‘Two police departments in the New England region of the United States canceled their annual visit to Israeli police forces and engagement in training, amid pressure from organisations affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The Vermont State Police and the Northampton Police Department in Massachusetts both canceled their planned trip to Israel for a training program just days before it was supposed to start.
A number of groups in opposition to the program, including some affiliated with the BDS movement, mounted pressure on the local police forces to back out of the trip over increasing concerns about US law enforcement’s treatment of asylum seekers in the country.
A coalition of organisations, including the Vermont National Lawyers Guild, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, announced in a press release Thursday that Vermont State Police Director Colonel Birmingham canceled the trip in response to a petition created against it.
“After a meeting with concerned Pioneer Valley residents, Northampton Mayor Narkewicz withdrew Police Commissioner Kasper from the same trip,” the press release said.
The program, called Resilience and Counter-Terrorism, was first created in 2002 and entails a week-long seminar in Israel where local US law enforcement trains with Israeli military, police, and secret service.
It is funded and organised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and the decision marks the first time police departments decided to cancel their trip in the program’s nearly 20 years.’