A petition being circulated at the University of California (UC) has suggested that Israel is to be blamed for teaching methods to American police forces that were used and resulted in the death of George Floyd, according to the Algemeiner.
The petition was circulated online and signed by hundreds of organizations and individuals from schools within the UC system, which included among other demands for abolishing US police forces and returning “all Indigenous lands” to Native Americans.
“This complicity goes beyond domestic policing. We also call on the UC to divest from companies that profit off of Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestine, investments that uphold a system of anti-Black racism in the US,” the petition said, connecting the universities to Israel.
It added that "we know the Minneapolis police were also trained by Israeli counter-terrorism officers. The knee-to-neck choke-hold that Chauvin used to murder George Floyd has been used and perfected to torture Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces through 72 years of ethnic cleansing and dispossession. Police departments view Israeli Defense Force tactics as models for responding to ‘public health and safety crises.’"
The second demand listed in the petition is that the UC “Divest from companies that profit off Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine.”
In response to the claim of a connection between Israeli training and the Minneapolis police force, a spokesperson from the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest told Algemeiner that “Any attempt to create any link between what took place in Minnesota with Israel is baseless and misguided.”
Executive director of the independent pro-Israel group Academic Engagement Network Professor Miriam Elman also criticized the petition, saying that "like past efforts to blame Israel for US policing problems and police violence, the petition has absolutely no basis in fact. It defies belief to suggest that Israel was responsible for the killing of George Floyd because, according to the signatories, back in 2012 some Minneapolis police officers attended an FBI-hosted counter-terror seminar where a few Israeli law enforcement officials were invited to speak."
She added that "the notion that this training program, or similar police exchanges sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and other American Jewish organizations, cause or contribute to police shootings by American cops on the beat is ludicrous. It smacks of antisemitic tropes and canards related to Jewish power, money, and influence that have sustained anti-Jewish hatred across the millenia.”
“This petition basically states that if you care about Black Lives Matter, racial and social justice, and the need for police reform, then you must also revile Israel and detest its supporters, who stand accused of complicity in the suffering of blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and other minority communities,” she continued. “Scapegoating American Jews for societal ills is one of the hallmarks of antisemtic discourse. University of California campus leaders must not hesitate to speak out forcefully and unequivocally against it.”
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative watchdog organization, which seeks to combat antisemitism on American campuses, said to Algemeiner that “It is truly sad that at a time when we should be coming together and uniting against hate and bigotry, some are exploiting this tragic moment and using it as a vehicle to promote anti-Israel divisiveness and hate. Sadly, this happens on campus all too often.
She noted that the petition is part of a "deliberate effort directed by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to have anti-Israel student and faculty activists use every opportunity to align themselves with meaningful causes while ostracizing and suppressing Jewish students and pro-Israel voices. And faculty, who should know better, are playing a more prominent role than ever.”
“The dozens of faculty members who signed this petition should be ashamed of themselves, particularly Jeanelle Hope, who was paid by the California Department of Education to develop an ethnic studies model curriculum for our state’s high schools. With faculty who do not hesitate to use every opportunity to promote their narrow, radical and hate-filled agenda, it is no wonder that the first draft of that ethnic studies model curriculum resembled a partisan playbook filled with political propaganda — including the promotion of BDS — and not an educational curriculum,” she continued.
The petition originally surfaced Monday as a post on the DisarmUC Facebook page, which describes itself as “a movement, a collective, which seeks to disarm campus police across University of California campuses.”