Dear Durham City Council Members, Date - ??
We are active Rabbis in the greater Triangle (most in Durham).
Our purpose in writing has its origin in the reports that a small organization, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), has submitted or plans to submit, a petition that is intended to influence city ordinances concerning Durham and Israel. This petition “demands” that the City boycott any future exchange programs associated with Israel and Durham police. The petition is biased and bad policy for Durham and its police department. The rationale for the “demand” surrounds false and inflammatory claims that Israel international expertise in counter-terrorism is directly linked to bias and racism in the Durham police department. To link Israel to White Supremacy and other forms of hate speech in the U.S, to insinuate that Israel teaches American police to attack minorities in our country, or that problems in U.S. policing are due to the Israel/Palestinian conflict are insulting and will only serve to demonize Israel and the Jewish people. Efforts to delegitimize Israel are a purposeful strategy by some organizations, part of a broader strategy to promote Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and one that is purposefully targeting Durham to accept terrible lies. No evidence exists that sharing best practices on counter-terrorism in society cannot be beneficial to those that listen, reflect and make decisions for their own communities. The events that unfolded in Austin Texas, Parkland, Florida, and many more communities are great reminders that domestic terrorism does exist in the U.S. and can affect anyone and any community.
As Rabbis who serve the majority of Jewish families across the region, and who strive for social justice each and every day, we pray that you will take the time for due diligence before acting. We believe that once you examine the matter carefully, including listening to experts in security, you will reject the petition and instead, embrace the myriad of proven activities that can be done in the City that promote less bias at home without singling out one of the World’s strongest democracies for unfair and false charges.
-------------------------- Signatories -----------------------------------------------------
Eight Triangle rabbis, with two more joining later, signed a letter urging the Durham City Council to reject the “Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine” petition.
The signatories included the new rabbi of the Judea Reform Congregation and also Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue. Rabbi Solomon is also affiliated with the left-wing Jewish organization Truah (the leader of Truah, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, slammed JVP’s “Deadly Exchange” campaign as antisemitic last year).