DSA-LA’s Prison Abolition Committee, Immigration Justice Committee, and NOlympics Working Group stands in solidarity with Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles and the Deadly Exchange campaign, a campaign to end police exchange programs between the U.S. and Israel.
As we work toward dismantling the U.S. carceral state, the largest on the planet, we include U.S. policing, prosecution and criminalization. The U.S. police system is one that engages in racist, oppressive violence often targeted against people of color in the name of “security.” Every impoverished black and brown community in the country is under the occupation of these forces, ones that terrorize, harass, oppress and degrade.
In 2016, the LA Police Department led the nation in fatal shootings for the second year in a row. The LAPD has war gear including grenade launchers, assault rifles, military helicopters, and mine-resistant armored vehicles. They are currently in the process of acquiring drones. “Predictive policing” techniques, introduced by former LAPD Chief Bratton, were developed as anti-insurgency methods by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan (StopLAPDSpying.org)
Historically, exchanges between the LAPD and Israeli forces have led to increased militarization of local law enforcement with direct and deadly results for communities of color. For example, in the lead up to the 1984 Olympics, notoriously racist and brutal police chief Daryl Gates sent the LAPD SWAT Team to Israel for special training, again in the name of “security” and maintaining a “clean” appearance for the city. In the following years, complaints of police brutality rose 33% and racial profiling became an official and public part of the LAPD’s strategy for controlling communities of color in South and East Los Angeles.
Ongoing police exchanges between the U.S. and Israel will only strengthen the forces’ military capabilities. Our vulnerable communities will be prey to even more violence and oppression. The IDF, Israeli police and military are forces of racism, xenophobia and apartheid violence against Palestinians and African immigrants in Israel. DSA-LA’s Prison Abolition Committee wholeheartedly condemn the murder, occupation and oppression committed daily by these forces. We have seen the far reaches of their power to oppress and we condemn the adoption of their tactics in any form by our police forces. The endorsement of this campaign aligns with our national resolution passed to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction of Israel movement.
We see a parallel in the colonial violence of Israeli forces and the way the U.S. police target, terrorize and incarcerate people of color in the name of “security,” acting like an occupying force in their communities. Sharing practices with Israeli forces will further expand and enhance the violence and oppression of U.S. policing, prosecution and criminalization. In our effort to abolish prisons and policing, we fully endorse Jewish Voice for Peace and the Deadly Exchange campaign.