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  • Police detain a protester during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

    Police detain a protester during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. | Photo: AFP

Published 31 May 2020
Opinion

Hundreds of law enforcement officials traveled to Israel for training, while thousands of others received training from Israeli officials in the U.S.

As several cities across the United States become hotspots of unrest following the violent death of black man George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer, Amnesty International recalled Sunday that U.S. police trains in Israel alongside military officers, who “have racked up documented human rights violations for years.”

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The rights group reported that hundreds of law enforcement officials from Baltimore, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police all travel to Israel for training, while thousands of others received training from Israeli officials in the U.S.

“Many of these trips are taxpayer-funded while others are privately funded,” the group noted, adding that “since 2002, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have paid for police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains to train in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Critics of these programs, including human rights groups, point to Israel’s record of human rights abuses and state violence toward Palestinians, Black jews, and African refugees. 

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2018 brought almost a 70 percent increase over the previous year in Israeli settler violence toward Palestinians, and a rise in Palestinian deaths and injuries in Gaza. 

In the year since 2018 Great March of Return demonstrations began, more than 190 Palestinians were killed and 28,000 were injured by Israeli Forces.

In the U.S., many Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have been experiencing disproportionate violence and rising trends in fatal police shootings.

In Georgia for instance, an investigation of deadly police shootings revealed that in the years after 2010, at least 185 people were shot and killed by police, almost half of them unarmed or shot in the back. 

Amnesty International, other human rights organizations and even the U.S. Department of State have also been citing Israeli police for carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, using ill-treatment and torture, suppression of freedom of expression and association, through government surveillance, and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.

“Police departments (in the U.S.) should find partners that will train on de-escalation techniques, (...) and how to appropriately respond to those using non-violent protest to express their opinions. Israel is not such a partner,” the rights group concluded.

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