Accusations that Israel to blame for US police brutality are untrue and anti-Semitic, expert says.
By Benjamin Kerstein, The Algemeiner
As anti-Israel activists increasingly seek to blame the Jewish state for US police brutality, the architect of one of the most successful exchange programs between American and Israeli law enforcement personnel told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that such charges were untrue and anti-Semitic.
Steven L. Pomerantz — a former assistant FBI director — is the head of the Law Enforcement Exchange Program at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). The initiative brings US police officers to Israel for them to study counter-terrorism methods used by their Israeli counterparts.
Today, such programs are under attack from anti-Israel activists piggybacking on the Black Lives Matter movement. Under the name “Deadly Exchange,” their campaign effectively holds Israel responsible for causing the deaths of people of color at the hands of US police, including the false charge that the knee-to-neck restraint move that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month came from Israel.
Pomerantz told The Algemeiner the truth was very different.
“Exchange programs began as a direct result of 9/11 at the specific request of senior law enforcement officers,” he said. “It focused on counter-terrorism responsibilities of law enforcement, both prevention and response, and was aimed at only senior law enforcement officials.”
Contrary to the charges made against such programs, Pomerantz noted that they included “no hands-on training and no tactical training.”
They instead concentrate on “terrorism intelligence collection, ideology and methodology of terrorist organizations, coordinated response to terrorist incidents and cooperation between private security and law enforcement, etc.,” he added.
Ironically, he pointed out, far from promoting violence against people of color, “more recent programs have included subjects such as improving relations between law enforcement agencies and minority communities, and recruiting in minority communities.”
The exchange programs, Pomerantz stated, did not cause violence against Americans. In fact, some officials who took part in the programs “have stated that their communities are safer places because of what they learned in Israel.”
Pomerantz sees the attacks on such programs as an “opportunistic” move on the part of “individuals and organizations hostile to Israel and involved in the larger BDS movement.”
“It became part and parcel of the anti-Israel movement,” he continued.
“Up until now they have had very limited success in deterring law enforcement organizations from participating, although they have been active in their efforts,” Pomerantz said. “For obvious reasons, they see the current situation in the US as an opportunity to gain traction.”
Pomerantz also believes the campaign against the exchange programs has overtones of Jew-hatred, saying, “There is certainly an element of antisemitism in this effort.”
“The assertion that Jews are collectively responsible for the ‘oppression’ of minorities because they fund Jewish organizations that send police officials to Israel, where they learn violent tactics and use these tactics against people of color has been called out as anti-Semitic,” he said.
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