Two police departments in the northeastern United States have cancelled their participation in a joint counterterrorism program with Israeli and Palestinian law enforcement that encourages “community resiliency” in the aftermath of terror attacks under pressure from the anti-Semitic boycotts movement, Haaretz reported Saturday.
The Vermont State Police and the police department for Northampton, Massachusetts announced that they had pulled out from the ADL-sponsored seminar during which police officers from the U.S. learn methods Israel uses to “thwart terrorism within its framework of a democratic and multicultural nation.”
When the city of Durham, North Carolina, in April became the first U.S. municipal to bar its police department from training in Israel, the boycotts movement claimed that cooperation with Israeli law enforcement “further militarize U.S. police forces that train in Israel.” They also charged that the IDF deploys “tactics of extrajudicial killing, excessive force, racial profiling, and repression of social justice movements.”
Peter Reitzes, a pro-Israel activist who campaigned against the boycott in Durham and wrote in The Tower about his experience, said: “Anti-Israel activists were led by the deceptively named Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), who recently declared themselves to be ‘antizionist Jews.’” Reitzes noted that “JVP lobbied the Mayor, Durham City Council, and public by alleging that Israeli training ‘helps the police terrorize Black and Brown communities here in the U.S,’ – a modern version of the blood libel of old, which accuses Jews of using the blood of Christian children to make matzoh.”
The ADL also rejected the discrimination charges made by the anti-Israel boycott campaign and highlighted the inclusive nature of its program. Instead of encouraging police brutality and militarization, the ADL said, “participants meet with senior officials from both Israeli and Palestinian law enforcement to learn about the challenges that they face and how they overcome them, and learn as well about community resiliency in the aftermath of terror and tragedy.”
The groups involved in the boycott campaigns that led to the cancellations in Durham, Vermont and Massachusetts said they were working with other groups to pressure police departments across the U.S. to withdraw from joint seminars in Israel. JVP has a dedicated program named ‘Deadly Exchange,’ aimed at ending such exchange programs.
The ADL-sponsored initiative has existed for more than a decade and has attracted hundreds of participants from across the U.S.
[Photo: Jared Benedict / WikiCommons ]