ZOA condemns ADL for ‘despicable’ defense of anti-Semitic ‘human rights’ groups

ZOA urged the ADL to immediately retract its dangerous defense of Jew-hating groups and publicly apologize for its despicable stance. 

By World Israel News Staff

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) blasted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in a statement on Monday after the ADL condemned a State Department plan to label so-called “human rights” organizations that routinely condemn Israel as anti-Semitic.

Last week, it was reported that the State Department was considering condemning several international “human rights” NGOs that criticize Israel. It planned to ask other countries to stop supporting those groups’ activities.

The groups included some of the biggest names in the “human rights” game, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam.

In a surprise move, the ADL, which under the direction of its CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, has been accused of becoming a Democratic mouthpiece and abandoning its primary mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people,” condemned the State Department decision.

In a press release, the ADL said “applying the anti-Semitism label to these human rights organizations . . . is neither accurate nor helpful to the fight against anti-Semitism.”

“The ADL is frighteningly wrong on both counts,” the ZOA said.

“NGO Monitor, which researches and analyzes non-governmental organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam, has assembled detailed profiles of all three groups, documenting their respective records of demonizing Israel with falsehoods, singling out Israel for condemnation and punishment, and applying double standards to Israel, including by supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” the ZOA said.

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“All of this constitutes anti-Semitism, according to the definition of anti-Semitism officially endorsed by the U.S. government and many countries around the world. It is a horrific mistake and dangerous for anyone – especially the ADL – to excuse these Israelophobic groups’ Jew-hatred however it is expressed, including when it relates to Israel,” it added.

The ZOA statement points out that NGO Monitor found that Human Rights Watch falsely accused Israel of “war crimes,” and promotes a Palestinian Arab “right of return,” which would mean the elimination of the Jewish State. “It also lobbies the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and others to promote false and unverifiable allegations against Israel,” the ZOA said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch led the recent BDS campaigns targeting Airbnb and other tourism-related businesses,” the group noted.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other anti-Israel groups initiated the anti-Israel BDS movement in 2001, at the anti-Semitic UN World Conference on the Elimination of Racism, which took place in Durban, South Africa, the ZOA said.

Oxfam International, supposedly dedicated to fighting poverty, also has a record of anti-Israel hatred, well-documented by NGO Monitor.

“In 2014, actress Scarlett Johansson was forced to resign from her position as an “Oxfam Ambassador’ because of her role in promoting SodaStream, an Israeli company that operated in Judea and Samaria,” the ZOA said.

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The ZOA noted that Jonathan Tobin, editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Syndicate, called ADL’s defense of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam “a disgrace.”

“As with so many of its stands during the last four years, the ADL is not so much interested in anti-Semitism as it is in defeating President Donald Trump. Acknowledging that this administration has not only been the most pro-Israel in U.S. history but also devoted more resources to fighting anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses, than its predecessors undermines the Democrats’ talking points about Trump dog-whistling or enabling far-right Jew-haters.

“Just as troubling, Greenblatt seems to value ADL’s alliances with partners on the left, even if means making common cause with a trio of groups whose policy agenda is antithetical to the ADL’s mission to fight anti-Semitism. Denouncing them for anti-Semitism violates the ADL’s current impulse to see no enemies on the left.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ADL continues to hold itself out as a leader in fighting anti-Semitism – and raises millions of dollars based on this reputation. It’s unconscionable that the ADL would come to the defense of organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam, given their anti-Semitic records.

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“This is just the latest example of the ADL giving a pass to anti-Semitism coming from the left, when it should be fighting all forms of anti-Semitism, regardless of the source. Think about what ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt did after Jew-hating, Israel-hating U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar failed to clearly apologize for calling Israel ‘evil’ and for falsely accusing Israel, the only flourishing democracy in the Middle East, an ‘apartheid regime’?  Greenblatt tweeted ‘hats off’ to the Israelophobic Omar, praised her for her weak apology, and credited her undeservedly for her commitment to ‘a more just world.’

“Anti-Semitism from the left is predominantly what Jewish students have been enduring for years on their college campuses, causing them to feel threatened, harassed, and even afraid for their physical safety. The ADL’s failure to condemn it hurts our fight against anti-Semitism.

“By defending ugly anti-Semitic groups like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Oxfam, the ADL is making it easier for others to close their eyes to these groups’ anti-Semitic records. If even the ADL not only excuses but also defends the conduct of these so-called human rights groups, then everyone else gets the message that Jew-hatred expressed as hatred for Israel is acceptable. It isn’t.”

The ZOA requested that ADL’s Greenblatt publicly apologize for his group’s despicable stance.