— presented as part of the 8 Days Campaign in December 2016.
Camaraderie through sports, to Israeli defense industries cruelly harming poor people and helping repress protests. Brazil is the fifth-biggest importer of Israeli arms. The arms trade between the two states is flourishing to such an extent that in 2003, the Brazilian military opened an office in Tel Aviv in order to coordinate millions of dollars of deals with Israeli industries.
The relations between the two states were strengthened further surrounding security arrangements for the Rio Olympics of 2016. Israeli company ISDS was the official security provider of the Rio Olympics, in charge of providing local security teams with strategies, guidance, and tools for handling the challenge of securing the events of the Olympic Games. Alongside ISDS were 30 other Israeli companies.
The Brazilian government investment in the Games (one of the most extensive in history!) met a great deal of resistance from the people of Brazil, including many demonstrations which were brutally put down, protesting the displacement of many thousands of residents from poor favelas to make room for the Olympic facilities. Activists for Palestinian rights protested the cooperation with Israeli companies and their training Brazilian law enforcement agencies, arguing that practices implemented on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, Gaza, and East Jerusalem were being replicated in the favelas of Rio. Displacing poor residents was also part of the preparations for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. While China is known for its many human rights abuses, the Olympic Games were a public relations maneuver for the government to change its image and show that the country was open for international business and culture. Reports indicate some 1.25 million people were displaced for the construction of the Olympic facilities.
Many Israeli companies took part in the security arrangements for the Games as well as in training Chinese law enforcement forces for handling civilian protests, both violent and nonviolent, on the part of Uyghur and Tibetan groups demanding independence. Israel Police trained representatives of Beijing Police over a period of six weeks. Israeli arms companies were at the 2012 London Olympics as well, when the Games saw military forces moved to the British capital in numbers not seen since the Second World War. Among other things, their role in London included repressing protests against government spending for the Games.
While the Olympic Games symbolize international cooperation and non-violent competition between the states and citizens of the world, many times they provide significant support for developing and importing defense technologies in the host countries and creating security cooperation against many people’s human rights. Israeli companies use the momentum to sell equipment and experience, made all the more prestigious by being “battle-proven” against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Gaza Strip.