Bintel Blog

Eli Valley, Game-changer?

By Dan Friedman

Has Eli Valley, Forward columnist, changed the future of Israel as we know it?

This is from an article about Foxman and Avigdor Lieberman’s proposed Loyalty Oath for Israeli citizens in February:

But the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that is quick to spot instances of discrimination, says Lieberman is right to be concerned about apparent acts of disloyalty by Israeli Arabs. Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director, noted with concern the trips by Arab Israeli Knesset members to enemy states and expressions of solidarity with Hamas by Israeli Arabs during Israel’s recent military operation in the Gaza Strip. “There were a lot of people who said, ‘Hey, that’s disloyal,’ ” Foxman told JTA. “That’s what he’s talking about. He’s not saying expel them. He’s not saying punish them.”

Then we print Eli Valley’s Abe Foxworthy, In which a science experiment goes horribly wrong causing a genetic mixture of Foxman and comedian Jeff Foxworthy (author of “Redneck Dictionary” and “How to Stink at Work”) states that he is “here to defend ‘loyalty oaths’ for citizenship —not only in Israel but also in the confederate states of America”

And the effect is almost instantaneous. In the latest Jewish Week Foxman (not Foxworthy) is quoted as saying:

It’s odious. Zionism is something you should aspire to, but it shouldn’t be something that you get punished for if you don’t. … Americans are not comfortable with loyalty oaths — this goes back to our experience with McCarthy.

Is it too much to contemplate Foxman having an epiphany after seeing his genetically altered twin in Eli’s hall of mirrors?

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ADL, Abraham Foxman, Eli Valley

ADL ‘Accepts’ Will Smith’s Clarification, JDL Supports Writers’ Strike

By Daniel Treiman

So the Anti-Defamation League has finally weighed in on L’Affaire Will Smith, and, I have to say, its statement is a little disappointing.

To recap: Will Smith, speaking off the cuff to a Scottish newspaper, suggested — quite reasonably — that Hitler was driven by a “twisted” notion of what he thought was “good.” The militant Jewish Defense League pounced, accusing the Hollywood star of saying that Hitler was a good person and having “spit on the memory of every person murdered by the Nazis.” Gossip sites joined in the frenzy, and Smith ended up issuing a clarification, attacking those who had distorted his words and calling Hitler “vile.”

Instead of calling out those who rush to defame celebrities over innocent mistakes, the ADL hailed Smith’s clarification and lectured that “celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully.” Everything in the ADL’s statement is true, but the emphasis seems off.

Decide for yourself whether the ADL struck the right note. Here’s the statement from ADL chief Abraham Foxman:

We welcome and accept Will Smith’s statement that Hitler was a ‘vicious killer’ and that he did not mean for his remarks about the Nazi leader to be mistaken as praise. Once Smith realized that his remarks may have been misunderstood, he took immediate steps to clarify his words and unequivocally condemn Hitler as an evil person. We would have expected no less from a celebrity of his standing in the strata of Hollywood stardom.

Unfortunately, in citing Hitler in what appears to be a positive context, Smith stirred up a hornet’s nest on the Internet, where hate groups and anti-Semites latched on to the remark and praised it. If anything, this episode serves as a reminder of the power of words, and how words can be twisted by those with hate and bigotry in their hearts to suit their own worldview. This is why all celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully, and an obligation to speak out against racism and bigotry whenever even a whiff of it appears, as Will Smith has done in this instance.

Incidentally, the JDL also welcomed and accepted Smith’s clarification — and used the occasion to weigh in on the Hollywood writers’ strike:

Will Smith’s apology is enough for us to call off JDL’s request for non-attendance of his motion picture, I Am Legend. We also have no problem with anyone who wishes to employ him.

In a related matter, the Jewish Defense League supports the Hollywood writers and hopes the strike is settled soon so that Smith, a very talented actor, can continue doing what he does so well.

Dallas Morning News religion blogger Jeffrey Weiss thinks that Smith actually raised “an interesting question” about Hitler. Alas, the message most celebrities will take away from this whole incident: Don’t raise interesting questions.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Will Smith, Film, ADL, JDL, Abraham Foxman, Writers' Strike

A Bipartisan Sport: Blame the ADL

By Daniel Treiman

The ADL has “allied itself with right-wing forces in our country.” ADL chief Abraham Foxman soft-pedals his criticism of the religious right “in the name of solidarity toward Israel.” The ADL’s positions are “usually those of the liberal wing of the Democratic party”. Foxman fights those on the religious right so strenuously that maybe they “just won’t support Israel anymore”.

Criticizing the ADL is a popular sport irrespective of one’s political views. That’s particularly true if you want to shift attention from your own sins. The latest silly critique of the ADL comes from silly pundit Ann “Why can’t Jews be perfect like me?” Coulter.

Coulter writes:

The Anti-Defamation League is to Jews what the National Organization for Women is to women and the ACLU is to civil libertarians. They represent not Jews or women or civil libertarians, but the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Left, right, left… I’m dizzy.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ann Coulter, ADL

The Glass Is 85% Full

By Daniel Treiman

The ADL concludes from its latest survey that 15% of Americans have “unquestionably antisemitic” views. Interestingly, this proportion matches perfectly the percentage of Americans who said, in a different survey, that they wouldn’t want a Jewish president.

In any case, according to a recent Pew survey, we’re better liked than many other religious groups: 76% of Americans say they view Jews favorably and only 9% say they view us unfavorably. That’s better than prevailing views of Muslims (43%-35%), Mormons (53%-27%, and even Evangelicals (60%-19%) and Catholics (76%-14%). So we’re doing pretty well by comparison.

Read the Forward’s article on the ADL survey here.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ADL, Antisemitism

ADL Cries Uncle: Okay, Okay, It Was Genocide

By Daniel Treiman

The Anti-Defamation League paid a heavy price of late for refusing to call Turkey’s slaughter of its Armenian population a genocide. First, its No Place for Hate program was booted from the heavily Armenian town of Watertown, Mass. Then the ADL fired its New England director Andrew Tarsy for criticizing his organization’s position. And the chorus of criticism within the Jewish community grew by the day.

Now the ADL has issued a mea culpa (sort of):

New York, NY, August 21, 2007 … Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement:

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians.

We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities. On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide. If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.

I have consulted with my friend and mentor Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other respected historians who acknowledge this consensus. I hope that Turkey will understand that it is Turkey’s friends who urge that nation to confront its past and work to reconcile with Armenians over this dark chapter in history.

Having said that, we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ADL, Foxman, Turkey, Armenian Genocide

Reflecting on Falwell

By Ami Eden

The passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell is sure to fuel the already burning debate in the Jewish community over whether to embrace pro-Israel conservative Christians.

For decades, the Moral Majority founder was unyielding in his support for Israel, and recently invited one of the country’s leading Jewish liberals, Reform movement leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie, to speak to students at Falwell’s Liberty University. Despite such efforts, in many Jewish circles, Falwell could not undo the anxiety over his right-wing politics and displays of what struck many as religious intolerance (here, here, here and here).

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Christian Conservatives, Eric Yoffie, Jerry Falwell, Abraham Foxman, ADL, Sallai Meridor, Daniel Lapin, Yechiel Eckstein




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