Senior Georgia police and public safety executives pose for photo upon return from Police Executive Training in Israel (Photo courtesy of news.gsu.edu)
The purpose of U.S. law enforcement training in Israel is to learn the violent tactics used against Palestinians and bring them back to this country.
Originally published in Black Alliance for Peace.
The Black Alliance for Peace Atlanta Citywide Alliance (BAP-Atlanta), rooted in the legacy of anti-imperialist, anti-war, and pro-peace movements within the African/Black community, firmly denounces the ongoing exchange between the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, the Atlanta Police Foundation’s Atlanta Police Leadership Institute, and the Israeli Occupying Forces, scheduled May 14-22nd, 2023—and the urban warfare training facility, Cop City.
As an empire conceived in settler-colonial violence, the United States continues to impose systems of militarized control upon African/Black, Indigenous, and Palestinian communities. This oppressive reality manifests itself through international interventions, such as the GILEE program, as well as domestic initiatives, like the proposed $90 million police-training facility, Cop City. Local residents and activists have been demanding an end to GILEE for many years.
GILEE's training exchange with the Israeli Occupying Forces disrespectfully falls during the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the violent displacement of more than 750,000 Palestinians during the 1948 invasion of Palestine by Zionist settlers, an event marked by the bloody, brutal, destructive ethnic cleansing and occupation of more than 500 Palestinian villages. This violent occupation continues today with the complete and unwavering support from the United States military-industrial-complex, particularly in military assistance. According to the 2022 Congressional Research Service Report:
“Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $150 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. At present, almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance; from 1971 to 2007, Israel also received significant economic assistance.”
The continued mass settler violence against Palestinians, and the proxy state supported by the United States for geopolitical reasons, has established an enduring legacy of conflict and injustice in the region, amid escalating violence against Palestinians. This disturbing reality illuminates the web of global imperialism and racial oppression that stretches from the occupied West Bank to Atlanta's neighborhoods.
Simultaneously, we face the Atlanta city government's insidious plot to lease 381 acres of stolen Muscogee (Creek) land, known as Weelaunee Forest, to the Atlanta Police Foundation. This massive proposed police training facility, Cop City, funded predominantly by taxpayers, is a brutal example of colonial-capitalist fascism in action. Designed to refine the tactics of urban warfare and repression, Cop City epitomizes the connections between white supremacy-fueled genocide, militarism and oppression. It threatens to expand the cycle of state-sanctioned violence and political repression upon working-class African/Black and Indigenous communities, and would further expand the GILEE program’s resources and capabilities.
BAP-Atlanta asserts the unwavering link between the liberation struggles of African/Black and Indigenous peoples. We stand against the oppressive forces of white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy and colonization. We demand the immediate abolition of the GILEE program, a halt to the construction of Cop City and accountability for all acts of state-sanctioned violence.
Our collective human rights, our dignity and our very lives are at stake. We demand justice, transparency, and the immediate cessation of all activities contributing to the operation of GILEE and Cop City.
Abolish the GILEE program!
Stop Cop City!
No Compromise, No Retreat!
BAP-Atlanta is a citywide alliance of Black Alliance for Peace.