The murder of George Floyd has forced into public consciousness the racism that pervades our police system. Our media have rightly given this ghastly act the coverage it deserves.

Police violence against African Americans is rooted in deep inequality in our society. There is, however, another disturbing factor in the knee-on-neck killing of George Floyd that our media have ignored for years. I refer to the militarized training provided to Minneapolis and other U.S. police officers in this and other coercive techniques by Israel.

Thousands of U.S. police have flown to Israel or attended “security” training in the US, where aggressive crowd control is taught. Surely, “law enforcement” by a state enforcing the military occupation of another people cannot have improved the culture and practices of many U.S. police departments, from Maine to Georgia to California.

Palestinians frequently suffer abuse at the hands of police. Both Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department have cited Israeli police, according to A.I., “for carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, using ill treatment and torture (even against children) and using excessive force against peaceful protesters”

Ridding ourselves of police brutality will not end racial injustice in America, but it would move us in the right direction. However, we’ll never get there unless we first end the ruinous connection, what Jewish Voice for Peace calls “the deadly exchange,” between policing here and in Israel.

Robert Schaible
Portland

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