Group rails against Is­rael-U.S. po­lice ex­change

Jewish Voice for Peace rails against Is­rael-U.S. ef­fort on po­lice train­ing

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Clare Dig­nan

HAM­DEN — The Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven chap­ter called for peace and sol­i­dar­ity among all races and eth­nic­i­ties Wed­nes­day, de­liv­er­ing a pe­ti­tion to the Anti-Defama­tion League call­ing for an end to the po­lice train­ing ex­change pro­gram be­tween Is­rael and the U.S.

“More im­por­tant now than ever for our in­sti­tu­tions such as the ADL to be un­com­pro­mis­ing in their sup­port of all com­mu­ni­ties,” JVP New Haven chap­ter chair­man Shelly Alt­man said. “By spon­sor­ing these po­lice ex­change pro­grams, we feel they’re do­ing just the op­po­site.”

They de­liv­ered a pe­ti­tion with 20,000 sig­na­tures to the ADL of­fice, seek­ing an end to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s spon­sor­ship of the Na­tional Counter-Ter­ror­ism Sem­i­nar in Is­rael, which be­gan in 2004, and other po­lice ex­change pro­grams.

The week-long pro­gram al­lows high-rank­ing of­fi­cials and mem­bers of the U.S. and Is­raeli po­lice and de­fense com­mu­ni­ties “to train to­gether and share best prac­tices for fight­ing ter­ror­ism.” More than 200 high-rank­ing U.S. of­fi­cials have par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram since its in­cep­tion.

“The pro­gram en­ables Amer­i­can law en­force­ment com­man­ders to ben­e­fit from Is­rael’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism ex­pe­ri­ence,” ac­cord­ing to the ADL web­site.

But JVP has called the pro­gram a “deadly ex­change,” cit­ing in­stances of Is­raeli polic­ing us­ing tear gas, rub­ber-cov­ered bul­lets, ex­ces­sive force and racial pro­fil­ing, and the Is­raeli po­lice’s adop­tion of “stop and frisk” laws, which were once used by New York City po­lice but were cur­tailed after court chal­lenges.

“Is­rael’s ex­per­tise in us­ing lethal force and mass sur­veil­lance and racial pro­fil­ing in decades of rule

Pales­tini­ans shouldn’t be the model for polic­ing any­where,” de­mon­stra­tion or­ga­nizer and JVP mem­ber Su­san Bramhall said. “We need to chal­lenge mil­i­ta­rized and racist polic­ing poli­cies both here and in Pales­tine and Is­rael and not val­orize it.”

In de­liv­er­ing the pe­ti­tion, Alt­man said JVP is try­ing to start a di­a­logue with the ADL about end­ing the ex­change pro­gram, not­ing the de­mon­stra­tion was not hos­tile, though the pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­mo­nized demon­stra­tions as such.

“We’re deeply con­cerned that an or­ga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to be a civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tion that is work­ing on be­half of all peo­ple is pro­mot­ing a pro­gram that learns from a coun­try that rou­tinely vi­o­lates hu­man rights,” Bramhall said.

The de­mon­stra­tion was one of sev­eral held in the United States on Wed­nes­day. Pe­ti­tions were de­liv­ered to ADL of­fices in other U.S. cities, and JVP mem­bers shared tes­ti­mo­ni­als gath­ered from Pales­tini­ans, Ethiopian Jews and oth­ers said to be af­fected by Is­raeli law en­force­ment.

The ADL could not be reached for com­ment on Wed­nes­day’s demon­straover tion, but said in a June blog post on its web­site, “It is per­fectly le­git­i­mate to crit­i­cize Is­raeli poli­cies. But JVP sin­gle-minded de­sire to paint Is­rael as a source of racism and vi­o­lence has led it far be­yond le­git­i­mate crit­i­cism of Is­rael,” and said in re­cent months the JVP “has taken in­creas­ingly rad­i­cal po­si­tions and has em­ployed ques­tion­able tac­tics in pur­suit of its mis­sion to di­min­ish sup­port for Is­rael.”

The ADL aims to stop the defama­tion of the Jewish peo­ple and com­bat hate and dis­crim­i­na­tion in mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties.

Clare Dig­nan / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Su­san Bramhall, mem­ber of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven chap­ter, speaks at a de­mon­stra­tion Wed­nes­day in front of the Anti-Defama­tion League’s of­fice to end the po­lice ex­change with Is­rael.

Clare Dig­nan / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Com­mu­nity mem­bers and mem­bers of Jewish Voice for Peace protest in front of the Anti-Defama­tion League’s of­fice Wed­nes­day.

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