TEL AVIV – The mayor of Atlanta rejected outright a demand by Black Lives Matter protesters to terminate the local police force’s joint training exercises with “Apartheid Israel” police.
The #ALTisREADY group, who describe themselves as a “collective of student activists, community organizers and leaders working to amplify Black and other marginalized voices in Atlanta,” gave a list of demands to Mayor Kasim Reed.
The first demand called for “a complete overhaul of Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) training institutions … [and] a termination to APD’s involvement in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.”
Officers in the APD and across the U.S. take part in Israeli counterterrorism training courses.
In a press conference following the meeting, Reen told reporters:
“There was a demand that I stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli police department.
“I’m not going to do that; I happen to believe that the Israeli police department has some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world, and it benefits our police department from that longstanding relationship.”
Some factions of the BLM movement have affiliated with anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist movements. A demonstrator at a protest for the 2014 killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer told The Daily Beast: “We are being occupied. They say it’s the death of three men that started a chain reaction of death and destruction in Gaza,” a reference to the murders of three Israeli teens who were kidnapped by Hamas. “Will we as a people rise up like the people of Gaza? Will our community be bombed like last night with tear gas? That was a terrorist attack.”
Some BLM activists are aligning themselves with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel on college campuses across the U.S. Algemeiner reported that, two weeks ago, the NYU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) sparked outrage by comparing the “genocide” of black people in America with the “genocide” of Palestinians.
The group posted the following on its Facebook page:
In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police. The total number of black people lynched by cops in 2016 now totals 136. We must remember that many US police departments train with the #IsraeliDefenseForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.
#BlackLivesMatter #PhilandoCastile #NoJusticeNoPeace #FromBatonRougeToGaza #PalestiniansForBlackLiberation