Deadly Exchange: The dangerous consequences of American law enforcement trainings in Israel

A research report authored by RAIA in cooperation with Jewish Voice for Peace

In 2002, just months after 9/11, American law enforcement held their first official training expedition to Israel to exchange “best practices,” knowledge, and expertise in counter-terrorism. Participants were schooled in Israeli practices in intelligence gathering, border security, checkpoints, and coordination with media, and met with high-ranking officials in the Israeli police and military, the Shin Bet, and the Ministry of Defense. Since then, a proliferation of US law enforcement exchange programs with Israel have become standard. To date, thousands of law enforcement officials from across the country have been sent to Israel to meet with military and police forces, and thousands more have participated in conferences, trainings, and workshops with Israeli personnel.

These exchange programs facilitate the sharing of practices and technologies between US law enforcement and Israeli military, police and intelligence agencies. They also introduce militarized logics of security into the civilian sphere, which rely on mass surveillance, criminalization, and violent repression of communities and movements the government defines as threatening. Finally, they deepen ties between US and Israeli officials to shore up support for a shared security model that justifies flagrant human and civil rights violations.

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