Archive for August 1, 2010

ADL Disgrace

August 1, 2010 Leave a comment

From the ADL’s website:

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

And from its mission statement on the same webpage:

Its ultimate purpose is 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.”

From the ADL’s press release from last Wednesday on the planned Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York:

We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.

We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.

So far so good. The press release has prepared the ground for the ADL to call out Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Fox News, and others who, in their criticisms of plans to build an Islamic Center, are taking yet one more step toward converting our “war against terror” into a straight-out religious war.


However, there are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel – and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.

The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming. But regardless of how they respond, the issue at stake is a broader one.

Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.

Wow! If I understand the ADL’s argument, in order not to offend some people, it will throw out its principles. In their knee-jerk defense of Israeli policies, regardless of what government is in power or what those policies are, the ADL has already gone down the path of violating its principles. But now they are saying, for all to see, that the principles have no weight at all. This is a disgrace.

(See also, among many commenters, Paul Krugman here.)

Categories: Politics, Religion