April 12, 2018
Mayor Steve Schewel
Members of City Council
City of Durham
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, NC 27701
Dear Mayor Schewel and City Council Members:
On behalf of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), I write to express concern over potential misconceptions by the Durham City Council about law enforcement programs in Israel run by the ADL. We have worked with law enforcement on issues related to combating hate crimes and extremism, and strengthening community engagement for decades. And having seen the tremendous benefits these trips provide we want to set the record straight about certain false accusations made against such programs. The Demilitarize! From Durham2Palestine petition is part of a national campaign organized by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a small and unrepresentative group whose fiercely anti-Israel organizational views are overwhelmingly rejected by the larger Jewish community, its institutions, and leaders. The group uses manipulative tactics and false propaganda with the sole intent of demonizing Israel—the only democracy in the Middle East and a critical American ally…
The Demilitarize! From Durham2Palestine petition promotes the malicious and erroneous charge that American police exchange programs with Israel, like the ones led by ADL, play a role in police militarization, and oppression and brutality against Americans of color. This accusation is ludicrously false.
During our exchanges, American law enforcement leaders spend time in Israel learning how to prevent and respond to terror attacks. Israeli law enforcement officials are internationally recognized as experts in terrorism prevention and response, due to their unfortunate vast experience dealing with terror. They have valuable expertise on how to balance the need for security with protections accorded by the laws and values of a democratic country. The online petition also fails to acknowledge that the programs we run have included meetings with not only the Israel National Police, but also with the Palestinian Civilian Police. Participants learn about local police operations, training, information sharing, and strategies for fighting terror while also being responsible for everyday police work. American law enforcement leaders who participate in these programs return to the U.S. better able to protect their communities from terrorism and respond to attacks ranging from bombings to active shooter situations…
Far from training that “helps the police terrorize Black and Brown communities,” ADL’s law enforcement programs, including those in Israel, are designed to equip officers with the knowledge, understanding, and sense of accountability necessary to help safeguard all of our communities and ensure that our civil rights and liberties are rigorously protected.
Doron F. Ezickson
Washington, D.C. Regional Director