ADL uses anti-Semitism slur to deflect legitimate criticism

ADL uses anti-Semitism slur to deflect legitimate criticism

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 Palestinian law student Gabriel Khoury at a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C., on June 6, 2020. (Courtesy Gabriel Khoury)

There is an ongoing war against truth in America and it is being led by Israel’s most extreme supporters, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which limits its fight against racism and bigotry in order to exclude Israel’s crimes from its crusade.

Israel is engaged in a campaign of civil rights abuses seemingly intended to do two things: Steal as much Palestinian-owned civilian land as possible, not just in the West Bank but also inside Israel; and maintain two systems of laws that separate Jews, who enjoy full rights, and non-Jews, who do not.

Rather than challenge Israel’s apartheid-like policies, which include the embrace of more than 65 policies and laws that discriminate against non-Jews, the ADL prefers to close its eyes to such actions and instead exaggerate anything critical of Israel’s government as a form of anti-Semitism. That policy has become the foundation of a nationwide campaign to prevent Americans from speaking out against Israel’s crimes and civil rights violations.

This includes lobbying in favor of laws prohibiting Americans from boycotting Israel because of its racist policies and aiming to deny rights to any American who refuses to sign a pledge to that effect. As a result, teachers, consultants, lobbyists, contractors and investment funds have all been stripped of government funding because they believe Israel should stop violating the civil rights of Palestinians.

You would think that opposing discrimination is a given in America — a country whose founding was based on a Declaration of Independence that states “all men are created equal” and where free speech is constitutionally protected. In fact, thanks to the pro-Israel legislation that is winding its way through America’s state governments, some men (and women) are now more equal than others, raising a serious challenge to the claim that America is the “land of the free.”

You are only free in the US today if you don’t criticize Israel. This absurd corruption of American civil rights plays out in nearly every instance where Americans question and criticize Israel.

The ADL last week attacked Selaedin Maksut, the director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which champions the rights of American Muslims in much the same way that the ADL claims to fight for the rights of American Jews. The ADL’s New York chapter and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey condemned Maksut for accusing Israel of “choking” Palestinians.

During a rally in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM), the loosely organized movement that protests the killing of African-Americans by police, Maksut called Zionism, a political movement, an “evil.” “In order to defeat this evil that is Zionism, we must realize that the foot on the necks of the black and brown people of this nation is the same foot and the same knee that is choking the Palestinian people,” Maksut reportedly told a crowd of BLM supporters. “Zionism is racism, and the same powers that oppress the ones here in America are the same powers that oppress the Palestinian people.” The ADL joint-statement accused Maksut of using “the type of language that only serves to further anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist conspiracies.”

It needs to get its house in order and apply the principles of civil and human rights fairly and equally across the board.

Ray Hanania

There are few American organizations that challenge Israel’s discriminatory practices more effectively and more often than CAIR. It even denounces prejudice against Jews, like it did recently in condemning the anti-Semitic vandalism of a synagogue in Washington. I don’t always agree with CAIR, but that is a right that is also enshrined in the US Constitution. Americans are in fact Americans because they have a right to disagree. But disagreeing with CAIR and accusing it of anti-Semitism are two different things.

If anything, the ADL itself is a hotbed of racism against Palestinians. It needs to get its house in order and apply the principles of civil and human rights fairly and equally across the board.

I don’t expect the ADL to apologize, but I do hope that the public recognizes it has a hidden agenda to protect Israel from all criticism, which is a real shame.

  • Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at Twitter: @RayHanania 
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