ZOA Calls to Fire ADL Head After Exposé Reveals ‘Dangerous, Extremist Educational Programs’

An empty classroom is seen at a closed school in Paris, Monday, March 16, 2020. France pla
AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) head Morton Klein called for a full “overhaul” of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) along with the firing of its CEO, former Obama senior adviser Jonathan Greenblatt, over the promotion of “woke leftism,” as was documented in a recent Fox News investigation.

The nation’s oldest pro-Israel organization released a statement pointing to a recent Fox News Digital investigation revealing the ADL’s “educational and ‘anti-bias’ programs, which influence millions of American children and thousands of educators and officials, [and] promote far-left and critical race theory (CRT) concepts such as ‘white privilege’ and ‘systemic racism.’” 

The programming was also found to “promote groups such as the Women’s March and BLM — despite the virulent Jew-hating, Israel-hating and pro-Farrakhan positions of the Women’s March leaders and BLM/M4BL organization.”

In addition, the investigation revealed that “these harmful ADL programs characterize denying white privilege as a ‘biased attitude’; encourage white students to view themselves as ‘oppressors’; and include an article indicating that white women are ‘justly seen as oppressive’ and ‘enjoy unearned skin privilege,’” among other things.

The ADL’s education wing is expansive and far-reaching, with districts countrywide paying the organization tens of thousands of dollars for its anti-bias training.

According to its website, last year over 46,000 educators participated in its anti-bias training and nearly five million K-12 students were exposed to its educational tools and programs.

The ZOA pointed to Greenblatt’s plan to “refocus” the ADL on “far-left partisan political, legal and educational advocacy” after becoming the group’s CEO in 2015.

Morton Klein of Zionist Organization of America attends a hearing at the National Oversight and Government Reform Committee on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Capitol Hill on November 8, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America attends a hearing at the National Oversight and Government Reform Committee on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on Capitol Hill on November 8, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“For years,” the ZOA claimed, it and others have “raised alarm bells about ADL’s and Greenblatt’s dangerous far-left advocacy and numerous departures from ADL’s primary stated mission of combatting antisemitism.”

In 2016, the ZOA documented “multiple” ADL educational lesson plans that “encouraged high school students to join BLM protests in Ferguson” despite protest calls for “ending Israel’s existence” and “promoted BLM while ignoring the antisemitic BLM/M4BL platform and antisemitism that permeates” the radical social movement.

The lesson plans also “repeated BLM’s false ‘hands up’ claim – while omitting the multiple comprehensive government investigations which concluded that Officer Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense; presented misleading selective police shooting statistics; falsely presented self-defense as an example of ‘racial profiling’; and complained about (so-called) ‘unearned white privilege’ (a racist theory that is too often used against innocent Jews and others).”

That same year, the ZOA recalled, the New York Post published an essay explaining how the ADL had promoted BLM “by creating school lesson plans that promote it, despite BLM’s support for BDS and open hostility toward Israel,” while claiming Greenblatt accused American Jews of “living with ‘white privilege.’”

The Fox News investigation, the ZOA stated, took place “over six years after ZOA and others documented the harmful concepts that ADL is teaching our children and public officials,” and brought the ADL to announce it will “review its curricular materials that are ‘misaligned with ADL’s values and strategy.’”

Calling the ADL’s announcement “too little and too late,” the ZOA responded by citing JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin who deemed the announcement “blatantly dishonest” due to the fact that the ADL’s “woke leftist educational materials are the same as, and are aligned with the pervasive woke far-left strategy and values that ADL promotes under ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.” 

Tobin highlighted the ADL’s public endorsement of BLM as well as its defense of Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who have been accused on multiple occasions of antisemitism, and its downplaying of “left-wing antisemitism” and promotion of internet censorship.

According to Tobin, firing Greenblatt is the only way to successfully execute a “complete overhaul” and “purge of the woke leftism and one-sidedness that now permeates almost everything [the ADL] says and does.” 

The ZOA concurred, calling for a “wholesale overhaul” of the ADL which would include Greenblatt’s removal.

“[U]nder Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s far-left, extremist statements, activities and educational programs have been pervasive, alarming, harmful and dangerous,” the ZOA concluded. “A complete overhaul is badly needed, with Jonathan Greenblatt’s removal as a first step.”

This is not the first time the ZOA has called out the ADL for not living up to its supposed values.

In 2020, the ZOA demanded the ADL speak out against Joe Biden for comparing President Donald Trump to a Nazi leader, after days of silence.

The group also called out Greenblatt for falsely accusing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of antisemitism.

Previously, ZOA officials criticized Greenblatt for accepting an “apology” by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for past antisemitic rhetoric, when Omar did not, in fact, apologize.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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