Protests Against ADL’s Role In US-Israel Deadly Exchange Programs

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JVP activists demonstrated at Anti-Defamation League offices from New York to Seattle, New Haven to Chicago, and 11 other cities across the country Wednesday as part of a nationwide action organized by Jewish Voice for Peace calling on the ADL to end #DeadlyExchange programs between U.S. and Israeli law enforcement officials.

At protests throughout the day, ADL executives refused petition deliveries, and told JVP activists that the New York headquarters would receive the text of the petition signed by 20,000+ people. When organizers arrived at the ADL’s national headquarters in Manhattan they were again refused. After a large rally where 70 recited the mourner’s kaddish for those killed by state violence, seven JVP members–ranging in age from 24 to 72– remained in the lobby of the building, waiting for the the ADL to take the petition. Instead, 30 police officers arrested them as they were reading testimonies from those harmed by police exchange programs and singing “Ain’t gonna study war no more.”

In a letter delivered to ADL Director Jonathan Greenblatt Wednesday morning, JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson requested a meeting to discuss the demand that this self-proclaimed civil rights organization put an end to these dangerous training programs that perpetuate discriminatory, repressive and violent policies in the U.S. and Israel.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, JVP: 
“With antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism on the rise these days, we need organizations fighting for the safety of all people. Unfortunately, the ADL’s response to our campaign thus far has been to affirm their commitment to running these harmful programs. With today’s actions, we are asking ADL leadership to understand the deep concern we feel, listen to the real harms caused by their programs, and take immediate action to stop these deadly exchanges.”

In addition to attempting to deliver the petition, local activists also hosted speak-outs on the links between policing here and Israeli Occupation abroad, called out names of those who lost their lives to state violence, and read testimonials gathered from Palestinians, Ethiopian Jews and others impacted by Israeli law enforcement, with the message: “Safety through Solidarity: Not Policing or Occupation. End the Deadly Exchange.”

For the last decade, under the banner of “counter-terrorism” training, the ADL has brought more than 200 top-ranking U.S. law enforcement, including police chiefs and ICE officials, to Israel to train with Israeli police, military and intelligence agencies. The ADL has also brought those same Israeli forces to train to more than 1,000 US police, ICE and border officials in the U.S. These programs share dangerous tactics, technologies, and practices in both directions: bringing paramilitary tactics to U.S. policing and broken windows discrimination to Israeli policing.

Stefanie Fox, Deputy Director, JVP:
“These programs turn Israel’s 70 years of dispossession and 50 years of Occupation into a marketing brochure for successful policing. We want to end Israel’s human rights abuses, not hold them up as a model.”

The nationwide protests today used compelling visuals and storytelling to describe the human impact of these programs. JVP members worked in broad and diverse coalition, making connections about the impact of racial profiling, police violence, and militarization from the US to Palestine/Israel.

Asaf Calderon, JVP activist in New York City:
“As an Israeli immigrant to the U.S., I’ve seen racial profiling of black and brown people with my own eyes from the security in Ben Gurion airport to random detentions in the subway in New York. I find the fact that law enforcement agencies in both countries are building on each other’s experience of racial discrimination appalling, even more so when these programs are run by a so-called civil rights organization.”

  • Robert H. Stiver

    I’m no fan of JVP (recall what it did to the indefatigable Palestinian human-rights activist Alison Weir) or J Street as “soft,” gatekeeper Zionists, but JVP does take some constructive resistance actions. Why are there no other comments at this site at my time of writing?

    (In my ignorance, I’m not sure what the term “deadly exchange program” encompasses. Is it, as some language above would suggest, a step above and beyond the years-long steady stream of mainstream US police departments’ sending officers to the Zionist entity so-called Israel to be trained in Zio-style urban warfare/police control-cum-fascist tactics [honed on the backs of the hapless Palestinians]? To wit, are we facing not one but two parallel-objective programs designed to further entangle the US in the vast, myriad-tentacled enterprise I term the Zionization of America?)

  • Jon

    Robert you and I, and other colleagues, clearly see the infinite irony of the current fascist Israeli government. Yet most, including the defenders of that regime still pretend the emperor has clothes.

  • DHFabian

    I strongly disagree, but accept your right to oppose the existence sole Jewish nation, disregarding the fact that Jews are indigenous to that small piece of land. I personally don’t agree that a “fair partitioning” of the Mideast would be 100% for the Arabs, 0% for the Jews.

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    Of course you do. You are a flaming bigot always repeating the same debunked lies. How do European thugs have any right to invade another people’s land with atrocities and terror to steal it from them and drive them out? Why are the victims of such barbarity obligated to partition their land with these foreign psychopaths? Where is your moral sense?

  • TecumsehUnfaced

    There’s the police, and the Israeli private investigators like Black Cube.

    The JVP does a neat job of co-opting protest.

  • Helen4Yemen

    “Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples,
    aboriginal peoples, native peoples, or autochthonous
    peoples, are ethnic groups who are descended from
    and identify with the original inhabitants of a given
    region, in contrast to groups that have settled,
    occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups
    are usually described as indigenous when they
    maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture
    that is associated with a given region.” Wikipedia
    Can you read? You are like a broken record repeating your silly nonsense over and over again? European Jewry claiming to be indigenous is as laughable and as absurd as a Nigerian who claims his ancestry is not Nigeria but China. Ridiculous – specially in the of genetic science where the Ashkenazi have been exposed as having not even a tiny drop of Middle East ancestry. You are only shaming yourself when you want to belong where you do not belong!

  • Helen4Yemen

    95% of world Jewry are Ashkenazi. There were no Jews living on that land for over 1000 years and today there are no more native Palestinian Jews. There are however millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Imagine the Japanese saying why do the Arabs have 100% of the land. For the same reason that Kenyans have 100% of Kenya and Nigerians have 100% of Nigeria. A European concerning himself regarding Arab affairs is ridiculous!

  • Helen4Yemen

    “read testimonials gathered from Palestinians, Ethiopian Jews and others”

    And who might those “others” be? Why are you afraid to name them by name? They are the Arab Jews are they not?

    “As an Israeli immigrant to the U.S”

    Where did you come from to Palestine and you are now using a fake and made up identity to identity yourself. Are you Lithuanian or Hungarian or Russian? Palestine was seized by force and for you to say “Israeli immigrant” is like the French colonists referring to themselves as Algerians.

  • Helen4Yemen

    This was posted at this Jewish group’s website as their mission statement:

    1) JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. Such a strange statement, why not oppose bigotry against anyone?
    2) JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; Palestine is not your grandmother’s land, is it? Please tell me what connects European Jewry to Palestine. Arab land was stolen by force by Europeans.
    3) security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; The Ashkenazi being European can only self-determine in Europe. Imagine the French telling the Algerians that they had come to exercise their right to self-determination. It sounds strange, does it not. The claim by European Ashkenazi is just as strange.
    4) a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; The Ashkenazi no longer has a valid reason to cling to stolen land, does he? Ukraine now has a Jew PM, why are Europe’s Jewry afraid to go home?
    5) an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East. Why are you selective where you wish for peace and justice? My wish is to see you leave on a one-way ticket and to say: good riddance!

  • Helen4Yemen

    According to a Gallup poll of 2014,

    93% of American Jews supported the bombing of Gaza
    2% did not
    5% did not care.

    Therefore, 98% of American Jews do not have a conscience and their activism is to pretend that they care. Can JVP tell me which group of the 3 they belong? Aha, I get it! They are among the 2% right. American Jews are only 1.5% of US population and .02% of world population. Why waste with folks who have a hidden agenda and are related to the colonizers of Palestine. Why is that these Jews are always registering groups name ‘Jews-for-this’ and ‘Jews for that’?
    Palestine was stolen by force and it must go back to its native and not to Bloomberg’s or Goldberg’s of Europe.