Uncategorized · June 16, 2021 0

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Marty Levine

June 15, 2021

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) just released the results of a survey that gave them the exact results they needed to support their pro-Israel advocacy.  Constructing their questions so that a political disagreement can be described as hatred, the ADL is able to warn us of a frightening rise in acts of anti-Semitism posing a dire threat to America’s Jewish population.  

When the Survey of American Jews since Recent Violence in Israel, reached the press it got the headline that the ADL was seeking:  “American Jews Still Reeling From Rise In Anti-Semitism After Israel-Hamas Conflict, Survey Shows” (Forbes), “Three-quarters of American Jews more concerned about antisemitism following Israel-Gaza conflict” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel), “Majority of Jewish Americans have witnessed antisemitism following mideast conflict, ADL says” (The Hill)

Using its well-tended branding as a leading anti-bias organization, the ADL can put forward its politically motivated propaganda as well-curated, objective research.  

What else would anyone opening the report conclude from the report’s lead graphic than Jews are under attack because of those terrorists who are attacking Israel?

For too many years the ADL has been able to hide its well-hidden but clearly biased position on the violent and often tragic conflict between David and Goliath, a drama where Israel plays the role of the powerful and brutal giant threatening the existence of an oppressed people.

The ADL has carefully cultivated its image so that it can carry out this dangerous deception. In their own words they wish to be viewed as “a leading anti-hate organization that was founded in 1913 …ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur and continue to fight all forms of hate. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.”

With that brand image who would think that the data they present anti-Semitism would be open to question and doubt? When data comes from such a well-established organization that seems to be always in the front lines fighting bias and hatred why should we not trust them?

We should not trust them because the ADL has a second agenda that disqualifies them from being the arbiter of what is hate and what is anti-Semitism.  Looking beyond their anti-bias work, ADL is just another pro-Israel advocacy organization that is willing to look beyond the reality on the ground to see the situation as they wish to see it. They are willing to use accusations of anti-Semitism as a weapon against anyone who they fear will challenge the right of Israel to determine the fate of the Palestinian people.

About Israel and Palestine, they are very clear. Again, in their own words, the “ADL is a strong advocate for a two-state solution, calling for a mutually negotiated and sustainable peace agreement that can ensure security, self-determination and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.  We champion policies and initiatives that foster Israeli-Palestinian understanding and people-to-people engagement and call out those who would undermine such progress and ultimately peace.  ADL celebrates wider Israeli-Arab normalization and peace efforts in the region as a critical driver for regional security, stability, and people-to-people understanding.“ 

For a pro-Israel advocacy group, this is a fine position. But for a group that wishes to be seen as a defender of human rights, every human’s rights, it has no place.

The ADL has groomed us to believe that advocacy that challenges the Israeli vision they support is not only wrong but is anti-Semitic. It has played on the fear to bolster its political desires. And so, the ADL gets those they survey to tell them just what they are hoping to learn. Anti-Semitism is booming, and it is fueled by those who say Israel is the aggressor.

In an Open letter to progressives, more than 150 human-rights organizations recently made this point very clearly. The ADL is “not an ally” in the fight for equal rights and in the ongoing work to support the cause of all marginalized communities. “Since the 1950s, the ADL has leveraged its strong media operation and its relationships with lawmakers both to quash Arab American community efforts to participate in US politics, and to defend Israel from widespread criticism of its system of segregation and apartheid…”

According to the ADL, those 150 organizations are guilty of anti-Semitism. That is how clearly their bias shows.

“Anti-Semitism is a form of prejudice or discrimination directed toward Jews as individuals or as a group. Anti-Semitism is based on age-old stereotypes and myths that target Jews as a people, their religious practices and beliefs, or the Jewish State of Israel. Words or actions related to Israel are anti-Semitic when they blame all Jews for the actions of the state, single out Israel in denying the country’s right to exist as a Jewish state… ADL believes that the founding goals of the BDS movement and many of the strategies used by BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic. While there are people who support BDS but are not anti-Semitic, the campaign is founded on a rejection of Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. It denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination – a right universally afforded to other groups.  In ADL’s view, this differs from legitimate criticism of Israel and is anti-Semitic.”

The ADL asked people to use political speech as a measure of hatred. And they found what they hope to find:  “A Majority of Jews View Certain Types of Anti-Israel Critiques as Antisemitic “

They did this not by deep analysis of deeds and actions but by simply asking “American Jews to share their opinions on whether they consider certain types of statements or behaviors that have occasionally appeared at protests or online to be antisemitic.”

The survey results tell us not about acts of hatred but about words we may not want to hear. It also told us how effective the ADL’s campaign to define certain speech, pro-Palestinian speech as hatred has been: