Foxman’s ADL bestows honors on a notorious right-wing billionaire, Rupert Murdoch. Through outlets like, first, the New York Post and then, as his empire grew, the much more influential Fox News Channel, Murdoch has sold a far-right distortion of news coverage as “fair and balanced,” and is responsible for some of the most hateful and scandalous events in the history of news reporting.
While Foxman honors the man who gave us Sean Hannity and Glen Beck, he disparages groups that support Palestinian rights. I understand that anyone who is passionately (not to say myopically) pro-Israel, in what is thought of as the “mainstream” will consider any group that places Palestinian human rights in the middle of their concerns the opposition, the sort of mud-slinging the ADL engages in here is nothing short of contemptible.
We can start with ADL’s lack of nuance, being unable to distinguish between groups like ANSWER, CAIR, Friends of Sabeel and the US Campaign to End the Occupation. These groups have very different ideologies, strategies and political approaches. Some on the list are certainly “anti-Israel” others merely strongly critical.
But I’ll focus on the group that I know best on their preposterous list, Jewish Voice for Peace.
I am no longer with that group, and if I agreed with JVP on their approach, especially as it concerns the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, I probably would still be working for them. But the way ADL characterizes them here is nothing short of absurd.
JVP is, to begin with, distinctly NOT an anti-Zionist group. It has, to be sure, anti-Zionist members, but what Foxman does not, with his limited knowledge of not only this group but the Israel-Palestine issue more generally, understand is that it also has Zionist members. And many of its non-Zionist members consider their work as being very much on Israel’s behalf and in Israel’s interest.
Foxman’s problem with JVP is that they engage in economic action against settlements and the occupation. They also state that, while they themselves do not support boycotts against Israel they reject and oppose characterizing such actions as necessarily being anti-Semitic.
Foxman is also worried that JVP wants “…an end to the ‘Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,’ a peaceful resolution for Palestinian refugees, and the cessation of Israeli ‘land seizures; destruction of homes, infrastructure, orchards and farms; arbitrary arrests and imprisonment; torture; assassinations; expulsions; curfews; travel restrictions; abuse at checkpoints; raids; collective punishment; and other violations of human rights.’
Anyone who wants such things must be anti-Israel, bordering on anti-Semitic, in the mind of Abe Foxman. And to make matters worse in that troubled mind, “In stark contrast to these detailed requirements, the only stipulation for Palestinians is the cessation of ‘suicide bombings and other attacks on Israeli civilians.’ (The mission statement does not mention, for example, that Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state.)”
Right, all JVP wants from the Palestinians is…peace. Gee, how unreasonable. They must be Israel-haters. Especially if they don’t endorse a ridiculous demand that Israel only even figured out it wanted about three years ago and which no country in the world has ever asked of another, let alone of a people it is holding under occupation.
Abe Foxman has trivialized anti-Semitism by throwing the accusation around spuriously to serve his agenda. He has opened the Jewish community to the very real criticism that ADL embodies, that they will criticize anyone for discrimination unless it’s Israel. He has trivialized the real bias that does exist in the world against Israel by lumping any but the mildest critics of Israeli policies into one basket.
Meanwhile, Israel has moved farther along its own anti-democratic path, while Foxman has kept nearly silent. JVP, while I may sometimes disagree with them, has taken that on. In fact, it’s Foxman, not JVP, who is jeopardizing Israel’s future and who certainly stands in the way of peace.