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ADL throws Netanyahu under the bus to try to make new friends

on 17 Comments

It was only a matter of time before the Anti Defamation League dumped Benjamin Netanyahu. Ever since Jonathan Greenblatt replaced Abe Foxman at the head of the organization a year ago, he has made it his mission to reach out and build coalitions with American progressives, particularly young people, whom Foxman had ignored. It hasn’t gone well. The inherent obstacle that Greenblatt has to overcome is that the ADL has regularly parroted Israeli and Netanyahu talking points. You just can’t do that while trying to build bridges with today’s youth and their values. 

Last week Greenblatt grabbed a chance to shed the odious Netanyahu in the hope of improving the ADL image, when he issued a public rebuke of the latest Netanyahu anti-Palestine video, the one called “No Jews,” in which Netanyahu made an ethnic cleansing charge against Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership. That video received a lot of negative publicity, so it was the perfect opportunity for Greenblatt to finally rid himself of the erratic and toxic prime minister. “Sorry, Bibi, the Palestinians are not ‘Ethnically Cleansing’ Jewish Settlers,” Greenblatt’s statement was titled. In it he slammed the prime minister for distorting reality on the West Bank and among Israeli Palestinians to serve his “political ends.” 

Crazies at Commentary jumped on the ADL statement, and the ADL was quick to publicize the attacks. Trust me, Jonathan Greenblatt is praying right now for Sheldon Adelson and the rightwingers to go after the statement. The ADL really wants to bask in the liberal sunshine.

Unfortunately for Greenblatt, his courageous move will have little impact on the people he is trying to sway.  

Mr Greenblatt’s problems start before we even get to his article. Right there in the headline when the piece was posted on Foreign Policy: “Using words that hint of genocide for crass political ends is beneath the standards of Israel.”

Mr. Greenblatt is still using the discourse of  a “light unto the Nations,” a country with especially high moral code.  Mr. Greenblatt believes Israel’s “standards” are higher than everyone else, and Mr. Netanyahu didn’t act up to those unusually high standards in his “No Jews” video.

But that “most moral country in the world” rhetoric belongs to another age.   

The people Mr. Greenblatt is trying to impress have a very different  idea of what “Israel standards are.” These American progressives would ask Mr Greenblatt precisely which Israeli enlightened standards, Mr. Greenblatt is referring to in that Foreign Policy headline.

Does he mean beneath the high standard Israel exhibited during the last Israeli election? When Mr Netanyahu made his notorious “Arabs are coming out in droves” video to mobilize his supporters. Even Donald Trump wouldn’t try to pull a stunt like that off. And if he did, you can be sure the ADL would be the loudest condemning him. The worst act of racism by a ruling political party  in the Western world since the civil rights era, and the best that the ADL could do at the time was to congratulate Netanyahu for apologizing for the comment, and say that he hadn’t intended the comments as “anti-Arab or racist.”

The ADL barely did better than Jeffrey Goldberg, who found Netanyahu’s shocking racism “ironic.”

But let’s not pick on Netanyahu. Maybe Mr Greenblatt is talking about the high ethical “standards” of Israeli society at large. There too, young American liberals and progressives have a very different impression of Israel standards from Mr. Greenblatt’s. They know about news like this article at 972 showing staggering support among Jewish Israelis for extrajudicial executions of Palestinians, including Sgt. Elor Azaria, who killed a Palestinian lying incapacitated on the street in Hebron last March and is now on trial for the killing.  

Forty-seven (47) percent of Jewish respondents said they agree that “any Palestinian who carries out an attack should be killed on the spot, even if he does not pose a threat.

Sixty-five (65) percent of respondents said they feel the soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria, was justified in executing the Palestinian man, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif.

Did you see that: Even if he does not pose a threat. That’s an endorsement of tribal murders.

If Jonathan Greenblatt is serious about making the ADL more of a civil rights organization, a good start is to stop his hasbara rhetoric now. It is pure propaganda. Then after that he should read the Israeli army’s deputy chief of staff General Yair Golan’s recent Holocaust memorial speech warning of Nazi-like currents in Israeli society. And he should also start reading the fine Israeli newspaper Haaretz. There he would see many articles about blossoming fascism in Israel, some of them quoting former security officials. 

If frightened Israelis are not talking about Israel meeting its high standards but about fascism and Nazi Germany, why is Mr. Greenblatt?   

Yakov Hirsch

Yakov Hirsch is a professional poker player and a writer. His twitter handle is @Yakovhirsch and his articles are posted at

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17 Responses

  1. eljay on September 20, 2016, 10:59 am

    … Mr Greenblatt’s problems start before we even get to his article. Right there in the headline when the piece was posted on Foreign Policy: “Using words that hint of genocide for crass political ends is beneath the standards of Israel.” …

    Mr. Greenblatt’s comment is a solid “zinger”, seeing as how the “standards of Israel” include:
    – terrorism;
    – (actual) ethnic cleansing;
    – oppression;
    – military occupation;
    – colonialism;
    – torture;
    – murder;
    – intransigence;
    – belligerence;
    – disregard for international laws and human rights; and
    – religion-based supremacism.

  2. Marnie on September 20, 2016, 12:16 pm

    So is he alive or, what do you mean not really thrown under the bus? Thanks for nothing!

    • Mooser on September 21, 2016, 12:30 pm

      “what do you mean not really thrown under the bus”

      “Marnie” I survived being thrown under the wheels, fuselage and searing jet engines of a Boeing 737!
      It was passing overhead at 30,000 feet at the time.

      • Marnie on September 23, 2016, 12:40 am

        “I’m not the only soul who’s accused of hit and run
        Tire tracks all across your back
        I can, I can see you had your fun
        But, darlin’ can’t you see my signals turn from green to red
        And with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead

        You’re just like crosstown traffic”

  3. Ossinev on September 20, 2016, 12:22 pm


    Your list is comprehensive and should encourage Mr.Greenblatt to follow up on the ADL`s avowed mission statement and role as per their website :
    “Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all”

    Somehow however I don`t think he and his fellow JSIL Firsters will ever be able to bring themselves to criticize their beloved “Light unto the Nations” for it`s disgusting full frontal bigotry , blatant disregard for “democratic ideals” and perennial breaches of civil rights in their oppression of the indigenous Palestinian people.

    The “Light” if there ever was one was switched off clinically and definitively in 1948 and what remains is a dark and foul little colony state lurching inexorably towards Fascism.


  4. pabelmont on September 20, 2016, 2:18 pm

    Yes, ADL’s “We love nice cuddly Israel and we detest nasty, prickly Netanyahu” does seem somehow to say that isral is nice and cuddly.

    We await ADL and others saying, “Yes we used to think Israel was cuddly, as it was supposed to be and as we were all taught in Hebrew school, but sadly it isn’t and never was. It was all a lie. Now let’s try to make it at least decent if not actually cuddly.”

    • echinococcus on September 20, 2016, 2:31 pm

      The only minimally decent Zionist entity is one that has erased itself for a return to Palestine. Period. Anything else is a total victory of colonial invasion in a post-colonial period.

      • Eric on September 21, 2016, 1:24 pm

        The Zionist entity erasing itself? That’s wishful thinking. Who do you think you are, Phil Weiss?

      • annie on September 21, 2016, 2:12 pm

        for some, it’s confusing, separating the editor from the commenters.

      • echinococcus on September 21, 2016, 2:42 pm


        Not at all, in fact I’m very different from Weiss. So much so that I write “erasing itself” not at all as a wish or exhortation but as the only legally right thing to do. Given that it refuses to do so over so many years, it has of course become the duty of the world community to make it do it.
        Again, anything else is a resounding victory for colonialism and barbary.

      • Mooser on September 21, 2016, 2:57 pm

        “The Zionist entity erasing itself?”

        Sure, it will happen. Or do you figure we can dine out for the rest of the 21st Century on our stories about stealing nuclear weapons for a Jewish State theocracy and erasing the Palestinians? Oh, and our inordinate influence on the US! I sorta doubt it. I mean, just saying.

        This latest spate of Sabbateanisms will burn out, and how else can we get out of Palestine with any credit?

  5. a blah chick on September 20, 2016, 7:49 pm

    Now, now people, let’s cut Mr. Greenblatt some slack. In defending the “idea” of Israel he doesn’t have much to work with.

  6. lyn117 on September 21, 2016, 1:23 am

    A plurality of Israeli Jews support ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel, see

  7. Keith on September 21, 2016, 10:23 am

    What has happened to the commenter profiles? They seem to have disappeared to be replaced by the cryptic [fv_user_profile] .

    • Bumblebye on September 21, 2016, 12:14 pm

      I put a couple of comments under Adam’s 2 day outage notice. There’s no profiles and no archives as a result of the ‘server maintenance’. :-(

      • Mooser on September 21, 2016, 1:18 pm

        Geez, you guys! Doesn’t every home-improvement project take longer than expected, and turn out to be more complicated than you thought at first? (If not, let’s trade houses!)
        Remember: ‘They also wait, who stand and server.’

      • echinococcus on September 21, 2016, 2:46 pm

        Yes, Mooser, that’s why I refuse to live in anything but apartments with a janitor. I hadn’t realized that Web sites are supposed to be like leaky private houses where you have to run around whacking gophers in the garden.

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