Pro-Palestinian activists accuse Israel of culpability in police slayings of black Americans

A common theme in such accusations has been to blame Israel for violent police practices in the US due to the counter-terrorism training received by some US police and law-enforcement.

July 10, 2016 21:26
2 minute read.
black teen police shooting

US protests over police shooting of unarmed black teen. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Several pro-Palestinian organizations and activists have accused Israel of culpability in the deaths of Africa-Americans at the hands of US police, following the recent killings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The most egregious example was that of the New York University Students for Justice in Palestine group, which stated in a recent Facebook post that the “genocide” of African- Americans in the US was being perpetrated by those responsible for the “genocide” of Palestinians.

A common theme in such accusations has been to blame Israel for violent police practices in the US due to the Israeli counter-terrorism training received by some US police and law-enforcement officials.

Many of these claims have focused specifically on one counter-terrorism program run by the Anti-Defamation League, which has taken “200 law enforcement executives” to Israel, according to the ADL’s website.

On Thursday, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine issued a post on its Facebook page condemning the number of black people killed by the police in the US, and called for Palestinians to support African-Americans protesting against such violence.

“We must remember that many US police departments train with the #IsraeliDefenseForces,” the group wrote. “The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians.”

After generating outrage on Facebook and Twitter, the group issued a new statement saying that it had not meant to accuse Israel of directly killing black Americans, but that, since some US police personnel have received some training in Israel, “the IDF assists the NYPD and other American police departments in their oppression and murder of black people.”

On Friday, Jewish pro-Palestinian activist Alice Rothchild wrote an opinion piece on the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss website also drawing attention to training received by some US law enforcement officials in Israel, and alleged that IDF policies are based on racism toward “brown people.”

“While the carnage in our cities is certainly related to our own history of slavery and modern day racism and lack of gun control and a host of societal forces, having a police force influenced and trained by an occupying military force that sees another group of brown people (Arabs) as the enemy has certainly heightened the issue,” wrote Rothchild. “The parallels between white racism and Jewish supremacy flourish here and abroad.”

Marc Lamont Hill, a US academic and a CNN political commentator, also made a comparison between US police practices and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“We also have to engage the question of power, because everyday citizens don’t have equal footing with the state in order to battle the state, in the same way that I would argue Palestinians and Israelis don’t have the same footing,” Hill said in an interview on the Democracy Now Internet TV and Radio site. “One is in a position of power, one is an occupying force, one is not.”

Some elements of the Black Lives Matter protest movement against US police violence towards black Americans have sought from their inception to tie themselves to pro-Palestinian activism.

One group, in particular, Dream Defenders – which was founded in 2012 by three men, including east-Jerusalem born Ahmad Abuznaid, in response to the slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin – has been extremely active in this regard.

As its website declares, the group has a project dedicated to activism against the “continued settler colonial project, the state of Israel.”

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