Black law enforcement leaders in southern US state of Georgia endorse police exchange with Israel amid BDS delegitimization campaign.
A national group that primarily represents African-American law enforcement executives has endorsed a Georgia-based exchange program with Israeli officers, which has been targeted by far-left activists affiliated with the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) applauded the work of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) in a letter earlier this month, saying the program “works continuously to improve public safety,” and that NOBLE members, which today total more than 3,000, have benefited from it for decades.
The note, first reported on by the blog Legal Insurrection, came following years of pressure by anti-Zionist activists to shut down GILEE, which is based at Georgia State University. Their efforts have been joined more recently with opposition to other police exchanges between Israeli and American forces, such as counter-terrorism seminars run by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).
The most high-profile of these efforts is the “Deadly Exchange” campaign launched by the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in 2017, which partially blames US-Israeli law enforcement cooperation for “discriminatory and repressive policing” against minorities in both countries, and condemns “Jewish organizations that facilitate such deadly exchanges.”
These charges — which have been strongly denounced by the ADL for veering “uncomfortably close to age-old anti-Semitic canards” — were also rejected by the Board of Commissioners of Forsyth County in Georgia.
In a resolution passed days before NOBLE’s letter, the board warned that “anti-police and anti-Israel groups launched a propaganda campaign against U.S. police training in Israel under the misnomer of ‘Deadly Exchange,’” which falsely accuses American officers of learning “to kill and to oppress minorities” in Israel.
“Not only do such claims lack any foundation in the facts or histories of such exchanges, but the inflammatory causal attribution that such training leads to deadly encounters in the US is utterly fallacious and slanderous,” the board’s resolution read.
Georgia’s American Indians Reject ‘Anti-Israel False Claims’
The “Deadly Exchange” campaign was similarly explicitly opposed in a January 9 letter by the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns, which describes itself as “the only state entity specially authorized to address the concerns of Georgia’s American Indians.”
The Council commended GILEE “on its work to promote the professional development of law enforcement executives,” and said it “completely rejects anti-police and anti-Israel false claims that programs like GILEE amount to a ‘deadly exchange.’”
In December, two major police associations in Georgia — the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association — released similar statements likewise panning claims that GILEE teaches officers to “oppress” minorities or engage in illicit and inhumane tactics.
The statements may represent a push-back against recent successful lobbying efforts by JVP and other anti-Zionist activists, who in April convinced the Durham City Council in North Carolina to ban police exchanges with Israel. JVP also pressured the Vermont State Police and the Northampton, Massachusetts Police Department to withdraw from an ADL seminar in Israel late last year.
Their campaign is part of the broader BDS movement, which says it seeks “to isolate Israel academically, culturally, economically and militarily” until it abides by key Palestinian demands. Critics accuse it of rejecting the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and aiming to dismantle the Jewish state, a goal supported by BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti.