Blames Israel and American Jewish groups for police violence against minorities, inciting antisemitism and racial tension.
Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Israel organization which is a leading player in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, has released an “updated” video for its “Deadly Exchange” campaign.
We wrote about JVP’s “Deadly Exchange” initiative in a prior post, With “Deadly Exchange” Campaign, Jewish Voice for Peace moves from enabling to promoting antisemitism. As we highlighted, the campaign blames Israel and major Jewish American organizations for policing problems in minority communities, including police shootings. JVP thus sets up Jews as part of and the driving force behind a white police power structure oppressing non-whites.
As demonstrated in the prior post, those accusations are false, but pernicious. JVP holds Jews out as the cause of unrelated problems, and does so in terms meant to exploit and incite antisemitism and racial hatred and resentment.
The new video (embed below) doubles-down on these baseless accusations.
Widespread Criticism of JVP’s “Deadly Exchange” Campaign, Including from the Left
The “Deadly Exchange” program, which JVP began rolling out in early Spring and revamped with a video and online materials in June, is a vicious effort to stoke racial tensions against both Israeli and American Jews.
The Deadly Exchange Campaign trafficks in age-old antisemitic canards about Jews being hidden, malignant, and moneyed forces working to subvert and undermine societal health and well-being.
Since we wrote our original post, JVP has come in for considerable criticism. The criticism has come from within left-wing circles, by groups and individuals who are often otherwise sympathetic to JVP’s positions and to even to BDS.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs who heads the far-left group Truah, for example, slammed the campaign for veering toward antisemitism.
Commenting in an Haaretz op-ed, which was widely circulated and garnered considerable support, a prominent left-leaning Canadian scholar also condemned JVP for its unsubstantiated insinuation of a Jewish cabal out to harm America’s minority communities:
Saying that Jewish groups are the primary drivers of U.S. aid to Israel and for the scourge of institutionalized racism in America makes me queasy in that the causal logic is so deeply implied but so empirically thin as to imply a secret conspiracy.”
Several weeks ago the Anti-Defamation League also released a blistering statement about “Deadly Exchange”, charging JVP with “taking increasingly radical positions and…questionable tactics in pursuit of its mission to diminish support for Israel.”
Flagging JVP’s recent harassment and physical attacks of LGBT Zionists and its ongoing “celebration” of Palestinian terrorists, the ADL reserved its most severe condemnation for the “Deadly Exchange” campaign and its call for action against joint U.S. and Israeli security programs, which as the ADL rightly noted, allow members of the police and defense communities to train together and “share best practices for fighting terrorism”:
Under the project name ‘Deadly Exchange,’ JVP asserts that joint training and exchange programs are responsible for rising levels of police brutality and racism against minorities in the US because the American law enforcement are inculcated with disrespect for minorities and a cavalier attitude towards violence by their Israeli counterparts. A recent promotional video from JVP implicitly blames US Jewish organizations, who run many of the exchange programs, for rising levels of racism and violence in the US. The video demonizes both Israelis and American Jews and blames them for some of the worst problems in society…JVP has always used its status as a Jewish organization to shield it and other anti-Israel groups from criticism, and to impact a veneer of legitimacy to the BDS movement…Now JVP has set itself outside even the broadest conception of American Jewry’s big tent, attacking the liberal bona fides of pro-Zionist American Jews and using language to describe American Jewish organizations that veers uncomfortably close to age-old anti-Semitic canards about Jews using their influence to undermine the societies of the countries in which they live.”
With this degree of criticism, you’d think that JVP would have backed-off or at least toned down its messaging about Jews conspiring to hurt people in minority communities.
At first it looked like JVP might do that. In an op-ed for Haaretz, its Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson promised to take into account the critical “feedback.”
But none of that revisiting or any real revising has taken place. If anything, the group has doubled-down.
It’s now opened an online petition which calls on the ADL to end its funding of the U.S.-Israel training programs (at the time of this writing it had collected 4782 signatures).
And on August 7th it uploaded an “updated” video to YouTube which continues to stoke racial tensions by insinuating that U.S. and Israeli state agencies and major organizations are collaborating to harm people of color in both the countries.
JVP’s Updated “Deadly Exchange” Video: Just as Horrible as the Original
For comparison purposes, below is the “updated” video released this week followed by the previous video from June 28th:
Those looking for new information connecting policing in America to the nefarious white Jewish cabal financing U.S.-Israel NatSec exchanges will be disappointed. Much of the new video simply rehashes the earlier release which was based solely on evidence-free insinuations, misrepresentations, and laughable alleged causation.
The new video has the same visuals and voice-over narration claiming that U.S.-Israel training programs are behind alleged Islamophobic policing, an increase in deportation rates under the Trump administration, and high rates of minority imprisonment.
Repeated is the insane claim that because the U.S. supplies Israel with tear gas (which Israel pays for with money that then remains in the U.S.), Israel should somehow be held responsible for the tear gas used in police exchanges with rioters in America—which of course Israel had nothing to do with.Nor does the updated video provide any information about why Israeli security forces would use tear gas. Like in the prior video, there are only “peaceful Palestinian protestors” mentioned in the updated one—never any Palestinians hurling deadly stones or Molotov cocktails on Israel’s streets and highways.
There’s also still a fixation with “deadly” surveillance technology in the new video.
Once again, Hewlett Packard is singled out for censure in the new video due to the fact that Israel uses its biometric recognition software at checkpoints. But as we pointed out in our prior post, this is beyond ironic. The reality is that Israel contracted with Hewlett Packard in order to help the Palestinians, not harm them.
As Cary Nelson (Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) recently remarked, the surveillance technology makes it easier for Palestinians to pass through checkpoints on their way to work in Israel by speeding up the process and reducing the need for interactions with the IDF.
Several of the bogus images included in the original video have now been removed.
The July 2015 image of a Black Lives Matter protest that didn’t happen in the U.S. but in Toronto doesn’t appear in the new video. And a cropped image of Palestinians protesting Israel’s “deadly brutality” at the Qalandiya checkpoint on March 7, 2015, which was cropped to exclude one woman activist busy texting on her cellphone, is also gone (it still appears prominently on the “Deadly Exchange” website though).
But the new video includes verbatim the ridiculous accusation about former Ferguson police chief Timothy Fitch.
In the June video, JVP alleged that because Fitch attended a week-long ADL-sponsored counterterror training program in Israel in 2011 (three years before he retired in January 2014, which was six months before the killing of Michael Brown), this someone makes the ADL complicit in the police shooting of Brown which sparked the Ferguson protests.
So basically, by continuing to highlight the “Ferguson to Palestine” meme, JVP is still positing a fictitious “intersectional” equivalence between the situation facing the Palestinians and the problems of policing in America’s inner cities.As we highlighted in a prior post, for years vehemently anti-Israel activists have been blaming Israel for U.S. police shootings of blacks. But, as we showed, the notion that Israeli counterterror trainings are the source of a complex and multifaceted phenomenon like militarized policing in the U.S. is a cockamamie accusation for which there isn’t a shred of evidence.
JVP’s allegation in its videos and other campaign materials that an American cop involved in a police shooting was trained in Israel, and that this training contributed to an unjustified shooting, is pretty much baseless.
The new video also still accuses U.S.-based Jewish institutions for making the “deadly exchanges” possible, with the same map of Jewish organizational headquarters in America featured:The creepy image of a Jewish American organizational conspiracy web, which appeared in the June video, invoking the ‘octopus tentacles’ imagery that’s pervasive in antisemitic work, has been switched out:
But in the “updated” video, there’s still an image showcasing the five conspiratorial American Jewish organizations supposedly responsible for U.S. state violence, with the ADL centered in the mix (perhaps as a vindictive payback for its recent rebuke):
The new video is two minutes longer than the one released in June.
Most of the extra time is given over to additional images of the “deepening relationship” between the “repressive” Trump administration and Netanyahu-led government. There are also more depictions of people of color being confronted by police.
So the new video doubles-down on JVP’s allegation that police in both countries are deliberately targeting and “brutalizing”, with unwarranted physical violence, innocent “black and brown” political and social justice activists.
In this regard, one part of the voice-over that accompanies the new montage caught my attention because it wasn’t included as part of the prior video’s narration. In it, the narrator states that Israeli security forces and its “racist, occupying army” are attacking not only Palestinians but also “Ethiopian Jews and Mizrachi” (Sephardic Jews of North African heritage). This highlights the extent to which JVP is deliberately attempting to stoke racial tensions via its new campaign.
Now it’s smearing Israel as a key source of American racism and violence and holding the American Jewish establishment out as a powerful, wealthy, and malignant force behind discriminatory U.S. state practices toward minorities and civil rights violations against them by law enforcement.
Most decent people, including those on the Left, have rightly condemned this new “Deadly Exchange” campaign as repugnant. But JVP isn’t yielding any ground. It’s ramping up the initiative with new materials and is becoming “even more confrontational.”
Be prepared for additional ugliness to come from this disgraceful group.
Miriam F. Elman is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 60 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Follow her on Twitter @MiriamElmanDONATE
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