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Reality Distorted in Letter

Letter to the Editor at Cleveland Jewish News:

I am writing in response to a letter in your publication alleging that an “Israeli military tactic” killed George Floyd, and maligning US-Israel law enforcement exchanges led by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), which I proudly designed.

Floyd’s killing was a tragedy. Attempts to blame it on Israel and American Jewish organizations seek to divert attention from our national conversation and scapegoat Jews for police violence.

This is a pernicious tactic pursued by anti-Zionists in their never-ending quest to demonize Israel. Like other libels blaming various tragedies and social ills on Jews, it offers no real evidence.

JINSA’s trips and conferences began after 9/11, following a request from a retired NYPD chief of department. Contrary to the author’s claims, they’re hosted by the Israeli police, not military. The programs seek to save American lives by sharing the knowledge Israelis gained amid decades of terrorism. Participants have studied the ideology of suicide bombers, post-blast forensics, and de-escalation efforts. They’ve met with unrepentant terrorists and survivors.

At no point are participants trained in arrest mechanics, like the knee-on-neck maneuver. Describing this as an Israeli-developed tactic that was exported to the US is a lie spearheaded by anti-Israel and antisemitic organizations.

Libels about counterterrorism exchanges have been repeatedly condemned for endangering Jewish communities at a time of heightened antisemitism. While I was unsurprised to see them amplified in Iranian propaganda, it’s incredibly disappointing to find them in a Jewish newspaper.

Originally published in Cleveland Jewish News