Last week an 800-word letter was sent to leading Anti-Defamation League activists by ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt. The letter was sent to counter what Greenblatt said was an “organized, concerted effort” to delegitimize the group.
Greenblatt listed the supposed myths/charges against the group, among them, that the ADL does not support Israel; that it no longer combats anti-Semitism; that it supports the movement to boycott Israel; and that Greenblatt is a Democratic operative. While Greenblatt didn’t state it, according to the JTA which broke the story, the ADL president’s purpose was to refute myths circulating in the right-wing Jewish blogosphere and on social media.
As someone who has been criticizing the organization for the past dozen years (and part of that right-wing Jewish blogosphere), I must disagree with the ADL President’s complaint. He is not comprehending the real complaint about the ADL. The vast majority of the complaints do not claim that the ADL has abandoned Israel, supports BDS, or no longer fights anti-Semitism. The majority of the attacks center around one serious charge against the group, a charge that was raised way before Greenblatt became the leader of the ADL. The charge is that the Anti-Defamation League prioritizes Democratic Party/ progressive political issues in front is stated mission, and when the two conflict, the ADL’s stated mission takes a back seat to party loyalty.
The ADL’s website describes its purpose:
“The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.”
During the term of Greenblatt’s predecessor Abe Foxman, the ADL shifted direction, making Democratic Party politics its primary concern…