ADL memo calls for end to police trips to Israel following police brutality claims

ADL memo calls for end to police trips to Israel following police brutality claims
An internal ADL memo obtained by Jewish Currents suggested ending their controversial police delegation to Israel.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
22 March, 2022
The police killing of George Floyd sparked widespread demonstrations and also questions about US law enforcement trips to the country. (Getty)

The Anti-Defamation League, the non-profit organisation whose stated mission is to fight antisemitism, considered putting its police delegation programme on hold following a backlash over police brutality, according to an internal memo seen by Jewish Currents and The Guardian.

The ADL and other groups have for decades organised police training trips to Israel to enable US police officers to learn techniques, including counter-terrorism, from Israeli law enforcement.

After widespread demonstrations against police brutality in 2020, an internal memo by ADL senior vice president George Selim and Greg Ehrie, vice president for law enforcement and analysis, was sent to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

It advised they should cease these police training trips to Israel due to the controversial nature of the programme.

Activist groups, including the Jewish Voice for Peace, have been calling for the end of these trips, saying it reinforces police brutality in the US, according to a report by Jewish Currents published earlier this month.

Though the ADL publicly dismissed this criticism, their internal memo told a different story.

"In light of the very real police brutality at the hands of militarised police forces in the US, we must ask ourselves difficult questions, like whether we are contributing to the problem," Selim and Ehrie wrote.

"We must ask ourselves why it is necessary for American police, enforcing American laws, would need to [sic] meet with members of the Israeli military. We must ask ourselves if, upon returning home, those we train are more likely to use force."

Nearly two years after the memo was written, these delegations to Israel remain on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Selim said it should include "updated curriculum" in his letter to Jewish Currents and The Guardian.

Though the ADL is well known for its civil rights work, it has also been called out by more progressive groups for its advocacy of Israel and referring to criticism of Israeli policies as "antisemitic".