US/Israeli Police Collaboration

US/Israeli Police Collaboration

The U.S. and Israel both have systems of social control that uphold white supremacy and repress dissent by people of color. They are analogous in many ways, but they also are directly linked. Police training and counter-terrorism strategy constitute one nexus of reciprocal support the two countries provide each other. Since the early 90s, thousands of U.S. law enforcement officials have traveled to Israel to train with their police counterparts, as well as with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), in counter-terrorism. Israel has long promoted itself as the world’s expert in counter-terrorism. Since 9/11 there has been increasing demand from the U.S. for this type of training. The counter-terrorism framework that Israel provides, and that the U.S. already endorses, targets Muslims and Arabs as terrorists and foments racist conceptions of people of color as dangerous, violent, uncivilized, and foreign. Israeli police and military openly engage in racial profiling[i] and defy international human rights law in their treatment of Palestinian protesters, prisoners, and children.

Example of Ferguson

These police training exchanges with Israel entered the wider consciousness of U.S. activists after the uprising in Ferguson in response to the police murder of Michael Brown. The world watched as paramilitary units drove armored personnel carriers in the streets, firing tear gas onto people’s front lawns, and pointing assault rifles at unarmed protestors. Two law enforcement agencies that were deployed, the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, had received training from Israeli security forces. Protesting residents who were interviewed compared the situation to what Palestinians face under occupation. Then Palestinians started tweeting advice to Ferguson protestors about how to deal with the tear gas being used on them.[1] Since then, activists have come to understand the Israeli training exchange programs as part of a history of increasing militarization of police in the U.S., from the “war on drugs” through the “war on terror”. Israeli tactics to maintain the Occupation have served as successful experiments in social control that U.S. police forces have learned from.

Demilitarize From Durham 2Palestine

Currently in Durham, JVP-Triangle is involved in a coalition of 10 groups that are campaigning to prohibit Durham Police from participating in exchange programs with Israel. Most of these police exchange programs are sponsored and paid for by major U.S. Zionist institutions like the Anti Defamation League and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. In Atlanta, where Durham’s current police chief was involved in organizing some of these exchanges, both the Atlanta Police Leadership Institute International Exchange program and the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange organize trips. Durham’s former police chief Jose Lopez went on an ADL sponsored trip in 2008. We oppose these programs because they serve both to legitimize Israel’s brutal occupation and repression of Palestinian dissent and to further militarize U.S. police and legitimize Islamophobic counter-terrorism frameworks.

G4S in Palestine & Durham

G4S Secure Solutions is the world’s largest international private security company. They offer security personnel, monitoring equipment, and prisoner transportation all over the world, including in the United States and Israel/Palestine. The company is known for human rights abuses. G4S provides equipment and guards for checkpoints that limit Palestinians’ freedom of movement, provides inadequate housing to immigrants, and it has been implicated in torture in prisons. In the Southwestern United States they are hired to run immigrant detention centers and transport detainees. As part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Palestinians have called for an international boycott of G4S because they directly profit from the Occupation. In Durham they held a $1 million contract with Durham County to do security at civic service buildings, including our libraries and the health and human services building where people receive food stamps, and other social supports. JVP-Triangle participated in a campaign pushing the county to drop this contract. The demand was met in November 2014. This victory helped pressure G4S to announce its plans to end its business in Israel. However, despite selling its Israeli affiliate, G4S Israel, to an Israeli equity fund called FIMI, it has continued to own companies that train police in Israel. G4S owns 50% of Policity Ltd., hired by the Israeli police to build and operate Israel’s National Police Academy, an institution to bring Israel’s police training under one roof.

Ongoing Militarization of the Police

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have reinstated the military program called 1033, which was started in the 1990’s as a way for the military to transfer surplus equipment to federal, state and local police agencies fighting the drug war. President Obama had stopped the program after the uprisings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other cities sparked widespread outrage at the militarized response to protestors.

Israel & ICE

Three years ago former ICE (the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Deputy Director, Peter Edge, joined a delegation to Israel where US and Israeli officials swapped notes on their shared and devastating goals. The group behind the trip was the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL has been speaking out against Trump’s family separation policies. So why are they helping ICE officials trade tips with the officials in charge of Israel’s apartheid security policies?  The real-world results of these trips have been Israeli & US officials sharing “worst practices” — deportation and detention, shoot-to-kill policies, massive spying and surveillance — that have become the go-to policies of agencies like ICE.

The ADL took another delegation in July 2018, as Israel was bombing Gaza.  What is ICE learning from the militarized border imprisoning Gaza, where Israel meets kites with bombs and protesters face sniper rifles? In the past the ADL has tweeted daily from the trip, but this year they’re refusing to even comment on it.[2]


[2] See