Stop the Israel-United States Deadly Exchange

Barry Saks

November 19, 2017

protesters march toward the LA local ADL office; photo by Barry Saks

As part of the November 8 national day of action called “Deadly Exchange,” about fifty people gathered outside the Los Angeles office of the Anti-Defamation League to protest police exchanges between the United States and Israel. The protest was organized nationally by Jewish Voice for Peace(JVP) and locally by JVP – Los Angeles, USC (University of Southern California) Students for Justice in Palestine, and Palestinian and Jews Decolonize.

On a short march to the local ADL office, through the noise of rush-hour traffic, protesters chanted: “From Palestine to Mexico, all walls have got to go; From LA to Palestine, cop surveillance is a crime.”

When a delegation attempted to enter the front door, it was locked. The delegation tried to engage with the person at the reception desk. The person told the delegation she or he not was authorized to accept whatever the delegation had and that it should be sent to the ADL national office.

Outside the office, protesters chanted and heard speakers, including Rawan Tayuoon, a Palestinian activist, chair of USC SJP, and co-founder of PJD. Tayuoon, who according to the Electronic Intifada is a member of the Young Democratic Socialists, told the protesters that ADL views what she and others call “intersectionality” as a threat and blames it for the growth of Palestinian solidarity. The protesters again chanted: “From LA to Palestine, jailing children is a crime,””We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” and “ADL, Stop the exchange.”

According to JVP Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson protests were organized in 15 cities. In New York seven JVP members were arrested at the ADL office when they refused to leave because no ADL representative would meet with them.

While the ADL website says it supports social and racial justice movements, the website also says,

“ADL is the nation’s top non-governmental law enforcement training organization” and yearly it “train(s) more than 14,000 law enforcement professionals on extremism, terrorism (and) crimes….Since 1999, more than 130,000 law enforcement professionals have received Law Enforcement and Society training, with programs established in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Tampa, St. Louis and Houston.”

The same website added,

“ADL takes a small number of law enforcement executives to Israel to study its counter-terrorism approaches. More than 200 high-ranking American officials have participated in ADL’s week-long National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel since it began in 2004.”

According to an October 2017 joint report “Unprotected: The Detention of Palestinian Teenagers in East Jerusalem,” published by HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem

“Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem are pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, unnecessarily handcuffed and then made to spend a long time waiting for their interrogation to begin. Only then, when they are tired and broken, are they taken in for lengthy interrogation sessions, without being given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or their parents before the questioning begins and without understanding that they have the right to remain silent. They are then held in the detention facility under harsh conditions, for days and weeks, even once the interrogation has, in fact, ended. In some cases, all this is attended by threats, verbal and physical abuse – before or during the interrogation.”

The report concludes

“These practices leave law enforcement agencies free to use pressure to force them to confess. And indeed, many of the detained minors sign involuntary confessions (sometimes the confessions are false and sometimes written in a language they do not understand), which are then used as the basis for the indictments against them.”

The Los Angeles Police Department and the ADL were unavailable for comment.

Barry Saks is a socialist and Palestine solidarity activist in Long Beach. A version of this article can be found at his blog.