There is an article running in the L:A Times today by Jaweed Kaleem about an Anti Defamation League study showing a 57% rise in anti-semitic incidents in the US in 2017. While I am pleased that somebody is taking note, I take issue with ADL’s findings in that they place the bulk of the blame on the wrong people. That’s nothing new for the ADL.
Conveniently, Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s recently-installed director and a noted liberal, blames resurgent white supremacists emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as being the biggest problem.
In short, the premise is absurd. I am not defending white nationalists, KKK, or neo-Nazi types for a moment. I do agree they are rising in numbers, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Trump because I don’t consider Trump to be a racist, anti-semite, or white nationalist. He is ten times the supporter of Israel than his predecessor.
But the real point is that the ADL under Greenblatt is doing the exact same thing ADL did under his predecessor, Abe Foxman. They ignore or downplay Islamic anti-semitism, which is the biggest part of the problem here, in Europe, and surely in the Middle East while pointing fingers at lower-hanging fruit like white nationalists. I saw this first-hand while attending anti-Israel events at the University of California at Irvine, where I used to teach part-time (1998- 2016) and listening to pro-Palestinian speech that often crossed the line into sheer Jew hatred. Most of the guilty speakers were Muslims. To be sure, I saw the local Orange County ADL head present too, but while I was challenging speakers, he stood silent.
In addition, I attended an interfaith event in Newport Beach last year in which the same theme prevailed. It was those evil Trump supporters. Not one word was said about Islamic anti-semitism because Muslim imams were participating in the charade. I couldn’t even pass up a written question asking the sponsors who they thought was most responsible for anti-semitism at UC Irvine. “It wasn’t the time or the place,” I was told after the event had concluded.
There is a ton of misinformation that is published by the LA Times. This article takes an important topic and blames it on the wrong people. Shame on the LA Times and the ADL.