ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 26, 2014

2014.06.26: Palestine Human Rights/Civil Liberties Update

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:50 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Palestine Human Rights/Civil Liberties Update

Photos of Yesterday’s NYC Emergency Rally: Stop Israeli Crimes in Palestine

Today: Defend Two Palestinian Women Under Attack in the United States

Defend Rasmea Odeh and Professor Rabab Abdulhadi

Under Attack for Organizing for Community Rights and Liberation

  • Read below for numbers to call on Thursday, June 26th to drop the charges against Rasmea.
  • Read below and sign statement from Jewish activists and intellectuals in support of Professor Abdulhadi.
  • Click here to send an email to President Wong of San Francisco State University asking him to defend Professor Abdulhadi.

6pm Tonight in Union Square: Jewish Voices for Peace Protest Israeli Rampage in the West Bank and Gaza


2014.06.26: Palestine Human Rights/Civil Liberties Update

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 6:26 am

From:    Letwin, Michael
Sent:   Thursday, June 26, 2014 10:50 AM
To:     1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject:        Palestine Human Rights/Civil Liberties Update

Photos of Yesterday’s NYC Emergency Rally: Stop Israeli Crimes in Palestine

Today: Defend Two Palestinia­n Women Under Attack in the United States
Defend Rasmea Odeh and Professor Rabab Abdulhadi
Under Attack for Organizing for Community Rights and Liberation

  • Read below for numbers to call on Thursday, June 26th to drop the charges against Rasmea.
  • Read below and sign statement from Jewish activists and intellectuals in support of Professor Abdulhadi.
  • Click here to send an email to President Wong of San Francisco State University asking him to defend Professor Abdulhadi.

6pm Tonight in Union Square: Jewish Voices for Peace Protest Israeli Rampage in the West Bank and Gaza


June 25, 2014

2014.06.25: 6pm Today: Emergency Rally: Stop Israeli Crimes in Palestine

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 7:55 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Date: Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 7:55 AM
Subject: 6pm Today: Emergency Rally: Stop Israeli Crimes in Palestine
To: 1199 Members, ALAA MEMBERS

June 25, Wednesday: Take to the streets to respond to the ongoing invasions, attacks, kidnappings and killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces
Wednesday, June 25 – 6:00 pm
Israeli Consulate, 42nd St at 2nd Ave, NYC
As Israeli forces engage in an orchestrated assault on Palestinians, particularly targeting the West Bank and Gaza, a diverse coalition of New York Community Members, Students, Activists, and Academics are responding to the Palestinian call for support and have called for a rally as an emergency response to the raids, bombings, demolitions, murders and kidnappings by Israeli Forces over the past week. The Rally will demand an end to the Israeli siege and occupation, and the release of all Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces, with special emphasis on the immediate release of the estimated 200 Palestinian Children who languish in Israeli military prisons.
#BringBackOurBoys, #HandsOffOurChildren, #EndChildPrisoners.
The Rally organizers join the Palestinians in their demands for the:
1. Immediate Release of All Palestinian Prisoners;
2. Immediate release and protection of all kidnapped Palestinian Children;
3. Immediate end to all raids and incursions;
4.Support of the Palestinian right to resistance and self-defense against Israeli attacks, occupation, raids and kidnappings; and
5. Support the immediate right of all Palestinian to return to their homes

June 20, 2014

Saturday 10am-1pm: NYC Solidarity With Egyptian Political Prisoners

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 10:21 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Saturday 10am-1pm: NYC Solidarity With Egyptian Political Prisoners

Egypt Protest Law
Egyptian Mission to the UN, 304 E. 44th St. btwn 1st and 2nd Ave., New York, NY

On June 21, activists in Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, Dublin and Athens will be holding a day of solidarity for activists detained under Egypt’s draconian anti-protest law. The protest law, which was passed on November 24, 2013, prohibits and criminalizes assembly without prior authorization from the government, making peaceful protest punishable with jail time.

Recently, two dozen activists, including blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, were convicted and sentenced in absentia for organizing protests against military trials of civilians. They were handed sentences of 15 years. They are just a few of the thousands of people being persecuted right now.

Find out more about the protest law here:

Despite Egypt’s assault on freedom of expression and other democratic rights, the US continues to provide aid to the Egyptian government and military. Despite a recent cut, US aid to Egypt will still top $1billion this year.

People are being detained for exercising their right to assembly and expression. Let your voice be heard in solidarity on the 21st! Down with the protest law! Freedom for Egypt’s political prisoners!

Even if you can’t go, please show your support by RSVPing on Facebook event page:

June 13, 2014

2014.06.13: World Cup Reality Check: Brazil protests: teenager dies as a million people take to the streets

Filed under: International Human Rights,Police Abuse — nyclaw01 @ 11:53 am
From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:53 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: World Cup Reality Check: Brazil protests: teenager dies as a million people take to the streets

Brazil World Cup protests: teenager dies as a million people take to the streets

Demonstrators help a man injured in clashes with police during the protest in Rio de Janeiro Picture: REUTERS/Luciana Whitaker

June 10, 2014

2014.06.10: MORE OF THE SAME: The NYPD’s Marijuana Arrests in 2014

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:02 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: MORE OF THE SAME: The NYPD’s Marijuana Arrests in 2014

Data Update, June 2014  / from Marijuana Arrest Research Project
Contact Loren Siegel: 917-584-0869



NYPD daily marijuana possession arrest numbers are the same under
de Blasio and Bratton as they were under Bloomberg and Kelly

In the first four months of 2014, the NYPD under Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton arrested an average of 80 people a day for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

This is virtually the same as the NYPD’s average of 78 marijuana possession arrests a day in all of 2013 under Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly.

The most recent data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) shows that marijuana arrest patterns in the first four months of 2014 under de Blasio and Bratton are indistinguishable from those of their predecessors in 2013.

See graphs and this release online at:–NYC-Marijuana-Arrests-June2014.pdf

In 2013 blacks and Latinos were 87% of the people arrested for marijuana possession.
In the first four months of 2014, blacks and Latinos were 86% of the people arrested.

In 2013 teenagers between 16 and 20 were 29% of the people arrested.
So far in 2014 teens are also 29% of arrestees.

In 2013 young people between ages 21 and 25 were 27% of those arrested for marijuana possession, exactly the same as in the first third of 2014.

In 2013 people between the ages of 26 and 29 were 12% of those arrested.
In the first four months of 2014 they were 13% of those arrested.

In 2013, young people between the ages of 16 and 34 comprised 78% of all people arrested forsimple marijuana possession.
In 2014 so far, they are 79% of those arrested.

In 2013, 72% of those arrested for marijuana possession had no prior convictions of any kind, not even for a single misdemeanor. In 2014, the comparable figure is 73%.

In short, the NYPD is primarily arresting ordinary high school students, college students and young workers, most of whom are blacks and Latinos.  Yet young people of color use marijuana less than young whites, as U.S. government studies have long shown.  At the current pace, New York City’s number of marijuana possession arrests in 2014 will match the number made in 2013.

Although Commissioner Bratton has stated that marijuana arrests have dropped under his command, the numbers provided by the NYS DCJS do not support that claim.

In fact, in March and April of 2014 the number of people arrested for simple marijuana possession was higher than in March and April of 2013:

In March 2013, the NYPD made 2,438 arrests, an average of 79 marijuana arrests a day.
In March 2014, the NYPD made 2,657 arrests, an average of 86 marijuana arrests a day.

In April 2013, the NYPD made 2,578 arrests, an average of 86 marijuana arrests a day.
In April 2014, the NYPD made 2,619 arrests, an average of 87 marijuana arrests a day.

In the first four months of 2014 the NYPD’s marijuana possession arrests were still primarily concentrated in neighborhoods where most residents are blacks and Latinos, and not in neighborhoods where most residents are whites and all others.

For example, in Manhattan police made a total of 8 possession arrests in the Upper East Side (Pct. 19) and 8 in the Upper West Side (Pct. 20).  But in East New York in Brooklyn (Pct. 75), police made 500 possession arrests, and in Morris Heights in the Bronx (Pct. 44), police made 392 such arrests.  The NYPD also made 371 lowest-level marijuana arrests in Washington Heights (Pct. 33) which is more marijuana possession arrests than in 20 other precincts throughout the city combined.  Thus far in 2014, the policing of marijuana possession remains concentrated in just one of what Mayor de Blasio has called “the two New Yorks.”

There is also still no evidence that 80 arrests a day for possession of small amounts of marijuana makes New York safer.  Indeed, as Brooklyn Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has pointed out, the arrests take police officers off the streets and away from other crime fighting work. Further, as candidate de Blasio said during his mayoral campaign:

“Low-level marijuana possession arrests have disastrous consequences for individuals and their families. These arrests limit one’s ability to qualify for student financial aid and undermine one’s ability to find stable housing and good jobs. What’s more, recent studies demonstrate clear racial bias in arrests for low-level possession… This policy is unjust and wrong.”


Loren Siegel and Harry Levine,  Marijuana Arrest Research Project /

This Data Update Report and accompanying charts is on the web at:–NYC-Marijuana-Arrests-June2014.pdf

Our previous Data Report showing the marijuana arrests in the first three months of 2014 is here:

2014.06.10: Today: Call U.S. Atty. Drop the charges against Rasmea

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:11 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Today: Call U.S. Atty. Drop the charges against Rasmea
June 10 – Call-in Day to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh
View this email in your browser

June 10: Call-in Day to Drop the Charges against Rasmea Odeh

Call U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

Barbara McQuade
313-226-9100 or 313-226-9501 (voicemail)

Tuesday, June 10

9 am to 5 pm EDT
Demand of U.S. Atty McQuade:
“Drop the Charges against Rasmea Yousef Odeh!”

When you call, you could say,
“Hello, my name is ________ and I am calling from _________. I am calling to demand that U.S. Attorney McQuade drop the immigration charges against Rasmea Odeh. She is a beloved leader in the community and has worked tirelessly to serve and help empower Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim families throughout the Chicagoland area.

Rasmea is a community icon and was recently awarded an “Outstanding Community Leader” award from the Chicago Cultural Alliance for her over 40 years of dedication and service to people across the Arab World and the U.S.

Rasmea was convicted 45 years ago by an Israeli military kangaroo court, the result of a confession forced by vicious physical and sexual torture. She never committed any crimes, so the charges against her now ring hollow. These charges are a political attack on her as an individual, and on the collective Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim communities across the U.S.

I stand in unequivocal support of Rasmea and demand that these charges be dropped immediately!”

The June 10 Call-in Day is jointly sponsored by
the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and
the US Palestinian Community Network.

Judge Paul Borman sets September 2nd as the new trial date

Michael Deutsch, attorney for Rasmea Odeh, informed the Rasmea Defense Committee that he and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit were summoned to a conference call by Judge Paul Borman this morning.  Borman informed the attorneys that he is moving Odeh’s trial date from October 21st, which was previously agreed upon only 9 days ago, to September 2nd, 2014.

“This gives us six less weeks to organize to support Rasmea, but we’ll be ready nonetheless,” said Zena Ozeir, one of the coordinators of the defense work in Detroit. “With mobilization from Chicago, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and all parts Midwest, we will fill the courtroom every day of the trial.”

The defense committee wants to also remind everyone to call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade next Tuesday, June 10th, and demand that she “Drop the Charges Now!”

Rasmea Yousef Odeh

 5 more actions to take

1) All out for Detroit to defend Rasmea Odeh!

Mobilize to support Rasmea at her next hearing in Detroit on October 21st, 2014 (stay tuned to and for updates).

2) Sign the petition to drop the charges against Rasmea:

3) Call and send photos of support for Rasmea!

Send us a picture holding up the following message:
‘I am ________ and I support Rasmea!’

You can fill in the blank with any self-identifier: your name, your occupation, or any other description. Some examples may be: “I am a stay-at-home dad and I support Rasmea!” “I am a youth organizer and I support Rasmea!” or “I am a supporter of Palestinian human rights and I support Rasmea!”

Hold the sign up and snap a selfie, then send it to Put it up as your Facebook/Twitter profile pic, Google Account image, or anything else! Just remember we may use your image in future publications and informational pamphlets that get published online or distributed as hard copies.

4) Join the Facebook page & Tweet:

Facebook page at Drop The Charges Against Rasmea Now! and
Tweet using #Justice4Rasmea

5) Solidarity Statements

Have your organization sign or write a solidarity statement (email to:

Rasmea Defense Committee Statement

For immediate release: Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New date of October 21st set for trial of Rasmea Odeh

Palestinian American organizer from Chicago, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014, with a new attorney, Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office in Chicago.

Last week, Odeh decided not to accept a plea agreement that would have revoked her U.S. citizenship and forced her deportation, and instead dismissed her previous attorney. This morning, Deutsch filed an official appearance as Odeh’s representative, and was granted a continuance on her trial until October 21st, 2014. Judge Paul Borman also ruled that the deadline for pre-trial motions had passed, and seemed reluctant to budge on this issue, but Deutsch stated afterward that “as the case develops, hopefully, he’ll be more flexible.”

Odeh is being charged with Unlawful Procurement of Naturalization, but is strongly asserting her innocence. Deutsch, who has represented political activists and victims of police and government civil rights violations since 1970, was one of the lawyers for the Attica prisoners following the 1971 uprising and state massacre of 29 inmates, and in 2006, successfully defended Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, two Palestinians accused of running a terrorist-recruiting and financing cell in the U.S. They were both acquitted of racketeering and criminal conspiracy charges, and Deutsch was lauded for essentially making the case a referendum on Palestine liberation.

Deutsch stated that he is pleased with the judge’s ruling on the Odeh case, and has begun working on a strategy for the defense.

Ever since Odeh’s arrest and release on bond last October, the Rasmea Defense Committee has been demanding that the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade, drop the charges immediately. Rania Shkairat, a member of this committee in Chicago, said, “We are extremely happy that such a prominent attorney as Michael Deutsch is on the case, and that we now have more time to continue our organizing to pressure the government to drop the charge. Rasmea is a wonderful role model for women like me who have dedicated their lives to social justice, and we will do everything in our power to clear her name.”

Hundreds of supporters of Rasmea were mobilizing to pack the courtroom in Detroit onJune 10th, the original trial start date. Even though there is now a continuance, the defense committee is still raising the calls, “All Out for Detroit!” and “Drop the Charges Now!”

Stay tuned to the United States Palestinian Community Network ( and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( for updates and action steps.

– End –

More Background!

PSLS, CCR and 64 other rights groups sign statement opposing indictment of Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh

October 23, 2013

The below-signed organizations are deeply disturbed by and stand opposed to the indictment yesterday of Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian-American community activist who has dedicated 10 years to the Chicago Arab-American community, working with women on issues ranging from promoting literacy and political education to addressing domestic violence and anti-Arab and Muslim sentiment.

Rasmea’s indictment for alleged immigration fraud comes at a time when advocates forPalestinian rights and immigration rights activists have been facing increasing pressure all over the country. Exactly three years ago, 23 anti-war and Palestinian rights activists were subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury, and several of their homes were raided by the FBI.There have been no indictments against the 23 activists subpoenaed in 2010, presumably because of a lack of evidence. It is no coincidence that federal prosecutors are now targeting Rasmea, who is a pillar in the same community.

The 2010 raids, the Grand Jury subpoenas that accompanied them, and this indictment against a 65 year old woman who suffered for a decade in Israeli prisons before coming to the U.S. in 1995, are a clear signal that federal authorities, along with Israel and its supporters in the U.S., are continuing to search for ways to intimidate and silence those who are effective advocates forArab American communities, and who speak out for Palestinian rights.

In the last year alone, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, in partnership with the Center forConstitutional Rights, and in collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations, has documented over 75 cases of intimidation and legal bullying. These include perceived surveillance, FBI contacts, and discriminatory enforcement of laws against advocatesfor Palestinian rights. Rasmea’s arrest and indictment must be viewed within this wider context of widespread attempts to intimidate people into silence on one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Rasmea’s indictment is also an illustration of increasingly draconian enforcement of immigration laws, which have left immigrant communities devastated at the hands of Obama’s Department of Homeland Security.

Rasmea is an exemplary citizen who recently finished a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice, and has a law degree from Jordan. She has overcome amazing odds after being convicted by the Israeli military court system in 1969 for her alleged association with a leftist Palestinian nationalist group that the U.S. designated a terrorist organization. The military courts operate exclusively to subjugate occupied Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They routinely bypass all but a modicum of due process, and justify holding individuals without charge or trial formonths and years, often in abusive conditions and subject to torture. Rasmea’s activism against the Israeli occupation in the 1960s resulted in her imprisonment in Israeli prisons for 10 years, and it is surely her community activism in the U.S. that has made her, and by extension, the community that relies on her, the target of this indictment.

We call for solidarity with Rasmea!


Al-Awda New York, Palestine right to Return Coalition
American Friends Service Committee
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Muslims for Palestine
Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Bay Area Committee to Stop Political Repression (BACSPR)
Bay Area Women in Black
Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign – Vancouver
Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine
Canada Palestine Association
Center for Constitutional Rights
Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights
College and University Workers United
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism
Council on American-Islamic Relations – Chicago
CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine
Friends of Deir Ibzi’a
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Hampshire College Students for Justice in Palestine
International League of People’s Struggles
INCITE! Women and Trans* People of Color Against Violence
Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver
Interdenominational Advocates for Peace (IDAP)
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area
Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago
Jewish Voice for Peace – Detroit
Jewish Voice for Peace — Philadelphia
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Justice for Palestinians, San Jose, CA
Labor for Palestine
Legalease Collective, CKUT, Montreal
Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign
Muslim Defense Project of the National Lawyers Guild – New York Chapter
National Lawyers Guild Free Palestine Subcommittee
National Lawyers Guild Chicago
National Students for Justice in Palestine
New York City Labor Against the War
NYC Queers Against Israeli Apartheid
PAWA: Palestinian American Women’s Association
Palestine Aid Society
Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP)
Palestine Solidarity Group – Chicago
Palestine Solidarity Legal Support
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (Toronto)
Red Sparks Union – Vancouver
San Francisco Women in Black
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Socialist Action
Solidarity: a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization
Sunbula: Arab Feminists for Change
The Dream Defenders
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
US Palestinian Community Network
WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign
Women of Colour Collective at the McGill Faculty of Law
Voice of Palestine

Copyright © 2014 US Palestinian Community Network, All rights reserved.
You are on this list because you signed up to receive more information from the US Palestinian Community Network.

Our mailing address is:

US Palestinian Community Network

52 North Broadway

White Plains, NY 10603

June 9, 2014

2014.06.09: Orleans Public Defenders Ben Levick Sullivan Investigator Fellowship

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Indigent Defense — nyclaw01 @ 10:03 am

From:    Letwin, Michael
Sent:   Monday, June 09, 2014 10:03 AM
To:     1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject:        Orleans Public Defenders Ben Levick Sullivan Investigator Fellowship

The Ben Levick Sullivan Investigator Fellowship, launching in 2014, will be an integral part of fulfilling the Orleans Public Defender’s (OPD) mission to give every client zealous, client-centered representation. Ben came to OPD with the first class of intern investigators post-Katrina in 2007. He fell in love with OPD, its clients, New Orleans, and all of his committed and talented colleagues. He returned as a staff investigator, then as law clerk, and it was his ambition to return as a staff attorney. Tragically, during his second year at Tulane Law School, he was killed. In his memory, his family began a fund to establish an investigator fellowship at OPD to carry on the vital work that gave Ben so much joy and that he did with such dedication.

June 6, 2014

2014.06.06: 7pm Tonight in Brooklyn: Celebrating Rasmea Odeh – A Night of Poetry, Music and Performance

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 06, 2014 9:56 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 7pm Tonight in Brooklyn: Celebrating Rasmea Odeh – A Night of Poetry, Music and Performance

Join Friends of Rasmea – NYC on June 6 for an evening of art and cultural performance to celebrate the struggle of Rasmea Odeh and raise money for her legal defense.
View this email in your browser

Celebrating Rasmea Odeh: A Night of Poetry, Music and Performance
Friday, June 6 7:00pm 
The Commons Brooklyn
388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11217

Facebook event:

Our event will celebrate the remarkable life and work of Rasmea Odeh, a Chicago-based, Palestinian American feminist, educator, and community leader, who just marked her 66th birthday. Her groundbreaking, lifelong efforts to empower Arab and immigrant women have inspired generations of Arab feminist activists.

Currently, Rasmea Odeh is facing criminal charges for alleged failure to disclose, during immigration proceedings, that she had been tortured and imprisoned in an Israeli jail. Though she has lived in the US for 19 years and been a US citizen since 2004, she faces a 10 prison sentence and revocation of citizenship, should she be convicted.

Our event seeks to support fundraising efforts for her legal team and broad community of supporters. We will include performances from poets, musicians, and artists; we will also provide light snacks.

For more about Rasmea’s case:,-psls,-33-groups-sign-statement-opposing-indictment-palestinian-american-activist-rasmea-o

– DIALA SHAMAS: attorney working with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility project at CUNY Law
– MEZNA QATO: Center for Palestine Studies, Columbia University; National Coordinating Committee of the US Palestinian Community Network
– CHE GOSSETT: genderqueer writer and activist; participant in librarians and archivists delegation to Palestine
– THENJIWE MCHARRIS: organizer, Peoples’ Justice for Community Control and Police Accountability; Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
– REMI KANAZI: Palestinian spoken word poet and BDS activist
– RED TIRONA: organizer, Anakbayan-NY
– DINA OMAR: Palestinian poet, activist, and graduate student
– DARO BEHROOZI TRIO: New Orleans/Arabic jazz, featuring Daro Behroozi onsaxophone, Harry Ruben-Falcone on bass, and Jesse Chevan on drums

Sliding scale: $10-20; no one turned away for lack of funds

If you cannot attend but still would like to donate:
* Go to and forward your automated receipt to noting the amount and its designation to Rasmea.
* If you want your donation to be tax-deductible, you must write a check in the amount of $100 or more and make it payable to the NLG Foundation (with Rasmea Defense Fund written in the memo) and mail the check to: Arab American Action Network ATTN: Rasmea Defense Fund 3148 W. 63rd Street, 2nd Floor, Chicago IL 60629).
**If you cannot attend, please help us spread the word! Please share/tweet/forward the event! Thanks.

June 5, 2014

2014.06.05: FYI: NYC’s top cop defends racist policing at Israel “security” conference

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2014 10:12 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: FYI: NYC’s top cop defends racist policing at Israel “security” conference
(Thaer Ganaim / Maan Images)

NYC’s top cop defends racist policing at Israel “security” conference

Submitted by Rania Khalek on Thu, 05/29/2014 – 17:17


On 13 May, New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton delivered the keynote address at Israel’s first ever National Conference on Personal Security in Jersusalem.

Accompanied by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence John Miller (formerly a CBS senior news correspondent), Bratton also met with Yohanan Danino, the Inspector General of the Israeli police, and Yoram Cohen, director of Israel’s notorious Shin Bet secret police.

In his 30-minute speech, which can be viewed in the above video, Bratton offered a uniquely revisionist history of American policing and proposed a dystopian vision for a future in which Israel is held up as a model for law enforcement worldwide.

“World’s strongest democracies”

“We are fortunate in the United States and Israel to live in the world’s two strongest democracies,” declared Bratton, kicking off his speech with the mythology and pandering we’ve come to expect from US officials visiting Israel.

Bratton went on to offer an odd interpretation of how a democracy functions.

“In a democracy,” he said, “the first obligation of government is public safety.”

This may come as a surprise to those who were under the impression that the government’s most essential role in a democracy is to ensure the civil and human rights of the people it represents. While public safety is certainly important, Bratton has throughout his career advocated for and spearheaded policing practices that strip minority communities, particularly poor African Americans and Latinos, of their civil rights, all under the cover of promoting public safety.

Historical revisionism

Perhaps Bratton’s disdain for civil rights explains the deceptive historical analysis provided in his speech, in which he blamed the civil rights and anti-war movements forrising crime and disorder in the 1970s.

“My country in the 1970s was just coming out of the turbulence of the 1960s in our society, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, a society that was wrestling with what we thought to be too much government control,” explained Bratton.

He then attributed growing crime rates in the 1980s to “drug culture” and society’s inability to control poor people and minorities:

As my country moved into the 1980s there were several additional societal trends that began to have a significant negative impact on our ability to keep our streets safe. The growth of a drug market and a drug culture, particularly the more problematic drugs of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine. The increasing number of young people coming out of a society that was no longer educating them, no longer controlling them, a dissolution of many of the families in our society, particularly among the poor and in the minority communities.

Bratton went on to read off New York City’s horrifying crime statistics in 1990, when violent crime was at its peak.

Describing the early 1990s, Bratton conflated graffiti with rampant murder, saying, “conditions in the city had deteriorated so badly that subway cars were covered in graffiti.”

He then credited policies introduced by him and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the massive reduction in violent crime that followed.

During Bratton’s first term as NYPD commissioner in 1994, he implemented what he referred to in his speech as “community policing” or “quality of life” policing, otherwise known as “broken windows.” Bratton is credited with popularizing the “broken windows theory,” a zero-tolerance approach to policing that focuses on stamping out minor nonviolent infractions before they evolve into violent crimes.

Bratton proceeded to paint a before-and-after picture of New York City:

It is a city that in the 1980s and 1990s was a very frightening experience to walk the streets — the aggressive beggars, the prostitutes, the gangs, the filth, the graffiti. It is a city today that is vibrant, it is alive, it is safe. On the subway system, the graffiti is gone, the beggars are gone, the vandalism is gone.

This is the essence of broken windows, the idea that graffiti and litter, if left unpunished, will balloon into rape and murder, and therefore must be treated like violent crimes. (Two decades later, Bratton’s obsessive hatred for graffiti has only grown stronger.)

Racist policing

There is no empirical proof that “broken windows” policing was responsible for New York City’s historic decline in crime in the 1990s. In fact, similar crime reductions were taking place in cities across the country where “broken windows” was not being employed.

In reality, Bratton’s policies had more to do with removing poor people of color from prime gentrification real estate in an effort to create a more aesthetically appealing landscape for the mostly upper class whites the city wanted to attract.

Under Bratton’s first term as New York City’s top cop in 1994, the NYPD went after young people of color with a vengeance for everything from truancy and playing loud music to jumping subway turnstiles and loitering.

As the murder rate fell dramatically between 1994 and 1996, misdemeanor arrests skyrocketed 73 percent, and as Christian Parenti meticulously documents in the bookLockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis, the main targets were the African American and Latino communities, whose police brutality complaints increased by 50 percent.

Bratton would go on to carry out “quality of life sweeps” during his reign as police chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, resulting in the mass displacement of homeless and mentally ill residents, who Bratton’s foot soldiers harassed with tickets forjaywalking and sleeping on the sidewalk. Unable to pay the fines, those targeted were often locked up, increasing the overall jail population. On top of that, he oversaw a twofold increase in stop and frisks by the LAPD.

Since being appointed head of the NYPD for the second time in two decades by the supposedly progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bratton has doubled down on broken windows with his mission to rid the subway of homeless people.

Learning from each other

From New York City to Los Angeles, Bratton’s form of suppression policing — packaged as crime prevention — has aggressively facilitated gentrification, which is just a more insidious version of ethnic cleansing.

A similar (though more openly racist) dynamic has played out in Israel, where security and terrorism prevention are invoked to justify the subjugation and removal of Palestinians.

For example, Israel insists to the world that the apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank is a vital security measure designed to keep suicide bombers out. But even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admits that the purpose of the “separation fence” is to avert “demographic spillover” of Palestinians from the West Bank.

The apartheid wall, the home demolitions, the checkpoints, the more than fifty laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel — all of these have little to do with Israel’s security and everything to do with maintaining Israel’s demographically engineered Jewish majority to consolidate Jewish supremacy in the Holy Land.

“The police commissioner of New York City coming to meet with the police commissioner of the Israeli National Police, why?” asked Bratton. “So we can learn from each other.”


After praising the Israeli police for their efforts at employing “quality of life” policing, Bratton moved on to the issue of terrorism.

“[The United States] did not have the terrorism experience that you have had since your birth,” said Bratton, noting that Israel’s was a “birth of necessity.” The irony of course is that Israel was built over the ashes of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages that were deliberately destroyed through terrorism.

Bratton added, “We can continue to defeat [terrorism] by the way you have been doing it in your country so successfully.”

While it’s unclear which of Israel’s abusive counterterrorism policies Bratton plans to adopt, he did leave some clues.

As the New York Times recently reported, there exists an NYPD squad called the Citywide Debriefing Team, which scours city jails for Muslims to coerce into spying ontheir communities. During his visit to Israel, Bratton defended the NYPD’s recruitment of jailed Muslims as informants, calling the program “an essential element of policing.”

A future dystopia

Next, Bratton offered words of praise for predictive policing, calling it “the new revolution in American policing, indeed world policing.”

“Can we prevent all crime? No. But we need to use that as our goal,” he said.

Predictive policing uses computer algorithms to generate hotspots where crimes are likely to occur and lists of people who are likely to commit them. It is a form of pre-crime that should raise alarm bells. Given the racism permeating all levels of the American criminal justice system, predictive policing will more likely produce a system of computer-generated racial profiling than crime prevention.

Bratton ended his speech by portraying his and Israel’s dystopian policing practices as necessary “in ensuring that democracy survives for our children and our children’s children.”

“We are strengthened in democracies when we collaborate together, when we form partnerships,” said Bratton. “I thank the Israeli government for the opportunity to strengthen the partnership that was already strong between my city and my country and your city and your country, for the vital mission we are all engaged in and that is the preservation of our democracies.”

Before leaving the podium, Bratton was presented with a gift, an album of photos taken during his trip. Some of those pictures were posted on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Public Security:


From left to right: NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino (wants his cops to emulate the NYPD), Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat (hangs out at Glenn Beck rallies), and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (once called an undercover cop a “dirty Arab”).

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