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Two US Police Departments Cancel Training With Israel

Business  (tags: Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, JVP, military-style training, Israel police, Pioneer Valley residents, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, BDS America, BDS international, U.S.citizens, U.S. law enforcement, U.S. news-media, money )

- 139 days ago -
A coalition of organisations, including the Vermont National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, announced in a press release Thursday that Vermont State Police Director Colonel Birmingham canceled the trip


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fly bird (26)
Wednesday December 5, 2018, 6:12 pm
Two police departments in the New England region of the United States canceled their annual visit to Israeli police forces and engagement in training, amid pressure from organisations affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Vermont State Police and the Northampton Police Department in Massachusetts both canceled their planned trip to Israel for a training program just days before it was supposed to start.

A number of groups in opposition to the program, including some affiliated with the BDS movement, mounted pressure on the local police forces to back out of the trip over increasing concerns about US law enforcement’s treatment of asylum seekers in the country.

A coalition of organisations, including the Vermont National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, announced in a press release Thursday that Vermont State Police Director Colonel Birmingham canceled the trip in response to a petition created against it.

“After a meeting with concerned Pioneer Valley residents, Northampton Mayor Narkewicz withdrew Police Commissioner Kasper from the same trip,” the press release said.

Read: Concern as US police officers are trained in Israel

The program, called Resilience and Counter-Terrorism, was first created in 2002 and entails a week-long seminar in Israel where local US law enforcement trains with Israeli military, police, and secret service.

It is funded and organised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the decision marks the first time police departments decided to cancel their trip in the program’s nearly 20 years.

Previous participants to the program include the former Deputy Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with other top ranking law enforcement officials, according to JVP.

The ADL told the Haaretz newspaper on Friday that the program did not provide tactical training to US officers, but would train them to “enhance their effectiveness in preventing and responding to extremism and terrorist threats and violence.”

Organizers declared the decision a victory against the ADL-funded program, and then sent a letter to the Boston Police Department to follow suit.

“The tactics taught are inhumane and are used in the continued killing and oppression of communities of color across the nation and the globe. Law enforcement and elected officials should understand that we as a community are watching and will hold them accountable for their actions,” Mark Hughes, director of the group Justice for All, said on JVP’s website.

Read: US city rejects ‘military-style training’ by Israel police.

Kathleen M (0)
Wednesday December 5, 2018, 8:01 pm
S&N. Wicked outstanding! Thx for sharing Fly.

Colleen L (3)
Thursday December 6, 2018, 1:46 pm
Bravo to them.
Thanks Fly

fly bird (26)
Saturday December 8, 2018, 11:05 pm
For U.S. Police, Refusing Israeli Training Is Not BDS – It’s Common Sense.

Already accused of not doing enough to protect the lives of people of color, U.S. law enforcement would do well to stay away from joint programs with security forces that routinely oppress Palestinians

By Sari Bash
December 06, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Decisions last week by two American police departments to withdraw from a training seminar with the Israeli police are fueling debate within Israel and the United States about the merits of the BDS movement – the 2005 Palestinian civil society call to boycott cooperation with official Israeli institutions, even where the activity itself is otherwise innocuous. BDS activists aim to pressure Israel to end the occupation, grant equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel and realize the right of return for Palestinian refugees, much as sports boycotts were a tool to pressure South Africa to end Apartheid. Yet thus far, most of the American individuals and institutions canceling their Israel-related activities have done so not as part of a general boycott but rather due to concerns about complicity in specific and serious human rights abuses. That was true for Airbnb’s decision to stop listing properties in unlawful Israeli settlements, and it is true of decisions by the Vermont State Police and Northampton, Massachusetts police department to cancel their planned training in Israel.

Since 2001, U.S. government agencies, together with nonprofit groups like the Anti-Defamation League, have sponsored police seminars for American police officers to learn from the Israeli experience in dealing with terrorism. A number of American civil society groups oppose the cooperation, expressing concern over the influence of Israeli military style policing tactics on U.S. police officers, at a time when the Movement for Black Lives is highlighting police brutality and unlawful use of lethal force against people of color.

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Of particular concern is the “us against them” approach of the Israeli security forces, many of whom treat Palestinians as security threats while publicly articulating a commitment to protect Israeli Jews, including Israeli residents of West Bank settlements.

Israel is an occupying power in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and with the exception of periods of active combat in certain locations, international policing standards apply to encounters between security officials and Palestinian demonstrators and suspects. That is true inside Israeli towns and cities, at demonstrations along the Gaza border fence, and inside the West Bank. Of course, police should protect Israelis, but a half century of control over millions of Palestinians creates obligations to protect Palestinians, too.

Those obligations are unfulfilled. Security forces fail to protect Palestinians from attacks by settlers (indeed, their obligation is to safely remove the settlers from the West Bank). They use lethal force even when not strictly necessary to protect life, and use excessive force against demonstrators, including at nonviolent protests. Just 3 percent of investigations into police complaints filed by Palestinians hurt by Israeli citizens resulted in a conviction.

The problem begins at the highest level, with public statements by senior police officials encouraging a shoot-to-kill policy against Palestinians suspected of attacking Jews. “Everyone who stabs Jews or harms innocent people – should be killed,” Jerusalem District Police Commander Moshe Edri said, following the fatal shooting in 2015 of a Palestinian child suspected of stabbing two Israeli Jewish youths. Police Minister Gilad Erdan warned that “every attacker who sets out to inflict harm should know that he will not likely survive the attack.” Military officials have a somewhat better record of public instruction, and it was Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot who admonished: “I don’t want a soldier to empty a magazine on a girl holding scissors.”

Treating Palestinians as potential attackers and Jews as members of a club to be protected extends to inside Israel, including surveillance, racial profiling and excessive use of force as part of a dual law enforcement system that discriminates against Palestinian citizens.

Meanwhile, Palestinians – like people of color within the United States – argue that their security needs are ignored. In the first eight months of this year, Israeli security forces and settlers killed 204 Palestinians in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, including at least 77 non combatants, and wounded more than 21,000, mostly non combatants, according to the UN. Palestinian attackers killed seven Israelis during that time, including four non combatants, and injured 88, including 59 non combatants. The May 2018 attack by police on Palestinian human rights activist Jafar Farah and the January 2017 fatal shooting of Yaakob al-Kiyan in Um al-Khiran are examples of how dangerous it can be to be Palestinian in Israel.

It is no wonder that American police forces – accused of not doing enough to protect the lives of people of color and especially black men and boys – are questioning the wisdom of adopting Israeli practices that pit police officers belonging to the dominant group against communities from the oppressed minority. That’s not participation in a boycott but rather an attempt to avoid learning from a bad example.

Danuta W (1251)
Thursday December 13, 2018, 10:13 am
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