Bassem Eid

When they go low, anti-Israel activists go lower

Radical activists often twist proven facts to fit their narrative and promote their own depraved agendas. We saw this in full force when far right rioters breached the US Capitol Building on January 6th to “protest” the 2020 presidential election results. They called it fraud, they said the election had been stolen, and they were lying. The ultimate result was a violent assault on the seat of American democracy. The world watched in horror as these events unfolded – expressing shock at how delusional these rioters were. But the sad truth is, this tactic of rewriting history to fit a specific deceptive narrative is far from new. And one group believes they can fly under the radar while doing just that. Proponents of the so-called “deadly exchange” campaign are not so different from those that led the insurrection on the Capitol. And their threat should be taken as seriously.

Much like the rioters who stormed the capitol and spread lies about the election, those who believe that police exchange programs between American police departments and Israel constitute a “deadly exchange” have fallen victim to a deliberately misinformed narrative that blame for police brutality and racism in America falls on a nation a half a world away — Israel. Not only is this untrue, it is dangerous. Blaming Israel for police violence only stokes anti-Semitism and puts the Jewish people at risk.

To start, these law enforcement exchange programs aim to promote community policing, public safety, and better law enforcement services — exactly the opposite of what deadly exchange activists claim. These programs are immensely beneficial for law enforcement partnerships and actually promote de-escalation tactics.

This false narrative also disrespects the history of hardship that Black men and women have had to face in this country for centuries. The first of these programs began in the 1990s. “Deadly exchange” activists would have you believe that this initiated the start of police violence in America but this assertion would be laughable if it wasn’t so deeply offensive. To claim that American police brutality and racism was so recently imported from another nation ignores the history of racism in America, and to do so is egregious and disgustingly ignorant.

Capitol rioters promoted gravely misguided lies about the declared presidential election results being wrong and falsely claimed a “stolen election.” They decided that the only way to fix this was to start an uprising on the US Capitol building – the beacon of democracy in America – which ended in violence and terror. Those who encourage the so-called “deadly exchange” campaign have bought into the lies that Israel is the cause for systematic police brutality in America, which has the strong potential to turn deadly and foster violence much like the US Capitol insurrection did.

Just like the arguments of these far-right activists, the arguments of “deadly exchange” activists are transparent, paper-thin, and ridiculous. They use fear-mongering to argue police brutality in America will continue because of Israel’s partnerships with American police departments. They are exploiting the fears of the black community to advance their own agenda, and it’s sickening. Jewish and black communities face racism every day, notwithstanding the disinformation spewed by these radical groups, we must stand against these lies.

The false “deadly exchange” narrative plays off of the classic anti-Semitic trope that Israel is responsible for the evils of the world and will lead to more anti-Semitism in America. Just as the riot on the UA Capitol resulted in carnage and even death, this lie could have violent and even deadly consequences for the Jewish community which has sacred ancestral ties to the Jewish state. We must denounce and work to end this so-called “death exchange” lie before it’s too late.

About the Author
Bassem Eid (born 5 February 1958) is a Palestinian living in Israel who has an extensive career as a Palestinian human rights activist. His initial focus was on human rights violations committed by Israeli armed forces, but for many years has broadened his research to include human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Palestinian armed forces on their own people. He founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group in 1996, although it ceased operations in 2011. He now works as a political analyst for Israeli TV and radio.
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