In 2002, just months after 9/11, American police officers held their first official training expedition to Israel to learn about “counter-terrorism.” Since then, hundreds of law enforcement officials and government agents from across the country have been sent to Israel to meet with military and police forces, and thousands more have participated in conferences, trainings, and workshops with Israeli officials in the United States.
The American and Israeli governments justify these exchanges on the grounds that the United States and Israel share the mission of the War on Terror. American facilitators and participants of these programs similarly argue that the United States and Israel are allied democracies whose law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in preserving national security.
While framed as an opportunity for US law enforcement to learn policing strategies from a closely aligned democracy with counter-terror experience, in fact these are trainings with an occupying force that rules a population deprived of human and civil rights. Rather than promoting security for all, these programs facilitate an exchange of methods of state violence and control, including mass surveillance, racial profiling, and suppression of protest and dissent.
One of the organizations that organize and sponsor these trainings is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The ADL is a non-profit that works to combat anti-Semitism and advocate for Israel. In this context, the ADL runs a National Counter-Terrorism Seminar that has sent hundreds of top ranking officials to Israel to learn about combatting terror since 2003. That same year the ADL established an Advanced Training School that brings delegations of Israeli law enforcement to speak to American law enforcement officials, involving over 1,000 U.S. participants since the program began.
The Police of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is among the departments that have sent delegates to Israel. Officials serving in the Albuquerque Police Department attended a training in Israel with the ADL as delegates of the National Counter Terrorism Seminar (NCTS) in 2011. A 16-month investigation by the Department of Justice found that the Albuquerque Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, including deadly force.