The ADL and whitewashing Muslim antisemitism

Despite its own survey findings, the ADL has downplayed or ignored the fact that Muslims around the world are disproportionately antisemitic.

An Anti-Defamation League poster. Source: Jonathan Greenblatt/Twitter.
An Anti-Defamation League poster. Source: Jonathan Greenblatt/Twitter.
Andrew Bostom
Andrew Bostom
Dr. Andrew Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.

The Anti-Defamation League has been tracking global antisemitism for some time. Unsurprisingly, an analysis of the ADL’s 2004 data on Western Europe, published in Aug. 2006 in The Journal of Conflict Resolution confirmed that anti-Israel sentiment is a strong predictor of antisemitism.

However, the authors deemphasized the more striking fact that in a controlled comparison to Western European Christians, Western European Muslims were nearly eight times more likely to evidence extreme antisemitism as gauged by agreement with at least six of 11 antisemitic stereotypes. Disturbingly, the original 2004 ADL survey report made no mention of this at all.

By 2014, the ADL was applying a slightly modified survey instrument globally. Any honest assessment of the data would have highlighted that the world’s 16 most antisemitic countries were all in the Muslim Middle East, where 74%-93% of the overwhelmingly Muslim citizens of these nations exhibited extreme antisemitism. Moreover, on a global scale, extreme Muslim antisemitism was massively higher than other religious groups: Muslim, 49%; Christian, 24%; no religion, 21%; Hindu, 19%; Buddhist, 17%.

In 2015, the ADL published data on Western Europe that finally included large Muslim population samples. The disproportionate rate of Muslim antisemitism was apparent: Muslims were two to 4.5 times more likely to be antisemitic than non-Muslims.

While forced to acknowledge this fact, the ADL emphasized that they were “lower than corresponding figures of 75% in 2014 for Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa.” The ADL also stated, “In the aftermath of the shocking violence against Jews in Western Europe the past year, the level of antisemitic attitudes among the general population in France showed a dramatic decline, while Germany and Belgium registered significant reductions.”

In 2017, the ADL released its first U.S. survey that included specific data on Muslim Americans. It found that consistent with global patterns, Muslim Americans were more than twice as likely to be extremely antisemitic than non-Muslims: 34% vs. 14%. Nonetheless, the ADL again sought to minimize these findings, saying the rate was “far lower than Muslims in Europe, where 55% hold these views, and the Middle East/North Africa, where 75% hold [extreme] antisemitic views.”

More ADL data released in 2019 assessed extreme antisemitism in 18 countries. Six of them—Belgium, the U.K., Germany, Spain, France and Italy—included a Muslim over-sample, allowing for a direct comparison of attitudes among Muslims vs. Christians, those professing no religion and the general population. These findings confirmed that Muslims are three times more antisemitic than all the other surveyed groups.

Yet the ADL gave this finding the lowest priority—listing it as the last of six bullet points. The ADL did grudgingly acknowledge, “Muslim acceptance of antisemitic stereotypes was substantially higher than among the national populations—on average almost three times as high.” This raw data was never subjected to multivariable-adjusted statistical analysis, as were the ADL’s 2004 findings regarding Western Europe.

In May 2023, the ADL issued a summary report of its most recent survey of six Western and four Eastern European countries. It made no mention whatsoever of extreme Muslim antisemitism. Instead, it emphasized an alleged “high concern over right-wing violence.” Yet the ADL’s own raw 2023 tabulations for the only two countries where Muslim data was provided—France and Belgium—revealed the same decade-old phenomenon: 62% of French Muslims exhibited extreme antisemitism vs. 15% of French Christians. For Belgium, the numbers were 52% of Muslims vs. 21% of Christians.

In 2019, the ADL heavily promoted journalist Bari Weiss’s book How To Fight Anti-Semitism.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Weiss failed to note that the 16 most antisemitic countries in the world are all Arab-Muslim and that Muslims are overwhelmingly more antisemitic than other religious groups. Weiss noted only that “a 2014 ADL survey which looked at attitudes toward Jews in 100 countries found that … only 8% of respondents in the Middle East and North Africa had heard of the Holocaust and believed it actually happened.”

In April 2019, Zionist Organization of America President Mort Klein presented the ADL’s data on disproportionate Muslim antisemitism at a congressional hearing. In response, the ADL’s Senior Vice President for Policy, Eileen Hershenov, appeared to whitewash her organization’s own findings, saying that “vulnerable, marginalized communities have bigotry within them.”

For two decades, the ADL has been documenting the fact that Muslims are disproportionately antisemitic. Rather than deal with this issue, however, it has downplayed or ignored it altogether. This denialism must stop if only because it cripples any serious effort to understand, let alone combat, this uniquely Muslim scourge.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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