Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research and Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
A recent Fox News investigation found that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)’s educational and “anti-bias” programs, which influence millions of American children and thousands of educators and officials, promote far-left and critical race theory (CRT) concepts such as “white privilege” and “systemic racism,” and promote groups such as the Women’s March and BLM – despite the virulent Jew-hating, Israel-hating and pro-Farrakhan positions of the Women’s March leaders and BLM/M4BL organization. The investigation also found that these harmful ADL programs characterize denying white privilege as a “biased attitude”; encourage white students to view themselves as “oppressors”; and include an article indicating that white women are “justly seen as oppressive” and “enjoy unearned skin privilege,” etc, etc.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. After Obama senior advisor Jonathan Greenblatt became ADL’s CEO in 2015, Greenblatt “refocused” ADL on far-left partisan political, legal and educational advocacy. For years, ZOA and others have raised alarm bells about ADL’s and Greenblatt’s dangerous far-left advocacy and numerous departures from ADL’s primary stated mission of combatting antisemitism.
Six years ago, in mid-2016, in an article entitled “BlackLivesMatter Platform Falsely Accuses Israel of Genocide, etc. – Yet ADL Still Promotes BLM,” ZOA documented that multiple ADL educational lesson plans: encouraged high school students to join BLM protests in Ferguson (the very same protests that demanded ending Israel’s existence); promoted BLM while ignoring the antisemitic BLM/M4BL platform and antisemitism that permeates the BLM organization; repeated BLM’s false “hands up” claim – while omitting the multiple comprehensive government investigations which concluded that Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense; presented misleading selective police shooting statistics; falsely presented self-defense as an example of “racial profiling”; and complained about (so-called) “unearned white privilege” (a racist theory that is too often used against innocent Jews and others).
Similarly, later in 2016, the New York Post published an article by Alex VanNess entitled “Jonathan Greenblatt is Destroying the Anti-Defamation League,” which among other things, explained that “The ADL has also promoted the Black Lives Matter movement, for example, by creating school lesson plans that promote it, despite BLM’s support for BDS and open hostility toward Israel. Just recently, Greenblatt accused American Jews of living with ‘white privilege’.”
And earlier this year, Gateway Pundit editor Jim Hoft published an article with the self-explanatory title: “Wicked ADL Pushes Hate in Classrooms — Program on Diversity that Is Taught to 1.4 Million U.S. Kids Includes Language that Only Whites Can Be Racist.”
Now, in the wake of the publicity from the Fox News investigation – over six years after ZOA and others documented the harmful concepts that ADL is teaching our children and public officials, ADL announced that it will review its curricular materials that are “misaligned with ADL’s values and strategy.”
That’s too little and too late. Distinguished Jewish News Service Editor-in-Chief and TV host Jonathan Tobin pointed out that ADL’s announcement of a review of “misaligned” content was “blatantly dishonest” – because ADL’s woke leftist educational materials are the same as, and are aligned with the pervasive woke far-left strategy and values that ADL promotes under ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Tobin noted, for instance, that ADL publicly endorsed BLM and its racist “equity” [inequality] agenda; defended antisemitic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar; downplays left-wing antisemitism; hired an outreach director who calls Jews racists; and is working with tech firms to promote Internet censorship.
JNS/Tobin concluded: “if the ADL is to retain even a sliver of credibility, it will require more than a pro forma “review” about “misaligned” lesson plans. It’s going to need a complete overhaul and a purge of the woke leftism and one-sidedness that now permeates almost everything it says and does. The only way to begin that effort is to fire Jonathan Greenblatt. Anything less than that will be a further betrayal of the organization’s responsibilities to speak up for its founding principles and mission.” (“After the ADL Gets Caught Spreading Woke Ideology, Greenblatt Must Go,” by JNS Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin, Sept. 7, 2022.)
ZOA has often pointed out and criticized ADL’s dangerous policies under Jonathan Greenblatt, in the hope that Greenblatt and the ADL would change. But we now believe that Jonathan Tobin has the correct prescription – a wholesale overhaul of ADL, starting with removing Jonathan Greenblatt.
We also cannot forget that, after ZOA published critiques of ADL’s policies, Jonathan Greenblatt physically assaulted female ZOA attorney Liz Berney in May 2016. A few weeks later when ZOA president Morton Klein politely reminded Greenblatt, at a President of Conference meeting, that he owed Ms. Berney an apology, Greenblatt shook his clenched fist within an inch of Mr. Klein’s face while screaming, “If you want Shalom Bayit [peace in the house] in the Conference of Presidents, you must throw Klein and ZOA out of the Conference,” and threatening Mr. Klein so uncontrollably that one of Greenblatt’s associates, an ADL official, dragged Greenblatt out of the room. Greenblatt has still not apologized. Those outrageous incidents alone should have resulted in Jonathan Greenblatt’s termination from the ADL – an organization that claims to combat hatred and bullying.
ZOA’s (and others’) critiques of ADL have included that:
- ADL attempted to defund and remove the tax exemptions from three pro-Israel organizations (including the prominent Christian Zionist group “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations”).
- ADL hired an outreach director who justified anti-Israel terrorism; said that Jews need to “repent for Gaza’s dead”; and, after Black extremists murdered innocent Jews in Jersey City and elsewhere, blamed Black antisemitism on “Jewish landlords, and pawnbrokers and small merchants” and on “systemic racism” against Blacks.
- ADL condemned the Pompeo/U.S. State Department’s appropriate plans to label as antisemitic three organizations that libel and bash Israel – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam. ADL thereby sided with those hate-mongering antisemitic groups, against the Jewish state of Israel.
- ADL again promoted Israel-hatred during its Black History Month celebration, by featuring an Israel-hating BDS activist, Jacqueline Woodson.
- ADL “lied with statistics” in order to downplay attacks by Black and Islamist extremists. ADL’s 2021 report on murders by extremists omitted the worst extremist attack in 2021 – the Wisconsin Christmas parade massacre, perpetrated by a radical Black nationalist who tweeted that he wanted to kill whites and who promoted anti-Jewish hate. If ADL had included the Christmas parade massacre in its report, Black nationalists would have been responsible for the overwhelming majority of ideologically-motivated extremist murders in 2021.
- Similarly, in order to falsely minimize Islamist migrants’ terror attacks counted in ADL’s April 2018 report (about terror attacks from 2002 to 2018), ADL’s report: omitted the Islamist terrorist murders of Jews at the Los Angeles El Al counter (and claimed that these murders were not Islamist terrorism); omitted the Islamist deadly terror shooting at the Seattle Jewish Federation (and claimed that this was merely a “hate crime” and not terrorism); omitted radical Islamist terror that ADL claimed wasn’t connected to a specific designated Islamist terrorist organization; and omitted 9/11 by limiting the period covered. ADL’s report then misleadingly claimed that plots by “individuals motivated by right-wing extremism” exceeded plots motivated by Islamist extremism.
- After antisemitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.,” and then gave a “non-apology” that added further insult by claiming that she was reacting to Israeli “oppression” of Palestinian Arabs, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt praised Ilhan Omar, saying: “Hats off to Rep Omar for her honest apology & commitment to a more just world.”
- ADL’s spokesperson stated in August 2021 that “Anti-Israel activism in and of itself is not antisemitism,” and that “a BDS resolution alone would not count as antisemitism,” but “might” – [might ?!] – count as antisemitism if Jewish students were excluded from debating the resolution. In fact, anti-Israel activism and BDS resolutions target Jews for defamation and boycotts. That’s antisemitism. The Holocaust began with anti-Jewish boycotts.
- ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt provided unwarranted legitimacy to the hostile-to-Israel, extremist J Street by speaking at J Street’s 2016 conference; praising J Street as “a group of deeply thoughtful college students whose commitment to Israel is genuine and whose passion on the issues is impressive”; and falsely stating “Often I know you are the front line of defense against BDS and delegitimization.” Greenblatt ignored the facts that J Street invites BDS leaders to speak at J Street’s conferences; featured speakers who encouraged students to join BDS demonstrations; supported pro-BDS political candidates; condemns pro-Israel anti-BDS groups; lobbies against anti-BDS laws; ran “green line” campaigns that were a form of BDS; etc.
- During his J Street speech, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also called BLM (“making sure that Black Lives Matter”) and refugee and LGBT rights “the struggles of our time.” Greenblatt ignored BLM’s rampant antisemitism, promotion of BDS and anti-Israel libels. Greenblatt also ignored that, especially for any group that claims to combat antisemitism, in this era when Jews are being slaughtered, attacked, run over, boycotted, and defamed with impunity, the “real struggle of our time,” especially for the ADL, should be that Jewish lives matter.
- In his J Street speech, Greenblatt also stated, “We can seek to support Palestinian self-determination”; and wrongly blamed “both sides” for acts that are perpetrated solely by Palestinian Arabs and their leaders, saying, “Both sides need more investment and less intifada, more business and less boycott, more help and less hate.” In fact, the Intifadas are the Palestinian Arab terror wars in which Arabs murdered or maimed over 10,000 Jews. Greenblatt also falsely implied that Israel does not protect Arab citizens’ rights.
- ADL/Greenblatt also condemned other Jews for raising legitimate concerns about radical Islamist anti-Jewish violence and defamation. During his 2016 J Street address, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt falsely accused fellow Jews of: “exhibit[ing] Islamophobia”; denying the rights of “marginalized Palestinians”; and failing to recognize the legitimacy of the “Palestinian narrative” [the false narrative which denies Jewish history and Israel’s right to exist]; and condemned “those who place the blame on one side” for Palestinian Arab terrorism and lack of solutions.
- ADL also called an “Islam and Western civilization” conference’s Jewish and other pro-Israel attendees and distinguished speakers (including a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) “anti-Muslim extremists” and anti-Muslim “bigots.”
- ADL/Greenblatt falsely condemns as “antisemitic” people who dare to criticize George Soros’ extreme anti-Israel activities [Soros says that he is not a Zionist, and sends millions of dollars to anti-Israel NGOs]; Soros’ World War II activities [Soros admitted on 60 Minutes that he helped his Nazi god father confiscate Jewish property, and that he feels no guilt about this]; and Soros’ other troubling activities. Notably, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt previously worked for the Soros-funded Aspen Institute.
For instance, ADL called Congressman Louis Gohmert’s reasonable criticisms of Soros “abhorrent,” “antisemitic” and “conspiracies.” (Gohmert is one of the Jewish people’s and Israel’s best friends in Congress.)
- When City University of New York decided to honor Israel-basher and terrorism-supporter Linda Sarsour as a 2017 commencement keynote speaker, ADL/Greenblatt was initially silent, while ZOA and others strongly objected. When ADL finally broke its silence, CEO Jonathan Greenblatt supported Sarsour speaking at the CUNY commencement, and asserted that Sarsour has a First Amendment right to offer her despicable views. [In fact, Sarsour has no First Amendment right to be honored and speak at a university commencement.] By contrast, a decade earlier (when ADL had a different CEO), ADL properly demanded that Columbia University retract its speaking invitation to pro-terror Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- ADL’s 2021 “Never is Now” conference featured hostile-to-Israel speakers, who had falsely accused Israel of perpetrating “ethnic cleansing” and “daily violations of human rights”; called for Biden to use “sticks” against Israeli “settlements” (Jewish communities in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria); and falsely downplayed the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist organization’s brutal massacre (with meat cleavers and guns) of five innocent Jewish worshipers and a security guard in a Har Nof, Jerusalem synagogue, as simply a “lone wolf attack by two cousins.” Journalist Daniel Greenfield wrote that “ADL Summit on Jew-Hatred Features Who’s Who of Antisemites.”
- In May 2021, while Hamas launched 4,369 rockets at Israel and Israeli-Arabs attacked their Jewish neighbors in vicious pogroms, burning and looting Jewish homes, synagogues and cars, ADL issued a “Statement Regarding Recent Violence and Rocket Attacks in Jerusalem” (May 10) that wrongly cast blame on Israelis, by accusing “extremists, including far-right Jewish nationalists” of “exacerbating tensions.”
- ADL defended Tides’ former Chairman and the Soros-funded Tides Foundation – which openly supports and funds leading antisemitic, anti-Israel and BDS groups, including: CAIR; AROC (Arab Resources Organizing Center); JVP; Code Pink; Bend the Arc; Adalah Justice Project; Solidaire Network; IfNotNow; J Street and more. AROC organizes the “Block the Boat” BDS campaigns to violently prevent Zim container ships (which are partially, indirectly owned by an Israeli-born Jewish resident of England) from unloading supplies needed by Americans at American ports.
- ADL opposed anti-BDS laws, despite the fact that anti-BDS laws are probably the most effective way of combatting BDS. In 2014-2015, ADL actively lobbied against a federal anti-BDS law proposed by former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren; and against passing anti-BDS laws in Maryland, South Carolina, Illinois and New York. ZOA’s legal experts and other legal experts demonstrated that anti-BDS laws are legal, and condemned ADL’s opposition to such laws. ADL’s current website’s BDS position statement and “Five Ways ADL is [supposedly] Combatting BDS” statement say nothing about anti-BDS laws.
- ADL also refused to take a position on so-called “partial BDS” or “BDS over the green line,” and instead claimed it was “studying the issue.” In fact, all BDS is antisemitic, anti-Jewish discrimination.
- ADL also opposed Israel’s anti-BDS law banning BDS activists from entering Israel, which was enacted by the democratic Israeli government and upheld by Israel’s courts. Furthermore, in 2018, ADL said that Israel should admit into the country antisemitic boycott activist, president of a virulent SJP-BDS hate group and terrorism supporter Lara Alqasem.
- ADL/Greenblatt wrote a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2018 falsely accusing pro-Israel Mike Pompeo (and other pro-Israel groups and leaders: ACT for America, Brigitte Gabriel, Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney) of Islamophobia, etc., in an attempt to block Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State. ZOA wrote to the Senate committee, countering ADL’s false “Islamophobia” claims. JNS’ highly respected Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Tobin also explained that the ADL’s indictment of Mike Pompeo as an anti-Muslim bigot was false, hypocritical, politically-motivated and a disgrace; and noted that ADL echoed the same attack on Pompeo made by the Hamas-affiliated Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Commentary also called out ADL’s partisan smear against great pro-Israel friend Pompeo.
- ADL’s letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee attempting to block Mike Pompeo’s confirmation also downplayed radical Islamic terror. ADL’s letter failed to mention Islamist antisemitism and attacks on Jews; and failed to mention that 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was gruesomely murdered by a Muslim neighbor. ADL’s letter instead tried to pass off Mrs. Knoll’s murder as generalized antisemitism, without indicating that it was Islamist antisemitism.
- In September 2020, ADL co-signed a full-page New York Times advertisement promoting the antisemitic Israel-bashing BLM. ADL co-signed this ad just four months after BLM leaders incited a BLM pogrom against Los Angeles’ Fairfax Jewish community – burning, defacing and looting Jewish synagogues, schools and businesses; and just two months after BLM co-led anti-Israel “days of rage” in multiple U.S. cities, and despite BLM/M4BL continuing to falsely accuse Israel of genocide, ethnic cleansing, training U.S. police to murder Blacks, etc. Moreover, ADL co-signed the ad together with anti-Israel hate groups including JVP, and BDS supporters or funders including Americans for Peace Now, T’ruah, New Israel Fund (NIF), and J Street.
- ADL repeatedly co-signed joint letters with extreme anti-Israel groups (such as Hamas-affiliated CAIR), thereby giving them credibility. For instance, ADL co-signed 29 joint letters to mayors of 29 cities, opposing an event sponsored by a pro-Israel group, Act for America. ADL co-signed the letters together with virulent Israel-hating organizations, including: letter-contact MPAC [which called Israelis “the worst terrorists in the world,” has said Israel should not exist, defends Hezbollah, and says that Israel should be suspected for perpetrating 9/11];; four JVP groups; CAIR; the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA, which like CAIR, is also an unindicted conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, involved in funneling money to Hamas); the National Iranian American Council (NIAC, an arm of and lobbyist for the genocidal Iranian regime); Bend the Arc; and BDS promoters American Friends Service Committee and PC(USA).
- Jonathan Tobin noted in a Commentary article entitled, “The ADL Takes Sides Against Israel,” that Greenblatt’s statement ignored the entire history of the conflict; ignored Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’ specific statements about ridding the country of Jews; and ignored “the drumbeat of incitement of hatred against Jews and Israelis in Palestinian media, schools and popular culture.”
- ADL focuses on white supremacy, often while ignoring and downplaying Islamist and Black supremacist terrorism. For instance, the flyer announcing ADL’s 2019 “Antisemitism Summit” stated that its 2019 agenda will be “focusing on topics like extremism, white supremacy, cyber hate, campus activism and free speech.” There was no mention of Islamic antisemitism, Islamic terrorism, and Islamic-terror-affiliated BDS, despite Imams in certain U.S. mosques calling for killing Jews, Islamist attacks outside a U.S. synagogue and targeting Jews; Muslim plots to blow up American synagogues; the beheading triple-murder of three Jewish men in Boston, etc.
- ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt praised antisemitic Congressman Keith Ellison while Ellison was a leading candidate for the Democratic National Committee Chair – despite Ellison’s longstanding record of: Israel-bashing; antisemitism; efforts to insert anti-Israel planks into the 2016 Democratic national platform; efforts to keep pro-Israel planks out of the Democratic platform; blaming [non-existent] Israeli “occupation” for inadequate electricity in Gaza [which was actually due to Hamas diverting electricity to Hamas terror tunnels and operations]; voting against Iron Dome funding; speaking at a CAIR dinner where materials called for the destruction of Israel and the U.S.; receiving contributions and travel from arms of the Muslim Brotherhood; and decade as spokesperson and activist for Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Yet, Greenblatt falsely called Ellison an “important ally in the fight against antisemitism” and “on record in support of Israel.” (After ZOA and others criticized Jonathan Greenblatt’s praise for Ellison and ADL’s long silence about Ellison’s antisemitic record, and after IPT published an audiotape of Ellison’s antisemitic comments, ADL finally reversed course and opposed Ellison’s DNC candidacy.)
- In October 2018, ADL headlined Trevor Noah at an ADL “unity” event – despite Noah’s long, continuing history of antisemitic, anti-Israel and misogynist remarks, including, “Messi doesn’t go down easy, just like Jewish chicks.”; “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful.”; “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as rich Jewish man”; “A hot white woman with ass is like a unicorn. Even if you do see one, you’ll probably never get to ride it.” Trevor Noah also praised major BDS-promoter and Israel-basher Angela Davis; opposed calls for civility; and supported chasing Sarah Huckabee Sanders from a restaurant. Former ADL head Abe Foxman, stated that “the comments [Noah Trevor] made on Twitter were inexcusable.” Yet, under current ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL honored Trevor Noah.
- In January 2017, ADL and the Reut Institute, in consultation with hostile-to-Israel J Street and Ameinu, issued and distributed to some Jewish groups a “secret” 30-page report that purported to provide a “coherent global Jewish response” to the “delegitimization” of Israel. In fact, the ADL/Reut report bashed and blamed Israel, Israel’s Rabbinate, Knesset and administration for the propaganda assaults against the Jewish State; and promoted a left-wing political appeasement agenda. For instance, the ADL/Reut Report justified and portrayed delegitimization assaults against Israel as reactions to: “genuine injustices that require change”; “the mistreatment of the indigenous population – the Arab citizens of Israel”; “Israel’s military campaigns [in Gaza] in 2009, 2012 and 2014”; and “erosion” of the perception that Israel is “peace-loving, pluralistic and democratic”; and Israel’s perceived “lack of commitment” to a “two-state solution.” The ADL/Reut Report also justified boycotting Jews living past the artificial 1949 Armistice lines on “a loss of trust by liberal Zionists regarding the commitment of the current Israeli government to peace.”
In essence, the ADL/Reut Report said that Israel deserves to be delegitimized. The hateful anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada published a leaked copy of the ADL/Reut report and gleefully recited the ADL/Reut Report’s “blame Israel” narrative as “acknowledgements” of Israel’s culpability.
In sum, under Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s far-left, extremist statements, activities and educational programs have been pervasive, alarming, harmful and dangerous. A complete overhaul is badly needed, with Jonathan Greenblatt’s removal as a first step.