After the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli Jewish teens by Hamas sparked Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in the Gaza Strip, Tema Smith retweeted and praised an article titled, “There Are No Good Guys in the Gaza-Israel Conflict.” The article claimed, among other things, that “Hamas—and the Palestinians as a whole—have desperately real and legitimate grievances against Israel.”
She also retweeted another piece urging Jews to “repent for Gaza’s dead.”
“Here’s the thing: Jews *have* to be OK with Palestinians *explaining* why some turn to terrorism,” Smith insisted two years ago.
Now, the Anti-Defamation League has chosen Smith as its director of Jewish outreach. As a Jewish activist on Twitter quipped: “Whom do the Jews hire as director of outreach to the ADL?”
It’s a valid question since Smith, in her own words, has said of her role: “I educate the Jewish community on race and racism as a speaker and writer.”
Rather than educating anyone about the threat of anti-Semitism, she tells Jews that they’re racists.
The ADL’s idea of “Jewish outreach” is an identity-politics hire who spends her time castigating Jews for their opposition to critical race theory and intersectionality because of its anti-Semitism.
In an op-ed for the extremist Forward site, Smith argued that black anti-Semitism doesn’t really exist because “antisemitism in the black community is shown to be the symptom of the structures of racism in the United States.” Last year, she attacked Jewish institutions that “platform speakers who call critical race theory and antiracism inherently anti-Semitic.”
Smith’s views on Israel come as no surprise; she was a fellow at the Israel Policy Forum. The IPF was J Street before the Soros group even existed, and engages in anti-Israel activism. The self-described “red diaper baby” refers to Israel’s “occupied West Bank and Gaza,” and repeatedly attacks the Jewish state for defending itself against Islamic terrorism.
The ADL’s latest outrage comes after a series of horrifying moves by its boss, Jonathan Greenblatt, which include ties to anti-Israel activists and minimizing BDS. But the hiring of Smith outraged so many Jewish activists because it conveyed the ADL’s disdain for the Jewish community. Who, they wonder, is the ADL reaching out to by hiring her?
But the ADL’s new constituency isn’t the Jewish community, it’s the anti-Israel left.
Six years ago, Greenblatt wrote of BDS activists that “we should acknowledge the earnestness of their motives.”
Five years ago, the ADL touted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) as “inspiring.”
Four years ago, the ADL came out against security grants for synagogues. That same year, Greenblatt opened an ADL conference with a vocal defense of George Soros, and invited anti-Israel activists to the conference while a panel accused “some in the Jewish community” of labeling “almost all expressions that are deemed ‘anti-Israel’ as anti-Semitic.”
Two years ago, Greenblatt and the ADL stood with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch against Israel. They cosigned a Black Lives Matter letter alongside anti-Israel hate groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. This was one of several anti-Israel letters the ADL had signed on to that year.
The ADL’s embrace of Tema Smith is part of its repudiation of Israel and Jews; Smith isn’t just terrible on Israel, but on even the most obvious and basic forms of anti-Semitism.
Two years ago, British Jews protested anti-Semitism by Wiley, a British rapper who claimed that “there are two sets of people who nobody has really wanted to challenge: Jewish and KKK,” and ranted, “Why did Hitler hate you? For nothing?”
Smith posted that “the Jewish community’s reactions to antisemitism coming from black people is inherently tied to (implicitly racist) fears of black violence.”
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Lee Kern noted that “Tema helped antisemites rather than British Jews when she slandered us as the racists for symbolicly [sic] leaving Twitter for a day in protest of someone who champions Nazi talking points.”
Even as synagogues boost their security in the face of anti-Semitic violence, Smith contended that “security agencies uphold white supremacy through profiling, etc” and defended claims that “Jews uphold white supremacy.”
Smith cheered the idea that the Muslim murderer of Sarah Halimi, who had shouted “Allahu Akbar” after violently beating the retired kindergarten teacher and throwing her out of the window, was the real victim.
On Twitter, Smith endorsed a claim that the “Jewish community press” are out to “maximize outrage and minimize understanding” of the Halimi murder case.
Smith agreed that the “sources on this have been misleading and inflammatory”
The ADL frequently complains about inappropriate Holocaust analogies, but Smith retweeted an attack on the Holocaust Museum for daring to condemn Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) comparison of illegal alien detention to the Holocaust.
Tema Smith is a wholly inappropriate choice for any organization that still occasionally claims to be pro-Israel and dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism. But the ADL is actually neither. The ADL is far more interested in Black Lives Matter and transgender activism than in Jews.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s new boss, a veteran of the Obama administration who many blame for the organization’s hostility to Israel and Jews, tweeted: “Mazel tov to @temasmith. Kudos for being honored for your vital voice in the movement to empower & include Jews of Color.”
Smith’s leftist politics and her identification as a black woman matter far more to the ADL than her position on any Jewish issues.
The ADL’s hiring of Tema Smith comes after its Never Again Is Now summit last year invited anti-Israel figures who had falsely accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and blamed the Jews massacred in the Mumbai terror attack for their alleged attitude which “gives the sense of an elite club for Jews alone, is part of what provoked the terrorists to target them for the attack.”
I titled my coverage of that abomination of a conference, “The ADL Convenes a Summit of Anti-Semites to Fight Anti-Semitism.”
Now the ADL has hired a director of Jewish outreach who hates Jews.
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 article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.