The ADL Takes Sides against Benjamin Netanyahu

Sept. 16 2016

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.

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More about: ADL, Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton, Israel & Zionism

Palestinian Acceptance of Israel as the Jewish State Must Be a Prerequisite to Further Negotiations

Oct. 19 2018

In 1993, in the early days of the Oslo peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasir Arafat accepted the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But neither it nor its heir, the Palestinians Authority, has ever accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, or the right of the Jewish people to self-determination. Robert Barnidge explains why this distinction matters:

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the [UN] General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab state, the Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem.”

Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution—in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, [the precursor to the Israeli government], also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights—it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. [Instead], the PLO [has been] playing a double game. . . . It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a people, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national liberation movement that it is.

The U.S. government, Barnidge concludes, “should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state” and refuse to “press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Peace Process, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat