Durham’s city council voted to “oppose international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training.”
Durham, N.C., became the first U.S. city to ban its police from engaging in “military-style training” with police abroad in an effort to block exchanges with Israel.
In a unanimous 6-0 vote earlier this week, the city council “opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham,” said in a statement.
The resolution was adopted after a coalition of groups, dubbed “Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine Coalition,” which includes the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace that supports the BDS boycott movement, in addition to other Muslim, pro-Palestinian groups, urged its passage in order to prevent any partnership the city’s law enforcement might enter into with Israel’s military or police.
The coalition’s petition criticized IDF tactics, many of which have been developed and adopted to thwart Islamic terror and Palestinian violence in Israel. Among the petition’s more farfetched claims was an unsupported accusation that Israeli police have a “a long history of violence and harm” against “Jews of Color.”
A Durham police spokesman said that their department has not engaged in any exchanges with Israel and does not have any plans to do so.
However, former Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez did spend a week in Israel to undergo training, which he said focused on leadership and preventing terrorism.
“None of the training had anything to do with militarization,” said Lopez in a news report by Durham’s WRAL-TV. “It was about leadership, it was learning about terrorism, and then learning about how to interact with people who are involved in mass casualty situations and how to manage mass casualty situations.”