OpinionBoycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS)

The ADL is under siege from its own anti-Israel employees

Either the ADL will get right with the Jewish community or with the left. It can’t do both.

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL national director  and CEO, speaking with attendees at the 2017 National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.
Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL national director and CEO, speaking with attendees at the 2017 National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona. Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli-born journalist who writes for conservative publications.

As bad as ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt is, the organization under him has lost its Jewish mission and become a clearinghouse for assorted woke causes. I’ve never been a fan of the ADL, but in the Greenblatt era, it’s just another leftist group, and as I’ve documented in the past, it’s staffed up with actual radicals.

That was recently brought home when “Jewish Currents“, a site derived from a Communist magazine that cheered the rape and murder of Jews during the Hebron Massacre, published audio from a Zoom chat in which ADL employees attacked Greenblatt for being critical of BDS and the anti-Israel movement.

I won’t link to the original materials on the hate site, especially as no one can vouch for their authenticity, but they reveal a plausible picture of Greenblatt, a former liberal Obamaite, being out of his depth in discussing issues involving Israel, and struggling under the onslaught from anti-Israel ADL employees.

To Greenblatt’s credit, when asked if there’s a place for anti-Israel employees at the ADL, he finally states, “If you still feel like you can’t square the fact that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. Like really, if you’re hearing what I’m saying, and you just don’t agree with it. You think it’s okay to deny Jews their rights? Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, ‘You know what, I don’t think this is the right place for me.'”

But it’s also abundantly clear that the ADL has a lot of anti-Israel employees. And that they’re certainly not being asked to leave.

Similar woke pressure campaigns have targeted the leadership of other liberal and left-wing groups, and media organizations like The New York Times. That this is happening at the ADL reveals how toxic some of the activist hires have become. As the ADL focused on equity, BLM, transgender rights and the usual stuff, it brought in personnel, Jewish or otherwise, who are conventional lefties hostile to the Jewish state. Such a culture has a way of perpetuating itself, and is already aggressively pressuring Greenblatt to embrace BDS.

(Greenblatt has waffled on BDS in the past, but donor pressure appears to have made him clearly reject it.)

It’s impossible for the ADL to fully embrace the current leftist politics and be pro-Israel. Its staffers show the incoherent contradictions of such a move.

Either the ADL will get right with the Jewish community or with the left. It can’t do both.

As I previously reported, the ADL is deriving its money from school training and leftist mega donors like George Soros and Pierre Omodyar. It’s impossible to square those leftist revenue sources with a pro-Israel stance.

The ADL’s staff reflects this new focus. And the ADL has a choice between doubling down on this rich revenue source or trying to serve a shrinking liberal Jewish base. The outcome is likely inevitable.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

This is an edited version of an article first published by FrontPage Magazine.

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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