Yediot Achronot reported today that the chief of the Israeli Border Police, Maj. Gen. Amir Cohen, is being hosted by his US counterpart, Raul Ortiz, chief of the Border Patrol. The photo caption says:
The Major General and the Chip [sic]
Collaboration between the Israeli Border Police and the American [Border Patrol]: Maj. Gen. Amir Cohen, headed a delegation his unit which was received by his US counterpart, Chief Raul “Chip” Ortiz. The Border Patrol exchanges information with the Border Police, which is particularly interested in non-lethal methods used by Border Police to suppress and disperse protests and disturbances. Cohen presented to the Americans an Israeli drone wihch drops tear gas on protestors.
The Israeli Border Police are some of the most brutal, thuggish forces in the entire Israeli law enforcement arsenal. They beat and kill Palestinians and use the most brutal tactics to do so. I’ve called them Israel’s version of the Brown Shirts. Their obscene violence is so endemic that there are literally thousands of examples of it. Here is one:
They entered the hotel room one at a time and committed their despicable act, and the country roiled with shock. They ordered them to strip and beat them, one after the other, with a bamboo stick and brass knuckles, as they lay helpless and bleeding on the ground. Fourteen cases of such cruel abuse – and Israel yawned with disinterest….
At the Meitar checkpoint, the men in question were five uniformed Border Police officers who carried out their abuse in the name of the state, in the name of all Israelis, against helpless Palestinian laborers whom they hunted down in the dead of night, far from prying eyes, then assaulted and robbed of their money.
Border Police forces assaulted the funeral of murdered Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh. They beat mourners and almost caused her casket to fall to the ground.
One of the Border Policel’s most odious weapons is The Skunk, a vehicle which uses a powerful spray dispersed through the streets of Palestinian towns and on buildings and homes. The smell is overpoweringly disgusting. Not only does it drive residents off the streets, it penetrates homes and businesses and cannot be cleaned or removed.
I’ve written extensively on the agency’s brutality. Here are some posts I’ve published going back years:
Their supposed mission is to protect Israel’s borders which, of course, means brutalizing Palestinians both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories. They also brutalize African refugees who reside in Israel illegally.
No US agency should have anything to do with these thugs. They should run from it like the plague. Yet the Border Patrol treats them like brothers. Of course, the Border Patrol itself is riddled with brutality, killing immigrants crossing the border illegally. Recently, the Patrol’s Twitter account ‘liked’ posts by white supremacists.
American policing is already militarized far more than it needs to be. This was one of the central tenets of the Black Lives Matter movement. And one of its targets was what Jewish Voice for Peace calls the Deadly Exchange of US police force delegations visiting Israel (often paid for by the ADL) to learn some of the cruel repressive methods used by Israeli police against legal protests. If we don’t want American cops going to Israel to learn this stuff, we certainly don’t want Israeli brutalists coming here to teach ours how to be as cruel and violent as they are.
I’ve e-mailed a series of questions to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection press offices. I’ve asked how the Border Police visit was arranged and who was in the Israeli delegation. What equipment besides the drones are the Israelis demonstrating? Does the Border Patrol intend to purchase any of it? If so, who will monitor how it is used and ensure it is not used in the brutal manner of the Border Police? They have not yet responded.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.