August 02, 2010

The Pro-Defamation League

When I was a freshman in college at Brandeis, the commencement speaker was Helmut Kohl, then the Chancellor of Germany and the man who had presided over the reunification of that country a few years earlier.

As usual, some objected to the choice of speakers- specifically someone who wrote in an op-ed in the college paper. Was it really wise, this letter asked, to have a commencement speaker speaking German, when so many bubbes and zeddes of graduates in the audience were probably Holocaust survivors, and had traumatic associations with that language?

The school ignored this and let Kohl speak as scheduled. If they considered the request at all, they likely concluded that Helmut Kohl isn't a Nazi, probably the complete opposite of one in fact, and the school decided it was wise not to cave to the irrational prejudices of people's grandparents.

The Anti-Defamation League has taken the opposite tack. In a decision that can only be called, well, pro-defamation, the ADL has sided with the right-wing cranks opposing the building of a mosque and community center a few blocks away from the former World Trade Center site.

The ADL's statement is full of contradictions- it decries the bigotry of those opposed to the mosque, while fully endorsing the position of the bigots. And make no mistake- the opposition to the mosque is based on bigotry and absolutely nothing else. It is also full of lies- the mosque is NOT scheduled to "open on Sept. 11," and most of the "connections of terrorism" the Cordoba Initiative has are of the knows-someone-who-knows-someone-whose-cousin-has-the-same-name-as-someone-on-a-watchlist variety. And it's not "at" Ground Zero- it's two blocks away, as are numerous churches, bars, restaurants and even a strip club.

Here's the worst part of Foxman's statement:

Asked why the opposition of the families was so pivotal in the decision, Mr. Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, said they were entitled to their emotions.

“Survivors of the Holocaust are entitled to feelings that are irrational,” he said. Referring to the loved ones of Sept. 11 victims, he said, “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted.”

Bullshit. No one is entitled to bigotry, much less to have it validated by public policy. By that rationale, if a black person robbed your store or raped your sister, it's perfectly within reason for you to hate all blacks forever. The ADL says so.

No one should be allowed to make a statement like that and remain head of an organization called the Anti-Defamation League.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 2, 2010 12:31 PM

Dark Helmet spoke at commencement our freshman year?

Posted by: Dan at August 2, 2010 01:57 PM

Well said Silver.

Posted by: Freddy at August 2, 2010 05:32 PM
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