The Anti-Defamation League has been in the news again. When, two years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center (sic) was hit by a series of scandals concerning such matters as its dubious fundraising, amassed wealth, and deliciously ironic allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment leading to the firing of its founder Morris Dees and the resignation of its president Richard Levin, I hoped that some similar fate would befall the ADL. Sadly, this hope failed to materialize. Indeed, it might be said that in this period in which the SPLC’s reputation has sunk to an all-time low, the ADL’s influence has soared to new heights. Due, presumably, to its new director’s connections to Silicon Valley, the ADL has been working alongside Big Tech to censor online speech and purge the internet of opinions of which it disapproves, a campaign that has turned into a blitzkrieg of thought suppression in the course of the last year. It has now declared war on Tucker Carlson, the most popular talk show host on FOX News, basically for being the only mainstream television news persona with the stones to speak the unvarnished truth about immigration.
The Anti-Defamation League is decades older than the SPLC and is, to the best of my knowledge, the very first organization of this type to have been founded. Whereas most self-appointed, full-time, anti-racist watchdogs sprung up after World War II, during and after the American Civil Rights Movement, in order to capitalize on that era’s wave of popular sentiment against racism, the ADL predates the First World War going all the way back to 1913. While it is popular among some of the ADL’s foremost critics on the right today to maintain that the organization started well but got sidetracked during the tenure of its current director who had been a special assistant to Barack Obama, in reality the organization started out bad and became worse.
The ADL started out operating under the Chicago branch of the B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant), a fraternal philanthropic organization that could roughly be said to be the equivalent for Jews of what the Knights of Columbus are for Roman Catholics. Its founders were two Chicago lawyers, Adolf Kraus who was the president of the order at the time, and Sigmund Livingston who became the first president of the ADL. Its stated purpose was to combat the defamation of the Jewish people in particular, and ultimately “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens”. This, as good and noble as it sounds, was a mere façade. Apart from the fact that the ADL has never seemed to have any qualms about lying about (defaming) its enemies, thus making a mockery of its own name, throughout its history it has blurred the distinction between unfair and unjust words and acts towards Jews qua Jews and justifiable criticism of the same, just as it has blurred the distinction between criticism of Jews qua Jews whether unfair or justifiable and criticism of individuals who are Jewish on the basis of their words and deeds as individuals. It has also been susceptible to the charge of promoting Christophobia, which, of course, contradicts the second part of its purpose statement.
With regards to the first of these points, consider the incident that sparked the founding of the ADL in the first place. Earlier in 1913, Leo Frank, the factory supervisor of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia was convicted of murdering 13 year old Mary Phagan, an employee of the factory who had been found raped and strangled in its basement. Frank was the president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith and the story became the subject of contentious discussion throughout the United States. Powerful Jewish individuals in the American northeast such as Adolph Ochs, publisher of the New York Times, and Albert Lasker, the Chicago based advertising baron (he had just become the head of Lord and Thomas which became Foote, Cone & Belding) , became convinced, or at least took the public position, that Frank was innocent and was being railroaded for anti-Semitic reasons. The founders of the ADL were of the same persuasion and today their interpretation of these events is taken as established in the history books. It is curious though, that fabricated evidence at the site of the murder pointed to the black nightwatchman Newt Less, and the man whom the supporters of Frank’s innocence maintain was the real culprit, the janitor James Conley whose testimony to being Frank’s accomplice helped convict him, was also black. For the ADL’s interpretation of the incident to be correct, it would require that in the city of Atlanta, Georgia at the height of Jim Crow, anti-Semitism so trumped anti-black prejudice that a white man was framed for the rape and murder of a 13 year old white girl by a black man, because the white man was of the Jewish faith. The story did not end with Frank’s conviction. He appealed, with Lasker covering much of his legal fees, and eventually his sentence was commuted from death to life imprisonment. About two years after his original conviction he was kidnapped from prison and lynched to death near Phagan’s home town. An ugly ending to the story for sure, but it reinforces the point. How likely is it that in the Georgia of 1915 a white man would be lynched for a crime of this nature perpetrated by a black man?
I have given much detail about the Frank case because of its instrumentality in the founding of the ADL but it is hardly an isolated incident. In 1982 the ADL hosted a posh luncheon ceremony in which the legendary sharp-tongued comedian and actress Joan Rivers in an unusually teary-eyed and sentimental performance for her presented the “Torch of Liberty” award on their behalf to one Morris B. “Moe” Dalitz. A few years later they would name him “Philanthropist of the Year”. Dalitz, who had made a fortune in bootlegging and illegal gambling during the Prohibition era, had taken his ill-gotten gains and invested them in legal casinos in Las Vegas, where he later expanded his legitimate business interests into a more general property development, earning himself the nickname “Mr. Las Vegas”. In the post-World War II era he carefully constructed for himself the image of a reformed gangster turned legitimate businessman which he fiercely defended, famously suing Penthouse magazine in the 1970s for an article that maintained that a country club and spa resort that he had built near San Diego was built with mob money and serviced a mob clientele. Dalitz dropped the suit after the magazine published a letter of apology, although by Rolling Stone’s 1976 account of the case the defendants appeared to have been winning the suit. A more serious allegation was that beneath his veneer of legitimacy he was the head of operations for the Las Vegas branch of the activities of his life-long friend Meyer Lansky. Lansky, who died the year after Dalitz received the award from the ADL, was the co-founder, with his best friend Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel whom he later had killed, of Murder Inc., and who went on with Charles “Lucky” Luciano to build the National Crime Syndicate. He was the biggest mobster in the United States for half of the twentieth century and his criminal empire stretched around the globe. Siegel had run Lansky’s Las Vegas operations until his murder in 1947, and Dalitz, who began investing in Las Vegas casinos around that same time, was widely believed to have been his successor. Indeed, there have been allegations that the ADL itself basically functioned as a public relations firm for Lansky and while the ADL never honoured Lansky, who lacked a respectable public image, the way it did Dalitz, and Lansky does not seem to have directly donated to the ADL in his own name (many of his most prominent associates, Dalitz among them, however were substantial donors), there is plenty of circumstantial grounds for believing these allegations to be not entirely false. At any rate, the ADL had always been quick to make charges of anti-Semitism against those who concentrated on Lansky, Siegel, Dalitz, etc. in exposing organized crime.
With regards to the second point, the ADL’s promotion of Christophobia, this has been evident throughout the history of the organization but became especially prominent during the directorship of Abraham H. Foxman, who succeeded Nathan Perlmutter in that role in 1987 and continued as director until his retirement in 2015. In 1999, Foxman attacked the Rev. Jerry Falwell for saying that the Antichrist would be a Jewish male. Regardless of whether one agrees with Falwell’s understanding of Bible prophecy or not, this was hardly an anti-Semitic statement but a logical implication of the very idea of the Antichrist – the devil’s counterfeit of the true Christ who will arise in the last days as the ultimate villain of history. A counterfeit is a fake that is intended to be passed off as the real thing imitates. Therefore it has to be as close to the real thing as possible. Thus, that the ultimate counterfeit of the Messiah would have to be Jewish, can be logically deduced not only from Christian theology, which correctly asserts that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the true Christ, but from Jewish theology, which denies this truth but certainly teaches that the awaited Messiah will be Jewish. It does not require the belief that the Jews are the source of all evil, are the worst evil in the world, or any other such nonsense, and indeed, obviously contradicts such crudities because it is based upon the ultimate God-sent Deliverer being Jewish. Foxman, however, betrayed no capacity for understanding these points.
A few years later Foxman began attacking Mel Gibson over his film The Passion of the Christ. The attacks began long before the film was released and before Foxman had even seen it. Foxman condemned the movie as anti-Semitic because it portrayed the Gospel accounts of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Christ accurately – to the point of using the actual tongues of the day with English translations in subtitles – without altering the story to place 100% of the blame for the crucifixion on the Roman authorities and excusing the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the Jerusalem mob. For Foxman, irrational though this false dichotomy be, it was either place all the blame for the crucifixion on the Romans and completely exonerate the Jewish leaders of two millennia ago or place all the blame for the crucifixion on all Jews of all times including those alive today. Underlying this irrational point of view was the idea that traditional, historical, Scriptural Christianity had been discredited by the Holocaust- despite the obvious fact that the Third Reich was the product of the shift away from Christianity in Modern German culture - and that therefore Christianity had to change its beliefs, wherever Jews found them to be offensive, even if this involved falsifying the facts of history as recorded in Christianity’s sacred texts of the New Testament. When groups like the ADL speak of meaningful interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews this is precisely what they mean by it – a one-way discussion in which Jews speak, Christians listen, and then Christians make whatever changes to their own faith and practice that Jews demand. Those like Mel Gibson who are too traditionalist to go along with this nonsense are then vilified and condemned. When, several years later, the actor in a state of inebriation went into a tirade against the Jews, Foxman gloated that he, that is Foxman, had been vindicated in his accusations, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of cause and effect, or of the simple fact that after years of being subjected to Foxman’s style of abuse, which included unbelievably arrogant demands that Gibson denounce his own father (a traditionalist Roman Catholic who rejected Vatican II, pointed to by ADL types as the prime example of a positive outcome of the kind of interfaith “dialogue” described above), if anyone was justified it was Gibson in his tirade and not Foxman by it.
Abe Foxman retired from his official position at the ADL, if not from his career as America’s foremost equine rump impressionist, six years ago, but the organization can hardly be said to have improved under the leadership of his successor, Jonathan Greenblatt, whose previous gigs included corporate executive and Obama administration advisor, and who looks like someone who crawls out of his parents’ basement only to do a bad cosplay of Lex Luthor at comic book conventions. Under Greenblatt’s leadership the ADL has moved much further to the Left than it was even under Foxman. Foxman was a liberal, for sure, but at the beginning of his tenure as National Director the ADL commissioned Harvey Klehr’s 1988 survey of Communist subversive groups in the United States published by Transaction as Far Left of Center: The American Radical Left Today, something that it would be difficult to imagine the ADL doing under the current leadership. Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalist Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (sic), has done an excellent job of documenting the ADL’s further-Left shift under Greenblatt at the Center’s e-zine Frontpagemag, including the ADL’s strange new alliance with the segments of the Far Left that are rather less than friendly towards either Israel or the Jews (see here, here and here for examples).
It is Greenblatt who in his capacity as ADL CEO has been writing letters and giving interviews on CNN, demanding that FOX News fire Tucker Carlson for having the audacity to use the word “replacement” in criticizing liberal immigration policy in the United States. “White supremacists”, use that word after all, and to use a word that “white supremacists” use is to fully embrace and endorse everything “white supremacists” believe, just as to be in the same room as a “white supremacist” or breathe the same air as a “white supremacist” is to implicate yourself in his ideology. Absurd as that sort of “argument” is, it is what has passed for logic at the ADL for decades, long before Greenblatt took over. Anybody who has perused the profiles they have put together of people they have accused of “racism”, “hate”, etc. over the years, will recognize the style.
Lachlan Murdoch has, so far, stood by Carlson and refused to give in to the ADL’s demands. Let us hope that he continues to do so. There are not many today who have the courage to withstand the ADL’s bullying and intimidation tactics for long, just as there are very few willing to speak the truths that Tucker Carlson has been speaking.
If Murdoch is willing to stand by Carlson for the long haul, then perhaps it is time for FOX News to go on the offensive, and shine the light of exposure upon the bullying, lies, and corruption of the ADL.