(Los Angeles, CA -- June 3rd) -- StandWithUs condemns anti-Israel and antisemitic extremists for using the horrific killing of George Floyd to fan the flames of hate. As we mourn his devastating death at the hands of a (now former) police officer and call for justice, we must also stand against those who exploit this moment to spread antisemitism.
"We have seen rioters vandalize synagogues and anti-Israel groups use social media to scapegoat Jews and Israel for cases of police brutality in the U.S.," said Carly Gammill, Director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism. "Extremists who engage in bigotry and violence undermine the vast majority of peaceful protesters and concerned citizens who are speaking out against racism and advocating for justice. Moreover, those who exploit this tragedy to promote antisemitic or anti-Israel political agendas are enemies of progress. This is a time for unity, not hatred and division."
Some hateful rioters seeking to hijack the mass protests have targeted Jewish communities, even as Jewish leaders expressed solidarity with the Black community's calls for justice. In Los Angeles alone, five synagogues and three Jewish schools were vandalized, as antisemitic slurs were shouted by people driving past. Jewish businesses on La Brea Avenue were trashed. A home-based synagogue in Montreal was vandalized, its Torah scrolls cut up, prayer shawls and tefillin thrown into a toilet, and graffiti painted on the walls.
Additionally, anti-Israel groups have been falsely blaming Israel and American Jewish organizations for cases of police brutality against people of color in the U.S.
This so-called “Deadly Exchange” campaign is based on misleading rhetoric and outright lies about US-Israel police exchanges. In reality, these programs focus on preventing terrorism and saving lives, rather than other aspects of policing. In scapegoating the only Jewish state, anti-Israel groups also conveniently ignore the fact that U.S. police have exchange programs with countries all over the world.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns expressed support for U.S.-Israel exchanges and rejected the claims made by anti-Israel activists. Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also rejected them, telling reporters, “there was a demand that I stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli Police Department. I’m not going to do that. I happen to believe that the Israeli Police Department has some of the best counter-terrorism techniques in the world, and it benefits our police department from that long-standing relationship.” This training is crucial because law enforcement and first responders have an irreplaceable role in keeping people safe, especially in an era of mass shootings by white supremacists and other extremists.
Furthermore, falsely blaming Jews for societal injustices is classic antisemitism, which has historically led to violence against Jewish communities. In fact, there is evidence that the antisemitic conspiracy theory promoted by Deadly Exchange helped influence the shooter who murdered Jews in a New Jersey deli in December, 2019.
It is clear that the killing of George Floyd, following the shootings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, has once again ripped open deep wounds in America, particularly for the Black community. We must come together and drown out those who shamelessly exploit this pain to divide people and spread more hate.
About StandWithUs StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters, programs and activities on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil. For the last 7 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum). www.standwithus.com and facebook.com/standwithus and www.twitter.com/standwithus