The Unconscionable Silence of the Anti-Defamation League on Antisemitism at #OccupyWallStreet

The Anti-Defamation League is one of the most powerful and authoritative voices against bigotry of all kinds–not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

Yet the ADL’s message has been compromised by left-wing political bias, most recently in its failure to denounce the evident antisemitism of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

Photo at Occupy LA (Pajamas Media)

By contrast, the ADL was quick to accuse the Tea Party movement of antisemitism when it began.

In May 2009, shortly after the first Tea Party rallies in April, the ADL warned: “White Supremacists and Anti-Semites Plan to Recruit at July 4 Tea Parties.”

In November, the ADL issued a “special report” on the Tea Party and “anti-government conspiracies.” The ADL noted that “extremists were a tiny minority of Tea Party protesters,” but claimed Tea Party members were filled with “rage” and held ideas that “fall outside the mainstream.”

As of this writing, the ADL has said nothing about the “rage” and bigotry on display at several “Occupy” rallies. Instead, it is minimizing the antisemitism on display, effectively helping “Occupy” do damage control.

One ADL analyst told the Daily Caller:

“We have seen instances of individuals promoting these [antisemitic] views. We do not think that it is or has been institutionalized in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movements,” she said. “But I think the bigger issue is sort of that when there is a heightened focus economic strife and the financial industry it is not surprising to see these messages. Yet, we will continue to be diligent, looking for them and combating the promotion of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories should they arise.”

Todd Gutnick, ADL’s media relations director, confirmed this morning: “Aside from the story in the Daily Caller in which we were quoted, ADL has made no statements on the Occupy movement.”

That is alarming, given the explicit anti-Jewish hatred on display at Occupy rallies across the country.

For example, on October 12, posted an interview with Patricia McAllister, a self-described employee of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and a demonstrator at Occupy LA. She stated: “I think that, uh, the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks, and our Federal Reserve, which is not run by the federal government–they need to be run out of this country.”

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Pajamas Media recorded similar, and worse, statements at Occupy LA. The main Occupy demonstration in lower Manhattan has also seen numerous, well-documented examples of explicit antisemitism.

Media Matters’s M.J. Rosenberg–who himself once called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “terrorist”–attempts to minimize these examples by highlighting some Occupy activists’ embrace of Jewish themes, such as atonement on the recent Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Yet when have these well-meaning Occupy activists condemned the bigotry in their midst?

Furthermore, some Occupy organizers apparently share a pronounced hatred of Israel.

For example, Lisa Fithian, a professional activist who is coordinating Occupy protests around the country, has a history of anti-Israel activism, including a 2010 protest at which she accused Israel of murder, and demonstrators called for Palestine to be “free, from the river to the sea.”

Similar anti-Israel sentiments appear in emails in the Occupy Wall Street archive uncovered at Big Government last week. The ADL, which closely monitors anti-Israel hate, has shown no interest in such links between the Occupy movement and the global anti-Israel movement.

The American Nazi Party came out in support of the Occupy protests nearly a week ago, but the ADL has still said nothing.

What will it take for the ADL–the guardian of tolerance in America–to break its unconscionable silence, and speak out against the antisemitism at Occupy Wall Street?

Or does the ADL reserve its outrage for conservative groups like the Tea Party, which it has unfairly and inaccurately associated with the worst kinds of hatred?

The work the ADL does is too important to be compromised by such blatant political bias.

It is well past time for the ADL to call upon those behind the Occupy movement–the activists, unions, and elected Democrats–to speak out against the antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric among the movement’s leaders and supporters.


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