By BOB MASON
The Deadly Exchange refers to “a campaign to end police exchange programs between the United States and Israel. These programs facilitate an exchange of worst practices, including racial profiling, mass surveillance, police shootings, and violent suppression of dissent,” according to Jewish Voice for Peace.
At the beginning of 2018 seven local organizations–the Alliance for Police Accountability, Casa San Jose, Democratic Socialists of AmericaPittsburgh, Friends of Sabeel North America-Pittsburgh, If Not NowPittsburgh, Jewish Voice for PeacePittsburgh, and Veterans for Peace of Western Pennsylvania–formed the Pittsburgh Coalition to End the Deadly Exchange.
The Coalition’s mission statement reads: “We are a coalition of local organizations committed to justice, uniting in opposition to police training programs between the United States and Israel. These programs, organized and financed by non-governmental entities including businesses and prooccupation organizations, contribute to the militarization of police in the United States and the mistreatment of vulnerable populations and communities throughout the United States and Israel-Palestine. Through solidarity, community-building and public outreach, we seek to raise awareness as well as to prevent local civic and community leaders from participating in these programs.”
Since forming, the Coalition has conducted a workshop at the Summit Against Racism and a teach-in at Community Forge in Wilkinsburg, participated in protests against massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and the brutality of Trump’s immigration policies, led a successful petition campaign to get Congressman Mike Doyle to become a co-sponsor of the “No Way to Treat a Child’’ legislation (H. R. 4391), addressing the oppressive detention of Palestinian children and teens, and joined the Pittsburgh March for Peace on August 25th. We are also continuing to support the activists in the Woodland Hills School District who are working to remove armed and oppressive police from their schools.
The goals of the campaign are:
- Pass local resolutions / legislation to end City and County authorities’ participation in the Deadly Exchange;
- Pressure regional organizations promoting these programs to suspend their involvement or activity; • Push for alternative methods of engagement for local authorities, centered on accountability, safety, and community relations;
- Actively work with and support other locally based organizations who seek to protect and support local communities through confronting injustice, police brutality, immigration policy and demographics-based targeting.
For more information about the campaign to end the Deadly Exchange and how you can get involved, like and follow us on Facebook at facebook. com/PGHDECoaltion/ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Mason is a member of the Thomas Merton Center and Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the organizations that formed the Coalition.
(TMC newspaper VOL. 48 No. 9 November 2018. All rights reserved)