Pretty flowers and details about petition

As the city of Columbus is considering measures to reform policing in Columbus and restore confidence in the Columbus Police Department, we would like to encourage you to end training exchanges with the state of Israel. Though proponents of these exchanges often note that they occur at no or minimal cost to the city, we believe that the costs are tremendous and outweigh any possible benefits.  



We have learned that Columbus has taken part in such exchanges. For instance, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America held a Law Enforcement Education Program regional conference in our city in 2005 (source:  LEEP Booklet, Empowering Law Enforcement Protecting America.) And former Columbus Police Chief Kimberly Jacobs celebrated an exchange that she participated in her 2013 annual report (Source:  About CPD Annual Reports 2013, page 3).

Please find attached a September 2018 report entitled “Deadly Exchange: The Dangerous Consequences of American Law Enforcement Trainings in Israel”. This report shows how these exchanges enable a culture of militarized policing both at home and abroad.  As a consequence, Columbus should end immediately its participation in these exchanges.

First, Israeli military, police, and intelligence agencies reinforce practices of surveillance and racial profiling and should not serve as a model for the Columbus Police Department.

This report demonstrates how these exchanges with Israeli military, police, and intelligence agencies reinforce practices of surveillance and racial profiling that lie at the heart of contemporary outrage and lack of confidence in local police. Our police officers do not come away from these trainings with an increased respect for social movements that seek racial justice, but rather with more reasons and resources to suppress public protest with the use of force, treating protestors as enemy combatants rather than fellow citizens.

This report argues that while framed as an opportunity for US law enforcement to learn policing strategies from a closely aligned democracy with counter-terror experience, in fact trainings share how to rule a Palestinian population deprived of the human and civil rights otherwise enjoyed by Israeli citizens, especially its Jewish citizens. At a time in our history when we are grappling with the dehumanization of black and brown bodies built into our public policies and systems of governance that render pleas for justice impossible to hear or easy to ignore or dismiss, the training of our officers of the peace should not include lessons from an occupying force. 

Second, Columbus should not export its policing model to other parts of the world due to its connection to a long history of racial injustice and brutality within the US.

To be clear: the logic behind the militarization of our police is the outgrowth of the tenacious grip of settler-colonialism on our society. The white community of Columbus is increasingly understanding what the black community of Columbus has long known by experience:  our police have been an occupying force in non-white neighborhoods long before the formation of the State of Israel. If we have not been able to create and maintain safety in our city across racial lines, then we should not welcome police and military from Israel, or any other part of the world, to come to our city and learn how to emulate us.

We demand that the Columbus City Council commit to ending these dangerous exchanges and include a complete ban on cross-training here and in Israel in its re-imaged policy on policing.