Anti-Defamation League Plays Victim After False Attack on Bannon

Jonathan Greenblatt (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)
Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims that it is the victim of an “organized” campaign to discredit it — after launching an organized campaign against President-elect Donald J. Trump on the basis of false and defamatory charges of antisemitism and racism against his newly-appointed Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, Stephen K. Bannon of Breitbart News.

(Bannon has been on leave from Breitbart since being appointed CEO of the Trump presidential campaign in August.)

In an e-mail to supporters earlier this week, the ADL alleged: “Over the past year, certain columnists and elements of the U.S. Jewish community have engaged in a full-scale assault on ADL and its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt.” The email cites several criticisms that it says are inaccurate, including the claim that it attacked Bannon but did not criticize Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the left-wing congressman and former Nation of Islam member running to lead the Democratic National Committee.

Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency calls out ADL’s president, Jonathan Greenblatt, for his weak defense:

In one instance, Greenblatt fudges the record slightly: He decries as a myth the claim that the group attacked Stephen Bannon, Trump’s top strategic adviser, but not Keith Ellison, the Minnesota congressman vying to lead the Democratic National Committee. Greenblatt said the group had expressed “concerns” about each man – Bannon for his associations with the alt-right, which includes within its ranks white supremacists and anti-Semites, and Ellison, for his strident criticism of Israel and his backing of the Iran nuclear deal. In fact, the ADL outright opposed  Bannon’s appointment, while it raised questions about Ellison’s candidacy.

The ADL was forced to back away from claims that Bannon is antisemitic, issuing a statement on its website: “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.” Later, it dropped the claim that Breitbart News is the “premier” site of the “alt-right.”

In its email, the ADL complains about “fake news, where agenda-driven half-truths are presented as fact,” and notes that such lies often lead to “polarization” and “hardening positions.” The complaint is delivered without any hint of irony, or any sense of remorse at ADL’s active leadership in a “fake news” campaign against Bannon and Breitbart.

Politico notes that the ADL has been criticized for taking an active stance against the incoming Trump association — notably by the Zionist Organization of America and by the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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