A disturbing anti-Semitic smear took new root this summer during protests following George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer. At protests throughout the country, speakers claimed that programs that take police leaders to Israel to interact with their counterparts there directly lead to violence against Black people in America. The claims are accepted as a given by many, despite a lack of any evidence.
It’s not a new claim, and prominent voices including Linda Sarsour, Marc Lamont Hill, and Louis Farrakhan have promoted it.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism’s two-part video investigation, “House of Lies – the Baseless Campaign to Smear Israeli Police Exchanges,” shows that one of the main groups promoting this false narrative, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), warned in June that “Suggesting that Israel is the start or source of American police violence or racism … furthers an antisemitic ideology.”
But as viewers will, see that’s exactly what JVP did for three years, claiming that American police return from Israel more violent, leading to “extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders …” JVP hoped nobody would notice, but the IPT did.
The entire campaign is a lie. The IPT interviewed four police chiefs – two active and two now retired – who say their experiences couldn’t be more different from the anti-Israel narrative. There is no tactical training. Rather than discussing ways to oppress people, the chiefs all said they learned about the value of community policing and building relationships among diverse constituencies. They also learned how to best minimize the terrorist threat and to investigate in the aftermath of an attack.
No critic has produced a police official who says otherwise. Organizers of two police exchange programs say the opposition is rooted in anti-Israel bias, combined with an “intersectional” campaign to liken the Palestinian cause with the struggle for civil rights in America.
Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Stefanie Fox did not respond to a request for comment sent last month.
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