This is astonishing. From the JTA, Ties to the ADL are proving to be a problem for a Massachusetts court nominee. The nominee has “a long track record in civil rights advocacy.” But his organization tried to dismiss the Armenian genocide at a time when Turkey and Israel were getting along; and progressives are calling him out for his PEP-ness, progressive except Palestine.
A nominee for the top court in Massachusetts is facing opposition in part because of his affiliation with the Anti-Defamation League.
Joseph S. Berman, 49, a regional leader of the New England ADL and a commissioner for the national ADL since 2006, was nominated as a judge for the state Superior Court in October by Gov. Deval Patrick.
At an emotionally charged hearing last week, Marilyn Pettito Devaney of the Governor’s Council — the elected eight-member panel that is voting on the nomination — said she had the votes to deny Berman the appointment.
Devaney, who lives in Watertown, a Boston suburb with a large Armenian population, added that if she belonged to a group that denied the Holocaust, she would resign…
Robert Trestan, director of the New England ADL, said “the attack” on Berman and the ADL was a surprise.
Yes, as Bob Dylan said, a change in the weather is known to be extreme.
Berman gets a character reference here from a Boston attorney whom we quoted yesterday, speaking at a pro-Israel fundraiser for Obama on the west coast, repeatedly criticizing the Obama administration for its Iran and Israel policies.
Berman was among the most persuasive leaders urging the group to acknowledge the massacre as a genocide, according to Jeffrey Robbins, chair of the New England ADL, who testified at the hearing.
Berman, a partner at the Boston firm Looney & Grossman, is a commercial litigation lawyer with a long track record in civil rights advocacy.
Robbins, quoted in the Hill yesterday:
He said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”
Robbins also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that Israeli officials were disparaging the emerging deal without being fully briefed on its details.
“Stuff that seems aimed of fomenting a view of those who are concerned about Israel as somehow obsessive-compulsive or worse,” he said.
The news: the Israel lobby is on the defensive.