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Where is the ADL when Ryan Braun makes reckless anti-Semitism charge?

on 16 Comments

Back in July, the Anti-Defamation League, the nation’s firewall against anti-Semitism and racism, got very upset when Twitter users said anti-Semitic things about Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the former MVP who had broken baseball’s drug policy and been suspended. In a posting on its blog, “Foul Ball: Hate Speech, Twitter, and Baseball,” the ADL wrote: 

…some Twit­ter users responded by post­ing dis­tinctly anti-Semitic messages…

ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech, but believes that social media and other Inter­net sites also have an oblig­a­tion to police their com­mu­ni­ties and con­front those who pro­mote anti-Semitism, racism and other forms of hate speech.

 Well, the worm has turned. As the JTA reports:

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun during his appeal of a drug suspension in 2012 told players on opposing teams that the collector of his urine sample was an anti-Semite.

Braun, the son of an Israeli-born Jewish father, was suspended in July for the remainder of this season for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement…

Deadspin fills us in a little more:

According to both ESPN and Yahoo (curiously, both cite “three sources”), Braun intimated to players that [sample taker Dino] Laurenzi might have had it out for him because he was anti-Semitic, and Braun is Jewish. Or perhaps, Braun implied, it was because Braun is a Brewer and Laurenzi roots for the Cubs. (Love this bit from Yahoo: “A source close to Laurenzi…said the anti-Semitism allegation is untrue; his fan allegiance is unclear.”)

To its credit, Deadspin calls this “a private smear campaign” and says that Braun has made himself more disreputable than Alex Rodriguez for conducting it. But will the ADL have anything to say against this? Its anti-Semitism blog is silent. The charge of anti-Semitism is extremely damaging– it can be a libel– and has become “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” to borrow Samuel Johnson’s definition of patriotism. Thanks to Daniel Crowther and Max Blumenthal.

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16 Responses

  1. marc b.
    marc b.
    August 21, 2013, 11:31 am

    i had no idea that braun was jewish. he sounds like an entitled, immature dink, just like rodriguez, although I am ambivalent about the alleged campaign to ‘clean up’ the sport.

  2. AlGhorear
    August 21, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Marc, you must not watch much baseball. His nickname was the “Hebrew Hammer” :) He’s been a bright spot for us long suffering Brewers’ fans. Too bad it turns out he was involved with illegal doping and that he played the AS card when caught.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      August 21, 2013, 1:56 pm

      I don’t watch much baseball anymore, al. (my house is a basketball/hockey house). too much of a time commitment, especially during the summer when people should be outside. really? the ‘Hebrew hammer’? oy gevalt.

  3. quercus
    August 21, 2013, 1:50 pm

    The ADL makes reckless anti-semitic charges, why in the world would anyone think they would criticize someone else for doing it? That’s just their game.

    I laugh now when I read anything that uses the words anti-semite or anti-semitism. It truly has become very amusing.

  4. annie
    August 21, 2013, 2:57 pm

    i noticed the reactions to Braun’s allegations on his hashtag the other day in an odd round about way. one of our readers contacted us by email over a week ago, to complain, or suggest, we cover the many news sources covering the original braun anti semitic tweets. the reader alleging this was “shocking” news. so i opened the link

    and noticed the opening:

    “Ryan Braun Jew” is a trending topic on Twitter this afternoon. We have compiled some of the results for you:

    then it showed some tweets. so i wrote back and mentioned there was no evidence presented in the article the anti semitic comments were trending nor was there a hashtag accompanying this allegation, and that trending topics generally were accompanied by hashtags. also, we already know anti semites exist, but there are millions on twitter so ten evidence tweets, or even 50 did not constitute a ‘trend’. but if he could present evidence to the contrary, that AS tweets were trending on twitter (literally thousands of offending tweets) this was indeed a story worth covering and i would absolutely take the allegations more seriously. otherwise, it was more trumped up overblown jewish victimization stuff.

    to which our reader wrote back and said he never claimed it was a trending topic but could i empathize with the concept of (justifiable) jewish paranoia about being “demonized” in america. which resulted in more emails and me explaining jewish american were, for the most part, liked and supported here actually. anyway, i went to #RyanBraun and linked to it for him, and said go look over there, where’s the evidence of these comments being prolific?

    and that’s when i noticed the tweets about braun’s recent allegations. misplaced accusations of anti semitism, whether towards one person or a society/community (twitter) at large, and pleas for victimization status as a “demonized minority” just do not really float in today’s america, imho. it just serves to make a mockery out of the accusers.

  5. hophmi
    August 21, 2013, 3:55 pm

    Emily Hauser seems to think the Braun story brought some antisemites out of the woodwork.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      August 21, 2013, 8:59 pm

      “Emily Hauser seems to think the Braun story brought some antisemites out of the woodwork.”

      Emily Hauser doesn’t appear to be able to marshal the character not say that unless Braun has evidence that the guy who took the sample is antisemitic, then Braun would be as bad as those antisemites who are mocking him now, if he made the accusation falsely. So who cares what Emily Hauser says?

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        August 22, 2013, 2:46 pm

        who cares? hopmhi, that’s who.

        hauser is a bad writer, and a worse analyst. failing up with ‘smart’ glasses. good for her.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      August 22, 2013, 2:32 pm

      brilliant mischaracterization of the article. the article states that braun does not necessarily consider himself jewish (and certainly wouldn’t qualify according to pertinent religious standards) and yet was ‘adopted’ by some as the ‘Hebrew hammer’. it also states that at least some of the allegations about anti-Semitic commentary directed at Braun has been categorically denied (But hold on! It’s not even clear that Braun accused anyone of anti-Semitism! Some of the people to whom he’s supposed to have made the comments have issued categorical denials.) so it sounds more likely that this ‘controversy’ is of the manufactured variety, than evidence of dangerous, latent anti-Semitism in the States, as is intimated.

  6. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    August 21, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Ryan Braun is a jerk, and was the first time he got caught cheating and got away with it. He should be banned for life for falsely claiming innocence the first time around.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    August 21, 2013, 6:06 pm

    RE: “ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech . . .” ~ ADL

    MY SNARK: Of course ADL ardently sup­ports the right to free speech. As does AIPAC!*

    * SEE – “The AIPAC Politics of Smear: The Secret Section in Israel’s U.S. Lobby That Stifles American Debate”, By Gregory D. Slabodkin, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 1992, pages 7-8, 89-91

    [EXCERPTS] During the reign of terror that Senator Joseph McCarthy unleashed in the 1950s, when the reputations and lives of many loyal Americans were ruined by false charges of “communism” and “treason,” American Jewry was overwhelmingly opposed to the Wisconsin senator and his blackmail by blacklists. According to the Gallup polls of the time, the percentage of U.S. Jews who opposed McCarthy’s smear tactics was twice that of the rest of the population. Many Jewish organizations passed resolutions condemning McCarthy’s ruthless character assassination.
    Today, however, such national Jewish organizations as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are using the same tactics to stifle open debate of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

    • Secretly Circulated Lists
    To conduct this “neo-McCarthyism,” AIPAC operates a covert section within its research department that monitors and keeps files on politicians, journalists, academics, Arab-American activists, Jewish liberals, and others it labels “anti-Israel.” AIPAC selects information from these files and secretly circulates lists of the “guilty,” together with their alleged political misdeeds, buttressed by their statements, often totally out of context.
    Just as McCarthy’s permanent investigations subcommittee labeled criticism of specific policies of the U.S. government as “anti-American,” or “pro-Soviet,” AIPAC labels criticism of Israeli government policies “anti-Israel,” “pro-Arab” or “pro-PLO.” Still worse is the pro-Israel lobby’s redefinition of “anti-Semitism” to include any such criticism of Israel or its actions. . .
    . . . AIPAC’s “opposition research” department traces its roots to I.L. (Sy) Kenen, who founded AIPAC in 1954. As editor of AIPAC’s weekly Near East Report, he often attacked critics of Israel in his aptly titled column, “The Monitor.” Besides monitoring, analyzing, and responding to “anti-Israel” comment and activities in the United States, Kenen also kept files on AIPAC’s “enemies.” In his final year AIPAC began to expand its intelligence-gathering operations.
    Kenen’s memoirs, “Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington”, record how AIPAC pooled resources in 1974 with the American Jewish Committee and other national Jewish organizations to create a “truth squad.” Its purpose was to combat “pro-Arab propaganda” and the emerging “Arab lobby,” which Kenen believed to be a growing threat to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
    “While vigorously defending Israel’s perceived interests, the organizations that created the truth squad turned into a kind of Jewish thought police,” journalist Robert I. Friedman explains. “Investigators—sometimes overzealous Jewish college students, sometimes sources with access to U.S. intelligence agencies—were used to ferret out critics of Israel, Jew or gentile, wherever they might be. At ADL and AIPAC, files were opened on journalists, politicians, scholars and community activists. Their speeches and writings were monitored, as were, in some cases, their other professional activities. And they were often smeared with charges of anti-Semitism or with the pernicious label of self-hating Jew. The intention was to stifle debate on the Middle East within the Jewish community, the media and academia, for fear that criticism of any kind would weaken the Jewish state.”
    When Kenen stepped down as executive director of AIPAC in December 1974, the task of monitoring Israel’s “enemies” was left to the department of research and information at AIPAC, where it has remained ever since. . .


    • DICKERSON3870
      August 21, 2013, 6:10 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE (AND/OR LISTEN TO): “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

      [EXCERPTS] . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)

      . . . • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
      • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there [at AIPAC] in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
      In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
      They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .


  8. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    August 21, 2013, 9:19 pm

    Abe Foxman needs antisemitsm to secure his $50K. [a month] salary. He would be lost without it. Funny how he remains hypocritically mum when this is said:

    “If you catch terrorists, you simply have to kill them,” he was quoted in Yedioth Ahronoth as saying. The head of the National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, told Bennett, “Listen, that’s not legal.” Bennett replied: “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.” – Naftali Bennett

    “What difference does it make if the kushim who get paid in Tel Aviv beat the kushim who get paid in Greece?” – Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, David Lau

    “Sudanese refugees are a cancer on our body” – Likud lawmaker Miri Regev

    “The mocha-colored guys are smarter, but the dark colored ones are just guys off the street. They’re dumb like slaves, they do whatever you tell them.” – basketball coach Pini Gershon

    Racist, anyone?

  9. seafoid
    August 22, 2013, 5:18 pm

    “the Anti-Defamation League, the nation’s firewall against anti-Semitism and racism”
    joined with Hustler, the nation’s firewall against the depiction of women as sex objects and the GOP, the nation’s firewall against the destruction of the environment

  10. Chu
    August 22, 2013, 5:27 pm–lied-and-cared-only-for-himself-050550708.html

    ‘That, too, is who Ryan Braun is. He is the guy who takes performance-enhancing drugs, gets caught, lies about it, wins and still feels it necessary to smear a completely innocent man who did his job exactly how protocol said he should. He is someone willing to lie to teammates, to fans, to everyone, building this tower of propaganda that Monday toppled all over him.
    He is a cockroach. And on Monday, he went splat.’

  11. munro
    August 22, 2013, 9:21 pm

    JTA wraps up report with consoling news that, now, Braun’s not Jewish, and his failings traceable to his anti-Semitic Catholic mother and grandmother:

    Braun has been referred to as “The Hebrew Hammer.” His mother, Diane, a Catholic, has said, “He’s totally not Jewish.”
    “I heard some organization started called him ‘The Hebrew Hammer.’ I said, ‘Oh no.’ My mother would be rolling over in her grave if she heard that.”

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