Trending Topics:

ADL connection is suddenly a liability for a court nominee

Israel/Palestine
on 34 Comments

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.

Jeffrey Robbins, photo at his law firm's site

Jeffrey Robbins, photo at his law firm’s site

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.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

34 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    November 27, 2013, 12:10 pm

    Time to point out that Obama is not taking swipes at Israel, but at Netanyahu and Likud, and points to the right. And why shouldn’t he?

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 27, 2013, 12:29 pm

    It is well to view all this as ALSO pointing out to the American public that there **IS** “space between American and Israel” (contrary to Biden’s constantly sung song) and “on Israel’s security” too, although it is Israel than claims the Iran deal hurts Israel’s security, and the USA which (I suppose) denies it or just doesn’t care.

    Anyhow, what we are seeing (and what we need to be saying) is that there IS SPACE BETWEEN. The hitherto thought-to-be Siamese Twins are, in fact, unrelated.

  3. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    November 27, 2013, 12:29 pm

    Nice. About time.

    “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…”

    That’s exactly right.

    “the administration took ‘crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel’ that were ‘difficult to understand from a friend.'”

    What a juvenile view of the world. israel is not the USA’s “friend.” Friendship exists between individual people, not states. These people need to grow up.

  4. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    November 27, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Off topic a bit, but did anyone else see this hatchet job on the entire Palestinian people in the Boston Globe:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/11/24/rally-shows-pervasive-palestinian-anti-semitism/tfrQGd8HuJ2by7m2jp0HiI/story.html

    It’s Jeff Jacoby’s reaction to the Al Quds University “controversy” that basically says Palestinian values are the same as Nazis. I wrote a letter to the editor:

    Dear Editor,

    I’m an American woman who lived in Palestine for two years during and after the second Intifada, working as a journalist based in Ramallah. Reading Jeff Jacoby’s op-ed, I was shocked at the racism and essentializing that got past The Boston Globe’s editors in the years 2013. The ease with which anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry slides off today’s op-ed pages is a sad parallel to the “acceptable in polite company” anti-Semitism of old. It should be condemned just as soundly.

    I can’t, in 200 words, offer systematic proof that Palestinians aren’t, as a collective, fascist, hate-filled, genocidal maniacs who can never make peace simply because of who they are, and thus don’t deserve fundamental human rights (such as freedom, fair trials, self-determination, etc.) like the rest of the world. (None of these rights is granted to Palestinians under Israeli occupation.)

    But when such grandiose and damaging accusations are thrown around, I would encourage people of conscience and reason to dig a little deeper before accepting (and publishing!) what amounts to a blanket condemnation of an entire civilian population — a characterization I find deeply unfair and inaccurate, given my long experience living among Palestinians, and also profoundly damaging to prospects for genuine peace in the region.

    Sincerely,

    Pamela Olson, author of Fast Times in Palestine

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      November 27, 2013, 1:25 pm

      Jeff Jacoby’s a typical lying zio. Your letter is better than he deserves (which is a swift kick in the nuts.)

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      November 27, 2013, 6:15 pm

      That was appalling! It would be hard to imagine the most rabid anti-semite in Hitler’s Germany writing something as vicious.

  5. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    November 27, 2013, 12:37 pm

    More on-topic:

    The American Studies Association recently held an open and rigorous meeting about the academic boycott of Israel. The members are overwhelmingly in favor, and less and less terrified of the only real tactics the opposition has: Intimidation, punishment, and harassment.

    “In the intellectual world, the resort to force is not a position of strength. Saturday evening at the ASA showed the power of reasoned, moral argument. And there is no going back from that. In the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people, a turning point has been achieved.”

    Changing times, indeed.

    http://electronicintifada.net/content/taboo-boycotting-israel-has-been-broken/12949

    • Walid
      Walid
      November 27, 2013, 1:48 pm

      off-topic, Pamela, as Annie said, Mohammed Assaf singing at the UN in front of a group of Palestinians celebrating Palestinian Day there:

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        November 27, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Mashallah :D

      • annie
        annie
        November 27, 2013, 3:59 pm

        thanks walid! i actually wrote a post yesterday but it hasn’t been published yet. i’ll add the video.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        November 27, 2013, 5:48 pm

        Kteer hilw

        Wayn ya Ramallah would also have been acceptable

      • just
        just
        November 27, 2013, 9:53 pm

        I can’t thank you enough Walid for posting that beautiful video.

        Thanks to Annie and MW for everything that they do and have done to make truth known.

        M. Assaf is so amazing… the exuberance and pure joy that he elicits is just beautiful and inspiring.

        As for “The news: the Israel lobby is on the defensive.”

        I am so incredibly grateful to read it.

        Finally.

        Now is not the time to lay down, but to resist the lobby like never, ever before.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 27, 2013, 6:38 pm

      The King to Oxford sent a troop of horse,
      For Tories own no argument but force:
      With equal skill to Cambridge books he sent,
      For Whigs admit no force but argument.

      — William Browne

  6. Krauss
    Krauss
    November 27, 2013, 1:04 pm

    When we reach the day when a hateful organization like the ADL is no longer given the cover of a ‘civil rights group’ we’ve come a long way. We need an organization to watch against genuine anti-Semitism, but that’s not what ADL does.

    I remember a scene from ‘Defamation’ (2009), an excellent movie about anti-Semitism, where Abe Foxman essentially tells the Ukranian leadership; forget about your own Holocaust in WW2, in fact don’t even use that term. Then we’ll help you forge ties with America.

    (Note: Ukraine lost around 5-7 million civilians in what was essentially a genocide by Russian troops, by wilful neglect, Mao Zedong-style).

    By minimizing the Armenian genocide, they have exposed themselves as an organization not committed to fightning hate but to promote ethnic nationalism. An ugly group.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      November 27, 2013, 4:14 pm

      “By minimizing the Armenian genocide, they have exposed themselves as an organization not committed to fightning hate but to promote ethnic nationalism. An ugly group.”

      Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Because every goddamn civil rights organization is a paragon of ideological purity. Especially the Muslim ones.

      Let’s see how long y’all run with this ridiculous story.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        November 27, 2013, 5:09 pm

        “Whatever. Because every goddamn civil rights organization is a paragon of ideological purity.”

        LMAO. Oh, the ADL has ideological purity. It’s just not in the service of human rights for all.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        November 27, 2013, 5:50 pm

        Hoph

        That scene from Defamation is loathsome.
        Only Jewish suffering counts to Foxman. He’s a fraud.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 27, 2013, 9:37 pm

        >> Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Because every goddamn civil rights organization is a paragon of ideological purity. Especially the Muslim ones.

        Gotta love how Zio-supremacists are proud of the fact that they strive to be just a little bit better than the worst. “You’re damn right I’m a serial rapist…but I sure as hell ain’t no killer!”

        It warms the cockles, it does… :-P

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        November 27, 2013, 10:14 pm

        Oooh, oooh, he’s already on the fourth pillar of Zionist talking points: Everyone sucks! Such a great argument!

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 27, 2013, 11:31 pm

        What are the four pillars?
        _. _________________________
        _. You must be defending Hamas.
        _. Opposition to the System is Anti-semitism.
        4. Other countries are bad.

      • Sumud
        Sumud
        November 28, 2013, 11:01 am

        What are the four pillars?

        W.Jones ~ Pamela is referencing a funny article by JSF from 2008 about the ways ziobots defend Israel:

        How to make the case for Israel and win

        Have a read, I’m sure it will ring true!

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      November 27, 2013, 4:51 pm

      Krauss,
      I think Ukraine did not undergo an ethnically directed genocide since many people across the border in Russia died too at a comparable rate. That does not diminish the fact of Stalin’s mistreatments in Ukraine.

      However I do not think the ADL was aware of any subtleties and agree with your point.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        November 27, 2013, 5:19 pm

        “I think Ukraine did not undergo an ethnically directed genocide since many people across the border in Russia died too at a comparable rate. ”

        I think that this is direct conflict with the historical record.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 11:45 am

        Hi W.T.
        I do not believe Stalin intentionally created a famine in Ukraine to kill Ukrainians per se because they were Ukrainian.

        First, Russian people point out that the famine crossed into Russia’s farming regions where people died. This map focuses on Ukraine, but it does show part of the Russian regions affected:
        http://www.faminegenocide.com/resources/images/map1932.jpg
        As you will notice, Russia’s Krasnodor Region suffered population loss at a rate in the same, highest category as those in Ukraine. Meanwhile, some Ukrainian farming regions (eg. Khmelnitsky) did not have a population decrease.

        Second, we do not have records by Stalin or anyone else saying to create a famine there in order to kill Ukrainians.

        Third, alternate explanations make sense. Ukraine was a major Soviet farming area, called “the breadbasket of the USSR”. A Ukrainian lady I stayed with told me her farmer mother said in those years there really was a bad harvest. A Russian Soviet exile told me that the peasants really did not like collectivization. It was a forced farming policy by Stalin. Due either to resistance or mismanagement, the harvest was bad. Meanwhile it was good that the USSR built its industry fast: in a few years it would have to fight the Nazi Juggernaut. Stalin’s decision was to sell national resources in exchange for western industrial help. Selling agricultural produce also contributed to the famine.

        Why say all this? Because at the moment the subtext of the Holodomor issue is a push by nationalists to build up animosity with Russians, as if it was a case of the Russians trying to genocide the Ukrainians.

        Interestingly, the famine was in East Ukraine and is more “pro-Russian”, while current, nationalist West Ukraine is not colored in the map and is the more conflictual part. In other words, the issue of whether the famine was intentionally directed against Ukrainians per se is a controversy that unfortunately involves political bias conflict. I happen to like Ukrainians, and the famine was said and so should be commemorated. But looking at their common experience with Russia’s farmers would help allay animosity and get along.

      • MRW
        MRW
        November 27, 2013, 6:36 pm

        I think Ukraine did not undergo an ethnically directed genocide

        Yes, they did. It’s called the Holodomor, and it happened in the early 1930s. I learned about it when I was in Kiev. 7 million people, at least.
        http://ukrainianholocaust.org

        EDIT: read Eric Margolis’ account here: http://ukrainianholocaust.org/Page_3.html

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Hi MRW.

        I happen to like Ukrainians and it is sad that they, along with many Russian peasants died in the 1930’s. So it puts me in an awkward position to go against the thrust of an idea that is in favor of them, as if I am OK with the famine. However there is something to be said for having positive relations between ethnic groups and genocide is a big charge. Besides what I wrote above, I would mention that I read the article you pointed to. It does a good job talking about the repression and Gulag. Would I be justifying them when I point to this quote from the article:

        Russia never prosecuted any of its mass murderers, as Germany did. We know all about crimes of Nazis… But who remembers Soviet mass murderers Dzerzhinsky, Kaganovitch, Yagoda, Yezhov, and Beria?

        And then I would ask you: what happened to the last three people on that list? What does that tell you about the author when it comes to labeling Russia as “genocidal”?
        The author did not produce any quotes by Stalin or others saying they wanted to kill Ukrainians per se. It produced a letter by Kaganovich saying “The theory that Ukrainians are guiltless victims leads to solidarity and corrupt cover-up”. What he means is that he is blaming Ukrainians, who he admits are victims, as partly responsible. The idea is that they resisted collectivization and this caused mismanagement that led to the famine. I am sure that is true in some cases. Many people would not (and did not) want to give up farms and they would resist it, and lack of cooperation would hurt output. But he is not saying he wants to kill the Ukrainian people.

    • Keith
      Keith
      November 27, 2013, 7:07 pm

      KRAUSS- “When we reach the day when a hateful organization like the ADL is no longer given the cover of a ‘civil rights group’ we’ve come a long way.”

      Another example of ADL perfidy was in August of 1992, when the ADL, The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress demonstrated outside the UN and placed an ad in the New York Times comparing the Serbs to the Nazis. This, in spite of the fact that during World War II, it was the Croats and Muslims who were aligned with Hitler’s Germany, and the Serbs who comprised the bulk of the partisan resistance. Furthermore, it was the Croats who ran the Jasenovac death camps where hundreds of thousands of Serbs, along with Roma and Jews, were exterminated. But the empire wanted to intervene, so the Zionists performed their usual facilitating role.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 28, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Good example. But that’s an interesting break from the Israeli line, isn’t it? I think the State was defending Serbia during that conflict at some political levels, wasn’t it?

      • Keith
        Keith
        November 29, 2013, 3:43 pm

        W JONES- At the time, I didn’t pay attention to official Israeli policy in regards to Yugoslavia, however, I do recall that Ariel Sharon made negative comments about it. American Jewish support was overwhelmingly liberal, many were critics of Israeli policy in regards to the Palestinians, however, this was mainly directed at the Likud government and of a partisan nature, Democrats/Labour versus Republicans/Likud. In other words, a play by liberal American Jews to demonstrate that they were the more effective empire Jews. This would be entirely consistent with the right turn of the Democratic Party led by Bill Clinton.

  7. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    November 27, 2013, 1:23 pm

    I really hope they can keep up the pressure on the Armenian genocide. Would an Armenian councilor vote for a Turk whose organization he headed claimed there was no Armenian genocide?

    Armenia really has not recovered. Go back to a map of the Middle Ages. Armenia/Edessa covered Kurdistan. After several conquests the people still lived in east Turkey. They were just slaughtered there in East Turkey and their homes taken over. Iran has a more vibrant Armenian Christian community than Turkey does. Armenia today is just a sliver of its former self. It’s similar to the history of Palestine west of the Green Line, except for the victim count: 1.5 million Armenians dead vs. what would you say, 10,000 Palestinians?

    Is Turkey being “Defamed” so that the ADL must defend the genocide?

    • MRW
      MRW
      November 27, 2013, 6:48 pm

      When I was in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, they said it was 3 million.

  8. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 27, 2013, 2:30 pm

    “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.”

    Who cares what this crazy ex-con or the crazy panel she sits on thinks?

    “Marilyn Petitto Devaney was sentenced to probation three years ago after she faced charges for throwing a curling iron at a store clerk.”

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/02/22/oft_overlooked_panel_drawing_new_scrutiny/

    The Boston Globe thinks this is nonsense.

    “The Governor’s Council is poised to make a profound error by rejecting a Massachusetts Superior Court nominee based, in part, on his volunteer activities with the Anti-Defamation League, a national organization committed to combating anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Whether through bad faith or a lack of familiarity with the facts, a majority of the eight-member board appears to believe that Joseph Berman, a well-regarded trial and appellate lawyer, didn’t stand up for justice during the 2007-08 clash between the league’s national leadership and the Armenian-American community. . .

    “Had Berman been an apologist for Foxman at the time, it would make sense for Governor’s Council member Marilyn Pettito Devaney and others to seek an explanation. Devaney is a resident of Watertown, which boasts a large Armenian community. But Berman was never the problem in the first place. On the contrary, he and other ADL members from Boston reset the ADL’s moral compass.

    Berman’s credentials are in order. He has argued cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court. He is an expert on legal ethics and a respected mediator.”

    So your story is nonsense, you hitched your wagon to the star of a crazy lady, and you besmirched the guy who did the opposite of what you claim. The winds are not changing. You just found one anecdote and you’re presenting it here as something that it is not.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones
      November 28, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Awesome. The Armenian Christian lady is crazy because she throws a curling iron at someone.

      Meanwhile we learn from Israeli supporters that Muslims are whackjob anti-Semitic genocidal killers. But we cannot expect the ADL to have “ideological purity” when it comes to it lobbying against the idea of a genocide of 1.5-3 million Armenians by Muslim Turks.

      How would you rank them all in terms of craziness?

  9. hophmi
    hophmi
    November 28, 2013, 10:25 am

    I guess y’all are going to run with this fatuous story. It just goes to show, again, the fundamental dishonesty and self-delusion in your movement.

Leave a Reply