If you asked ADL chief, Jonathan Greenblatt, what the most important priorities of his “Jewish defense” organization were, he’d undoubtedly peel off a long list of priorities culled from the talking points of the Israel Lobby: fighting BDS by advocating laws which gag free speech on the issue; demanding that Barack Obama apologize to Jews for having his picture taken in 2005 with Louis Farrakhan; objecting fiercely to Mahmoud Abbas‘ “anti-Israel diatribe; complaining that Saudis won’t play chess with Israelis; condemning the UN General Assembly for its “absurd” renunciation of the Trump declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Greenblatt also made a flourish about hiring the first digital media specialist, whose job would be to monitor social media for anti-Israel hate speech. If you read this mission statement for the new unit you curiously won’t find the word ‘Israel’ mentioned once. Nor ‘BDS.’ They’re not terribly popular issues in Silicon Valley, where the ADL is seeking new recruits and donors. But believing this isn’t one of its key missions would be naïve.
Israeli intelligence and police do the same type of monitoring of Palestinian social media, and arrest suspects (400 to-date) for doing nothing more controversial than saying “Good morning” in Arabic. Are we to believe that the ADL won’t be embracing a similar agenda in ferreting out anti-Israel speech? Though unstated, I believe one of the key elements of the new cyber czar’s job would be to continue the Israeli government lobbying pressure exerted on companies like Facebook and Google to ban inconvenient speech that targets Israel online. The Israelis are proud that their censorship demands are almost always acquiesced to by these companies. Now, the ADL can help keep the pressure up.
The ADL has promoted a product, PhotoDNA, developed by a Dartmouth professor in collaboration with an Islamophobic NGO, the Counter-Extremism Project. It is an algorithm which hunts for hate speech (among other violations) online. Little is known about the product and how it determines what is or isn’t hate speech. As for me, I remain deeply suspicious of permitting Islamophobes and their academic partners determine what can be said and can’t, about Israel on social media platforms.
As for the ADL, it’s always Israel, Israel, Israel. First and last. And when the subject they address isn’t directly related to Israel it’s indirectly related to it.
In Israel catching up on news about 2005 photo of Obama & Farrakhan. Over his career, @barackobama has denounced the bigotry of Farrakhan. Time to do so again. Leaders always should make sure that there’s no doubt: America is no place for those who advocate #antisemitism or hate
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) January 29, 2018
Case in point, the ADL and Lobby’s long-term obsession with our former president as a supposed tool of the Black radicals, Muslims, and the Nation of Islam in particular. It wasn’t enough that a full decade ago the haters dredged up Obama’s close spiritual relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright to smear his candidacy. Now, after he’s been out of office a full year, Greenblatt tweets friendly “advice” to Obama that he denounce Farrakhan after a 14 year-old photo of him smiling next to the National of Islam leader surfaces. Of all the insipid, useless wastes of time the ADL could engage in, this is right up there.
Meanwhile, investigators have uncovered a murderous neo-Nazi cell operating in multiple states which has murdered Jews, Muslims, and planted explosive devices outside synagogues. What specifically has the ADL done to fight these truly vicious, dangerous terrorists?
The Jewish college student murdered in Orange Country (CA.) last month was killed by a former high school friend who became radicalized after he joined the group. Publishing an online background piece outlining the group’s history (which hasn’t even been updated to include the murder of Blaze Bernstein) is nice. But where is concrete action?
The Southern Poverty Law Center sues these killers and tries to grab their assets and put them out of business. What does the ADL do? It talks. It issues press releases. Big deal.
If you look at the ADL’s website you can clearly see that it is far more concerned with threats to Israel than it is threats either to American Jews or Muslims from such white supremacists. A study published by none other than the ADL itself, showed that of 35 people murdered in terrorism attacks last year 20 were killed by neo-Nazis, only nine by Islamists. You wouldn’t know that judging by the preponderance of material on the group’s website.
Not to mention the Jewish terrorists among us: where is the ADL at fighting them? American and Canadian JDL thugs attacked both a Palestinian-American college teacher and a Jewish activist at last year’s Aipac conference. They pummeled the two men causing one to almost lose one of his eyes and the other a concussion. Where was the ADL when that happened? Thankfully, the Justice Department indicted two of the attackers. But did the ADL lobby in favor of such an important legal development? Why hasn’t it demanded the JDL Canada group which furnished much of the firepower at that rally be designated as a terror group by the U.S. government? Why aren’t they demanding that JDL Canada members be forbidden from entering the U.S.?
The ADL, as much of the organized American Jewish community, has their priorities wrong. They fight for what the Lobby tells them to (with a few exceptions). They don’t fight against the real enemies of American Jews, the ones who are actually killing us (and Muslims).