Is the ADL losing its moral clarity?
In the Ledger’s Oct. 27 Opinion column, “Eager for the US to pull out of UNESCO? Not so fast,” the ADL’s Kenneth Jacobson attempted to play both sides of the issue. At first glance his points seemed reasonable as he claimed equal arguments on both sides. Yet, his deliberations did not ring true.
1. The ADL’s self-stated mission is to ‘fight antisemitism and all forms of bigotry….” and to “Stop Defamation of the Jewish People.”
UNESCO, UN Human Rights Council and UNRWA and even the UN have all reflected an exponentially growing antisemitic bias against our Jewish heritage and the Jewish State of Israel through numerous resolutions and practices too numerous to cite, to the exclusion of all other issues, including the slaughter of half a million non-ISIS Syrians by Assad with help from the Iranians and Russians.
This defamation is not new, but has accelerated over the past decade. Persistent past behavior is always a strong indicator of future performance and glideslope is not going to change despite the ADL’s illusion that the U.S. can reform the UN and its discriminatory agencies from within. This ADL “hail Mary “pass also flies in the face of its mission. To think that our government should pay a disproportionate share of the UN budget and continue to participate in modern day antisemitic and anti-Israel deliberations is prima facie ludicrous.
2. The ADL indication that the U.S. should give the new director-general of UNESCO a temporary pass because she is a Jew is equally absurd. It is like saying we should all vote for Bernie Sanders because he was born a Jew even though we disagree with his political socialism and his strong advocacy of Keith Ellison for DNC Chair; Ellison has been a cheerleader for Louis Farrakhan a virulent anti-Semite.
3. Prior to publishing the ADL’s opinion piece, S. Michael Lynk, the new special rapporteur on Palestinian territories had threatened Israel with international isolation and bringing the Jewish state to its knees. But, still the ADL advocated patience. Shortly after publication of its opinion, the UN and Palestine signed a document to exploit “international accountability mechanisms” to hold Israel to the fire for perceived violations of international law. They awarded the Palestinians $1.3 billion without specifying use of the funds so they could use these funds for frivolous lawsuits. By confronting the UN agency’s wrong behaviors with consequences the U.S. in this case made the right moral choice.
The UN marginalization of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish State of Israel is antisemitic in and of itself. The exclusion of all other horrific actions by other member states in the UN sealed the deal. The ADL had an opportunity to reflect its mission in its opinion. Instead, it played both sides of an issue that are not morally equal. But, sadly, it missed the mark and lost its way.
Howard R. Zern