100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations have issued an open letter encouraging community institutions to rethink their relationships to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The letter comes in response to the ADL’s history of targeting and co-opting movements for justice—particularly those led by communities of color—and advancing Islamophobia, policing, and global militarism while projecting a false badge of progressivism.
The ADL has smeared lefties Max Blumenthal, Jefferson Morley and Phil Weiss as serving rightwing antisemites because they said that Trump killed Qasem Soleimani out of concern for Israel’s interest, Weiss writes. “To do so it lies about what I wrote about the number of Zionist Jews in the Trump administration.”
If we do not distinguish between valid critiques of the policies of the Israeli state and anti-Semitism, we are allowing rightwing forces to weaponize anti-Semitism, suppressing freedom of speech and open debate, and making the term anti-Semitism meaningless at a time when it is critical to identify and oppose it.
When Peter Beinart said that Republicans like Israel because it’s an “ethnic democracy,” ADL Deputy Director Ken Jacobson pounced, saying that he was delegitimizing Israel as a “racist state,” and fostering the victimization of Jews. Beinart responded that Israel isn’t racist. Jonathan Ofir urges him to acknowledge the reality of what Israel has become.
Congress is trying to expand the federal definition of antisemitism for the third time. The legislation directs the Education Dep’t to use a standard for anti-Semitism written by a Holocaust-remembrance organization that includes some criticisms of Israel, including applying “double standards” to the country and claiming that the state is a racist endeavor.
A sobering number of progressive individuals, organizations, human resources departments, and media outlets have partnered with the ADL, because they do not know of its history of promoting racist practices. Nada Elia writes, “If there is to be ‘no place for hate’ in our communities, there should be no place for the ADL.”
When Trump called Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” he was echoing an Israeli tactic against Palestinian dissenters. The charge has been used against sitting lawmakers, like when former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Hanin Zoabi a terrorist, and against poet Dareen Tatour and anti-occupation activist Ahed Tamimi.
That ‘NYT’ cartoon showing Netanyahu as a dachshund leading blind Trump in a skullcap caused the Times to apologize again and again for bigotry. But two former ‘NYT’ reporters say the cartoon could have run in Israeli papers without uproar, apparently because it’s not so bad to criticize your own. And the Times has been indifferent to its anti-Palestinian racism.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL will always cut Zionists a break on the standards he applies to others. Today he said of New Zealand mosque killings, “This act of violence really doesn’t have a precedent as far as we know, murdering people in a mosque.” He conveniently forgot the slaughter of 29 Muslims in Palestine by a Jewish settler in 1994.
“Israel has the most extraordinary asset in its hands, the support of American Jewry. This is a natural resource that is more precious and more unique– it’s like vibranium that you can only mine in Wakanda. And it has more value than Bitcoin or erethreum, but it is a natural resource that you will squander and you will suboptimize and that won’t always be there if you don’t manage it well.” Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL.