On Rosh Hashana, Jews worldwide will supplicate God with the recitation that only He “know[s] the secrets of the world, and resolve[s] every contradiction known to man.” Unbeknownst to its author, this prayer referencing God would just as easily describe the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Sardonically, of course. An unelected, self-appointed group of professional Jews who claim to represent the Jewish community, the ADL weighs in on any and all contemporaneous issues, especially ones where their adroitly composed press releases convey the group’s sheer ignorance and moral narcissism.
When The Shadow (‘HaTzel’), an Israeli rapper associated with the far-right, joined the Likud party this past August, the ADL fired off a virulent letter to the party director Gadi Arielli, demanding he strip The Shadow of his civil liberties by prohibiting the rapper from becoming a member of a political party. “Granting membership to The Shadow sends the wrong message to Israeli society and hurts the Likud’s reputation as a tolerant and liberal party,” read the missive.
The same pattern repeated itself this past week, after Prime Minister Netanyahu released a video in which he labeled the effort to evacuate residents of Judea and Samaria “ethnic cleansing.” His remarks caused a storm, and it was not long before the ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt ripped into Netanyahu in the pages of Foreign Policy magazine, accusing him of “using words that hint of genocide for crass political ends.” The judge had ruled, the verdict was in.
From publishing outraged press releases over Knesset Members’ remarks against Reform Jews to writing op-eds condemning publicity campaigns run by the NGO Im Tirtzu, nothing is out of the ADL’s prerogative; their meddling knows no bounds.
Who asked them? Why does the ADL poke their noses into Israel’s business and tell us what to do, especially on internal Israeli matters which in no way affect these American former lawyers living in Long Island?
More importantly, how does this organization claim any moral authority? Did the Elders convene and appoint these self-righteous elitists? Have the Jewish people ever been afforded the right to decide who should speak in our name? Or to decide for ourselves how to approach these issues?
Simply being born Jewish does not bestow upon the ADL the moral alacrity it invokes when commenting on Israel, any more than it would legitimize Jews For Jesus or the Neturei Karta. In no other country does the ADL feel the need to add its two cents on every issue. The group would be well served to trust the Israeli democracy it so vociferously claims to prize and let the people who actually live here run the show.
The ADL has long opined that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should take place without any foreign intervention, as only the players who live in Israel can actually understand the complicated dynamics of a still-unfolding decades-long conflict. It would befit the group’s technocratic elites to adopt the same approach and desist from refereeing a game in which the ADL has no skin.