Protesters Confront ADL Over Police Training
[9/3/14 San Francisco, CA]
On September 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. protesters will gather in front of the Anti-Defamation League office at 3rd Street and Market Street in San Francisco. The action, called for by the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and co-sponsored by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), is part of a week of action and education sponsored by the Stop Urban Shield Coalition. Protesters are calling attention to the long history of the ADL spying on activists, promoting Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and training US police forces in Israel in methods of population controlled used by its occupying army.
Shortly after the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, it was revealed that the former chief of St. Louis County Police, Timothy Fitch, had trained in Israel on an ADL trip where US police chiefs trained with the Israel National Police, the Israel Defense Forces and intelligence/security organizations. Through programs like this, the ADL is facilitating an exchange of police tactics that have been used against Palestinians and those of police forces in the US who operate primarily in poor and working class communities of color.
The same training was completed by Oakland police who used similar methods to those in Ferguson against protestors of the Occupy Movement – rubber bullets and tear gas. Both are methods regularly used against Palestinian civilians and solidarity activists in the West Bank of Palestine.
“The ADL claims to work on behalf of Jews, but really it has been attacking and surveiling activists, spreading Islamophobia and training police in Israel,” said Lee Gargagliano of IJAN. “They are abusing the mantle of fighting anti-Semitism to demonize anyone who demands justice for Palestinians.”
The ADL was also sued for spying on hundreds of organizations in the US (including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Greenpeace, United Farm Workers, and the Bay Area Anti-Apartheid Network) and then sharing that information with Israel and the apartheid government in South Africa.
“The ADL has a long history of targeting the Arab community, from spying on our activists, criminalizing our organizations and working hand in hand with the State of Israel to forcibly exile us from our homeland,” said Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. “After watching images of the policing of the communities in Ferguson, it isn’t surprising that Israel had a hand in their training. The tactics of repression are consistent with that of the Israeli state and that of their US counterparts such as ADL.”
“As I know from my own experience as a long-time advocate for justice and as a member of the Muslim community, the ADL targets anyone whose opinion or beliefs are perceived to be critical of the State of Israel,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, of American Muslims for Palestine. “The ADL has participated in the violation of civil rights of Muslim communities based on an Islamophobic assumption that we are a threat just because our religious and spiritual practice is shared with individuals who have committed acts of violence.”
The action was planned as part of a week of action and education to confront Urban Shield, a two-day police arms show and three day training exercise that brings together SWAT teams and fire departments from across the Bay Area to participate in simulated training exercises that advance the militarization of Bay Area law enforcement. Past participants in Urban Shield have included police from Israel and Bahrain. Participating in this year’s action are police from Brazil who received widespread condemnation for their treatment of protesters in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup.