Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Jonathan Greenblatt introduced the ADL’s Never is Now 2018 conference with a full-throated defense of George Soros. It was a strange decision for an organization that had once criticized the radical anti-Israel billionaire’s defenses of anti-Semitism. But under Greenblatt, a former Obama official, the ADL had turned sharply to the left and Never is Now, the ADL’s big shindig, was a disturbing demonstration.
Greenblatt’s opening remarks at the December conference mentioned Soros twice and Israel only once.
And he did not mention Israel to defend it, but to sell out the Jewish State in defense of Soros.
“If your favorite politician is attacking George Soros,” the ADL boss warned, “you must stand up and tell them to stop. And do so even if they profess love for Israel up and down.”
Israel was less important than Soros. And that’s not surprising coming from Greenblatt, who had formerly headed the Aspen Institute, which had received funding from Soros. Instead of standing up for Israel, Greenblatt was encouraging Jews to pick fights with pro-Israel politicians if they insulted Soros.
The ADL had once condemned Soros for using Israel to justify anti-Semitism, now it was all in on Soros and out on Israel.
And it got worse.
The ADL chose to invite Senator Cory Booker to hand out an award. Booker had not only betrayed Jewish voters by backing Iran’s nuclear program, but just that summer had been caught posing with members of an anti-Israel and pro-terrorist BDS hate group while holding up an anti-Israel sign.
In September, Booker favorably quoted Stokely Carmichael at a Senate hearing. Carmichael had infamously said, "The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist we must take a lesson from Hitler.”
The ADL could have chosen to invite any number of pro-Israel senators, including those who had voted against Iran. Instead it chose to invite a pro-Iran politico who palled around with BDS activists and found inspiration in the words of a black nationalist anti-Semite who praised Adolf Hitler.
So much for Never is Now.
The ADL had not only betrayed the message of Never Again, it put up on its stage a politician who had voted to protect a nuclear program meant to kill millions of Jews and who favorably quoted a racist who advocated another Holocaust.
The ADL couldn’t have betrayed the memory of the Holocaust any more thoroughly if Greenblatt had goosestepped onto the stage while singing the Horst Wessel Lied.
Never is Now 2018 sold out Jews and Israel.
The list of speakers did not include a single official from a major pro-Israel organization. Not even AIPAC. However Jill Jacobs, the head of the militantly anti-Israel T’ruah, was a featured speaker. T’ruah had rallied efforts to force Jewish charities to stop helping Jews living in areas claimed by Islamic terrorists.
While the Never is Now 2018 agenda featured an unambiguous condemnation of any efforts to combat illegal immigration, its only Israel panel asked, “When is Criticism of Israel anti-Semitism?” while suggesting that there are "some in the Jewish community who label almost all expressions that are deemed 'anti-Israel' as anti-Semitic".
While the ADL was ruthlessly unequivocal on a variety of lefty issues, such as illegal migration or the reputation of George Soros, it was willing to equivocate when it came to attacking the Jewish State.
There was no room for debate on lefty issues. But there was room for debate on hating Israel.
The panel discussing whether hatred of the Jewish State was anti-Semitic featured Jill Jacobs, a hateful opponent of Israel, and Alyza Lewin of the Brandeis Center, the token pro-Israel organization at NIN. Jacobs, along with top T’ruah leaders, had previously signed a letter urging the United States to “to take a cautious stand concerning Hamas” and called for “constructive engagement with the new Palestinian government”.
Some months after T’ruah’s leadership advocated working with Hamas, the Islamic terror group had put out its own proposal for the Jewish people, “My message to the loathed Jews is that there is no god but Allah, we will chase you everywhere! We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews.”
Never is Now is meant to be a reference to the Holocaust. Not only wasn’t the ADL fighting a second Holocaust, it was welcoming in apologists for Islamist monsters who want to drink Jewish blood.
And apologists for anti-Semites of all sorts.
Appearing on an anti-Semitism panel was Jane Eisner, The Forward boss, whose social justice tabloid not only routinely spewed hate toward Israel, but toward Jews in general. On her watch, the formerly Jewish paper had defended the leaders of the Women’s March, Jeremy Corbyn, Farrakhan and a lefty politician who claimed that Jews control the weather.
The ADL had invited a radical bigot whose paper featured pieces with titles worthy of Stormfront such as, "3 Jewish Moguls Among Eight Who Own as Much as Half the Human Race" and "Why We Should Applaud The Politician Who Said Jews Control The Weather" to discuss anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism, like Israel, was also a pro and con issue at the ADL.
Also on the ADL’s list of speakers was Yehuda Webster, a black nationalist activist, the son of a pastor from Guyana, who had declared, “I am very much against state-sponsored oppression in any context in America, in Israel, or in Palestine. I must stand on the side of the people who fight for liberation.”
Webster is an activist with the radical JFREJ hate group which has fought to cover up anti-Semitism on the Left. The foster son of a JFREJ funder had even been caught setting fires in Jewish schools.
“It’s important for white Jews and Israelis to recognize, yes, the Palestinian-Israeli situation is unique, but still it does play into this global system of white supremacy,” he had argued.
Webster wasn’t the only ADL speaker with a history of accusing Jews of being white supremacists. Joining him was Yavillah McCoy who had declared, “When Jews accepted a white identity in America, they participated in sustaining white supremacy.”
McCoy is associated with Bend the Arc, a radical group headed by Stosh Cotler, an anti-Israel activist.
Instead of inviting activists fighting anti-Semitism, the ADL had instead chosen two leftists associated with anti-Israel groups, who have a history of libeling Jews.
And yet the most obvious thing about Never is Now wasn’t its growing tolerance for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views. It was how little Jewish content there was in a conference referencing the Holocaust.
There were few representatives of the Jewish community on stage. Instead the ADL brought out obscure lefty activists who, even when they weren’t openly anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, were obscure at best.
Instead of inviting activists who could discuss the rash of anti-Semitic violent attacks against Orthodox Jews in New York City or the Islamic terrorist attacks against Jewish families in Israel, the ADL invited Steph Loehr, a transgender gamer, who fights against integrating voice chat in online video games.
"In my world, the inclusivity-cost of voice chat is very real. The addition of voice chat will push many marginalized players out of the base," Loer claimed.
The ADL doesn’t have the time and the space to confront anti-Semitism, because it’s too busy with more important things. And those things are not the threats to Jews; they are the agendas of the radical Left.
That’s why Greenblatt puts George Soros ahead of Israel.
Once upon a time, the ADL was a Jewish civil rights organization. Now it’s just another generic lefty group that pretends to care about Jewish causes only long enough to fleece some of its donors.
As the Left goes anti-Semitic, the ADL is becoming a threat to Jews.