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The Anti-Defamation League ‘Has Become A Fraud’ as Leftist Biases Overwhelm Its Core Mission

“The ADL has become a fraud,” wrote Jewish-American political activist Charles Jacobs, president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), in 2019 about the Anti-Defamation League. As he and others have documented, the ADL, the “biggest Jewish defense agency” against antisemitism, has in recent decades become the “biggest failure” as leftist biases among American Jews have perverted this core ADL mission.

Jacobs recently reviewed the ADL’s downfall and the need for new Jewish leadership in an APT webinar with his fellow conservative Jews William A. Jacobson and Jonathan S. Tobin. Jacobson, a Cornell University Law School professor, heads the Legal Insurrection Foundation. The political commentator Tobin edits the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS).

The “ADL advocates for the Democratic Party’s agenda items,” Jacobs wrote in 2014, and has made an “awful detour into universalism and partisan politics.” This reflects the historically left-leaning political sentiments of most American Jews. As the conservative Jewish political writer Seth Mandel noted in 2018, the “ADL has long supported abortion rights, which is not a ‘Jewish issue’ in any way.”

These biases have often rubbed conservative Jews the wrong way, such as Herut North America’s United States National Director, Moshe Phillips. In 2013, he rebutted a 2010 smear by then ADL National Director Abraham Foxman of the late conservative talk radio pioneer, Rush Limbaugh, as an anti-Semite. “The ADL does not speak in our name. Abraham Foxman does not speak in our name,” Phillips wrote.

While Foxman had extensively analyzed Islamic antisemitism and its threats to Israel, vitally important for Jews, in his 2003 bookNever Again: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, such views remained exceptional among ADL leaders. As Jacobs observed:

Like failed generals fighting the last war, they focused on Nazis and the political right — and ignored the changed battlefield for as long as they could. They deliberately, out of political consideration, minimized the assaults coming from “progressives” and Islamists.

That modern anti-Israel “animus comes mostly from the ideological left, with which a majority of Jews identify for many reasons, is painful and confusing to many,” Jacobs observed in 2010. He elaborated in 2017:

ADL kept sending those (fundraising) postcards with swastikas found in bathroom stalls in Iowa, and campaigned against Pat Robertson…even though many people now believe that Robertson and Christian evangelicals are Israel’s, and the Jews’, best allies.

An APT study of 1995-2011 ADL press releases offered a “good if not perfect indicator of ADL priorities,” an APT pamphlet noted. In this 15-year period APT “found that only 3 percent of ADL’s press releases focus on Islamic extremism and Arab anti-Semitism,” while merely another five percent of press releases concerned terrorism. “Fighting for causes unrelated to Jewish defense accounts for 31 percent of ADL’s press release output,” APT concluded.

Meanwhile the ADL’s own 2014-1017 extensive studies of antisemitism worldwide revealed that Muslims are by far the most anti-Semitic group globally in comparison to other religions and atheists. In a “cover-up mode” the ADL downplayed its own data, Jacobs observed. The findings were “politically incorrect” for an ADL “anchored in the Left.”

Empirically proven Islamic antisemitism calls into question the open border policies of Jewish groups including the ADL towards Muslim migrants and/or refugees. Jewish leaders “refuse to acknowledge the political and social consequences of the mass influx of Muslim immigrants,” Jacobs has noted. These leaders “fail to understand how promoting tolerance of the intolerant may be lethal,” as when the ADL has ignored Islamic threats to homosexuals in the United States.

By contrast, the ADL has a “pattern of allying with Muslim anti-Semites to fight ‘Islamophobia’ and then defaming legitimately concerned citizens,” Jacobs noted in 2012. Thus ADL branches have actually coordinated with local affiliates of the Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), something that made him call for Foxman’s resignation. American anti-sharia activist Pamela Geller noted that same year that he had equated her with anti-Semites such as Louis Farrakhan and Patrick Buchannan.

Precisely the opposite, Jewish leaders must demand of Muslims a reevaluation of Islamic anti-Semitic doctrines, Jacobs demanded in a 2010 interview. This would parallel past critical Jewish engagement with Christian antisemitism. As Jacobs noted, the “enormous, life-saving reversals in Christian theological teachings about Jews could not have been achieved without years of intensive Jewish critique of Christian Biblical texts and traditions.”

The dismal state of the ADL and other Jewish organizations prompted APT and its Jewish allies in 2020 to call for new Jewish leadership in America. Yet Jacobs noted in 2010 the reticence of many Jews to risk conflict with powerful Jewish personalities and groups. “In the case of the ADL, I know several prominent Jewish leaders who agree with my criticism 110%, but could not speak out publicly without great risk,” he had said.

Jews desperately need effective defenses against contemporary anti-Semitic dangers. Yet since Jonathan Greenblatt succeeded Foxman as ADL National Director in 2015, Jacob’s concerns have only worsened. Greenblatt, a veteran Democratic political operative has abandoned whatever political impartiality Foxman once showed and turned the ADL into a rigidly leftwing organization, as a concluding article in this series will examine.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Rabbi Shot Dead while Walking to Synagogue with family in North Miami

Yesterday, visiting 60 year old Brooklyn orthodox Rabbi Joseph Raksin was shot dead by two young assailants in full view of his son-in-law and grandsons while walking to Shabbat services at Bais Menachem synagogue in North Miami.  It is alleged by Miami Dade police that it may have been a botched robbery attempt.  The irony is that orthodox Jews carry no money on Shabbat. One of the assailants fled on a bicycle, while the other, on foot. Miami police are endeavoring to track down the alleged perpetrators.  Last week an Orthodox synagogue, in the same vicinity,  Torah V’Emunah,  was vandalized with red swastikas with the word “Hamas”.  After yesterday’s murder of Rabbi Raksin , that led a  Jewish community activist  to suggest  there may have been a connection to  the current Operation Protective Edge pitting  Israel  against renewed  rocketing by  terrorist groups Hamas  and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

miami synagogue hamas swastika

Swastika and Hams graffiti at North Miami-Dade Synagogue, Torah v’ emunah

The Miami Herald noted police and ADL comments about Rabbi Raksin’s murder as well as the shock of family and the Jewish community  in a report, “Two men sought in fatal shooting of Orthodox rabbi in Northeast Miami-Dade:

“At this time there is no indication of this being a hate crime,” said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Elena Hernandez in a statement.

She said police are searching for two young male suspects, one of whom may have fled on a bicycle. The other may have run from the area on foot.

Late Saturday, Hava Holzhauer, the Anti-Defamation League Florida Regional Director, whose organization has been in close contact with Miami-Dade homicide investigators, said the crime “appears to be a robbery that went badly.”

“Currently no evidence has been brought to light that it was motivated by anti-Semitism,” said Holzhauer.

Said Holzhauer: “This is a terrible tragedy. While the motivation for this crime is still being investigated, nothing can justify the killing of an innocent man walking to his place of worship to pray on his holy day.”

Miami-Dade police have not commented on whether the shooting was connected to a robbery attempt on Raksin.

[…]

Late Saturday, members of Bais Menachem gathered outside the synagogue to talk to reporters about the shooting incident.

Raksin was walking ahead of his grandsons and son-in-law when he was shot, said Rabbi Moshe Druin.

“We are in utter shock,” Druin said.

Druin said community members ruled out a possibility of robbery because Orthodox Jewish men do not carry any money or possessions on Saturdays, the community’s Sabbath day.

“There hasn’t been a robbery on Sabbath for the past 35 years,” Druin said.

“It definitely is an anomaly,” Perutz Pinhas, another community member said of the shooting

However, note the comments by a Jewish community activist placing Rabbi Raksin’s murder in the context of local vandalism:

Another local Jewish community leader, Brian Siegal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Miami and Broward Regional Office, said he believes Raksin’s shooting may be connected to the recent act of vandalism at the nearby Torah V’Emunah, an Orthodox synagogue, 1000 N.E. 174th St.

On July 28, police reported that swastikas were spray-painted on the front pillars of a Northeast Miami-Dade synagogue, which has left the local Jewish community on edge, especially amid the heightened tension between Israel and Palestinians over the conflict in Gaza.

Said Siegal: “Our deepest condolences to the [Raksin] family for this tragic loss. We are confident the police will take the matter seriously and will give them time to investigate. Coming so soon and so close to the synagogue that was vandalized last week with swastikas and pro-Hamas graffiti, obviously we’re suspicious that it’s linked, but that remains to be seen.”

If the two assailants are apprehended and interrogated, we may find out what the motivation was for the shooting death of Rabbi Raksin.  Given the attire of observant Orthodox Jewish men, it would be hard to mistake them.

Rabbi Raksin’s death comes on a weekend when Stand for Israel rallies are taking place in the Southeast on Sunday August 10th in Northern Alabama, Pensacola in Northwest Florida and on Monday, August 11th in Orlando, raising heightened security concerns.  We add our deepest rachmonis (compassion in Hebrew) to the extended family of the late Rabbi Raksin z”l.

RELATED ARTICLE: Miami Jewish community offers $50K for info on rabbi killing

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured photo is of members of Bais Menachem Synagogue. North Miami-Dade, August 9, 2014. Source:  Miami-Herald.