Atlanta Radical Art (ARA), including supporters of Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists, and others held a rally to abolish Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program (GILEE) to end police training with apartheid Israel.
The rally was held on the Beltway path near the skate park in the Old Fourth Ward to raise awareness of GILEE.
Leaflets were passed out with information about GILEE that includes police methods like shoot-to-kill and knee-on-neck taught by the Israeli military who use these methods against Palestinian citizens. These lethal force methods are imported and used on Black communities in the United States via GILEE and other deadly exchange programs.
GILEE is a private police exchange program founded in 1992 by Robert Friedmann, an anti-Palestinian activist from the Israeli Embassy. GILEE arranges thousands of police officials from across Georgia including members of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to train with Israeli police officials.
The APD following visits to the apartheid state created a Video Integration Center that collects and monitors footage from Atlanta’s thousands of public and private 24-hour surveillance cameras.
The APD proudly admits that its mass surveillance center is modeled after the Command and Control Center in Jerusalem, occupied Palestine.
Under the guise of “urban policing” and counterterrorism” GILEE teaches police tactics of militarization that treat Black and Brown communities as enemies of the state.
GILEE also teaches methods of racial profiling, mass surveillance, arbitrary detention, state-sanctioned violence against protesters. These tactics are fueled by anti-Black and Islamophobia, the ARA leaflet concludes.
STATEMENT READ AT RALLY FROM DAWN O’NEAL, A MEMBER OF ATL RADICAL ART AND A COMMUNITY ORGANIZER.
“You can’t separate the injustices in America from the injustices in Palestine. It’s the same evil wicked system of genocide and apartheid under white supremacy. The resistance in Gaza and the West Bank is very similar to the resistance in America. We have people of color living in these de facto colonies and being oppressed, exploited, and living under militarization.
So you take police from Atlanta, and you send them to train in Israel with its thousands if not millions of human rights violations. It’s almost as if America said, “teach us how to kill these people of color faster, and teach us how to oppress black folks more than we already do because Israel you have a knack at it.”
In 1956 Israel waged a war, one of several wars, where they rounded up all the males from age 15 – 50 and took them from their homes, lined them up, and shot them. In the U.S., we are seeing stop & frisk of black males and we are seeing black men killed by the police. The subjugating of and killing of males is another connection we have in common with Palestine. Israel justifies the killing of Palestinians just as America justifies the killing of African-Americans.
Black-Palestine solidarity chooses to join one another in resistance, not because our struggles are the same but because we each struggle against the formidable forces of structural racism and the carceral and lethal technologies deployed to maintain them. We’ve heard your cries for liberation and we shout with you: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. No justice, No peace,” O’Neal’s statement concludes.
Many advocates of “Abolish GILEE” consider GILEE a terrorist program and organization that further militarizes U.S. and Israeli police, brutalizing and killing Black and Palestinian communities.
The fight for abolition and liberation is deeply interconnected and transnational. Israel and its advocates view solidarity between Palestine and other oppressed groups as threats and attempts to break up intersectional coalitions.
1. Sign the Anti-GILEE petition
2. Demand that Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms fulfill her 2017 mayoral campaign promise to freeze APD’s engagement with GILEE. We demand that she not only freeze the program but end it altogether.
3. Demand that Georgia State University, which houses and sponsors GILEE, divest from it and publicly acknowledge its role in brutalizing the Black communities of Atlanta.
4. Demand the City of Atlanta end all current and future partnership with the Israeli Occupation Forces and the Israeli Police.
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR GEORGIA TO ABOLISH GILEE
ATL Radical Art is not alone in calling for abolishing GILEE.
Other organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, Council on American Islamic Relations, Project South, and Black Lives Matter call for Georgia to end their relationship with GILEE, as reported by Streets of Atlanta. https://streetsofatlanta.blog/2019/09/24/georgia-international-law-enforcement-exchange-program/
GILEE links police officers and law enforcement officials from a number of U.S. cities with foreign governments for training. These governments include some of the most notorious human rights violators, including Israel, Egypt, Colombia, and Kazakhstan. The repressive tactics these countries use are well-known.
The video “When I See Them, We See Us” explains the connections between state-sanctioned violence and structural racism in Palestine and the United States. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFVijtMN4dU
Nearly half of the 184 Georgians shot and killed by police since 2010 were unarmed or shot in the back, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation found. https://investigations.ajc.com/overtheline/
In 2008, during the Christmas holidays, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead that devastated Gaza with over 1,400 deaths including 313 children and more than 5,500 wounded. Most of the casualties were civilians. Israel had 13 soldiers killed.
A 2015 study the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that close to 1,000 people were killed by police on average each year. The victims are disproportionately minorities and indigenous.
More similarities between who does the killing and who get killed in Palestine and America.
MANY GROUPS DEMAND POLICE REFORM
After watching the video murder of George Floyd by police using the “knee on neck” technique, Black people are saying “enough is enough” as protests continue in large urban cities to small towns throughout the country.
Atlanta has experienced dozens of protests for police reform every day for weeks with no stop in sight.
Many community leaders are demanding police reform and here are a few of those demands: divest in policing and reinvestment in communities, prohibit the use of chokeholds and knee-on-neck techniques, eliminate “qualified immunity” for police officers, train police locally and end GILEE, remove Stand Your Ground and Citizen’s Arrest laws, stop giving military equipment to police, and actually initiate Obama’s 21st Century Policing Initiative.
Today police look and act more like an army going to war with American citizens – especially Black and Brown citizens – instead of police who serve and protect the public. GILEE created this militarized racist police monster and getting rid of GILEE is a first step in getting rid of the monster.