This pandemic has shone a harsh light on the glaring economic and public health inequities in U.S. society. Similarly, the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, with its focus on the brutal technique that killed George Floyd, has revealed for an international public the links between oppression of black and brown communities here and Israeli repression of Palestinian human rights. Although prejudice and discrimination have deep roots in U.S. history and need no foreign nurture, the knee-on-the-neck technique appears to have been reinforced by Israeli example.
Knee-on-the neck is not the only shared technique. For several years now organizations in coalition with Jewish Voice for Peace have been tracing the links between the increasing militarization of U.S. police forces and training with the Israeli military. The campaign Deadly Exchange has detailed the historical similarities and recent connections among police, ICE, border patrol, and the FBI in this country and soldiers, police, border agents, et al in Israel. As the DX campaign describes it, they share “worst practices” of discriminatory and repressive policing such as racial profiling, spying and surveillance, deportation, detention, and attacks on defenders of human rights. They also share techniques and weapons of repression.
An article in Middle East Eye last year titled “US Police Departments Under Pressure to End Training Programmes with Israel” that describes years of collaboration between U.S. and Israeli agents includes damning photos of Israeli soldiers applying the knee-on-the-neck restraint to Palestinians. Since the early 1990’s, hundreds of law enforcement personnel – police, ICE, FBI – have either gone to Israel for training or participated in this country in exchanges sponsored by pro-Israel lobbies. One such exchange took place in Minneapolis in 2012. After the killing of Eric Garner, many police departments dropped knee-on-the-neck. Minneapolis’ did not. A new initiative dubbed Demilitarize US to Palestine seeks to create a network to end state violence and police militarization in the U.S and Palestine. EPF-PIN has endorsed this effort.
People appalled by images of immigrant children locked in cages at our Southern border must open their eyes to the mistreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention. The latest iteration of Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-Minn.) House bill H.R. 2590 seeks to end U.S. complicity in Israeli abuse of Palestinian human rights by restricting Israel’s use of U.S. funds to arrest and hold Palestinian minors, seize or destroy Palestinian property, forcibly remove Palestinians, or annex Palestinian lands. H.R. 2590 is garnering significant grassroots support, including from two liberal pro-Israel groups, J Street and Americans for Peace Now, many organizations linked to the Movement for Black Lives, The Episcopal Church, and EPF-PIN. Learn more about the campaign here, and for a closer look at H..R. 2590, check this link.
Contact your Congressional representative and urge support for H.R. 2590through this link.
As Christians we are called to stand with the vulnerable. The time is now.
Thanks to EPF PIN member Priscilla Read for crafting this alert.