Tony Greenstein | 16 August 2014 | Post Views:

I filmed the LAPD assaulting me at pro-Israel demo – Ali Abunimah

Ali speaking to Palestine rally
With the
revelations, as a result of the murder of Michael Brown, a black teenager in
Ferguson, Missouri, that the American Police have machine guns, planes and
other military equipment, the thin veneer of democracy covering US capitalism
is giving way to the ugly reality of corporate rule and Israeli patronage.
Abunimah, editor of the Electronic Intifada, went to a Palestine rally in Los
Angeles, his home town, and spoke to members of an Israeli counter-demonstration
as to why they were there.  Ali was then
arrested and assaulted by members of Los Angeles Police Department who have
close working relationships with the Israeli state.
of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) assaulted me without provocation as
I spoke to and filmed participants at a pro-Israel rally on the north side of
Wilshire Blvd. by the Israeli consulate this evening.
I was
handcuffed and threatened, and I caught it all on video above. There is now a
second video of the incident, filmed by a third party, below.
Palestine rally
the road, on the south side of Wilshire, was a Palestine solidarity rally
called for by a number of peace and justice groups to protest Israel’s rampage
of lethal violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza
I arrived
directly to the pro-Israel counter-demonstration without first having been to
the Palestine solidarity rally. I wanted to speak to people and record their
As I was
arriving, I heard one participant say: “A good Muslim is a dead Muslim.” I
approached him and asked him, “What could make all this stop?” He answered:
“Eliminate Muslims” and launched into an anti-Muslim tirade.
person heard him and objected to his words, telling me, “That’s not true.
Terrorists are the problem,
” and “I have a lot of Palestinian friends.”

We were
having a conversation when, without any warning, I was assaulted by LAPD officers.
I was profiled: one officer asked, “Are you with the Palestine?”

In the
video, the officers claim that I had disobeyed an order. This is untrue. I was
assaulted and restrained without warning and when I asked the officers to stop
assaulting me and let me go, they put handcuffs on me.

officer can be heard on the video saying, “I know you are trying to fire
everyone up.”
This is also untrue – I was asking questions and listening to the
I believe
he may have said this because he suspected that my camera was still running. An
officer also said that they were trying to “keep the peace” and “keep me safe,”
all while physically assaulting me.
After the
video cuts, the sergeant was called. I was questioned about my political
beliefs and asked, “Which side are you on?”

answered, “I am on the side of peace and justice.” The sergeant asked, “Which
side is that?”
responded, “Which side do you think it is?
sergeant said they would remove the handcuffs if I agreed to leave the scene
and not come back.
effect, I was forced to stop reporting and leave the scene or risk arrest. In
order to avoid further violence and harassment I agreed and I was escorted
across Wilshire Blvd. where I joined the Palestine solidarity rally, which
appeared to have several hundred people, more than the dozens waving Israeli
flags and chanting, “Who are we? Israel!”
Second video
video shot by Scott Bixler shows the incident from another angle, showing that
the LAPD assault and battery was entirely unprovoked.

LAPD-Israel collaboration
In my
book The Battle for Justice in Palestine, I write
about the close cooperation between Israel and US big city police departments,
including the LAPD.
January, as Rania Khalek reported, LAPD top brass went on
their most recent junket where they fell in love with Israeli drones.
I wonder
if it is that cooperation that predisposes officers to see anyone suspected of
being “with the Palestine” as a threat.

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Tony Greenstein

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