Beginning in 2017, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)—an anti-Israel group that is neither for peace nor especially Jewish in its membership—launched its “Deadly Exchange” campaign, which takes the fact that some American police departments have visited Israel to meet with law-enforcement agents there as evidence that Israelis are training U.S. police officers to commit unnecessary shootings and other abuses, especially against racial minorities. In reality, these visits, many of which are arranged by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), are used to study Israeli strategies for dealing with terrorism and mass-casualty situations. Miriam Elman describes JVP’s insidious logic:
Heavily promoted today by a host of U.S.-based anti-Israel organizations, the “Deadly Exchange” campaign . . . traffics in tropes about Jewish power in order to accuse Israel and Jewish American organizations of conspiring to encourage police brutality and increased deportation and imprisonment rates of American people of color. It follows that if you care about social-justice issues like policing problems and prison reform or the Black Lives Matter movement, then you must also revile Israel and detest its supporters, who now stand accused of complicity in the suffering of American blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. . . . .
Racial issues in the U.S. unrelated to Israel have long been hijacked by BDS activists keen on turning them against Israel, and for years prominent progressive activists have been blaming Israel for police shootings of African Americans. . . . JVP’s innovation was to package that patently false [account] into a full-blown campaign that turns American Zionists into co-conspirators with Israel in some nefarious mission to hurt their fellow Americans. . . .
City councils are being aggressively lobbied by activists promoting the campaign, and at least one municipality—Durham, North Carolina—has now aligned its policing policy with the Deadly Exchange agenda. . . .
“Deadly Exchange” positions JVP at the forefront of the effort to stoke hatred of Israel and Zionist Jews through intersectionality. . . . According to [JVP’s version of the theory], Israel is a global oppressor of American minority communities and the source of the problems that these groups face. Once you’re wedded to this view of intersectionality, it’s not a great leap to begin castigating Israel’s supporters in the U.S. as the driving force behind a white police power structure harming non-white Americans.