(JNS.org) The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) on Nov. 7 criticized Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director Abraham Foxman for his assessment of “closure” in the controversy surrounding an anonymous Obama administration official’s description of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit.”
After the “chickenshit” slur had been reported by The Atlantic magazine correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said, “Certainly, that’s not the administration’s view, and we think such comments are inappropriate and counter-productive.” In reaction to Baskey’s comments, Foxman told The Algemeiner, “The White House statement should bring closure to this issue.”
“It is wrong for the ADL to seek to silence the rest of the Jewish community by unilaterally declaring that the case is now closed,” ZOA said in a press release on Nov. 7. “ADL does not speak for the Jewish community, only for themselves and their supporters. Similarly, they did not speak for the Jewish community when they proclaimed that the [Death of] Klinghoffer opera nor the Nike ads showing a Jewish star on the uniforms of evil clone soccer players were not anti-Semitic. This closure statement is really a dereliction of ADL’s sworn duty to fight defamation of Jews and Israel.”
Foxman called ZOA’s public criticism “destructive behavior.”
“Publicly chastising the opinions of others in the Jewish community does not serve the goals we all share, which is the safety and well being of the Jewish community and the security of the state of Israel,” Foxman told JNS.org.
“When I disagree with the ZOA, I make a phone call,” he said. “I don’t engage in public disparagement of their leadership or their positions. Who designated them as the arbiters of what Jewish organizations should believe in or advocate for? Where has respect for differences in our community gone?”
In its press release, ZOA also criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for not issuing a public statement on the “chickenshit” slur.
“Although AIPAC may have gotten Congressmen to speak out on this issue, that is not enough,” ZOA said. “The White House must know that important Jewish organizations are deeply concerned about this insult.”
AIPAC declined to comment on ZOA’s criticism.
In contrast to Foxman’s assessment of “closure,” the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations had said that the White House comments on the “chickenshit” slur do not “undo the damage” of the remark. Every manifestation of division between the U.S. and Israel “is exploited by the enemies of both,” said Conference of Presidents Chairman Robert G. Sugarman and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein.