ADL Slams pro-BDS Jewish Group’s 'anti-Semitic' New Video Campaign

Anti-Defamation League accuses Jewish Voice for Peace of veering 'uncomfortably close to age-old anti-Semitic canards' with new 'End the #Deadly Exchange' campaign targeting U.S.-Israeli security cooperation

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Screen shot from Jewish Voices for Peace's video, "End the #DeadlyExchange"
Screen shot from Jewish Voices for Peace's video, "End the #DeadlyExchange"Credit: Jewish Voices for Peace, Screen shot
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

The Anti-Defamation League has accused a pro-BDS Jewish organization of veering dangerously close to repeating anti-Semitic slurs in its highly controversial new video campaign.

Jewish Voice for Peace’s “End the #Deadly Exchange” video, which has been widely circulated, suggests that Israel and American Jewish organizations are complicit in crimes against blacks and other minorities in the United States. It blames rising levels of police brutality in the United States on joint training and exchange programs with Israel, which are sponsored by Jewish American organizations like AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee and the ADL.

“Now JVP has set itself outside even the broadest conception of American Jewry’s big tent, attacking the liberal bona fides of pro-Zionist American Jews and using language to describe American Jewish organizations that 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,” according to the latest blog post on the ADL’s website.

Describing JVP as “the largest and most influential Jewish pro-BDS group in the United States,” referring to the organization’s boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, the blog said JVP’s latest video “demonizes both Israelis and American Jews, and blames them for some of the worst problems in society.”

It is “perfectly legitimate” to criticize Israeli policies, the blog states, but JVP’s “single-minded desire to paint Israel as a source of racism and violence has led it far beyond legitimate criticism of Israel,” it added.

End the #DeadlyExchangeCredit: Jewish Voice for Peace

The blog also accused JVP of exploiting its status as a Jewish organization “to impart a veneer of legitimacy to the BDS movement.”

The video, released last week, has also sparked criticism from within Jewish left-wing circles for suggesting that the Jewish establishment was responsible for rising levels of racism and violence in the United States.

Mira Sucharov commented in an Haaretz op-ed: “Saying that Jewish groups are the primary drivers of U.S. aid to Israel and for the scourge of institutionalized racism in America makes me queasyin that the causal logic is so deeply implied but so empirically thin as to imply a secret conspiracy.”

According to Sucharov, "Ending the occupation and American police brutality are urgent and laudable goals. But the video falls into a trap of casting 'the Jews' as having outsized and pernicious influence on both."

Asked to comment on the ADL blog post, a spokeswoman for JVP said: “It appears that JVP’s ‘Deadly Exchange’ campaign has hit a nerve. The ADL’s law enforcement exchange programs promote the exchange of violent and discriminatory police practices between the United States and Israel. As an organization that purports to be a liberal civil rights group, why are they facilitating these exchanges?” 

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