Posted by: Morton A. Klein
January 26, 2010
News

ZOA, Podhoretz, Ledeen, Steyn Criticize Adl’s Foxman’s Attack On Pro-Israel Rush Limbaugh

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), distinguished author Norman Podhoretz, columnist and foreign policy expert Dr. Michael Ledeen and respected columnist Mark Steyn have all criticized the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abraham Foxman, for wrongly attacking radio broadcaster and strong friend of Israel, Rush Limbaugh, for making remarks that Foxman falsely claimed were “borderline anti-Semitic.” The ZOA has taken Foxman to task for his criticism of Limbaugh, describing it as “wrong, confused and irresponsible.”


 


In a recent broadcast, Mr. Limbaugh noted that President Barack Obama is attacking bankers and Wall Street saying, “Scott Brown had a lot of success with independents, and that’s — that’s what Jewish liberals like to call themselves when they’re asked. They call themselves independents before they’ll refer to themselves as — as liberals. So if Jewish people who voted 78 percent for Obama — which is far higher than any other group except African-Americans — if Jewish people gave Obama 78 percent of their vote, what if they’re experiencing buyer’s remorse like all these people in Massachusetts did? Do you realize how important this could be? There are a lot of people, when you say banker, people think Jewish. People who have prejudice, people who have, you know – what’s the best way to say – a little prejudice about them. To some people, banker is a code word for Jewish; and guess who Obama is assaulting? He’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish. So I wonder if there’s – if there’s starting to be some buyer’s remorse there.”


 


Foxman criticized Limbaugh’s words by saying, “Rush Limbaugh reached a new low with his borderline anti-Semitic comments about Jews as bankers, their supposed influence on Wall Street, and how they vote. Limbaugh’s references to Jews and money in a discussion of Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the hands of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. When he comes to understand why his words were so offensive and unacceptable, Limbaugh should apologize” (‘ADL: Rush Limbaugh Reaches New Low with “Borderline Anti-Semitic” Remarks About Jews,’ ADL Press Release, January 21, 2010).


 


In reacting to Foxman’s misinterpretation of and irresponsible attack on Limbaugh’s words, distinguished author and former editor of Commentary magazine Norman Podhoretz wrote, “Rush Limbaugh has been subjected to a vile attack by Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Of course, Mr. Foxman has a long history of seeing an anti-Semite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that anti-Semitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past forty years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the Left, especially where Israel is concerned. This makes Foxman a perfect embodiment of the phenomenon I analyze in “Why Are Jews Liberals?” Now Foxman has the chutzpah to denounce Rush Limbaugh as an anti-Semite and to demand an apology from him to boot. Well, if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the Anti-Defamation League who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of anti-Semitism that he himself has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh” (‘A Statement from Norman Podhoretz, Author of “Why Are Jews Liberals?“‘ Rush Limbaugh Show, January 21, 2010).


 


Respected syndicated columnist and author Mark Steyn said, “I did want to say something, by the way, about this ridiculous business of Abe Foxman of the — what is it called? The Anti-Defamation League. Abe Foxman attacked Rush last week for his anti-Semitism. I have never heard anything more stupid and more contemptible from a Jewish organization than doing this stupid assault on one of the best friends in the United States of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel …We are witnessing across the planet the biggest resurgence in anti-Semitism since the second World War, and this boob, this pathetic, contemptible, cowardly man thinks it’s his job as spokesperson for a major Jewish organization to attack Rush. This is beyond pathetic. It is actually self-destructive. It is going to the soft target because he doesn’t have the guts, he doesn’t have the guts to actually confront the real sources of anti-Semitism in the world today, which is an alliance between psychotic Islamists and the college left, the polytechnic left, the educated left in the United States and in the broader Western world … When he attacks evangelical Christians, who are the best friends of Israel on the planet today. Unlike the secular, post-Christian European university-educated types, evangelical Christians are the best friends of Israel on the planet today. And this idiot Foxman attacks them, and then he goes and attacks Rush, too … But what is at issue here is the stupidity of Abe Foxman and the failure of the official Jews to identify the real threats to Jews in the world today, and instead pick on soft targets like evangelical Christians, Mel Gibson’s movie, and Rush Limbaugh. And in the case of Rush, you’re talking about one of the best friends the Jewish people ever had … These are physically dangerous times for Jews in almost every other part of the Western world. And this disgusting, craven little twerp thinks that the font of anti-Semitism is Rush Limbaugh. This guy’s a buffoon. The ADL should be ashamed of themselves, should be embarrassed at having this guy speaking for him and should say to him, ‘Look, whatever you did in the past, it’s gone now, and we’d just as soon appreciate it if you took early retirement.’” (Quoted in Zach Pleat, ‘Steyn Calls ADL’s Foxman A “Disgusting Craven Little Twerp” In Defense Of Limbaugh,’ Media Matters for America, January 25, 2010).


 


Eminent scholar of fascism Dr. Michael Ledeen said, “Rush should be a hero to Foxman and American Jews, but they are so blindly partisan that they can no longer distinguish between their friends and their enemies. Foxman has relentlessly attacked American Evangelicals – arguably the most pro-Jewish and pro-Israel people in America … Foxman wants Rush to apologize. Nuts. I want Foxman retired and replaced by somebody who fights for Jews and our friends (‘Michael Ledeen,Rush and the ADL,’ ‘The Corner,’ National Review Online, January 22, 2010).


 


The ZOA has released the following statement: “We are puzzled and shocked by Abe Foxman’s wrong, confused and irresponsible attack on the strongly pro-Israel Rush Limbaugh. Anyone who reads Limbaugh’s remarks can see that no attack on Jews is either made or intended. Limbaugh was simply telling the truth that people who are ‘prejudiced’ against Jews often use the code term ‘bankers’ and ‘Wall Street’ to mean Jews; and that when Obama criticized bankers and Wall Street, some prejudiced people could have interpreted this as an Obama attack against Jews. He also accurately stated that 78% of American Jews voted for Barack Obama. But nothing Limbaugh said can be truthfully described as saying that ‘Jews vote based on their religion.’ Whatever the reasons, most American Jews have voted over the decades for the Democratic Party and its presidential candidates.


 


“The ZOA is also surprised by Foxman’s attack because, not only were Rush Limbaugh’s comments not anti-Semitic, but Rush Limbaugh is in fact one of Israel’s strongest supporters. It is also ironic that while Foxman attacks Rush Limbaugh, he has regularly defended hostile critics of Israel like Desmond Tutu, who compared Israel with Apartheid; called Zionism racism and used the anti-Semitic canard of the Jewish lobby supposedly stifling debate. At times, Foxman has defended other harsh critics of Israel like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Professor John Roth of Claremont College, who was forced to resign as incoming director of Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Museum because of his hostile writings against Israel. He even publicly praised Yasser Arafat for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, saying he deserved it. He even defended Arafat’s use of the term’ jihad,’ contending that Arafat meant a jihad for peace.


 


“In fact, on one occasion, Foxman argued in support of giving Desmond Tutu a platform at a university that had disinvited him on account of his hostile remarks about Jews and Israel, saying that ‘While Archbishop Tutu is not a friend of Israel, we do not believe he is an anti-Semite.’ So Foxman whitewashes Desmond Tutu and defends him from a charge of anti-Semitism, but now he attacks Rush Limbaugh for comments that in his view were ‘borderline anti-Semitic.’


 


“If Foxman is concerned about attacks on Jews from whatever source and consistent in denouncing them, why didn’t Foxman criticize President Obama for having sat for 22 years in black supremacist and virulent critic of Israel Jeremiah Wright’s church and for calling Wright a ‘great man’ and ‘my mentor’? More recently, why hasn’t he criticized President Obama for defaming Israel by saying falsely in an interview that Israel had not made ‘bold gestures’ concessions to the Palestinians and doesn’t wish to have a ‘meaningful conversation’ with the Palestinians? Why did Foxman condemn the Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Conference for glorifying terrorism, praising terrorists and not accepting Israel as a Jewish state?


 


“We agree with Norman Podhoretz, Dr. Michael Ledeen and Mark Steyn and call on Abe Foxman to retract his attack on Rush Limbaugh and to apologize to him.”