I have to say that in all of the years that I’ve been reading on Jewish American topics, there is not a single incident that caused me so much irritation, shame, and disgust as what the “Anti-Defamation League” did this week. We are often told that “Kol Israel ervim ze lazeh”, (All of the [Children of] Israel are collateral towards one another). After doing some rudimentary digging I found that that phrase originates from the Talmud’s Sanhedrin tractate, one that deals extensively with matters of the Jewish legal system itself.
Well this may appear harsh and overzealous, but if the ADL’s activities include being complicit in the blackmailing by a corporation of a private individual for posts that are non-criminal in nature, whatever the low taste of the content, then I don’t want to be a collateral towards them nor vice versa. I’ve made it clear both on this forum and in videos that these organizations DO NOT represent the interests of the greater Jewish community, ergo those living in Middle America but indeed the coastal ones as well, when they use smear tactics in order to promote the agenda of elite interests.
“Elite interests?!?! Are you spinning canards?” I hear you saying. Not at all, in fact objection to control by an oligarchy is common across the entire political spectrum, even among the elites themselves, ironically. The Brookings Institution, a liberal intellectual think tank, published in April a dissection of the fact that much of its own public had drastically misread the 2017 election. The ADL has, based on its actions last week, decided to continue swimming against the tide of reality.
The incident of which I speak is the recent firestorm concerning one “HanA**holeSolo”, an internet Reddit user that may even be below the age of 18 who shared a GIF file lampooning Donald Trump body slamming WWE founder Vince McMahon with the CNN logo superimposed on his face. After CNN claimed that they reserved the right to publish this person’s identity, the ADL joined in “analyzing” this person’s share history for racism. The thinly implied message was that the user’s life, job, and reputation would be raked over the coals in response to a.) a tasteless and bigoted sense of humor and b.) insulting a massive multinational media conglomerate like CNN.
Well excuse me, but whatever the reason for such an action this is ipso facto a threat of defamation. In its own analysis the ADL made the following statement:
“Subsequently, white supremacist hacker Andrew Auernheimer (aka Weev) is doing his best to escalate the situation. Auernheimer threatened CNN on the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi website, giving the network one week to fulfill a range of demands, including firing everyone involved in the Reddit story, creating a college scholarship for the Reddit poster, and ensuring that the poster will “never be harmed” by the network. If CNN fails to meet his demands, Auernheimer threatens to “track down” the parents, siblings, spouses and children of the CNN reporters.”
Unfortunately the analysis of the situation by the ADL has about as much foresight as a bat. The support for this forum poster is not just huge among white supremacists, but also millions of internet free speech advocates. Even the New York Times has taken notice. Ultra progressive YouTube comedian Jimmy Dore has also come out against the CNN response, claiming that this is “likely illegal“. Yet the ADL, rather than recognize that any involvement in this bizarre spectacle would gain them nothing, have decided to take the side of the corporate media.
To be perfectly clear, I am not suggesting defending the threatened user as a paragon of virtue, but the idea that chasing down a single social media provocateur will deter anti-Jewish activities online is transparently ludicrous. The ADL claims on its “Who We Are” masthead that “We protect the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment to all”.
Exactly where in its mission is the part about siding with a corporate media giant against a single person? CNN has been outed numerous times for its misleading headlines and content concerning Israel. CNN even published a rebuttal of a Donald Trump surrogate’s Israel policy statement by a Palestinian American comedian that he used more as a forum to attack Israel than to address the person’s points.This is not not only the case with Israel affairs: In June 2016, CNN on-air personality Christiane Amanpour conducted a hostile interview with British MEP Dan Hannan over Brexit. And let’s not discuss US Election 2016. Where do the interests of CNN intersect with the ADL’s mission? Does it’s mission coincide with supporting a tone deaf media organization tied to large corporations rather than the desires of the general public? On July 6 CNN’s Kirsten Powers even made the preposterous statement on Twitter that “people do not have a ‘right’ to stay anonymous so they can spew their racist, misogynist, homophobic garbage”. Maybe in her mind this is correct, but where is that legally supported? In fact LawNewz, a popular legal blog, has backed up Julian Assange’s proposal that CNN actually committed the crime by threatening the user in their response.
Like its ally CNN, the ADL pushes an agenda that is its own, and not one that represents its stated constituency — Jewish communities. Here is a brief survey of the ADL’s latest press releases and what that implies vis a vis their real agenda as opposed to their stated one:
- June 28: Urges the State Department to appoint an envoy to “monitor” anti-Semitism. If the ADL wants a government bureaucrat to monitor anti-Semitism, why does anyone need the ADL?
- June 27: ADL files a press release supporting a challenge to a Texas immigration law requiring local police to question detained individuals concerning their immigration status. If the ADL believes in doxxing individuals for perfectly legal offensive internet speech, why are they objecting to police officers investigating immigration violations?
- June 26: The ADL claimed that the recent Israeli government decision to suspend an egalitarian prayer space plan would “weaken ties between Israel and American Jewry”. The ADL claimed that this was not in keeping with the pluralist commitments of the Netanyahu administration. How can the ADL promote pluralism while giving legitimization to a news organization retaliating against a mocking internet poster?
- June 26: The ADL expressed “disappointment” at the Supreme Court ruling on the Trump travel ban. In doing so ADL national director Jonathan Greenblatt evoked the refugee plight during the Holocaust in particular those Jews rejected on the US St. Louis. Whatever his opinion on the ban, Greenblatt has repeated the often parroted lie that this a “Muslim ban”. If that were the truth the action would have likely triggered a rupture in diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other Muslim nations. This is not the only time that Greenblatt has used media supplied agenda items in order to define the ADL’s public statements.
- June 26: The ADL requested an apology from the organizers of the “Dyke March” in Chicago over the ejection of three Jewish activists over their use of Star of David gay pride flags. While the organization echoes cries of outrage from all over the spectrum consider this fact: The “Dyke March” is deliberately conducted with no permit and obstructs traffic as a way of provoking police officers and confronting passersby. Why exactly is anyone objecting only to this one specific aspect of the event, when it is as I’ve explained in a previous posting a radical political rally that is not actually meant to be inclusive?
Conspicuously absent in this list of topics that the ADL has taken issue with is the recent statement by Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour that she would like her resistance against the Trump Administration to be considered as a jihad by Allah. Why not? Because the ADL has publicly endorsed the Women’s March notwithstanding Sarsour’s flagship leadership role in it. Just read their statement here. The ADL has also since Greenblatt’s accession to its leadership ignored the activities of Pink Floyd ex-bassist Roger Waters, himself an advocate of BDS which is in itself a form of censorship. Let me emphasize that I’m not advocating the censorship of Waters or the BDS advocates, but a simple rebuttal would be enough. And if the ADL can find time to object to policies of the Israeli government, or supposedly insensitive statements by the Hungarian prime minister concerning a Holocaust-era politician, then why has it not addressed the recent violent G20 riots in Germany and the assault of foreign press reporters by Antifa?
We live as Jews in a world of increasingly heterodox opinions. The last century has ensured that whatever the status quo is, there is always a current in society that seeks to upend it. That is why I do not expect you the reader or anyone else to agree with my opinions and discard your own. That’s what freedom of speech and the press means. We do not need to like each other, but the rudeness, crudeness, and lack of tact in our interactions are nevertheless a necessary element in safeguarding that freedom. Jonathan Greenblatt thinks that his boosting of censorship by media oligarchs is safeguarding Jewish communities. I will let Czech director Milos Forman provide the counterpoint:
The worst evil is — and that’s the product of censorship – is the self-censorship, because that twists spines, that destroys my character because I have to think something else and say something else, I have to always control myself. I am stopping to being honest, I am becoming hypocrite — and that’s what they wanted.