End Racist and Violent Policing: Atlanta out of GILEE!

Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council

Atlanta has participated in Police Exchanges with Israel and other human rights violators primarily through GILEE (Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange). As people who are working for Palestinian freedom while also against anti-black racism and against police violence, we are keenly aware of the kinds of police brutality that are deadly and directly affect communities of color. Exchanges with Israel, known for its police militarization and human rights violations against Palestinians, as well as state violence against African Refugees, Jews of Color and others, can only exacerbate the police brutality that already exists in Atlanta and around Georgia. We demand that these exchanges end with Israel AND any other countries that are known for human rights violations, through GILEE AND any other police exchange of this kind. The petition is sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-Atlanta, Project South, and CAIR-GA.

To: Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council
From: [Your Name]


We are concerned members of the greater Atlanta community committed to peace and justice. We therefore call on the City of Atlanta to immediately halt the Atlanta Police Department's partnership with the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE).

We also call on the City of Atlanta to end any other partnerships it has, or might enter into, with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli police, and other agencies that violate human rights.

The IDF and the Israeli police have a long history of subjecting Palestinian people, Jews of Color, and African refugees to racist bigotry and violent brutality. Common tactics include extrajudicial killing, excessive force, racial profiling, and repression of social justice movements.

Such tactics have been condemned by international human rights organizations as violations of human rights. These tactics also militarize U.S. police forces that train with the Israeli government, which further endangers Black and Brown communities here in this country.

Additionally, such practices erode our constitutional rights to due process, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. Yet Atlanta officials have participated in these racist police exchange programs through GILEE, which also arranges for police officials to train with China, Egypt, Hungary, and other governments that violate human rights.

Furthermore, GILEE itself has a long history of teaching anti-Muslim bigotry and rightwing political extremism. Its founding director has repeatedly attacked Muslims and Arab-Americans: lamenting the fact that the First Amendment prevents the FBI from targeting mosques and denying the very existence of Islamophobia, among other problematic statements.

Policing in this country has a long history of violence and harm against Black and Brown communities, and the Atlanta Police Department has not been immune to this problem. From traffic stops that target Black drivers, to SWAT teams that enter Black people's homes illegally, to checkpoints that target immigrant neighborhoods, to police murders of Black and Brown people, and those with disabilities, everyday militarization of police departments already endangers our communities. Training police with the Israeli government and other governments that violate human rights exacerbates this ongoing harm.

Mayor Bottoms and Atlanta City Council, we ask you to support justice and true collective safety, beyond policing. We call on you to halt any partnerships that the APD has or might enter into with GILEE, the IDF, the Israel Police, or any other police exchange or training program with governments that violate human and civil rights, including but not limited to:

• Any GILEE exchange program
• Exchange programs between the APD and any Israeli security forces
• Exchange programs between the APD and any country that violates human rights
• Anti-Defamation League Counter-Terrorism Seminar
• Anti-Defamation League Advanced Training School

Atlanta has a history of taking a stance for justice around the world. Our city once again has an opportunity and responsibility to take a stance today. In doing so, we can protect our city's own residents from all forms of police bigotry and brutality.