2004, with at least 100,000 participants. “There is no fee for these trainings.”  The seminar is described as “an intensive week long course led by senior commanders in the Israel National Police, experts from Israel’s intelligence and security services, and the Israel Defense Forces.” The exact itinerary of the trips is not disclosed.

A number of former participants have praised the seminar for the focus on anti-terrorism tactics and border security.

“I have a couple of friends who are sheriffs who went two years ago and felt it was very beneficial to see how they secure their borders, deal with the terrorist threat and how they get in front of the media right away,” San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told a Riverside news outlet before taking a 2016 trip. 

In a separate 2016 ADL training in Israel, Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan told a local paper, “We visited the Hebrew University, and the research being conducted there relative to lone gunman/terrorists will help inform public safety policy makers here in the U.S.”

Despite the ADL’s counter-terrorism seminars, the group is best known as a civil rights organization that has combated hatred and intolerance directed at the Jewish community for nearly a century. Its forays into a security relationship with Israel, and backing an anti-boycott law circulating through Congress, has drawn the ire of Jewish community groups and activists who see the organization as favoring pro-Israel advocacy over monitoring anti-Jewish hate groups.

Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti Defamation league, September 2017

This tension was visible during a recent Reddit AMA — Ask-Me-Anything — with the ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who promoted the appearance as a chance to talk about how the ADL is working with Congress in the wake of the deadly events at Charlottesville to pass bi-partisan legislation renouncing white supremacists, along with telling Reddit users that his name means Green leaf in German.

“I have ideas about how to combat hate, but would like to hear from you and ask for your support. So, feel free to AMA…” Greenblatt wrote on Tuesday.

From the below screen shots, some Reddit users questioned the ADL about pushing a bill would make it illegal for Americans to boycott Israeli companies that operate inside of and profit from the occupied Palestinian territory. The law itself is a little tricky in that while boycotts generally are regarded as protected speech, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act would criminalize boycotts that are in consort with foreign organizations, such as the United Nations, or any Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations. Critics have described the loose terms of the legislation as a “slippery slope” or back door policy of stifling free speech protections.

Greenblatt asserted the bill does not infringe upon First Amendment rights. On Reddit he explained, “this Act focuses on ensuring that we deal with the discrimination that can result from these types of political activities.” Greenblatt directed readers to an editorial he co-authored with Stuart Eizenstat, a former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, published in the Washington Post yesterday. The two argue in the op-ed there is a timeliness to passing an anti-boycott law. The United Nations is about to publish a “blacklist” of companies that operate in the occupied Palestinian territory, and the European Union is forcing settlement products to remove their “made in Israel” label. If Americans chose to take up these boycotts, “that could subject American individuals and companies to discrimination, yet again, for simply doing business with Israel.”

Snapshots from the AMA:

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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27 Responses

  1. Xpat on September 13, 2017, 5:37 pm

    ” If Americans chose to take up these boycotts, “that could subject American individuals and companies to discrimination, yet again, for simply doing business with Israel.”

    So the ADL opposes the 2 state solution and considers the West Bank to already be a part of the State of Israel. And it is pushing for the criminalization of those who disagree. Way to go drumming up anti-Semitism business.

  2. just on September 13, 2017, 6:15 pm

    Thanks, Allison and thank you to JVP.

    Every person in America should be very, very worried/scared/p.o !

    I read this earlier this year:

    “The Police Unity Tour of Israel

    Last year a group of American officers went to Israel, made new friends, toured the sights, and learned about policing in a country under siege by terrorists. …”

    Read more of this abomination here:

    (the writer mentions “Palestinians” once… he slurped the Hasbara and inhaled the Ziocaine, too.)

    (ADL= Arab Defamation League, etc.)

    • Marnie on September 15, 2017, 12:31 am

      tRUMP is the most law and order (for everyone but him), cop happy, rough up your suspects president in recent history.

      As if american cops need a vacation to zioland to get specialized training in brutality – that’s an american sport FFS! #BDS, #BlackLivesMatter

  3. JWalters on September 13, 2017, 6:42 pm

    From the Greenblatt and Eizenstat op-ed:

    This new Israel Anti-Boycott Act “would bar Americans from joining in boycotts by international organizations against companies doing business in Israel.”

    A 1977 law “prohibited American companies from complying with boycotts imposed by foreign governments against nations friendly to the United States. “

    “The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would extend the 1977 law to international organizations, such as the United Nations “

    “What companies and individuals would not be able to do under this legislation, however, is boycott Israel at the behest of international governmental organizations, just as they are now prohibited from doing at the behest of Arab nations. Congress has wide constitutional authority to limit such discriminatory international commercial conduct that lawmakers find contrary to U.S. national interests.”

    Suppose an American company or individual concludes that Israel’s policies warrant a boycott. Suppose they conclude that their own boycott would be more effective if they joined other international entities in a joint boycott. Prohibiting such an action clearly violates their right to freely express their political beliefs.

    That 1977 law was similarly destructive to Americans’ free speech. Looking back, it was a “foot in the door” tactic, like the Balfour declaration. Now more odious prohibitions of free speech are being justified as “merely” an extension of that earlier Zionist attack on the 1st Amendment. It would be as if tomorrow Israel attacked a US naval vessel on the high seas, and then claimed it was merely an extension of the precedent established by its attack on the USS Liberty. The 1977 law should be repealed while this whole issue is on the table.

    • JWalters on September 14, 2017, 7:30 pm

      “Congress has wide constitutional authority to limit such discriminatory international commercial conduct that lawmakers find contrary to U.S. national interests.”

      Here we have the unsupported assertion that such a boycott is “discrimination”, in the sense of unjust, prejudging based on race, religion, or some other superficial and irrelevant factor. The attempt here is to claim it is “discrimination” based upon country (i.e. Israel), and NOT based upon objection to unjust policies. But NO reasoning is EVER given to refute the “unjust policies” motive for the boycott. This is an entirely empty claim, so obvious it is probably dishonestly made.

      And since it is such a vacuous claim, it is coupled with another vague claim of “U.S. national interests”. Hopefully these two vague claims in combination will shut off discussion about 1st Amendment destruction.

      Israel clearly has a case of crap. So Greenblatt and Eizenstat, among Israel’s best and brightest defenders, have serious problems with their moral compass.

  4. JosephA on September 13, 2017, 7:07 pm

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant. These pro-Israel organizations need to be more regularly questioned by the public, in public forums, or else they should lose their non-profit status.

  5. Paranam Kid on September 14, 2017, 2:47 am

    Well, well, what a surprise: the lapdog on the lap of its master. Wonderful. I fanyone had any doubts as to the real relation between the 2 countries, here is affirmation, loud & clear.

  6. Kay24 on September 14, 2017, 11:06 am

    Well it seems that Israel, has been found to be heavily involved in American law enforcement personnel, and we have to wonder why our Police Academies, are not good enough for our police officers to get the same training at home, instead of an alien nation, that has been caught spying on us. Israel cannot be trusted, and any offers of freebies, should be looked upon suspiciously. Are these services in return for the endless aid we keep sending them?

    According to Victor Ostrovsky (ex Mossad), Israel was training the Sri Lankan military, while nearby they were training the terrorists they were fighting against. War is good money for Israel, whether it is weapons or training, even if it means training both warring factions.

    • JWalters on September 14, 2017, 6:30 pm

      Good points all. Money for war at the bottom. “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”.

      “Israel cannot be trusted”

      There’s the root. Virtually everything average Americans have been told about Israel has been, amazingly, an absolute lie. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would be unable to resist the zionist army. Muslim “citizens” of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews. Israelis are NOT under threat from the resident Palestinians, but the Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis. Israel glaringly does NOT share America’s most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

      How has this gargantuan package of outright lies has been foisted upon the American public for so long? And how long can it continue? It turns out they did not foresee the internet, and the facts are leaking out everywhere. So it appears they’re desperately coercing facebook and google to rig their rankings, trying to hide the facts. But one day soon there will be a ‘snap’ in the collective mind, and everybody will know that everybody now knows.

      And there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      • Kay24 on September 15, 2017, 6:35 am

        This was a brilliant plan, and we have American politicians in congress, and the zionist controlled MSM to blame. The zionists have successfully been able to convince Americans that an occupier, one of the top arms manufacturers in the world, who is the recipient of US aid, more weapons, and support, with one of the violent armed forces in the ME, is THE VICTIM of unarmed, powerless, civilians, who are at the mercy of said occupier, and whose resistance to decades of occupation, and the resulting violence against them is “defending themselves”. It seems only the occupier has the right to “defend” themselves, and not the victims, and it seems only one side has the rights. The hypocrisy of the US and EU nations, who demand other rogue nations to toe the line of democracy, and ignore and even condone, the human rights violations, land grabs, and the daily violence against helpless civilians, is disgusting to say the least.

        The conclusion one might reach is, these nation are compliant, and silent partners, in one of the most disgraceful crimes of ethnic cleansing, and slow take over of lands that belonged to the indigenous Palestinian people. The Congress and the US media pretend otherwise.

  7. Elizabeth Block on September 14, 2017, 6:27 pm

    It’s no wonder that American police treat civilians as the enemy.
    Canada also sends police train in Israel in “crowd control.”
    And perhaps border officials too. A Palestinian professor, landing at Toronto was asked if, during his stay in Canada, he was going to say anything opprobrious about Israel. Not Canada. Israel. (Of course, he did, and the first thing he told us was about his encounter with Canadian border officials.)

  8. Elizabeth Block on September 14, 2017, 6:28 pm

    As for the ADL, they used to be a civil-liberties org. For years now, they’ve been almost exclusively a shill for Israel.

    • oldgeezer on September 14, 2017, 7:55 pm

      The adl should officially rename itself to the Apartheid Defense League. They have no connection to human rights.

    • Emory Riddle on September 15, 2017, 6:38 pm

      I am pretty sure the ADL was never a civil rights organization. Always a key component of the Jewish Power Configuration.

  9. Henry Norr on September 14, 2017, 8:27 pm

    Allison wrote: “Despite the ADL’s counter-terrorism seminars, the group is best known as a civil rights organization that has combated hatred and intolerance directed at the Jewish community for nearly a century. ”

    No doubt that’s how the ADL is widely seen among American liberals, Jewish and otherwise, but that’s a strikingly uninformed perspective on the role the group has played for many decades now. Here’s bit from an excellent report by American Muslims for Palestine, entitled “The Anti-Defamation League: Protector of civil rights or silencer of free speech?“:

    What most people don’t know, however, is that the ADL has a long history of domestic espionage, spying on members of the Communist party, members of black, Latino and Asian organizations as well as labor unions and liberal Jewish groups.

    The ADL is also a lobby organization and spends a good portion of its budget on lawmakers, in uending decisions on many topics, from Supreme Court appointments to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. It has also, especially through its long-standing director Abraham Foxman [and his successor, Jonathan Greenblatt], gone to great lengths to quash any viable discussion on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Tactics have included censorship, intimidation, and smearing and labeling people it does not agree with as anti-Semites or anti-Americans.

    The AMP report draws in part on a piece the incomparable Jeff Blankfort posted right here on Mondoweiss back in 2010: “The back-of-the-envelope history of the Anti-Defamation League.”

    • peterfeld on September 17, 2017, 9:22 am

      The ADL has great PR. It’s time to fight back with a #DefundADL campaign to encourage Jews to remove this hate organization from their bequests, replace with rights-positive Jewish groups like JVP, and to talk with their older relatives about doing the same.

      • Mooser on September 17, 2017, 12:37 pm

        “…and to talk with their older relatives about doing the same.”

        I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. They might defund me! Nobody wants to lose a battle of wills.

  10. JLewisDickerson on September 16, 2017, 3:24 pm

    RE “Critics slam ADL for training U.S. police in Israel”


     U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation: Joint Police & Law Enforcement Training

    With the United States on constant terror alert since the events of September 11, 2001, American police and law enforcement officials are taking advantage of Israel’s expertise in various facets of counter-terrorism and first response to better protect the American people.

    In 2002, Los Angeles Police Department detective Ralph Morten visited Israel to recieve training and advice on preparing security arrangements for large public gatherings. From lessons learned on his trip, Det. Morten prepared a new Homicide Bomber Prevention Protocol and was better able to secure the Academy Awards presentation.

    In January 2003, thirty-three senior U.S. law enforcement officials – from Washington, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston and Philadelphia – traveled to Israel to attend a meeting on “Law Enforcement in the Era of Global Terror.” The workshops helped build skills in identifying terrorist cells, enlisting public support for the fight against terrorism and coping with the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

    “We went to the country that’s been dealing with the issue for 30 years,” Boston Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans said. “The police are the front line in the battle against terrorism. We were there to learn from them – their response, their efforts to deter it. They touched all the bases.”

    “I think it’s invaluable,” said Washington, DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey about the instruction he received in Israel. “They have so much more experience in dealing with this than we do in the United States.”

    Also, in 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established a special Office of International Affairs to institutionalize the relationship between Israeli and American security officials. “I think we can learn a lot from other countries, particularly Israel, which unfortunately has a long history of preparing for and responding to terrorist attacks,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) about the special office.

    In November 2011, a delegation of senior American law enforcement officials, including police commanders, security experts and FBI agents, went to Israel for a joint training seminar with Israeli counter-terrorism officials sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the program provided the visiting officials with an opportunity to “learn from each other and their Israeli counterparts.”The program covered topics such as border security and media response during crises as well as overviewing strategies for treating mass casualties, performing rescue operations and establishing command and control at the scene of a terror attack.

    Col. Robert Quinn, commander of the New Hampshire State Police, was part of the delegation. “It’s really been an eye-opener,” says Col. Quinn. “We attend various training in the states on terrrosim and counter-terrosim issues but never have I ever learned as much as I have just by looking and observing as I have been in [Israel].”

    In early September 2012, the New York Police Department (NYPD) opened an Israeli branch at the Sharon District Police Headquarters in the Israeli coastal city of Kfar Saba. The NYPD decision to open an Israeli branch rested on the fact that the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact.

    In September 2013, a special team of bomb squad members from cities along the U.S.-Mexico border travelled to Israel in an effort to improve techniques and tactics for dealing with illegal immigration and IED attacks. Sgt. Chris Rogers represented the Pima (Arizona) Regional Bomb Squad – “We engaged the Department of Defense and the technical support group to sponsor the trip. So we could get first hand training and experience from the Israelis who have been dealing with cross border IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) for some time now.”

    Some of the training for the group included going to a West Bank military outpost with the Israeli National Police bomb squad and visiting an Israeli port of entry to learn about port inspections as they relate to counter explosives and counter IED operations.

    Fifteen members of U.S. Security agencies and police departments travelled to Israel in September 2015 to engage in counter-terrorism training sessions, led by Israeli counter-terrorism officers. The trip was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, and according to the organization’s director, the participants, “learn[ed] lessons from Israel in terms of tactics and strategies and the evolution of terrorism.” Officials hailing from the U.S. Marshalls Service, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as well as the Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin, Seattle, Oakland and Miami-Dade police departments, participated in this training exercise.

    A diverse group of 52 law enforcement officers from 12 U.S. states visited Israel and participated in joing training sessions with their Israeli counterparts during September 2017. This program, known as the Police Unity Tour, has been held periodically since 1997.

    Sources: Near East Report (March 3, 2003);
    Yaakov Lappin. “US police in Israel for counter-terrorism program,” Jerusalem Post (November 1, 2011);
    Ben Hartman. “AmeMaariv-NRG (September 5, 2012)
    African law enforcement learns anti-terror tactics from Israeli experts,” Jerusalem Post (September 9, 2015) ~
    Daniel Eisenbud. US Police Train in Counterterrorism in Israel, Attend 9/11 Memorial, <a href="http://…..c0m" Jerusalem Post, (September 5, 2017)Jerusalem Post, (September 5, 2017). ~

  11. JLewisDickerson on September 16, 2017, 5:03 pm

    About JINSA

    JINSA Mission Statement:

    The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) is dedicated to educating Congressional, military and civilian national security decision-makers on American defense and strategic interests, primarily in the Middle East, the cornerstone of which is a robust U.S.-Israeli security cooperation. JINSA believes that a strong American military and national security posture is the best guarantor of peace and the survival of our values and civilization.

     JINSA Programs

    ● The Generals and Admirals Program to Israel –

    ● The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) –

    ● Support Our Troops –

    ● U.S. Military Study Program –

    SOURCE –

    • YoniFalic on September 17, 2017, 11:09 am

      Educating Americans must begin with effort to correct major American misunderstanding of European Jewish history.

      It is particularly unfortunate that Mondoweiss moderators invariably allow Zios and racist Jews to spew all sorts of historical nonsense but filter out comments that try to teach the facts the facts of European Jewish history.

      Unfortunately Americans often don’t know much about their own history.

      Modern American policing starts with the effort to control Southern blacks after emancipation (Southern redemption expressed in the KKK, lynching, and Jim Crow).

      Blackmon wrote a very readable book on the subject entitled Slavery by Another Name.

      The ADL and JINSA are just updates to traditional shtadlanut.

      No one should take seriously either organization or any of the ridiculous stink tanks that hyperwealthy racist “Jewish” Zios fund.

      The Hohenzollern and Romanov governments tended to be relatively immune to the efforts of shtadlonim, but shtadlonim tended to be rather effective in Hapsburg ruled areas. Straight through the 19th century we find completely legitimate criticism that organized Jewish groups undermined the rule of law throughout Hapsburg domains.

      During the consolidation of the USSR, Jewish Soviets gravitated to secret police work in the USSR as UCB Professor Slezkine, late Yale Professor Benjamin Harshav, and many other legitimate historians of the Soviet period have pointed out.

      Just as Southern Redemption meant romanticizing slavery and oppressing black Americans, Jewish Redemption today means stealing Palestine and driving out or murdering Palestinians.

      It is not surprising that these two currents of bigotry have merged in the ADL training of US police in Israel.

      • YoniFalic on September 17, 2017, 11:31 am

        An important novelist of Southern Redemption was Thomas Dixon, who wrote The Leopard’s Spots and The Klansman, which together provided the basis of the 1915 epic film The Birth of a Nation.

        Dixon saw himself as the prophet of white or Aryan nationalism. He used both terms in his writing. He explicitly considered European Jews to be members of the Aryan nation and cordially exchanged letters with the Zionist leader Max Nordau.

      • gamal on September 17, 2017, 2:39 pm

        “He explicitly considered European Jews to be members of the Aryan nation”

        I don’t know if you know of Samuel Noah Kramer and his great book “The Sumerians”, which is fascinating in that it describes the extremely hybrid and mixed nature of “peoples” like the Sumerians, its a free pdf, Sumerian has extensive Semitic loan words which obviously incurred interest, thats how one can be sure they are Semitic and thus the misery of debt was born,

        But my idiocy aside it is really worth a look, free

    • Mooser on September 17, 2017, 12:48 pm

      S.B.A.N. is a great book. The book is also available as a PDF on the web.

    • Mooser on September 17, 2017, 1:17 pm

      “It is particularly unfortunate that Mondoweiss moderators invariably…”

      Since the only insight we are afforded into the moderation process is the reaction of those who (in error or in fact) claim they are moderated, (and, come to think of it, those who don’t mention it.) the entire subject (what is moderated and how) has become very confusing, to say the least.

      • YoniFalic on September 17, 2017, 4:04 pm

        I do know that when I have written about history outside my expertise, the comments always pass moderation, but only about 1 comment in 10 passes of those comments in my field, which is the history of modern Jews. Until recently every comment that mentions shtadlanut has been rejected. And the comment is rejected any time I mention that when there was a vote France on emancipation of Jews, non-Jews in non-Ashkenazi areas had no problem with emancipation, but non-Jews in Ashkenazi areas had serious qualms. Lindemann writes on this subject in Esau’s Tears. The history in many ways belies the whole concept of antisemitism as articulated among Ashkenazi “Jews”.

      • Mooser on September 17, 2017, 11:06 pm

        Thanks for the reply, “Yoni”. That’s interesting.

        “Until recently every comment that mentions shtadlanut has been rejected.”

        They were shtadlanut-mention-averse but seemed to get over it. You know, it’s a job I wouldn’t envy anybody. Being a Mondo-Moderator, I mean.

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