Fifty years after the June 5-10, 1967, Six Day War, Israel's occupation of the Palestinian people offers a business opportunity for some, and massive oppression for others.
We will begin with the business opportunity, as it is seen from the perspective of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. We will get to the oppression part a bit later from B'Tselem.
Alex Kane, writing in the alternative publication, Indypendent, sets the stage: "On March 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo flew to Israel to show solidarity with Jews amidst an uptick in anti-Semitism in New York. But the trip also doubled as the kick-off for a new project meant to bring Israel and New York closer together."
Smart man, that Cuomo; he does business that helps his city, while he makes nice, very nice, with his voters and donors.
After Cuomo arrived in Israel, he was driven on a secure, well-maintained Israeli highway, to Jerusalem's King David Hotel where he held a press conference to announce "the creation of the New York-Israel Commission, an initiative to strengthen the already-robust ties between Israel and the state with the largest number of Jews in the United States."
Among its assignments, the commission "will focus on connecting New York law enforcement with Israeli security forces."
An hour later, "the New York governor stood outside Jerusalem's Old City police headquarters alongside Gilad Erdan, Israel's Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs, marveling at Israel's ability to keep Jerusalem safe".
Cuomo praised Israeli security forces for its use of technology as "something that we can learn from," and also said that he wanted New York law enforcement to learn from Israel about combating "lone wolf" terror threats.
The New York Times offered its political rational for the trip:
"The Jewish community, that is still very important in New York electoral politics," said Gerald Benjamin, a professor of political science at the State University at New Paltz, "and in the financing of them and national campaigns." Professor Benjamin was referring to speculation surrounding Mr. Cuomo (left), whose name has come up as a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2020.
Stand at a window in the King David Hotel, where Cuomo held his press conference, and look eastward. Out there is the Hinnom Valley, the Gehenna of the New Testament, which the ancients associated with fire, judgment, the Lake of Fire, eternal fire and Hell. The valley was also the place where earlier pagan groups practiced child sacrifice.
Also out there is East Jerusalem and the West Bank, territory Israel captured fifty years ago this week, now occupied land on which's Israel's vaunted security forces are testing technology which it uses to keep "its people safe".
Cuomo's New York police department is just one of many American departments whose police officers have flown to Israel, usually, as Alex Kane writes "on the dime of pro-Israel groups to tour the country and speak with Israeli security forces about how they keep their country safe".
Israel has a world-wide reputation as a leader in utilizing Israeli-build weapons, and developing successful surveillance companies. Security is "a core part of the Israeli economy", exporting "billions of dollars worth of armaments and spy tools to virtually every region in the world".
Why is Israel so esteemed for its security equipment and techniques?
Shir Hever, an Israeli researcher and author of the book The Political Economy of the Occu pa tion, knows why . He says: "All of the Israeli companies would immediately answer the question: We have actual experience, and we have tested these weapons on human beings."