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Military-Style Training Of U.S. Police By Israel Comes Under Criticism

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
August 2020

In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police  
officers, and similar police killings in various parts of the country,  
criticism is growing of the manner in which U.S. police departments are  
being trained by Israel.  
The Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Health Advisory Council declared in June  
that, “In this moment, as we share the fight on police violence we have in  
the U.S., we also cannot fail to reaffirm our opposition to the actions of  
the Israeli police and military, which often act jointly as the agents of  
social control in Palestine. The U.S. provides $3.8 billion of military aid  
to Israel each year. Additionally, many police departments from cities  
across the U.S. contract for military-style training from the Israeli  
military. It is hard to comprehend the level of dis-investment in human  
potential that this choice of funding allocation produces.”  
JVP points out that the latest indiscriminate shooting by the Israeli police  
occurred on May 30, causing the death of Eyad Halaq. Halaq, a young man with  
autism, was walking through his East Jerusalem neighborhood toward school  
and was killed when police accused him of carrying a weapon, which he did  
not have. According to JVP, “Eyad Halaq’s death is just the latest in a  
number of Israeli police or military shootings of Palestinians with physical  
or mental health disabilities.”  
Like U.S. police, Israeli military policing of Palestinians is characterized  
by use of lethal force and dangerous, less than lethal munitions such as  
tear gas and other chemical weapons, rubber bullets and sound projectiles.  
The 2016 report from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem states that,  
“Israel’s military law enforcement system is a whitewash mechanism. Most  
cases continue to be closed with no measures taken.”  
In recent years police officers from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,  
California, New York, Arizona and other states have been sent to Israel for  
military-style training. Others are trained by Israelis within the U.S. Even  
the U.S. Capitol Police have been trained by Israelis. Since 2002, the Anti-  
Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Institute  
for National Security Affairs have paid for police officers to train in  
Israel and the occupied territories. This has taken place despite the fact  
that Amnesty International and the U.S. Department of State have cited  
Israeli police for carrying out extra-judicial executions and other unlawful  
killings, using ill-treatment and torture, even against children, and  
suppression of freedom of speech.  
JVP declares: “one of the most dangerous places where the regimes of Trump  
and Netanyahu converge are in exchange programs that bring together police,  
ICE, Border Patrol and FBI from the U.S. with soldiers, police, border  
agents, etc. from Israel. In these programs ‘worst practices’ are shared to  
promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing practices that  
already exist in both countries, including extrajudicial executions, shoot-  
to-kill policies...racial profiling, massive spying and deportation and  
detention and attacks on human rights defenders. **

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