A US city has rejected “military-style training” by the Israeli police following a local campaign by a wide coalition of human rights activist, according to a 5 April report by local paper the Herald-Sun.
The Durham City Council released a statement expressing its opposition to “international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham”.
“We recognise and share the deep concern about militarisation of police forces around the country. We know that racial profiling and its subsequent harms to communities of colour have plagued policing in our nation and in our own community,” the statement added.
“Black lives matter. We can make that phrase real in Durham by rejecting the militarisation of our police force in favour of a different kind of policing, and that is what we are doing in Durham now.”
As reported by the Herald-Sun: “The statement came in response to a petition calling on the city to cut any police ties with Israel.” The paper noted that “council members will discuss it at their next regular meeting, Monday, April 16.”
The statement also included a quotation from Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis, who said that “there has been no effort while I have served as chief of police to initiate or participate in any exchange to Israel, nor do I have any intention to do so”.
The Herald-Sun reported that a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups started circulating a “Demilitarise from Durham2Palestine” petition in October.
Other groups in the coalition are the Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Black Youth Project 100 – Durham Chapter, Durham for All, Inside Outside Alliance, Muslim American Public Affairs Council, Muslims for Social Justice, SpiritHouse, Students for Justice in Palestine at Duke University and Students for Justice in Palestine at UNC-Chapel Hill.