1500 Orthodox rabbis blast ADL for controversial statement about BDS and anti-Semitism

The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) said that the ADL’s stance on BDS “demonstrated that it lacks the moral clarity to properly identify antisemitism, let alone combat it.”

by Meira Svirsky, World Israel News

The Coalition for Jewish Values took aim at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Tuesday after the latter had stated that BDS activity on campus does not necessarily constitute anti-Semitism.

The ADL statement came with the announcement of a new partnership between the ADL and Hillel International, the Jewish college organization, to document anti-Semitism on American college campuses.

“Situations vary widely with BDS. We will carefully evaluate each one and make a determination based on our criteria for antisemitism,” said an ADL spokesperson, speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

The spokesperson added that a BDS resolution alone would not count as antisemitism, “but if a student was excluded from the debate because he or she was Jewish, then it might be counted.”

In reaction, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents over 1,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis vis-a-vis American public policy, issued a harsh condemnation of the ADL.

While calling the effort to combat anti-Semitism on campuses a “noble and worthwhile” pursuit, the CJV said that the ADL’s stance on BDS “demonstrated that it lacks the moral clarity to properly identify antisemitism, let alone combat it.”

“Only someone with no sense of Jewish history could claim that BDS is not antisemitic,” said CJV Southern Regional Vice President Rabbi Moshe B. Parnes. “The first Nazi edict was a boycott of Jewish businesses; economic warfare directed against the Jewish people was then and has always been one of the first signs of systemic Jew-hatred.

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which has been officially adopted by the U.S. (and 31 other nations), the BDS movement has been deemed an anti-Semitic movement.

This is fundamentally because the movement “[applies] double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of by any other democratic nation.”

“Human rights activists opposed to tyrannical regimes don’t describe themselves as ‘anti-Cuba,’ ‘anti-Iran,’ or ‘anti-North Korea,’ or seek to destroy those nations,” said CJV Midwestern Regional Vice President Rabbi Ze’ev Smason. “That so many BDS supporters proudly label themselves ‘anti-Israel” is revealing—and should be chilling to everyone.”

“Any honest person can see that anti-Semitism runs through the core of the anti-Israel movement, from its hateful accusations to violent assaults perpetrated by ‘pro-Palestinian’ demonstrators against individual Jews,” he added.

According to its own guidelines, Hillel International does not partner with groups that “support boycotts of, divestment from, or sanctions against the State of Israel.”

This is not the first time CJV has spoken out against the ADL. In April, after the ADL called for Fox News host Tucker Carlson to be fired, CJV rebuked the ADL for “grossly misplaced charges of anti-Semitism.”

At the time, the group stated that ADL’s stance was merely the latest evidence that the ADL “has become markedly partisan under [Jonathon Greenblatt’s] leadership.”

Writing in the New York Post on Thursday, Jonathan S. Tobin, editor-in-chief of JNS.org., echoed this view in reaction to PayPal’s recent decision to partner with the ADL to outline criteria that will allow the premier payment-service company to shut out any group from its platform it labels “extremist.”

“This might not seem all that alarming to Americans who remember the ADL of an earlier era, a venerable organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and upholding bedrock civil-rights principles,” Tobin wrote. “But under the leadership of Jonathan Greenblatt, a Team Obama alumnus, the ADL has turned into an arm of the progressive movement …”