Blame the Jews!
It’s a common refrain that Jews have heard for millennia. Jews in Durham heard it 3 years ago, in April of 2018, when the Durham City Council (DCC) unanimously passed its infamous resolution to boycott Israel’s esteemed international police training program. They signed on to the conspiracy theory that Jews are blood-thirsty manipulators who train American police officers to target people of color. The boycott was part of the “Deadly Exchange” campaign, and was spearheaded by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), bad actors who attack Israel under cover of being led by Jews. Jews in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region immediately felt its impact with a surge of antisemitic acts. In signing onto the boycott, the DCC displayed its own antisemitism. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said, “one of the enduring facts of history is that most antisemites do not think of themselves as antisemites.” So it is with the moral narcissists of the Durham City Council.
In the face of this attack on the Jewish community, the North Carolina Coalition for Israel would not remain silent. We filed a lawsuit in federal court. Prior to the COVID pandemic, we spoke before the DCC regularly, reminding them and spectators at the hearings about the damage the council had done to the Durham police, to our Jewish community, and other local minorities.
The BDS Movement is AntisemiticWhile the city council has not yet rescinded their resolution, a few things have changed in the past 3 years. These events may make it clear enough, even to the DCC, that their actions are antisemitic.
- The Durham City Council boycott is part of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel. The US State Department has officially stated that the BDS movement is antisemitic. Therefore, the DCC Resolution is antisemitic.
- The JVP conspiracy theorists themselves have had to walk back their blood libel, when they realized that they were being cheered on by white supremacists. Now they state that their previous claims needed “context and depth;” and that without that unspecified context, JVP’s antisemitic claims “can end up harming our movements for justice.”
- Durham Mayor Schewel has signed an American Jewish Committee petition entitled “Mayors United Against Antisemitism.” In doing so he signed on to fight antisemitism in all its forms, but does he really mean it? Will that include the antisemitism that he himself perpetrated by blaming Jews/Israel for racial issues in Durham?
NCCI will continue to fight for Durham to rescind its BDS resolution. We will advocate for Durham police officers to receive the best training available. In the meantime, it is likely that the litigation pushed by NCCI and its accompanying widespread publicity, has helped to stave off attempts to pass similar antisemitic/anti-Israel resolutions in other cities. To date, Durham remains the sole municipality foolish enough to have enacted it. We believe NCCI efforts in taking the DCC to task ultimately will benefit all Durham residents.