A third night of angry protests has been rocking the United States over the death of George Floyd, who was killed when white policemen crushed his neck.
Protests against police brutality have been sweeping cities across the US, including Minneapolis, Denver, New York and Oakland following the killing of the 46-year-old black man, whose death was videotaped.
A white officer handcuffed him and kneeled on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe. The officer appeared smiling to the camera while ignoring Floyds appeals.
The heartbreaking scene and brutal behavior, which shocked the world and stirred outrage, seemed, however, normal for African-Americans as well as their brothers in suffering on the other side of the globe, the Palestinian people.
African-Americans know well that being Black means that you’re less human in the eyes of white supremacists and institutional racism. The same applies to Palestinians in their own land; being a native Palestinian means that only Israelis have the right to decide if you deserve another day to live or not.
But, how could two scenes be that similar although they take place in completely different spots of the world? The answer is simple: joint training exercises by a chronic human rights violator- Israel.
In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice published a report that documented “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation” within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).
what hasn’t received as much attention is where Baltimore police received training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance: Israel’s national police, military and intelligence services.
Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Israeli officials in the U.S.
The state of Minnesota, where Floyd was killed, trains its police officers in the best that Israel has to offer in the art of suppression. At least 100 of its law enforcement officers attended a counterterrorism conference with their Israeli counterparts in 2012. Concerns that law enforcement operations could violate civil rights were apparently discussed during the conference.
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has documented thousands of law enforcement officials being sent from across the U.S. to the occupation state.
“Participants were schooled in Israeli military approaches to intelligence gathering, border security, checkpoints, and coordination with the media, and met with high-ranking officials in the Israeli police and military, the Shin Bet, and the Ministry of Defense”, according to the “Deadly Exchange” report.
Amnesty International also argued that ‘Israel’ is a “chronic human rights violator” which exports its suppression techniques.
Many of the exchange trips, according to Amnesty International, are taxpayer funded while others are privately funded. 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 the occupation state and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The report proved that these exchanges reinforced American law enforcement practices of racial profiling, among other practices such as expanding surveillance and suppressing public protests through use of force.
JVP argues that many of the draconian measures adopted by US law enforcement agencies, including police forces, have been refined through such exchange programmes. The inherent racism of Israeli society, in which every Palestinian is viewed as a potential threat to Israel’s Jewish citizens, is replicated by white law enforcement officers in their views about black Americans, Muslims and other minority groups. In such a mindset, they are turned from citizens with civil and other rights into threats from which white Americans must be protected at any cost.
George Floyd’s killing wasn’t the first and probably will not be the last. “As long as these programs exist,” says Dawn O’Neal of Us Protecting Us, formerly Black Lives Matter Atlanta, “as long as police are sent into war zones to train, there will continue to be Tamir Rices and Trayvon Martins. There will continue to be Kathryn Johnstons.”