Monday, May 02, 2022

  • Monday, May 02, 2022
  • Elder of Ziyon

There has been lots of justified criticism of the Anti-Defamation League under Jonathan Greenblatt, and how it has apparently embraced the woke ideology and de-emphasized leftist antisemitism. (One of the most pointed and trenchant critiques came from Seth Mandel in this Commentary piece last month - it is worth reading.)

Perhaps in response, Greenblatt gave a speech at the ADL Virtual National Leadership Summit yesterday.  (Video here.) While it only partially addresses the critics, he was emphatic that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and his arguments are as good as one can find. He did not pull any punches.

To those who still cling to the idea that antizionism is not antisemitism – let me clarify this for you as clearly as I can – antizionism is antisemitism.

I will repeat: antizionism is antisemitism.

Antizionism as an ideology is rooted in rage. It is predicated on one concept: the negation of another people, a concept as alien to the modern discourse as white supremacy. It requires a willful denial of even a superficial history of Judaism and the vast history of the Jewish people. And, when an idea is born out of such shocking intolerance, it leads to, well, shocking acts.

I’m sorry, but why would this surprise anyone?  

Let me give you a recent example.

All of us held our breath in recent weeks as yet another wave of terror attacks rolled over Israel. Murderous terrorists in cities across the country targeted anyone within arm’s reach – police officers, children, teachers, etc.

And how did organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine (also known as SJP) or the Jewish Voice for Peace – this name is not intended be ironic – respond? With increasingly dangerous language. 

Just this month, Georgetown SJP invited Mohammed El-Kurd to its campus, a man who alleged that Jewish Israelis and Zionists eat the organs of Palestinians and claimed that Zionism is inherently linked to “blood thirsty[sic] and violent” actions.

And in the face of recent violence against Israeli civilians, an SJP spinout, Within Our Lifetime, marched through Manhattan a few weeks ago. They carried signs and chanted slogans. 

And what did they say?

Did they call to “stop the violence?”


Did they call to “give peace a chance?”


They called to “globalize the intifada.”

Let me say that one more time – their response to a surge in homicidal violence against civilians was literally a call for more homicidal violence against civilians. And this isn’t the first time SJP and students have called for this. 

And this isn’t just SJP. Recently, JVP in NY promoted another rally using the hashtag #globalizetheintifada. 

Now you might hear from some voices on the fringe that the word “intifada” is not about a call to violence, that it is about liberation.

That is a complete fiction. It is an utter lie.

An even cursory examination of history reveals that the Intifada was far from a Ghandian campaign of civil disobedience. It was an armed conflict that ranged from rocks being thrown at soldiers to suicide bombers detonating themselves inside crowded restaurants full of women and children in Jerusalem.

And when activists insist that they don’t hate Jews, just “Zionists” and “Zionism,” here’s a quick history lesson—the sleight of hand, replacing the word “Jews” with “Zionists” to claim some type of perceived moral high ground, wasn’t invented in Berkeley or Brooklyn but rather in Moscow. It was a rhetorical technique pioneered in the 1950s by Soviet disinformation specialists. You see, Stalinists wanted to claim that their Communism inoculated them from antisemitism, that their seething hatred of the Jewish people and the systemic antisemitism so rampant in the Soviet Union was about opposition to imagined Western Imperialism, that it was rooted in politics not prejudice. 

It wasn’t. It was propaganda and prejudice then, it is propaganda and prejudice now, even if the lies today are repeated by DSA boosters rather than 1950s Kremlin supporters.

Why do I feel the need to call out these words?

Because words have power.

Words have meaning.

And, as ADL fought back when candidate Trump leveled slanders against Mexicans and Muslims in 2015… or when President Trump made the preposterous claim that the 2020 election was rigged and that his supporters should “fight like hell…,” or when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene makes horrendous comparisons between COVID-19 mitigation efforts and the Holocaust, as well as embracing antisemitic conspiracy theories like QAnon, we fought back against these statements because, well, it starts with words.

And so, when activists knowingly call for violence against another people – that is not normal discourse, that is not reasonable rhetoric – that is extremism.

When campus organizations like SJP interrupt speeches, disrupt events and call for an end to any action that normalizes any relationships, or programs associated, with Israel or Israelis – including participating with the local J Street chapter as happened at Tufts University, my own alma mater, last month, that is extremism.

When groups like Jewish Voice for Peace tweet out “Jews, hands off Al Aqsa,” when they absolutely know that such language is inflammatory, that the community literally is nowhere near the Al Aqsa Mosque, let alone even permitted to pray there, that is extremism.

When SJP in Chicago urges students not to take, and I am sorry for the language, “shitty Zionist classes” because it is taught by two Jewish people or when a law school student affiliated with SJP demands that Zionist professors not be welcomed on campus and further demand that Zionist students not be in spaces with Palestinian students because Zionism is a threat, that is extremism.

When the head of the San Francisco branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, astonishingly claims that ADL, Jewish Federations, and Hillel chapters are the “enemies” of her community and when she concocts a wild conspiracy of interconnected Jewish organizations that supposedly are planning and plotting to harm Muslims, including the groundless accusation that the Israeli military secretly trains U.S. police to harm people of color, I’m sorry but that is extremism.

And when CAIR itself takes no action itself to correct the conspiracism, to acknowledge the hurt of such slander, and instead opts to blame the victim and defend the bigot, that is extremism.

So SJP, JVP and CAIR – these groups epitomize the Radical Left, the photo inverse of the Extreme Right that ADL long has tracked. 

Unlike their right-wing analogs, these organizations might not have armed themselves or engaged in an insurrection designed to topple our government, but these radical actors indisputably and unapologetically regularly denigrate and dehumanize Jews.  Again, I am not diminishing the singular threat of white nationalists; however, as we saw last May, vicious rhetoric is not just an abstract issue. No, it is dangerous and destabilizing because it can manifest in the real world and impel individuals to act violently.

You see, if you demonize another group enough, there are more than a few people out there who will act…who will think it’s OK to slur a classmate during a pick-up basketball game, or spray paint a synagogue, or jump the Haredi man walking down the street in Brooklyn, or – God forbid – do even worse.

That is why we are seeing this jump in antisemitic incidents – because groups from all sides of the ideological spectrum are using their words to make it OK to hate Jews.

As an organization dedicated to stopping the defamation of the Jewish people, it means we must act against the antizionist extremists just as we have against other extremists from the white supremacists and alt-right ilk who murder Jews in the places where we pray and continue to pose the greatest threat to the homeland in terms of violent domestic extremism, to religious zealots and Islamist fanatics who spread hate through their own channels and commit acts of violence, let alone inspire others like a deranged man from the U.K. who held four people hostage in a synagogue in Texas earlier this year. We will continue to combat these threats even as we apply more concentrated energy toward the threat of radical antizionism.


We will use our analytic capabilities to expose their ideas and ideology.

We will use our litigation skills to hold them accountable for their harm. 

We will use our advocacy muscles to push policymakers to take action.

And we will use our communications know-how to share these stories with the world.

Now I can anticipate the reaction by these groups to these remarks.

Some will try to delegitimize ADL right out of the box – they will point to the slanderous campaign, Drop the ADL, that uses innuendo and untruths to libel our organization and assert that we somehow are not a civil rights organization. An obvious falsehood, one disproved by more than a century of activism.

Some will try to tell us – Jews – what is antisemitism and what isn’t antisemitism – and that we should not feel threatened. This is classic victim-blaming. It is not tolerated when it is done to African Americans, Latinos, or LGBTQ Americans – and it should not be tolerated when it is done to Jews either.

Some will claim that putting these groups in the same category as right-wing extremists somehow makes ADL anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian. This is also a lie, one as toxic and false as the claims by alt-right bigots that calling out their extremism makes ADL anti-Christian or anti-white.

Some —such as JVP – will attempt to use their Judaism as a shield. And undoubtedly there are many among their ranks who genuinely do not intend to be antisemitic, who think their activism is rooted in their Jewish values. But neither their identity nor their intent relieves them of responsibility for their actions. 

Whatever excuse they give or label they use, we at ADL simply will judge them by their record and their actions. And if they spout extremism, we will expose that hate without hesitation.
 This doesn't make up for all the many missteps that the ADL has made under Greenblatt, and it should have happened years ago, but this is a welcome public stance that puts forth the argument well.  

It is especially notable that no one can accuse Greenblatt of being a right-wing ideologue.

Credit where credit is due, and Greenblatt deserves credit here. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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