(January 6, 2019 / JNS) Despite a public campaign by anti-Israel activists to end an American exchange program with Israeli police, two major police associations in Georgia have issued statements reaffirming their support for the program, according to a report by Miriam Elman at Legal Insurrection.
The Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) brings senior law-enforcement officials and security officials from Israel and other countries together to learn about the fight against terrorist activities and bombings, and brings international delegations to Georgia to study American policing practices at Georgia State University.
Many graduates of the program responded that they had become better police officers as a result of the experience, yet anti-Israel activists have attempted to thwart the program due to its coordination with Israel.
In 2010, the GSU Progressive Student Alliance and the Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia partnered to protest the partnership, saying Georgia officers would learn from Israeli “extrajudicial killings, racial profiling of Arabs, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees.”
The BDS-supporting organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), began calling the international exchanges between American police officers and Israeli colleagues a “deadly exchange,” and launched a campaign in 2017 against what they term “discriminatory and repressive policing” by both American and Israeli police.
The Anti-Defamation League said, according to the Legal Insurrection report, JVP’s “deadly exchange” campaign “veers uncomfortably close to age-old anti-Semitic canards about Jews using their influence to undermine the societies of the countries in which they live.”
However, the anti-Israel campaign has already resulted in the Durham City Council in North Carolina banning exchanges with Israel. The Vermont State Police and police in Northampton, Mass., similarly withdrew from from an ADL seminar last year in Israel.
The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association blasted JVP’s accusations. “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 U.S. is utterly fallacious and slanderous,” the GACP wrote. “In fact, participants receive a better understanding of how to network with their citizenry and enhance the service delivery to these under-served communities.”
“The initiative is meaningful to the safety of Georgians, and it is our hope to continue our participation for many years to come,” the GSA said.
Robbie Friedmann, the professor who founded GILEE in 1992, blasted JVP and the pro-BDS group Researching the American-Israeli Alliance for a report on the program, saying that the “facts are distorted, the design does not lend itself for any scientific verification and the ‘evidence’ brought is selective, twisted and taken out of context. Its conjectures are baseless.”
“To make the point clear, ‘deadly exchange’ is a malicious concocted hoax that marshals propaganda disguised as research data and findings,” said Friedmann, according to the report. “Its choice and interpretation of the scholarly work it relies on is likewise problematic and one-sided. But ‘deadly exchange’ is a hoax not only because the research is faulty; one could argue that a better designed research could still corroborate their charges. It is a hoax simply because reality defies its claims.”