I’ve been a student of politics for a long time and learned early on that to truly understand anything you have to invest the time to read both the left and the right. I began a daily analysis of Israel some 18 years ago as I became Chair of the Social Action Committee of my synagogue and believed that neither I nor most of the members of Kehilat HaNahar were up to speed on Israel and have been busy reading, writing and responding ever since.
I read an article by Caroline Glick, the well known editor of the Jerusalem Post and right wing firebrand titled: “The ADL’s new bedfellows.” I have to admit that I’ve been reading Glick a long time to help get my bearings and generally consider her to be analogous to Ann Coulter but usually with more facts. Like pundits on both the left and right she uses her facts as it pleases her and edits liberally, (maybe the only liberal thing that she can be accused of).
It’s not difficult to recognize that I am somewhat to the left of Caroline on the political spectrum both in general and as it pertains to her vision for the future of the state of Israel. Most recently she authored “The Israel Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.” Clearly, she does not stand alone in the state of Israel and at times is not that far from PM Netanyahu and the Likud Party or may be an even closer partner with Naftali Bennett and his far right Jewish Home Party.
The article effectively takes no prisoners calling into question Jonathan Greenblatt, new head of the Anti-Defamation League, the Obama Administration, from whence he came, all the more liberal American Middle East Peace NGO’s, Congressman Keith Ellison, (progressive Muslim candidate for head of the Democratic National Committee), and the American Muslim population as a whole which largely voted for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump. It is this last editorial kneecapping by Glick that tipped the scales in an article overflowing with incomplete, compartmentalized and one-sided narratives.
Glick found a way to paint the entire American Muslim population as suspect, without noting that President-Elect Trump gave them a concrete reason to vote against him. On December 7, 2015 the Trump campaign released a statement which the candidate then proceeded to read which included the following announcement:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” his campaign statement said.
Glick did however find and include a highly suspect statement by a former marine officer and writer for Breitbart News:
“Former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert John Guandolo estimates that upward of 80% of Islamic centers and mosques in the US are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.” That accusation is so far over the top as to call into question every line in Caroline Glick’s carefully crafted demonization of the left.
Glick had preceded the Guandolo charge with these words against President Obama:
“The chief characteristics of Obama’s Middle East policies have been support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran against Israel and the US’s Sunni allies.”
And then she chose to follow her indictment of American Islamic centers and mosques with these words:
“The major American Muslim groups, including CAIR, ISNA and the Islamic Circle of North America are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood in turn supports Iran.”
This attack stems from Glick’s inability to understand let alone accept the evolution of the ADL from its historic role as a vanguard against anti-Semitism into a voice in favor of the civil rights of all races, colors and creeds that it has in fact become over the last quarter century:
“It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the Alt Right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house,’ said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We call on President-elect Trump to appoint and nominate Americans committed to the well-being of all our country’s people and who exemplify the values of pluralism and tolerance that makes our country great.”
I personally do not believe that Greenblatt’s denunciation of Steve Bannon as an anti-Semite is valid by itself. But as Executive Chair of Breitbart News Bannon has promoted a right wing nationalism that is against minorities, immigration and everything that an enlightened Judaism stands for in his marketing to and championing of the Alt-right and Donald Trump as its candidate.
It is necessary to debunk one more of Caroline’s canards having to do with the relationship of Keith Ellison, candidate for DNC Chair, with the Nation of Islam. It must be stated openly that there was a time some 20 years ago when Keith Ellison was affiliated with the Nation of Islam and even wrote an article praising its leader Louis Farrakhan. But he formally denounced Farrakhan and the Nation in a 2006 letter to the Minnesota JCRC and has traveled to the Middle East many times, spoken for the Bush Administration’s Voice of America and visited both Gaza and S’derot to learn more about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and a viable path to peace. That makes him an easy target for the right if you look cynically through a long and distorted lens. He has grown as a man, as a legislator and as a leader of the Democratic Party. I happen to believe the future of the Party will be best served by Co-Chairs with Ellison in tandem with a moderate such as Jennifer Granholm sharing the duties of the DNC.