Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“Right-Wing Extremist Violence is Our Biggest Threat. The Numbers Don't Lie,” Jonathan Greenblatt blared in a JTA editorial.
Numbers don’t lie. But people lie with numbers all the time.
Greenblatt’s ADL has become notorious for undermining its mission by putting out fake hate crime statistics. And these fake statistics were as surreally egregious as they were confusing.
The executive summary of the ADL’s annual report claimed that, “2018 was a particularly active year for right-wing extremist murders: Every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism.” This false claim was quickly picked up and repeated by the media.
Typically, the ADL report contradicts itself when it later claims that, “Almost all of the 2018 extremist-related murders were committed by right-wing extremists.”
Is it “every” or “almost all”?
The trick here is that the ADL report exploits any link, no matter how tenuous or dubious, to make its first claim, while its second claim essentially concedes that the shooters weren’t “right-wing extremists”.
How is it possible for a killer to have links to “right-wing extremism” without being a “right-wing extremist”? Why even try to link people who aren’t “right-wing extremists” to “right-wing extremism”?
The Parkland school shooting, whose 17 victims serve as a huge part of the report’s dubious statistics, illustrate how the ADL manufactures a link to “right-wing extremism”.
Attributing the Parkland school shooting to “right-wing extremism” is a conspiracy theory. The ADL began pushing this conspiracy theory after the shooting based on an interview with a white supremacist group. The ADL’s fake news was picked up by everyone from the Associated Press to Neo-Nazis, but the discredited social justice group got the material from alt-right trolls on 4chan. And even after the claims were disproven, the ADL refused to retract it and has chosen to double down on its fake news.
Cruz did appear to have etched swastikas on his ammo magazines, but he also told the authorities that he heard voices in his head. He had said racist and anti-Semitic things, but all but one of his victims were white. Five of his seventeen victims were Jewish, but Parkland has a sizable Jewish population. It’s possible that Cruz targeted Jewish students and faculty, but there’s no actual evidence of that.
And the ADL’s original assertion of a link to “right-wing extremism” long ago fell apart. But instead of retracting it, the ADL is exploiting the Parkland shooting to push fake hate crime statistics.
The ADL’s reports usually contradict themselves. And this one is no exception. It lists murders by Tierre Guthrie and Malachi Qaadir Dorns, African-American members of black nationalist Moorish groups. While Moorish groups do use terms like “sovereign citizen”, it’s highly misleading to define them as “right-wing”, especially considering the misleading impression that this description creates.
“Largely absent from this list of killers were extremists motivated by radical interpretations of Islam. Only one of the 50 murderers had any connection to Islamist extremism — and even he had ties to white supremacy,” Greenblatt claimed.
Most Islamic terror plots in the United States were unsuccessful in 2018. And the media quickly pounced with multiple pieces insisting that Islamic terrorism was no longer a claim, while overlooking many of the catastrophic terror plots that were broken up or proved unsuccessful.
We got lucky in 2018. How lucky?
In Cleveland, Abdur Raheem Rafeeq plotted to bomb the 4th of July parade using remote control cars packed with C-4 explosive. “The wicked Catholics, Jews all of them,” Rafeeq had ranted.
While the media and other terror apologists dismiss plots broken up by FBI informants as fake, there was nothing fake about what happened in March at Travis Air Force Base.
Hafiz Kazi in California packed a minivan full of propane tanks and gasoline cans, in a plot similar to previous ISIS attacks in Europe, and smashed through the gate at Travis Air Force Base, but only succeeded in setting himself on fire.
Hafiz is an Islamic term meaning someone who has memorized the entire Koran by heart.
In Philly, Khalil Lawal was shot and killed after trying to run over pedestrians. Like Hafiz, Lawal’s attack only claimed his own life, but unlike Hafiz, he managed to injure one pedestrian and a police detective.
Any of these attacks could have left dozens dead.
But, most significantly, the ADL neglected the Toledo synagogue plot by an Islamic terrorist who had wanted to carry out a synagogue attack modeled on the Pittsburgh Tree of Life mass shooting. The attack, which was intended to kill a Rabbi and congregants, was stopped with a Chanukah arrest.
But the ADL report appears to have little interest in a synagogue terror plot by a Muslim terrorist.
Even when the ADL does list an act of Islamic violence, like the Islamic stabbings in Florida, it tries to spin it as right-wing extremism.
Corey Johnson, a 17-year-old convert to Islam, stabbed two 13-year-old boys, and Elaine Simon, the mother of one of the boys, at a sleepover, because one of them had mocked his Islamic religion.
The Muslim convert who called himself Mustafa had watched Jihadist videos telling him to make war on non-Muslims in Allah’s name and read the Koran “to give him courage to carry out his intentions.”
First, Mustafa stabbed and slit the throat of one of the 13-year-old boys. Simon, whose house this was, heard the noise and went up to see what was happening. He stabbed her a dozen times and she fell down the stairs. Her 13-year-old son tried to protect her, and was stabbed two dozen times.
Mustafa’s statement declares that there is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims. He quoted Zarqawi, the founder of the Islamist group that eventually turned into ISIS.
He also praised the Islamic terrorist who attacked a Jewish supermarket in France.
In 2016, Mustafa had come to the attention of the FBI when he sent a message about a Catholic school, declaring, “We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school."
Before Mustafa’s stabbing spree, the FBI was preparing to finally arrest him for those threats. (It was only 2 years and one life too late, but the Bureau is too busy these days entrapping Republicans in process crimes on behalf of the same Democrats who stripped away its counterterrorism functions.)
“Every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism,” the ADL had falsely claimed.
And it looked at Mustafa’s Jihadist videos, his confession and blamed… right-wing extremism.
“Only one of the 50 murderers had any connection to Islamist extremism — and even he had ties to white supremacy,” Greenblatt wrote in his JTA editorial.
Mustafa/Johnson had indeed been a fan of the KKK in the past. Then he turned to Islam.
What was the relevance of his past views to his motives for the stabbings that he carried out for Islam?
The ADL report describes him as having “multiple extremist affiliations”. That’s also distorting the truth. Mustafa, at the time that he committed his crimes, had only one affiliation. He was a Muslim terrorist.
“The Numbers Don't Lie,” Greenblatt claimed. And then demonstrated how you can lie with numbers.
The ADL’s fake news was quickly picked up by ABC News, The Independent, Business Insider and countless other publications. And these fake statistics inflict serious harm on the ADL’s credibility.
Greenblatt’s political biases have distorted the ADL’s reporting leading to publicity stunts that appeal to the Left while ignoring the threats and violence coming from the Left and from its Islamic allies.
The ADL has become a disgraceful failure as a civil rights group. But when it comes to fake statistics, it’s giving the Southern Poverty Law Center a run for its money.