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US police trained in Tel Aviv served in Iraq

· 4 min read

U.S. police trained in Tel Aviv, served in Iraq

TEHRAN - The scenes unfolding at American universities in the past two weeks have appalled people around the world who have been watching peaceful student protesters get violently arrested, beaten, and demonized by armed police.

U.S. police trained in Tel Aviv, served in Iraq

Numerous U.S. professors have denounced administrators and law enforcement for treating anti-war college students as dangerous criminals, expressing shock and dismay at the unprecedented level of violence witnessed on campus.

To further understand the disproportionate police response to student protests, we spoke to Dr. Elliott Colla, associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, who suggested that the Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian sentiments prevalent within U.S. police ranks have contributed to their violent treatment of students advocating the Palestinian rights.

The full transcript of the interview is as follows:

Q: What is your perspective on the student protests currently taking place in universities across the U.S.? Do you believe they are predominantly peaceful or driven by antisemitism?

A: I have been following the protests directly and I have also closely inspected the ones taking place on our own campus. The protests are loud, the students stay up all night and they might even say some impolite things. But it is an absolute falsehood to assert that these protests are antisemitic. In fact, there are a lot of Jewish representatives who are taking part in the Gaza solidarity encampments because they don’t want Israel to kill Palestinians under their name. These American students have three main demands: they want a ceasefire in Gaza, they want the U.S. to end support for the Israeli military and finally, they want their universities to divest from Zionist entities. Many universities in the U.S. have invested in companies that help manufacture the missiles and bombs that have been raining on Palestinians in Gaza. I support the students' call for universities to prioritize human rights over profit.

These students are simply asking to center Palestinian humanity, and that seems to have been difficult for Zionists to take in. It also makes perfect sense to cut ties with Israeli universities and halt student exchange programs, because the technologies developed by these schools are used to slaughter Palestinians. 
I think in general, as Americans, we bear a bigger responsibility regarding the war in Gaza. Our tax dollars directly fund Israel's military campaign in the enclave. To uphold moral and ethical principles on the global stage, we must cease supporting these unjust actions financially.

Q: How do you assess the authorities' response to the protests? Do you believe their use of force has been justified and proportionate?

A: What we are seeing right now is shocking and appalling to most people working in universities. Administrators have decided to bring in armed riot police on their campuses to deal with their students. I think what’s been even more shocking is that universities were very swift to call in law enforcement. This quick resort to violence is thoroughly unjustifiable. 
It is crucial to recognize that if students were to take legal action against these administrators in the future, they would likely win. The use of violence by universities against their own students is a clear violation of their own principles and conventions. 

Also, it is worth noting that law enforcement agencies in the United States often exhibit Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian attitudes. This can be attributed to the fact that many police officers are veterans who served in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that U.S. police forces receive training in Tel Aviv, leading to a similar hostile and racist approach towards Palestinians as seen in Israeli forces.

Moreover, we have witnessed something unprecedented in recent days. We saw that in some universities, large groups of trained thugs were allowed to enter campuses, attack the students, and rampage encampments while police stood by and did nothing. So, universities first got law enforcement to repress students, and then let local Zionist militia assault them.

Q: In your opinion, does the U.S. government need to reassess its policies regarding the Palestinian issue? If so, what changes would you advocate for?

A: I agree with the students that our nation is failing in its pursuit of a multicultural democracy. It is paradoxical to strive for inclusiveness while simultaneously supporting an apartheid government that is committing genocide.

The truth of the matter is that Israel will only try to change its behaviors once it is being forced to pay its bills. Israelis will not change on their own. Israel is a century-old colonial project that has progressively drifted toward the extreme right. We must force them to change by pulling the plug on them or there will be none.