London Metropolitan Police welcoming Israeli forces isn’t surprising

London Metropolitan Police welcoming Israeli forces isn’t surprising
Richard Sudan argues that the partnership between London Met police and Israeli forces is not so unlikely given their commonalities, they’re both accused of violence, racism and endemic corruption.
5 min read
05 Jul, 2022
Hundreds of protesters attend a rally in front of Hackney Town Hall to demonstrate their support of Child Q who was strip searched by police, aged 15. [GETTY]

The story got buried and barely made headlines. But several weeks back, and just days after the brutal killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Israeli occupation forces were welcomed to London, with open arms.

Who were they welcomed by? None other than London’s Metropolitan Police force. On 13 June, in a tweet which has since been deleted, Hackney police wrote: “Today we were delighted to welcome a delegation from Israeli Police to showcase the great work… The delegation went on patrol with @MPSStamfordHill to see the work being done in the community.”

Hackney Police preside over a very diverse area with many different communities, including Palestinians. In response to the welcoming of Israeli occupation forces by the Metropolitan police, an open letter penned by members of Hackney’s Palestinian community made clear the anger and revulsion felt by many; at the red carpet treatment offered to the Israeli London delegation so soon after the killing of Abu Akleh.

“Palestinians are routinely shot, beaten, tortured, sprayed with skunk water and tear gas, and subjected to the most cruel and brutal treatment by Israeli police and military…It is telling that Hackney Police believe such an institution is worth collaborating with and that collaboration is something to advertise and be proud of,” added the letter.

''Israeli police persecute Palestinians on a daily basis, brutalising and harassing them at every turn, at times even killing them. It’s really not a stretch to understand that this is how many also view the treatment of London’s black communities by police officers, and why it is the lived experience of many.''

Some might be shocked that the London Metropolitan Police would host and work with Israeli forces, not least because doing so, while people were still mourning Abu Akleh, would if nothing else surely be perceived in extremely bad taste.

However, when thinking about some of the concerns and criticisms faced by the Metropolitan Police, particularly in Hackney, it makes sense that both Israeli and London police would greet each other with such warmth.

Hackney, despite being located in one of London’s most diverse areas, has recently faced controversies and accusations of racism following shocking revelations that black school children have been strip searched, in schools.

To make matters worse, these are only the cases we know about, and took place before police gained even more power with the recently passed policing bill.  The disproportionate over policing of black and non-white communities, was a problem before the passage of the bill.  Black communities now face increased stop and search while the police have the power to shut down protests including Black Lives Matter demonstrations

The wider London Metropolitan police is also facing another crisis which is so great, that the credibility of the force has been further undermined.

A major blow came in the late 1990s when London Met was found to be institutionally racist ever since the conclusions of the MacPherson report, following the murder of black teen, Stephen Lawrence. In reality, this issue was never fully addressed, let alone resolved. Fast forward to the present day, a recent in-depth inquiry into the conduct of officers at a central London station in Charing Cross, reveal some deeply alarming findings.

The report identified a culture of racism and misogyny that had been normalised. Racist and sexist messages would be shared between staff on Whatsapp groups, including ‘jokes’ about rape and killing African children.

Indeed, the ‘canteen’ culture first identified in the 1990s that encouraged officers to ‘cover each other’s backs’, is as prevalent as ever.

These findings, it is worth pointing out, were released following the tragic and disturbing case of Sarah Everard which involved a serving police officer who had abused his power and position of trust to lure Everard to her death.

All of this led former London Met Commissioner Cressida Dick to step down from her position, following a lack of confidence expressed in her by London Mayor Sadiq Khan over her inability to get a grip of a police force steeped in corruption and racism.


At the time of writing, the London Met have been placed in ‘special measures’ following the numerous scandals to hit the force.

Though there might be many hundreds of miles separating them, in practice it's clear why the Met accepted such a badly timed visit by Israeli police. Both are accused of endemic corruption, and both stand accused of longstanding racism.

Israeli police persecute Palestinians on a daily basis, brutalising and harassing them at every turn, at times even killing them. It’s really not a stretch to understand that this is how many also view the treatment of London’s black communities by police officers, and why it is the lived experience of many.

Both forces also seem aloof as to the scale of public anger towards them. 

Israeli occupation forces, including the police are unashamed and unabashed about their racist and deadly occupation of the Palestinian people, the Met police don’t appear to feel any differently about their own behaviour in London.

Hackney police were out of touch, insensitive and naïve to have welcomed the Israeli police in London. But, the cavalier attitude they have towards their own communities, and their detachment from the reality of current perceptions of them once more underscores that they may as well inhibit a different universe from those they exist to “serve”. Rather than hosting future Israeli delegations, Hackney police and forces across London would do well to get their own house in order.

Richard Sudan is a journalist and writer specialising in anti-racism and has reported on various human rights issues from around the world. His writing has been published by The Guardian, Independent, The Voice and many others.

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.