JACOBS & GOLDWASSER: When Bad Leaders Happen To Good People: The Corruption Of The ADL

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American Jews are under ideological and, increasingly, physical assault, and our situation is rapidly deteriorating. Recent FBI statistics show Jews are subject to more hate crimes per capita than any other group of Americans — twice as likely to be targeted as black Americans, more than twice as likely as Muslims, and 50% more likely than those who are targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Moreover, Jews are being displaced from educational institutions and corporations by demands for “diversity.”

The current strategies and policies of Jewish leaders to defend the community are clearly ineffective. Many Jewish leaders seem more concerned with promoting a progressive political agenda than protecting the Jewish community. Perhaps the best example of this failure of Jewish leadership is the ADL.  

The ADL was founded in 1913 to combat antisemitism, but in recent decades it has pivoted to a universalist approach that focuses on supporting “marginalized communities” and giving that focus a higher priority than the defense of the Jewish community. This shift, a kind of moral narcissism, is consistent with their leadership’s leftist political agenda and it enabled the ADL to align with the progressive politics of the Democratic Party, resulting in a significant increase in donations, especially from wealthy Silicon Valley corporate elites.

This also explains why, while Jews are being attacked by multiple groups — white racists, black racists who are mostly followers of Louis Farrakhan, radical Islamists, and leftist anti-Zionists — the ADL has been willing to mostly ignore Jew-hatred from its political allies among the “marginalized groups.” Prime examples are Al Sharpton and the BLM movement (whom the ADL has either given a pass or outwardly embraced), but also their kid-glove treatment of the Democratic Party’s Squad. The ADL also mostly ignores extremist imams in mosques across the country who can be found cursing Jews to their American Muslim congregations.

A week has passed since the battle royale exploded between Elon Musk owner of Twitter (X), and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of American Jewry’s biggest defense agency. Today’s the ADL uses its platform and its brand to promote progressive agendas and to attack opponents of progressive politics.

The ADL’s current battle with Twitter (X) will not benefit the Jewish community. Jonathan Greenblatt’s method of fighting Jew hatred is backfiring; sadly he is inciting more antisemitism by supporting censorship of those Americans who support traditional values, and who legitimately feel besieged and threatened by the woke ideologues’ takeover of major American institutions. Today, our schools, libraries, colleges, and much of the news media, teach, among other things, that America is inherently racist and undeserving of loyalty and love. 

All of this is not to deny that social media is saturated with torrents of Jew hatred in all its varieties and that we must prevent this from becoming normalized. Sadly, although there is no real evidence that Musk personally hates Jews, he has allowed Jew-hating scum on his platform. Clearly, he needs to be educated. Clearly, Greenblatt cannot do this job.

The Musk-Greenblatt brawl presents an important challenge to American Jewry. While we need counter Jew-hatred on the Internet, we must also turn this clash into an opportunity to educate Jews and the general public about how and why the Jewish establishment has failed and continues to fail to defend Jews. The ADL and much of the rest of the Jewish Establishment (with the exception of Mort Klein’s courageous Zionist Organization of America) have transformed themselves into a front for the Democratic Party and its often-woke agenda. These failed Jewish leaders — not just the ADL, but also many of the heads of our Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils, and many reform rabbis — are guilty of making the defense of the Jewish people a partisan issue and endangering the Jewish community.

It’s important that thoughtful and courageous Jews respond to this dangerous moment by educating the American public that our establishment “leaders” do not represent the entire community. Jews have benefited from American traditional values; most Jews understand that, despite its imperfections and some ugly mistreatment of Native Americans, black Americans, and also Irish immigrants — this is the best country in the history of the world. Americans of all races and creeds are the luckiest people in the history of the world.

We call for the resignation of Jonathan Greenblatt. He is not a leader, but a self-serving political activist trained in the Obama administration. We need to stop him from using the Jewish community as a human shield to protect ADL and his ultra-liberal/woke allies from the legitimate anger of Americans experiencing an all-out ideological assault. 

Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser are the founders of the Jewish Leadership Project.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.