A Jewish Group's Shameful Smear
by Michelle Goldberg
The Daily Beast
The Anti-Defamation League has a new list out tarring human-rights activists in the name of protecting Israel. Michelle Goldberg on how the group is only disgracing itself.
The Anti-Defamation League, the premier American organization devoted to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, has long had a dark side. No one has done better work investigating and exposing neo-Nazi and white Supremacist groups in the United States. I’ve spoken at several ADL meetings about my own reporting on Christian nationalism. But the ADL has also shown itself willing to smear human-rights activists when it thinks Israel’s interests demand it. It is in this context that the organization’s misguided new report on the “top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,” which includes Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American Islamic Relations, has to be understood.
In the 1980s, at a time when Israel maintained close ties with South Africa, the ADL went on the attack against Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. As Sasha Polakow-Suransky reported in his recent book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, ADL National Director Nathan Perlmutter co-authored an article implying that the ANC was “totalitarian, anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israel and anti-American.” The ADL sent spies into the American anti-apartheid movement, as well as other movements critical of right-wing American foreign policy. Eventually, the organization was surveilling much of the American left. In 1993, a California police raid on the offices of the ADL and one of its investigators yielded files on Greenpeace, the NAACP, Act Up, New Jewish Agenda, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and several Democratic politicians, among hundreds of others. The ADL eventually settled a class-action lawsuit brought by several of its targets...
The Council on American Islamic Relations made the list even though, according to spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper, it has no official position on the Middle East conflict “other than to say there should be a just and comprehensive resolution based on the interests of all parties.” Though the ADL says that CAIR has “a long record of anti-Israel rhetoric, which has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism,” some of the examples it gives are laughable. For instance, the ADL informs us, “In response to the Israeli Navy's raid of a flotilla of ships heading to Gaza in May 2010, the executive director of CAIR-Chicago accused Israel of a ‘failure to apply Jewish values.’” If this is one of the worst quotes the ADL can rustle up, it gives one faith in the strength of American interfaith relations...
The ADL recognizes that it is losing the propaganda war. One reason it put out the list right now, Segal says, is that students are returning to campuses where there’s been an uptick in anti-Israel activism. “Online activism, as well as what’s happening on college campuses, are seeping into the younger generation,” he says.
But the reason young people’s views are changing isn’t because of sinister organizations. It’s because, given current Israeli policy, an unequivocal defense of the country requires ever more heroic feats of denial and rationalization. It requires great barrages of defamation, against Jimmy Carter, against once-revered South African jurist Richard Goldstone, against Desmond Tutu, against J-Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace Washington group, and now, against groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. “This defense of Israel right or wrong makes them not have a moral compass,”
Read Full Article
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html