International people-to-people or resource-to-resource exchanges are commonplace and can be considered quite healthy. On the surface, the same stands true for international law enforcement exchanges. According to global security experts, law enforcement exchange programs aim to facilitate exchanging information, best practices, and expertise.

They provide a platform to learn others’ experiences, gain insights into diverse policing methods, and build strong professional relationships. On the surface, all of that sounds good.

But considering the United States, with its sordid policing history, sharing notes with Israel, and its 76 years of repression, aggressive policing, ethnic cleansing, rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, apartheid, and now active genocide—

All maintained by an occupation army—is deeply problematic, critics and observers argue. Both countries are notorious for police infractions on Black, Brown and Indigenous populations in America, and on Palestinians in Israel.


“I am reading a book; I want you to get it. It’s called, ‘The Palestine Laboratory: How Israel Exports the Technology of Occupation Around the World,’”

Memebers of an Israeli police SWAT team perform during a training exercise organized by the Anti-Defamation League as part of a exchange program between Israel and US security officials in Holon, Israel, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008. A delegation of over a dozen chiefs of police from major cities in the United States observed the training exercise by the Israeli SWAT team. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, in a message titled, “What Does Allah The Great Mahdi And The Great Messiah Have To Say About The War In The Middle East?” delivered Feb. 25, 2024.

The book, authored by Antony Loewenstein, a Jewish journalist, explains how Israel used its repressive tactics of controlling Palestinians as a “laboratory” or a workshop and testing ground.

“Everything they tried out to keep the Palestinians under control, do you know they made it into a business? And in every country that has dissatisfied citizens, they sell them what they have produced in ‘The Palestine Laboratory.’ Every country, now, is buying Israeli methodology in keeping Palestinians under control,” said the Minister. 

“So, if you’ve got an angry community in your nation, ‘We’ll show you how to keep them under control,’” he continued, regarding Israel. “And the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) spends money taking policemen out of the American cities to Israel, to learn the techniques of how to break you into pieces,” he said.

Memorial day. Veterans Day. American Soldiers Saluting. US Army. Military of USA . empty space for text

U.S. and Israeli government agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations enable the arrangement. Since 2002, the ADL and other Jewish organizations like the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, through its Homeland Security Program are responsible for thousands of American law enforcement officials training in Israel with Israeli police, military and the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service).

Thousands more participated in security conferences and workshops with Israeli military, law enforcement and security officials within America. Although Israeli police and security agents promote themselves as top-tier counter-terrorism experts, they regularly violate civil rights and implement racist and fatal policies.

In the introduction to his book, Mr. Lowenstein explains that Israel has  developed a world-class weapons industry with equipment conveniently tested on occupied Palestinians, then marketed as “battle tested.” Cashing in on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) brand has successfully led to Israeli security companies being some of the most successful in the world, he notes. “The Palestine laboratory is a signature Israeli selling point,” he wrote.

“A lot of that also factors into the broader White supremacist nature of the United States and its allies,” said political commentator and radio show host Wilmer Leon.  “We can basically teach you how to control your people of color,” he added.

Flag of Israel on military uniform. (collage).

For decades, American police have become increasingly militarized, enabled by America’s global war-making. Since 9/11, this militarization has intensified and expanded, in part through U.S. funding, support, and exchanges with Israel’s brutal military occupation.

According to a pivotal report by Researching the American Israeli Alliance (RAIA) and Jewish Voices for Peace, called “Deadly Exchange: The Dangerous Consequences of U.S.-Israel Law Enforcement Exchanges,” post 9/11, Israel played an important role in the militarization of U.S. police and corporate profiteering. The report, published initially in 2018, is periodically updated and serves as a guidepost in the ongoing campaign against the deadly alliance.

In a June 2020 interview, Eran Efrati, executive director of RAIA, told Al Jazeera that when training with Israel, U.S. police delegates witness “live demonstrations of repressive violence in real-time, in protests across the West Bank, patrols in East Jerusalem, and visits to the Gaza border.”

Mr. Efrati said delegates meet with the Shin Bet and chief officers in Israeli military prisons to discuss investigation tactics and with Palestinian Authority agents and police to learn how Israel utilizes their collaboration in suppressing Palestinian dissent.

The report stated while there (Israel), delegates review methods of suppressing and infiltrating demonstrations. Also available at the training are the sales and exchange of “crowd-control” weapons between the two governments, including U.S.-made tear gas canisters and Israeli surveillance technologies.

“The U.S., rooted in centuries of racism and settler colonialism, funds and helps architect Israeli oppression of Palestinians. In return, Israel tests American weaponry and refines its own tactics and technology on occupied Palestinians,” asserts the report. 

“Israel then sells itself as the ‘counter-terrorism expert of the world’ and markets “tried and tested” weaponry, surveillance technology and violent ideologies to armed forces and governments globally, including to the U.S.”

The Palestinian Laboratory

Beat cop to military-style soldier?

Throughout America, policing has morphed into a military-style presence. The outdated “billy club” wielding old “.38 caliber” carrying beat cop of past days has ceased, to become the kevlar-clad, night vision goggle-wearing, M-16 carrying, stun-grenade tossing cop, rolling up in tactical Humvees and specialized armored vehicles.

These officers are seen as occupier forces in the community and violent beneficiaries of America’s “ironclad” relationship with Israel. Both nations are seen as settler colonial states exchanging “worst practice” techniques for containing dissatisfaction and dissent among marginalized populations yearning for change.

For Palestinians suffering in the besieged Gaza and Occupied West Bank, and suffering Black, Latino, and Indigenous people languishing in U.S. ’hoods, the exchange only signifies how state violence can be executed and enacted on these populations.

After the deadly 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., killed 3,000 people, an atmosphere that “there’s a terrorist under every rock” emerged and America needed to protect her people. Mr. Leon said, under the guise of a threat, a pretext for stripping civil liberties in the name of security was enacted. 

“So, the United States turned to Israel,” explained Mr. Leon, because Israel sold itself as the best at dealing with these types of attacks. “And now, that has blossomed into what we see as these ‘cop cities,’” he opined.

The acceleration of new “state of the art” training centers began popping up around America, notably after major uprisings as early as the brutal police slaying of Ferguson, Missouri, teen Mike Brown in 2014. Then after the urban rebellions in cities across America following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, each sparked global outrage and calls for radical changes in U.S. policing.   

Stop ‘cop city’ pushback

Advocates for reimagining, defunding and de-militarizing police have intensified their opposition to these facilities dubbed “cop city.” Critics argue the initiatives are designed to intimidate and hinder movement building and redirect much-needed resources away from communities.

“Policing is already completely out of hand in (its) excessive use of force,” said Amanda Seales, an activist, artist and actress, in an email to The Final Call.

“These training centers are not being built to train police to be better at protecting citizens,” she said. “It is to militarize them to be better at protecting the property of the 1 percent,” referring to America’s wealthy elite.

“These centers are using funding that could have been allocated to resources that would actually improve the community and decrease crime, i.e. housing, libraries, community outreach, mental health resources, etc.,” explained Ms. Seales. 

The actress and activist said the centers will enhance the “already deeply problematic” exchange program between the U.S. police and Israeli occupier forces.

The cost of building these projects range from just under $1 million to a proposed $415 million based on findings by researcher Renee Johnston, of “Is Your Life Better” blog.

Her research on the facilities after 2020 showed as of February of this year, 69 were either being planned, approved, are under construction, or opened. Only three states had no plans for a facility—which are North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming—which are states with few Black people compared to other states.

The scope of Ms. Johnston’s research was conducted by state, alphabetically based on documents (meeting minutes, construction/architecture firms, news articles, and/or news releases) confirming the existence of such projects.

“So, there’s a real connection to the state’s response to organized resistance, of oppression, so Black people obviously experience a level of oppression and our efforts to resist are typically met with another level of response. And that response is typically more intense,” said activist Josh Newman, 24, a graduate student at the University of Delaware.

He advocates fighting for community control and decentralization of police power, where public safety is in the hands of the people, including decision making.

“That’s really important in terms of eroding, pushing back against what we currently see as our public safety locally,” Mr. Newman told The Final Call.

 “I think that sort of eradicates that relationship that we have with the State of Israel, when communities can step up and say no, we’re not going to train with another settler colonial regime, and then bring those tactics to our community and repress us even more,” he added.

Mr. Newman noted how the war blazing in Gaza highlights an example Israel escalating “slow genocide” of Palestinians from years of blockades to inflicting “full-fledged genocide” where over 37,000 Palestinians have been slain since Oct. 7. Comparatively, considering disparities in health care and education, Blacks are also experiencing slow genocide in America. “So, it’s very intimately interrelated due to settler colonialism,” he said.

In Minister Farrakhan’s February remarks, he pointed out that Israel is to the Palestinians as America is to the Black, Latino and Indigenous people. The Minister lifted up another crucial book, edited by William Patterson:  “We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People (1951).”

“The brothers and sisters that put these charges together, they took it before the United Nations,” said the Minister. “You don’t know anything about it! They charged America with genocide of Black and Brown and Red people in this country. And they [UN] accepted it. They didn’t do anything about it; but you didn’t hear anything,” said Minister Farrakhan.

“You younger people, you didn’t know that that went on, and to this very day you don’t know that your brothers and sisters, back in the early ’50s, put this book out and charged the government of the United States of America with genocide against us. Now you say, ‘Well, what does that got to do with me?’”

“Your extermination is being planned as well,” he cautioned.

“So, when you say, ‘I ain’t got nothing to do with what’s going on in the Middle East,’ shh, shh, shh! You better listen! You better wake up! Because what you see over there is being planned over here,” Minister Farrakhan warned.

Wilmer Leon agreed: “The terror that you exhibit abroad, eventually makes its way home.” The brutality America engaged in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Lebanon, and the complicity with Israel in Gaza, facilitated by these militarized police exchange programs, it becomes local.

“That whole militaristic mindset that we have been projecting outside … the United States government also projects that same mentality of force domestically,” stated Mr. Leon.