Apartheid Israel and US police

Five days after Minneapolis police brutally killed George Floyd, Iyad Hallaq a young Palestinian man with autism was shot in the back and killed by Israeli border police. Both men of colour, both unarmed.

Palestinians immediately drew parallels between the images of Floyd’s suffering under the knee of the police, and similar choke holds used by Israeli forces against them.


Shehab News Agency: ‘Happening every day in occupied Palestine!’

While an Israeli police spokesperson has denied the use of the knee on neck choke hold, [1] the Israeli Tactical School (founded in the US) states “Our courses lead instructors are coming from the Israeli Secret Service (Shin-Bet), Mossad, Yamam (Israeli SWAT unit) and Israeli Navy SEALs (Shayetet 13), Israeli Delta Force (Sayeret Matkal)” and that they train police officers to incapacitate people which they illustrate precisely with an image of a knee on the neck. [2]

US/Israel joined in repression

As we said in 2009, “Like so many other countries, the U.S. purchases Israeli weapons of war to use against others outside its borders, and Israeli technologies, surveillance and policing strategies to use in repression internal to its borders.” [3] Israel has been complicit in the enforcement of racial supremacy internationally, and invited to train police forces to undermine grassroots liberation movements around the world.


The brutality of US police is well known arising out of the drive to repress labour: slaves in the South, and waged workers in the North. [4] That history has made way for the ongoing murder of Black people by the police and the state violence against all social justice movements. Rooted in the brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and theft of their land, the Israeli military is trained to control every aspect of life.  In these, as in other countries, the job of the military and the police is to make sure that the economic and social hierarchy remains intact.

The US provided $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel in 2020 to purchase US weapons and technology to be used against Palestinians and neighboring countries. In turn, Israel creates surveillance, population control and military technology and strategies, and field tests them on Palestinians for the US to use against people in the United States, particularly Black people and other people of color but also immigrants, Muslims, poor and homeless people, transgender people and people with disabilities. Israel is also contracted to train police forces all over the United States, including Minneapolis, in militarized police tactics and weapons used against working class struggles.

Trained by Israel

Since 2002 thousands of law enforcement officials from all over the US have trained in Israel with Israeli police, military, and the Shin Bet (Israel’s security police).  Some of those trained include the Ferguson, Missouri police (who killed Michael Brown), the Deputy Director of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the current Chief of Police in Washington DC.  The New York Police Department actually has an office in apartheid Israel.[5]

The Israeli government and military contractors advertise themselves internationally as the experts in surveillance, the use of force, and counter-terrorism (of which racial profiling is an element). [6]

Israeli weapons and tactics have been ‘battle tested’ on Palestinians for over 70 years. They have “transformed the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank from a burden to a marketable, highly profitable, national asset”. [7]


Tactics used both by Israeli security forces and U.S. police include: curfews, snipers, riot teams wearing unmarked uniforms; arrests of, and physical assaults on, journalists who are clearly identifiable; and the indiscriminate use of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to wound protesters and terrify them off the streets. [8]

At least 100 Minnesota police attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago [9] [10] at which Israeli experts trained them in ‘restraint’ techniques. [11]

Police officials from at least 15 states have all been trained by a “chronic human rights violator – Israel”. [12]

In 2010 alone, the US-based Zionist Anti-Defamation League (ADL) trained over 10,500 law enforcement officers, including the FBI. [13] The ADL is known for its anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian advocacy; for example, publishing a blacklist of organizations supporting Palestinian rights. [14]

Israeli police have also helped train forces in Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Greece, Iran, India and South Africa and no doubt other countries. [15] In the UK, City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland met with representatives of the Israeli government and security technology companies. [16]

#BlackLivesMatter, #PalestinianLivesMatter

It is often women who defend their loved ones and speak out for justice - mothers, sisters, daughters - in Palestine as in the US and other countries.

Rana Hallaq, Iyad’s mother said: “They stole my boy, a pure person, sensitive, an angel: I wouldn’t let a breeze of air touch him.  Aren’t they ashamed, they murdered my son in cold blood, I want justice for my boy.” [17]


In 2014 Palestinians sent solidarity and useful tips on how to deal with tear gas and other tactics being used in Ferguson, Missouri, against the Black Lives Matter movement.

On 30 May 2020, the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions) National Committee wrote: “We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and elsewhere to stand with the Movement for Black Lives . . . in their righteous struggle for justice.” [18]

At a protest in Bethlehem, a poster depicting photos of Floyd and Halaq had the message “Our struggles are one. #BlackLivesMatter #PalestinianLivesMattter.” [19]

Speaking at a rally in Philadelphia Susan Abulhawa brought “greetings and solidarity from Palestine, where Palestinians have been marching in the streets of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Haifa, Gaza and beyond in support of Black lives over the past few days. I am here not as an ally, but as your comrade in arms, as your comrade in struggle…

“Every day in Palestine there is a Palestinian somewhere with an Israeli soldier’s knee on his neck. Every moment in Palestine there is a Palestinian being stopped, checked, frisked, humiliated, arrested, beaten or shot. We can say that we know what it’s like, and to some extent that is true. But we’ve not been terrorized for 400 years. Our ancestors weren’t kidnapped from their villages and flung across the world into unspeakable bondage that has only just changed form, but not truly ended”. [20]

In high contrast, Israel defenders, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the head of the Zionist Organization of America accused the BLM movement of antisemitism for expressing support for Palestinians. [21]

Targeting journalists


In the BLM movement protests, US and foreign journalists have reported being fired at with rubber bullets, pepper sprayed, tear gassed at point-blank range, thrown to the ground, harassed, arrested, and even blinded by the US police.  In Palestine in September 2018 the Journalist Support Committee reported that Israeli forces had killed two Palestinian journalists that year and wounded 254 in Gaza while arresting 82 in the occupied West Bank. [22] This is despite the international community signing treaties and human rights agreements to ban tear gas in combat.

Victories v Israeli police training

There is a growing movement in the US against the Israeli militarization of the police. In April 2018, after successful lobbying by Demilitarize from Durham2Palestine, the Durham, North Carolina city council voted unanimously to bar participation in militarized police exchange trainings with Israel – the first to do so in the US. [23] And in December 2018 the Vermont State Police and the Northampton, Massachusetts police chief pulled out of a police exchange program managed by the ADL after pro-Palestinian grassroots organizing. [24]

In Oakland a lawsuit targeting the training of police by the Israeli military and other foreign powers has successfully won a temporary restraining order against the Police Department. It orders a freeze on the use of tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets - part of a large lawsuit by Black-led organizations and protestors, including students and movement lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco. The lawsuit is aimed at defunding police and moving those funds into community needs. It also calls for police accountability and the end to their military training as well as ending the use of the National guard used to police communities and protestors.

Black Lives Matter


Israeli police and policies have a long history of racism not only against Palestinians but also against other people of color, including Jewish people.  The irradiation of Mizrahi children to “cure” ringworm [25], the forced sterilization of Ethiopian women [26], the murder last year of an Ethiopian Jewish teenager at the hands of an off-duty police officer [27], exemplify the state’s brutality against Jews of colour.

In addition, the Israeli authorities have rounded up African asylum seekers and bribed African governments with military hardware to take them, even against their wishes. [28]

The Black Lives Matter movement, in attacking the US racist monster from inside,  has made it more possible for antiracists all over the world to act in solidarity while also making their own case against racism, imperialism, ethnic cleansing, occuaption and apartheid.

Thousands of placards carried by people of every shade around the world proclaim that at this moment in time “White silence = Complicity”.  Since Israel claims its genocidal policies against Palestinians are on behalf of Jews everywhere, Jewish silence = complicity. Which side are you on?

# Justice4Iyad #Justice4George #BlackLivesMatter #PalestinianLivesMattter


1.      Twitter: Micky Rosenfeld

2.      Israeli Tactical Krav Maga: this page was deleted the day after IJAN UK’s letter in the local press referenced their web page, but it is still available, see Skwawkbox article, here.

3.      IJAN: Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression

4.      NPR

5.      New York Intelligencer

6.      Deadly Exchange

7.      The Lab

8.      Jonathan Cook: Middle East Eye

9.      The second time such an event had been held. Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota.

10.   Morning Star

11.   Jonathan Cook: Middle East Eye

12.   Arizona, Maryland, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police: Amnesty International – US and Deadly Exchange

13.   IJAN: Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression

14.   Grayzone

15.   Electronic Intifada and IJAN

16.   Times of Israel

17.   Facebook: Free Jerusalem

18.   BDS movement

19.   Mondoweiss

20.   Workers World

21.   Middle East Monitor and Electronic Intifada: Morton Klein, the head of the ZOA tweeted: “BLM is a Jew hating, White hating, Israel hating, conservative Black hating, violence promoting, dangerous Soros funded extremist group of haters”.

22.   The Canary

23.   Al Jazeera

24.   The Progressive

25.   Mondoweiss

26.   Ha’aretz

27.   Ha’aretz

28.  Minority Rights





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