Tag Archives: ADL

Anti-Defamation League creates blacklist of groups that link Ferguson to Palestine

Wow. The ADL below considers the photo below a hateful message.

Screenshot from the ADL's Israel advocacy page.

Screenshot from the ADL’s Israel advocacy page.

File this under “You can’t make this up.”

Abe Foxman, whose $688,000 annual salary makes him one of the most over-paid pro-Israel lobbyists in the country, recently embarrassed himself (again) by actually releasing a press statement lecturing NFL star Reggie Bush on his Twitter feed— Bush had dared compared Ferguson and Gaza.

But it gets worse.

The Anti-Defamation League, which leverages its reputation as a fighter of bigotry to silence human rights critics of the Israeli government (thereby actually perpetuating bigotry and worse), has published a defacto blacklist of groups that dared to link Ferguson with Palestine.

I mean, what could the militarization of U.S. police forces and repeated, unaccountable killing of unarmed people of color possibly have to do with Palestine? According to the ADL—daring to make the connection is purely cynical at best, and a form of hate at worst.

But here is where the ADL gets the chutzpah award: singled out for particular opprobrium are those who link what’s happening in Ferguson to the training of police in Israel. The ADL, for example, calls out the inimitable Trita Parsi, head of the National Iran­ian Amer­i­can Coun­cil (NIAC). for this Tweet:

“Won­der­ing why the exces­sive police vio­lence? Here’s a guess: #Fer­gu­son police chief got train­ing in Israel…#Gaza.”

Screen shot 2014-12-01 at 7.30.36 PMThey also call out someone for holding a sign at a protest that says “Google It!!! Israel trains the NYPD.”

So do who do you think is responsible for an awful lot of those free police trainings in Israel? The Anti-Defamation League, natch. Which I guess is why they are condemning people as opportunists and bigots for saying, well, the obvious.

As Kristian Davis Bailey wrote in Ebony Magazine in August:

The St. Louis County Police Department that killed Michael Brown and initially placed Ferguson on siege has trained with the Israeli military. Former County Police Chief Timothy Fitch was one of 15 American officials to participate in a weeklong training in Israel three years ago.
The April 2011 National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS) was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It brought together leaders from the largest American police departments, the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with members of the Israeli National Police, Israel Defense Forces and other intelligence organizations.

Oddly, the quick-to-issue-a-statement ADL was too busy to respond to Bailey’s requests for comment. Bailey went on:

Over 9,000 American officials have trained with Israeli police and military units on responding to civilian protests and terrorism. These operations reflect failure to distinguish between the apparent duty of police to protect civilians and military responses to war. This fusion has had life-costing implications for Americans, specifically black, Muslim and Arab people.

Normally, the ADL boasts about training lots and lots and lots of police officers , which includes special trips for US police officials to Israel for training in counter-terrorism tactics (which are then deployed against American citizens.)

I guess that in this case, they have decided that the best defense is a good offense. Reggie Bush, a running back, probably knows all about that.

-Cecilie Surasky
Jewish Voice for Peace

Muzzling Roundup: Attacking Iran, Dershowitz v. MJ Rosenberg, Harvard One-State Conference

It’s been a few weeks of major Muzzling attempts on Israel/Palestine. Last week in Washington, DC, AIPAC held their annual conference, or shall we say chorus, where over half the US Congress and thousands of Likud supporters cheered on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion that Iran’s potentially-maybe-would-be nuclear capacity is the same thing as Auschwitz, a move some keen observers see as making it that much harder for Netanyahu not to attack Iran. As Jon Stewart makes only too clear, American politicians do not – cannot? – oppose Netanyahu. (In this excellent essay, Peter Beinart lays out the history of Obama’s failure to stand up to Netanyahu, warning that the cost of this failure may be war with Iran.)

JVP activists were among the hundreds of activists who occupied AIPAC from within and without, reminding attendees and the media that AIPAC does not speak for Jews, and that many, many Jews, allies and others oppose the Israeli government’s planned war on Iran and policies of occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Though JVP’s truck ad was silenced, JVP’s voice came through loud & clear, both displayed on the outside wall of the Convention Center on the night of the AIPAC Gala and as JVP Board Member and general badass Liza Behrendt directly challenged AIPAC, StandWithUs, the David Project and Hillel for silencing young Jews on the issue of Israel/Palestine.

And beyond AIPAC, the campaign to silence the indomitable, indispensible MJ Rosenberg (whose analysis of Netanyahu, Obama and AIPAC is the only glimmer of light we’ve seen) continues. The Emergency Committee for Israel (a truer McCarthyite organization there never was) published an attack in the NYTimes against MJ’s employer, Media Matters, as well as the Center for American Progress, two organizations with close ties to the Democratic Party. The ad quotes Alan Dershowitz’s critique of Media Matters and CAP, and Dershowitz didn’t like that – and in his articles and interviews opposing the ECI’s use of his words, Dersh has been very clear that he won’t stop until Media Matters fires MJ or the White House fires Media Matters. MJ is the latest target of this chief muzzler, or “heresy hunter from Harvard,” as Jeremiah Haber calls Dershowitz, whose targets have included Richard Goldstone, Norm Finkelstein, Shlomo Sand, Anat Matar, Rachel Giora – at least MJ is in good company. JJ Goldberg of the Forward defends MJ here and MJ’s latest column is as smart, impassioned, insightful and indispensible as ever, proving, once again, how much we need his thinking, his intuition, his guts, and his voice. May he only get stronger and louder.

And last, the March 3 & 4 One State Conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government was a success even before it took place, before an array of fascinating, bold thinkers,  including JVP Advisory Board member Sarah Schulman and Rabbinical Council co-founder Brant Rosen, aired nuanced, thoughtful and difficult ideas to a sold out crowd.

This conference was a success simply because it happened. No less a powerful figure than Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown tried to get it shut down, while the ADL led the charge among dominant Jewish organizations in demanding that Harvard denounce the conference and the legitimacy of discussing a one-state solution. More than 4,000 “students, alumni and friends” of Harvard signed a petition calling for the university to effectively prevent the conference by denying it funding and facilities. The AJC called it a “non-starter”.

The condemnation of the conference took the same forms, calling the discussion of a one state solution anti-Semitic, and worse: organizers are “soft eliminationists” (Jeffrey Goldberg) who seek Israel’s “elimination (ADL) through a “Final Solution” that will lead to the “extermination” and “annihilation” of Israel (FrontPage Magazine). As the ADL put it in a letter to Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust, “there can never be any legitimate discussion” about a one-state solution. Yet do they lob the same critique at Knesset members calling for one state – one Jewish supremacist state, that is – or the state legislatures of Florida and South Carolina, which recently passed resolutions supporting one state, meaning the state of Israel in the greater land of Israel?

No, on the topic of a viable solution for Israel/Palestine, these muzzlers reserve their muzzling for perceived leftists. What they’re doing is trying to make it impossible for anyone but speakers they’ve vetted and chosen to speak about Israel’s future. Palestinians need not apply – and nor should anyone who thinks there’s more to the story than “why the Palestinians have inflicted so much unnecessary suffering on themselves, as the ADL’s New England Regional Director put it.

Harvard hosted the conference in spite of the attacks, yet it did something else, too. Dean David Ellwood of the Kennedy School issued a statement regarding the conference, saying “We would never take a position on specific policy solutions to achieving peace in this region, and certainly would not endorse any policy that some argue could lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.” Does “the Jewish State of Israel” ring any bells? That’s the new language / negotiation precondition imposed by Netanyahu in 2007. Never before did Israel demand official recognition as “the Jewish state;” this demand flummoxed diplomats and threw a wrench in potential negotiations with Palestinians. Israel as the “Jewish state”: what impact would this declaration have on discrimination against Palestinian citizens? Or civil rights for Jewish Israelis, who also suffer from ultra-orthodox domination? On negotiations over the Palestinian right of return? In short, Dean Ellwood’s use of that language is a victory for Netanyahu and a loss for democracy, equality, civil rights and justice. Congratulations, ADL. Congratulations, Harvard.

The railroading of Richard Falk

Professor Richard Falk is a distinguished academic expert on international law with some 40 books under his belt and a lifetime of learning and teaching that has taken him on a journey through some of the best universities in the United States. Naturally, he was not on the radar of what Jewish feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin calls the “Pro-Israel Mafia” until he was appointed to several high level UN Palestine-related posts including the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.

In these positions as a human rights watchdog he has proven himself perfectly willing to strongly criticize Israeli human rights policies. In 2007, he famously compared the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza with Nazi treatment of Jews- warning of a possible impending “collective tragedy” in an article than will only be judged in retrospect as either provocatively alarmist or prophetic, but certainly was morally sincere and rationally-driven.

Naturally, however, this is not allowed.

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The chill of academic censure on the sunny West coast

William Robinson is a professor of Sociology and Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara.   This attempted case of academic censure allegedly revolves around an email Robinson forwarded to his class containing an editorial (by a Jewish journalist)  “condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza as well as juxtaposed images of Nazi atrocities with congruent images of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.”   This was an optional reading for the class and was “intended to spark conversation by relating contemporary events to conceptual ideas discussed in class. “

The Anti-Defemation League wrote Robinson, who is Jewish, a letter a week later, charging him with anti-Semitism as well as other (spurious) alleged violations.   A week after this two students in his class had filed complaints against him (according to the the UCSB Academic Senate Charges officer ) The complaints? 1) critique of Israel is evidence of anti-Semitism and 2) the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be discussed in a class on Globalization. I kid you not.  One of the students, no surprise here, is a graduate of StandWithUs‘ Emerson Fellowship program, which trains students in campuses in “response techniques” to anti-Israel efforts on campus.  Although this group has the free speech right to say pretty much whatever it wants, its main goal, is in fact, to limit the free speech of those who do not hold the party line on all things Israel.

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Newspaper targeted, Foxman says Zionism is racism

The editors and publishers of The Berkeley Daily Planet, Berkeley, California’s daily paper,  took the unusual step of writing their first joint statement to address pressure on advertisers. They write about a lot of issues- it being Berkeley and all- but…

The most controversial topic is by far the Israel-Palestine conflict. The vast majority of our submissions on the topic include some criticism of Israel. This leads some, like Mr. Sinkinson—who has been pressuring our advertisers to withdraw their support—to accuse the paper of anti-Semitism. This is an all-too-common technique by Israel’s more conservative partisans to stifle debate on the topic and to marginalize those who express even the mildest criticism of Israel.

Here’s the interesting thing, in a city purported to have one of the highest Jewish populations per capita on the West Coast, or maybe anywhere in the US:

The fact is that we receive almost no submissions that make a positive, proactive case for Israel. The only letters we receive from Israel supporters are in reaction to critics—letters that accuse those critics of bias and anti-Semitism. And we have printed many of these accusations over the years.

Meanwhile, intrepid reporter and analyst Phil Weiss sat through a lengthy panel on “Why Zionism has Become a Dirty Word” to bring us all this priceless quote from the Anti-Defemation League’s spokesmodel-from-another-era Abe Foxman:

“Can you be anti-Zionist and not be an anti-Semite? Almost never. Unless you can prove to me you’re against nationalism. If you’re one of those unique individuals in this world that’s opposed to American nationalism, French nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, then you can be opposed to Jewish nationalism. Is it racist? You bet it is. Every nationalism is racist. It sets its laws of citizenship, it sets its own capital… It sets its songs, it sets its values. It is, if you will, exclusive, and you can even call it racist. But if the only nationalism in the world that is racist is Jewish nationalism, then you’re an anti-Semite.. I don’t want to make any apologies for it. ”

Wow Abe. If this is how you defend Zionism….

Media Circus: Bill Moyers, 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon and the backlash

Bill Moyers My sister recently stumbled on a blog post by a far right pseudo-journalist that accused me, her peace-love-and-justice baby sister and the keeper of our family’s terrible Holocaust history archives, of being a Nazi sympathizer. Her reaction was a mix of horror at the viciousness of the post, and amusement at its unintentional camp hilarity. My response to her was, “Welcome to my world. This is what it’s like to work on Israel-Palestine issues. Every day.” (I am on staff with Jewish Voice for Peace, which works to end Israel’s 41-year occupation.)

Most journalists don’t cover Israel-Palestine every day, and so they are unaccustomed to the inevitable tsunami of hyperbolic nastiness sure to come their way should they dare to touch the topic.

Bill Moyers, however, one of America’s most respected journalists and moral voices, could not have been surprised by the response last week to his powerful video commentary in which he condemned Hamas and asserted Israel’s right to defend itself, but also said,

Brute force can turn self defense into state terrorism. It’s what the US did in Vietnam with B-52s and napalm, and again in Iraq with shock and awe. By killing indiscriminately, the elderly, kids, entire families… Israel did exactly what terrorists do and exactly what Hamas wanted. It spilled the blood that turns the wheel of retribution.

He presciently went on to describe exactly the muzzled world in which we live here in the U.S.

Our political elites show neither independence nor courage by challenging the consensus that Israel can do no wrong.  Although one recent poll found Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive by a 24 point margin, Democratic party leaders in Congress nonetheless march in lockstep to the hardliners in Israel and the White House. Rarely does our mainstream media depart from the montonous monologue of the party line. Many American Jews know, as Aaron David Miller writes in the current edition of Newsweek, that the destruction in Gaza won’t do much to address Israel’s longer term needs. But those who raise questions are accused by a prominent reform rabbi of being “morally deficient“. One Jewish American activist told me this week, that never in 30 years has he seen such blind and binding conformity in his community. You’d never know, he says, that it is the Gazans who are doing most of the suffering.

Moyers’ analysis, it turned out, was prescient because the backlash of calls and letters calling him a rabid anti-Semite, and one would presume Nazi-sympathizer, was so strong–even good old Abe Foxman of the ADL got into the fight– forced him to take the rather unusual step of addressing the onslaught of criticism at the top of his next show. (Sorry Bill, welcome to my world.)

A satirical columnist for the SF Chronicle learned a similar lesson this week an off-hand reference about “recalcitrant Israelis,” part of a humorous litany.

I knew I’d hear from American supporters of Israel, because that’s what happens. Any journalist can tell you that – pro-Israeli journalists, Jewish journalists, any writer who says anything that might be taken by somebody as a criticism of Israel or its current policies is gonna get reamed out. Dead babies are frequently mentioned, and crazed Palestinian fanatics – these folks go right for the top of the rhetorical ladder.

Finally, we can only imagine what awaits 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon for this generally fantastic and in the U.S, downright courageous piece of journalism,  Time Running Out for a Two-State Solution? (I say generally, because at times it erroneously gives the impression that “reasonable” voices like Tzipi “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza” Livni are drowned out by the extremist settlers. In fact, Likud, Labor and Kadima have all been deeply complicit in the settlement project and the violation of human rights of Palestinians.)

Send your support to Bob Simon by commenting here. Bill Moyers might like to hear from you as well. Comment here.