Durham City Council, North Carolina, has voted to abolish international exchanges with Israel, under which officers receive “military-style training.” The council wants to prevent the “militarization” of law enforcement.
Late on Monday, after a heated debate in the city council, the members voted 6 to 0 in what one of the activist groups, Jewish Voice for Peace, described as “the first city to prohibit police exchanges with Israel.” The group was one of those which pushed forward the move together with the Durham2Palestine coalition – a movement opposing police militarization in the US and calling to stop supporting human rights abuses in Israel. The activists launched a petition in fall of last year demanding that the city authorities “immediately halt” any such partnerships with Israeli forces.
“The council opposes 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,” the council said in a statement.
Exchanges between US and Israeli law enforcement are common training practice, organized by governmental bodies as well as NGOs and private companies.