Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The media’s story is that Trump’s win unleashed anti-Semitism on the right. Instead it’s unleashing anti-Semitism on the left. From the elevation of Keith Ellison to head the DNC, despite his ugly history with anti-Semitism, to the mainstreaming of Islamist anti-Semites from CAIR, ISNA and other hate groups with a history of supporting anti-Semitic terror, the atmosphere on the left has only grown uglier.
Equally troubling is the way in which anti-Israel hatred is being mainstreamed within the Jewish community under the guise of a collective front to oppose Trump. The groups taking the lead in these protests include some of the ugliest anti-Israel organizations around, including JVP and If Not Now.
From the beginning they have camouflaged attacks on centrist pro-Israel groups, such as AIPAC and ZOA, in anti-Trump rallies. Their real agenda isn’t opposition to Trump, but to the Jewish State.
And many establishment Jewish groups that claim to be pro-Israel have proven all too willing to mainstream anti-Israel groups and their hostility to Israel to be able to hold anti-Trump events.
Given a choice between supporting Israel and opposing Trump, they have made their priorities clear. They have chosen to attack Trump and give aid and comfort to those working against the Jewish State.
The ADL has been one of the loudest voices against Trump. But while the former Jewish civil rights organization claims that it’s protecting Jewish values, it’s partnering with vocal opponents of the Jewish State. Its new campaign against Trump is normalizing organizations that are hostile to Israel.
While the headlines for ADL events rarely mention them, behind the latest splashy rally or conference vowing to fight “hate” are groups that hate and fight against the rights of Jews to live in Israel.
On a cold day in Boston, the Anti-Defamation League of New England rolled out its “Massachusetts Speaks Out Against Hate” rally. Top Boston political officials were in attendance. The ADL’s partners included the Greater Boston JCC and the JCRC, along with radical leftist groups, and J Street.
In New York City, the ADL convened what it billed as an inaugural summit on anti-Semitism. Its urgent title, and accompanying hashtag, was #NeverisNow. It promised TED Talks and “interactive sessions on the challenges posed by modern-day anti-Semitism.”
Instead it provided a platform for opponents of Israel to spew their hatred at the Jewish State.
The star of #NeverisNow was Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker. The Ford Foundation not only financed much of the groundwork for the left’s wave of anti-Semitism, but it backed Black Lives Matter and funds various anti-Israel groups.
But it got worse.
Instead of wholly and utterly rejecting delegitimization of Israel, the ADL asked it as a question.
The “Is Delegitimization of Israel Anti-Semitism?” panel gave anti-Israel activist Jill Jacobs and the _Forward’_s Jane Eisner a forum. Jacobs denounced the Israeli “occupation” and argued that Jews had to stop equating attacks on Israel with anti-Semitism. She defended BDS tactics against accusations of anti-Semitism and criticized the Jewish community for backing legislation opposed to BDS.
While leftist anti-Semitism could be given the benefit of the doubt, Jacobs denounced counterterrorism expert Frank Gaffney who has worked to protect Israel and Jews from Muslim terrorists.
The Jane Eisner quote, which the ADL chose to showcase, insisted that, “with the BDS movement, there are some bad actors, but we have to listen hard to people attracted to that ideology and think of ways to engage with them productively.”
That had been Greenblatt’s message in the past. While denouncing Trump, the ADL was engaged in normalizing anti-Semitism by minimizing it and then insisting on dialogue with the perpetrators.
And all of this was taking place at a conference purportedly being held to fight anti-Semitism.
The ADL had an anti-Trump consensus while trying to erode the pro-Israel consensus. It spread alarmist paranoia about Trump’s threat to Jews while providing a platform for opponents and critics of Israel.
The panel “Power and Powerlessness – Anti-Semitism In Our Times” included the leftist academic Halbertal who had accused Israel of being headed toward becoming an Apartheid state. The quotes from this panel that the ADL chose to highlight were Hartman’s “Jews have a hyperdefensiveness about Israel. It’s hard for us to distinguish when we’re being criticized and when we’re being hated” and Halbertal’s “Part of having power is the ability to take risks to not dominate other people.”
Instead of tackling anti-Semitism, the ADL was tackling Israel and pro-Israel Jews.
ADL boss Jonathan Greenblatt, the Obama crony many in the Jewish community have blamed for turning the organization away from Jewish causes and toward generic leftist identity politics, had signaled that this pivot was coming when he penned an essay justifying BDS bigots and attacking Israel.
Greenblatt became the first ADL boss to address J Street. And under his leadership, the ADL continues to ally with anti-Israel groups while, occasionally, even attacking Israel. And he didn’t improve matters any with his opening remarks. His signature remark, the one spread on Twitter, was a boast that, “If one day Muslim-Americans will be forced to register their identities, then that is the day that this proud Jew will register as a Muslim.”
The registry that Greenblatt was ranting about had existed during the Bush years. It was a way of monitoring tourists and students from Muslim countries who might become terror threats.
Unless Greenblatt abandoned his citizenship, moved to Pakistan and then visited America, he could no more get on this registry than he could flap his arms and fly. It was troubling that the ADL boss had no idea what he was talking about. But it was even more troubling that it was promoting Muslim migration that brought out his true passion, not defending Jews against Muslim anti-Semitism.
Perhaps instead of “registering as a Muslim”, Greenblatt could register as a member of a genuinely persecuted minority, a Jew living within range of Muslim terror, whether in Yemen, Paris, or in the part of ’67 Israel under attack by both Muslim terrorists and their hateful anti-Israel allies.
While the ADL’s donors were being assured that the organization was still fighting anti-Semitism, it was instead normalizing anti-Israel rhetoric and organizations. All it had to offer was the same tepid mythology of Muslim uber-victimhood in which Muslims are said to be the new Jews. Meanwhile Muslim anti-Semitism against Jews and the Jewish State had to take a seat in the back of the bus.
Growing anti-Semitism on the left had created a dilemma for the ADL which was caught between its mission statement and its desire to be on the left. The rise of Trump has become highly useful to the useless organization because it is able to fundraise off fighting him while ignoring real anti-Semitism.
The ADL is boasting of a massive increase in donations. That’s good for ADL executives. But while its bosses pat themselves on the back for their profitable alamism, their Islamic and left-wing allies continue to mercilessly terrorize Jews and the Jewish State. And the ADL’s anti-Trump alarmism plays neatly into the hands of the anti-Israel left by allowing anti-Semites to reinvent themselves as fighters against anti-Semitism.
The ADL is no longer just whitewashing anti-Semitism. It’s giving it a platform and a voice.