In an English-language video posted last week, the Israeli prime minister pointed out that the Palestinian demand for sovereignty over a territory from which Jews would be excluded amounts to advocacy of ethnic cleansing. Responding in Foreign Affairs, Jonathan Greenblatt, the new head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and a former staffer for both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, roundly condemned Netanyahu’s statement (as, not coincidentally, did the White House). Jonathan Tobin remarks:
[Even] leaving aside the merits of Netanyahu’s assertion, . . . for Greenblatt to re-position the ADL from its former centrist position as a mainstream address for pro-Israel activism to one that is now in open opposition to the democratically elected government of Israel is a sea change of enormous importance. From now on, the ADL must be viewed as an ally of J Street and others on the left who make no secret of their partisanship in the context of both Israeli politics and the tense relations between Israel and the United States. This is a betrayal of the ADL’s long and honorable legacy as a group that sought to speak for the interests of the Jewish community as a whole and respected the right of Israel’s people and their leaders to make their own decisions about security.
It is equally outrageous for Greenblatt to use his newly inherited mantle, as the man who can pose as the arbiter of what is or is not anti-Semitism, to attack Israel’s government. . . . Enough Jewish blood has been shed by Palestinians driven by hate to understand the stakes in that conflict. Whatever one’s opinions about settlements, the ADL has no business weighing in on this subject in a manner that effectively gives the Palestinian culture of hate a pass. Doing so also undermines the ADL’s credibility in the fight against the forces threaten both Israel and world Jewry.