Anti-Israel Activists Use George Floyd’s Death to Attack Jewish State, Vandalize Synagogue

June 5, 2020

By Aaron Kliegman

Anti-Israel activists have used a recent case of American police violence to demonize Israel and vandalize a synagogue in a series of anti-Semitic incidents.

Last week, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him.

Floyd was unarmed. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The killing triggered riots in Minneapolis that soon spread across the United States.

Some people have used Floyd’s death and the subsequent riots as cover to attack Israel, despite Israel having no involvement in or connection to the incident.

The Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) national working group for members involved in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel quickly tied the Jewish state to what happened in Minneapolis.

“The police violence happening tonight in Minneapolis is straight out of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] playbook,” the group tweeted. “US cops train in Israel.”

“The racist and brutal tactics used by Israeli military and US cops are purposefully one and the same,” the DSA continued, providing no evidence. “So-called ‘less lethal’ weapons like tear gas are manufactured in the US and sold to Israel where they are tested and used on Palestinians.”

The group went on to charge, again without evidence, that surveillance technology made in Israel is brought to the US “to invade the privacy of Black, brown, Muslim, poor, and otherwise marginalized people.”

“This is the ‘special relationship’ between Israel and the United States,” the DSA concluded.

As The Algemeiner recently noted, the pro-BDS group’s statements are part of an ongoing campaign called “Deadly Exchange,” which blames Israel for allegedly racist police tactics in the US.

Critics say such claims incite anti-Semitic violence and are examples of a modern-day blood libel against Jews.

“This is a case of exploiting the tragic and tense situation in Minneapolis to advance the motives of the BDS movement to demean and delegitimize Israel,” B’nai B’rith International told The Algemeiner in response to the DSA’s tweets.

“Non-existent dots were connected” to portray “the Palestinians as people of color fighting white Israel,” added Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “We Jews know all about anti-Semites connecting non-existent dots to denigrate our people.”

Activists in the pro-Palestinian movement have also circulated anti-Semitic cartoons online in the week following Floyd’s death. One such cartoon shows, under the words “Black Lives Matter,” a white American police officer and an Israeli soldier putting their arms around each other, each pressing their knee into a seemingly dead or unconscious victim — the former targeting a black man, and the latter targeting a Palestinian.

In another display of anti-Semitism, a synagogue in Los Angeles was vandalized on Saturday with graffiti stating “free Palestine” and “f**k Israel.”

The graffiti appeared as riots and protests continued to erupt in Los Angeles and across the country following Floyd’s death.

Lisa Daftari, founder and editor of the news outlet The Foreign Desk, first reported on the vandalism.

“Synagogue Congregation Beth El on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles vandalized … Tell me this ugly hatred is still about #blm or #georgefloyd?!” she tweeted.

Several Jewish groups condemned the vandalism.

“It is deplorable that certain protestors in Los Angeles today resorted to violence and vandalism,” Richard Hirschhaut, regional director of the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles, told the Jewish Journal. “Sadly, their destructive opportunism included the defacing of Congregation Beth Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in Los Angeles and the spiritual home to many Holocaust survivors over the years. The epithets scrawled on the synagogue wall do nothing to advance the cause of peace or justice, here or abroad.”

Liora Rez, director of the watchdog group Stop Anti-Semitism, said in a statement that anti-Semitism is “being disguised as activism.”

“To vandalize a synagogue during this horrific time does nothing but further divide a broken country,” she added.