FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2018
Why WE walk - Jewish Voice for Peace demands safety for all at ADL Walk Against Hate
JVP-Philadelphia members protest the Anti-Defamation League’s funding of police training exchanges between the U.S. and Israel
Philadelphia, PA (June 3, 2018) -- Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Philadelphia members highlighted the glaring hypocrisy of a walk against hate sponsored by an organization that gets U.S. police, ICE and FBI agents trained in Israel at Sunday’s Walk Against Hate event, organized by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). JVP members passed out hundreds of flyers, engaged with community members about ADL’s police exchange programs, and unfurled a banner reading “ADL Stop the Hate: End Police Exchanges with Israel” when two ADL board members took the stage. JVP’s statement opposing the hypocrisy of the walk and calling for an end to the exchanges is endorsed by a number of community groups, including the Community Bail Fund, Philadelphia Black Lives Matter and the Council for American-Islamic Relations - Philadelphia. A second banner read “Safety Through Solidarity Not Policing #DeadlyExchange.”
“I’m here at the Walk Against Hate because I believe that building a world without hate means investing in our communities and in safety for everyone. Instead, the ADL is investing in getting American cops trained by the Israeli military,” said Harry Russell, a member of JVP-Philadelphia. “These trainings reinforce racist practices of profiling and move us further towards more militarized policing. Communities don’t want or need that.”
JVP-Philadelphia is collecting signatures on an open letter to ADL, calling for an end to their deadly exchange programs, and is also collecting pledges to not participate in future ADL fundraiser events like the Walk Against Hate from local community groups. In the lead-up to the Walk event, JVP members consulted with the Community Bail Fund and invited community members and groups to donate to the Fund – a local group actively involved in fighting the carceral/police state and raising money to support those who are trapped in jail by an unjust cash bail system – rather than an organization sponsoring militarized police trainings.
“With antisemitism, Islamophobia and racism on the rise these days, we need organizations fighting for the safety of ALL people. A group supposedly focused on fighting hate shouldn’t also facilitate police trainings with Israel,” said Tali Ruskin, a member of JVP-Philadelphia. “Israel’s expertise in using lethal force, mass surveillance and racial profiling shouldn’t be a model for policing anywhere. We need to challenge militarized and racist policing in both places, not valorize it through these exchanges.”
At the walk, JVP members engaged with community members about their concerns, and shared their vision of real safety beyond policing. Discussions were held about how Philadelphia needs investment in community and education, not militarized police trainings, surveillance, and occupation.
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 15,000 members, 200,000 online supporters, over 70 chapters, a Rabbinic Council, an Artist Council, an Academic Advisory Council, an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists, and a Jews of Color/Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus which organizes in partnership with JVP.