Should the ADL partner with the IDF?


Dear PAOV,

Nitzan Nuriel is a war criminal.  As Commander of the Golani Brigade during the first intifada, he gave orders to beat Palestinian detainees. During the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon he was among those responsible for “serious violations of the laws of war… result[ing] in the deaths of at least 1,109 Lebanese, the vast majority of whom were civilians.”1

He is now an associate at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, an Israeli think tank with close ties to the military and intelligence establishment.

Why am I telling you about him? Because meeting and training with Nuriel is just one of many stops that U.S. law enforcement officers make on the ADL’s National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS).

Police exchange programs like NCTS facilitate an exchange of dangerous, oppressive tactics between U.S. and Israeli law enforcement and military personnel. Join us in asking the ADL to stop facilitating this exchange.

On these trips, U.S. police, FBI, ICE, and border officials train with the Israeli agencies who carry out the country’s policies of occupation and apartheid via control, surveillance, discrimination, torture, restriction of movement, and more. They visit Israeli checkpoints, airports, prisons, illegal settlements, and secret service offices— all sites with long records of human rights abuses.

The Yasam unit, another key stop on the ADL’s NCTS trip, is a paramilitary “riot-control” unit of the Israeli Police designed to repress and attack nonviolent Palestinian protest. The unit has a well-documented history of excessive use of force, including physical, verbal, and sexual assault of Palestinian, Mizrahi, and Ethiopian citizens of Israel.2 They recruit directly from combat units in the IDF and Border Police special forces— an example of the deep intertwining of police and military power in Israel.

Another stop is Gilboa Prison, where Palestinian prisoners are transferred from the Occupied Territories, and then denied visitation rights— in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 800,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli authorities in the 50 years of Israeli Occupation, meaning 40% of Palestinian men have been arrested at least once.3

It’s no wonder U.S. police forces find common ground at these sites, when they too are in the practice of violently repressing protest, profiling communities of color, utilizing invasive mass-surveillance, and blurring the lines between policing and military tactics. Just this week the Trump administration announced plans to roll back Obama’s ban on transferring surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Not to mention the U.S. prison population, which dwarfs that of every other developed country and disproportionately includes people of color.

These exchanges reinforce both governments’ repressive policies, endangering communities in both countries.

Tell the ADL: stop sending U.S. law enforcement to exchange worst practices with an occupying army.

Don’t take our word for it. When officers return from the trips, they are full of praise. 

“Now let’s be honest… This whole idea of best practices is just a euphemism for: We’re here to steal some of your great ideas... our needs are truly similar. In fact, we are much more alike than dis-alike. As civilized nations, we are all confronted with, in many cases, the same enemy: The ever-growing threat of terrorism and other major criminal elements.”
— Horace Frank, commander of the LAPD Information Technology (IT) Bureau, 2014

In a frightening time of increased antisemitism, Islamophobia, and racism, we need institutions that are dedicated to safety and security for all. We don’t need organizations that claim there is anything civilized about police violence, discrimination, and mass incarceration. We know that the real enemy, which we all must confront, is racism, Islamophobia, and all other forms of bigotry and oppression.

We must tell the ADL to stop applying their concern for civil rights selectively, advocating for fighting hate and Islamophobia while funding and facilitating police exchange programs that accomplish just the opposite.

Join us.


Stefanie Fox
Deputy Director

  1. Human Rights Watch: Israeli Conduct During the 2006 Lebanon War
  2. Times of Israel: Officer assaults East Jerusalem Man
    Maan News: Israeli Police ambush, assault, detain relatives of freed Palestinian prisoner

    Jerusalem Post: Yasam officers assault Ethiopian Israeli soldier
    Electronic Intifada: Prawer protestors beaten by Israeli police
  3. Addameer: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israeli Prisons

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