Dear Israel, CHILL! WE Have Our Own Problems

Dear Israel.

I am pretty bummed about the Iran deal too. There is little momentum building against the Iran deal here in the US despite the ten thousand strong rally in Times Square and what the pandering Republican presidential candidates say. The alternative is war and not even the hard liners here can stomach another one. A good portion of the Israeli defense establishment has come out in favor of the deal, so further tinkering into American policy by you can only cause harm to an already strained relationship.

I admit a tinge of guilt for feeling this way; I love you. I don’t necessarily think this is a good deal, but the consequences for you are long term and you’re a big boy now and I think you can handle it. Sorry bro, I’m more bummed about the past few months in the US. The Charleston church shooting, now, being prosecuted as a hate crime, the Jihadi terror attack in Chattanooga and the tragic death of Sandra Bland all within weeks of each other, that has my ears perking.

Sandra Bland, an African American woman, had her name added to the digital corroboration of the ever-growing evidence of too much power in police hands. She was found dead in a jail cell she had no business being in. The officer in this case used a tactic employed by every policeman — an open secret, whereby they tailgate a motorist on the road who is now in a panic choosing between pulling over or speeding up. If you pull over and fail to signal you get a violation. You speed up? Ticket! Now, that non-existent quota system that they officially deny having can be filled.

An officer clearly itching for a fight, as was the policeman in this case, has the ultimate weapon, as he did here, a Friday arrest. Since a cop can basically arrest you for whatever the hell he wants, if you piss him off and he busts you on a Friday, you have to spend the weekend in the lockup before you can see a judge.

In further proof of the gross inequality in our system, this young woman had bail set at $5,000, high enough to indicate that the officer exaggerated or outright lied to the district attorney about the incident in contradiction to the facts on the video tape. Based on the recording, this woman was less a danger to society than that out of control hooligan with a gun, badge and taser. The injustice felt by so many whom now openly saw the oppression, lying and abuse of power by the cop directly from his own own Dash-cam, is staggering. Too many people of color are spending time behind bars, without trial, for months and years for things they did not do — because they are too poor to make a four-figure bail that they have no business getting in the first place.

Records show that Ms. Bland was having difficulty making contact with loved ones, which obviously gave this admitted depressive who once tried to commit suicide ample reason to feel hopeless after three days in a cell with little prospect of raising money for bail for a crime not committed and harassment by a bully cop having a bad day.

We are not experiencing more of these blatant police overreaches of power; we just have the technology to see them in real time and call them out on it. How many lives have we ruined over decades with failed policy, over policing and incarceration? Even if it is just a minority of police who abuse their power, it is a failure of our training, it is a failure in the culture. This is a powder keg. Technology is in place to replace 40% of all unskilled labor in the next twenty-five years. Who do YOU think this will effect most?

Believe me Israel; we are growing closer not farther apart. The US is slowly moving towards an Israel-like hyper security state. The Chattanooga shootings will require a complete overhaul of policy from trying to preempt attacks — we can’t prevent lone wolves — to containing them and overhauling our prevention strategy. I predict the American landscape will change with more concrete barriers, metal detectors, canine units and even more cameras. This is not a good development; it is not something we look forward too. We tried a similar policy with the Broken Windows policing methods in the 1990’s to reduce crime — the short-term effects were good, it brought crime down. The long-term effects are the greatest unmasking of systemized racism since Jim Crow. This time the lynching is a slow death by over-incarceration, a racist bail system, being over-policed, stagnant wages, hopelessness and neglect.

So we’ve got some immediate problems here. Please forgive me if I think you’ll be okay. We have soul searching and a reevaluation of our whole system to do. Yeah, we punted the Iran nuclear thing for later, sorry. Iran is worrisome, has been worrisome for a long time, will stay worrisome for a long time to come. Worry not! We have God on our side.

Love, Yoel

About the Author
Joel Moskowitz is a businessman and writer who finally made it to Jerusalem. He is currently chronicling this move in an Aliyah Journal posted on this site.