Wednesday, May 25th | 24 Iyyar 5782

July 5, 2021 11:52 am

Students for Justice in Palestine Spreads Anti-Israel Blood Libel

avatar by Jesse Fox


Firefighters tackling the blaze started by an arsonist at the University of Delaware’s Chabad Center for Jewish Life. Photo: Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Delaware recently hosted a Zoom event titled “The Deadly Exchange,” highlighting “the militarization of police due to military and police partnerships between the U.S and Israel.”

However, the main speaker, Eran Efrati, falsely accused Israel of perpetuating police brutality in the US, colonizing the Palestinians, and being an apartheid state. Here is why these three accusations are both unfair and inaccurate.

First, Israel does not utilize police brutality in the face of dissent.

During the event, Efrati falsely claimed that when American police return home from their training trips to Israel, they bring back the “normalization of brutality … using power to suppress dissent,” “normalization of racial profiling,” and “normalization … of deep surveillance into the communities.”

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However, the exchanges between the Israel National Police and participants from the US do not promote racial profiling, aggressive police tactics, or unwarranted surveillance at all.

Steve Pomerantz, the Director of the Homeland Security Program at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) — and the architect of one of these exchange programs — explained that the programs were “launched in the wake of the September 11th attacks in order to address the well-recognized counterterrorism needs of local law enforcement in the U.S. … there is no field training involved in either the conferences or trips and no training on holds or arrest mechanics. The exchanges … focus on effective counterterrorism techniques.”

Not only do they heavily focus on counterterrorism, but they also focus on building trust with minority groups (24% of Israelis are not Jewish), visiting trauma patients in hospitals, and having discussions with terrorists serving life sentences, according to Pomerantz. 

In addition, Efrati’s claims that Israel’s police normalize racial profiling are also baseless.

Rodney Bryant, the current chief of the City of Atlanta Police Department said, “One of our greatest challenges in American policing is serving a community that is vastly more diverse than the local police department. … I was impressed by the level of community policing efforts employed by the Israeli Police to build relationships and maintain peace among such diverse populations.”

Efrati’s inflammatory comments continued, when he said of Israel: “Israel is [not] more devious or terrible than many others around the world, although it is up there.”

Would a “devious” country send 738,576 tons of humanitarian commodities in just one year to the Gaza Strip, where its terrorist government seeks Israel’s destruction?

Would Israel be one of the first countries to send a disaster management team to Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey hit? Would it be the country most accepting and supportive of the LGBTQ community in the Middle East? Would it treat victims of the Syrian civil war, or even Palestinians affected by COVID? Of course not.

Efrati simply promulgates a false narrative by piggybacking hate towards Israel onto hot button American political issues.

Also, when you compare Israeli behavior to that of other countries, such Syria, it is all the more evident how disproportionate his criticism of Israel truly is.

Anwar Raslan, a former high-ranking officer in Syria, was recently charged with crimes against humanity for overseeing the torture of around 4,000 prisoners. These prisoners were simply those who protested against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Yet Efrati, and many other anti-Israel activists, choose to turn a blind eye to the above-mentioned atrocities and disproportionately criticize Israel for its justifiable actions — such as the use of Israel’s security apparatus (including the barrier between the West Bank and Israel and checkpoints), which have proven successful to counter very real terrorist threats.

Israel is also not a colonizer or apartheid state.

During the event, Efrati referred to Israel as a colonizer numerous times.

This is libelous for a number of reasons, and an analysis of the Jewish connection and enduring presence in the land of Israel exemplifies why.

Furthermore, to refer to Israel as an apartheid state is simply incorrect, and it undermines the severity of what happened in South Africa.

In Israel, there are Arab Knesset members, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab judges, as well as Arab soldiers and officers in the IDF.

In fact, an Arab-Israeli party leader just signed a deal to be part of a coalition government. Minority groups are clearly afforded equal rights. To insist that apartheid is occurring in Israel is utterly disrespectful to the millions of people who suffered from extreme racial segregation in South Africa and the Arab Israelis who have have dedicated their lives to all the citizens of Israel.

Efrati uses the “Deadly Exchange” campaign to spread libelous messages about Israel. He won’t let the facts stop him — but we can.

Jesse Fox is a CAMERA fellow and recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, where he engaged in 3.5 years of Israel advocacy. Growing up in Boca Raton, Jesse will be moving to NYC to start his career in consulting.

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