Is The ADL Hypocritical?
Dec. 7, 1999.
To Mr. Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League, New York
According to the ADL's 1913 charter, your organization's "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." Again in its position statement of 1980, the ADL made "ending racial discrimination" one of its main objectives." In keeping with these stated moral principles, your alleged civil rights organization sponsors activities which urge people "to resist racial division," and condemns discrimination against Jews in housing as an "insidious form of anti-Semitism."
Others, however, have claimed that this ADL "moral agenda" is in reality a hypocritical ideological façade, a method by which to surreptitiously advance Jewish-Zionist interests under the guise of morality. According to this viewpoint, public opposition to racial discrimination is being used in the service of the ADL's Jewish-Zionist racial nationalism. ADL preaches universalistic equality and racial mixing for non-Jews while maintaining an exclusivist-separatist group identity for Jews.
Fortunately, we are offered a situation where we can test these two rival, competing hypotheses: Israel.
As the Jewish scholars Ian Lustick and Simha Flapan have shown, far from working for an integrated society in which Jews and Arabs functioned as social and political equals, the Jews who founded Israel created a society in which Israeli Jews dominate "Israeli" Arabs, a separate and unequal society in which discrimination is part of the established social order.
For example, 90 percent of Israel's territory has been legally defined as land which can be leased and cultivated only by Jews. Key institutions such as the kibbutz are reserved exclusively for Jews, as Israeli scholar Uri Davis has reminded us in his thorough study, Israel: An Apartheid State.
Let us now look at a specific case of anti-Arab racism in Israel.
Adel Qa'adan is an Israeli Arab who wanted to move his family into the predominantly Jewish town of Katsir, Israel. He was told that Katsir does not accept Arabs into the community, and the Katsir local council informed him that they will not sell houses or land in Katsir to non-Jews. In an attempt to remedy this injustice, Mr. Qa'adan has taken his case to the Israeli supreme court. (See enclosure.) Clearly, this is a case of racial discrimination which the ADL should loudly and clearly condemn.
Here is my proposal: I would like for you to publicly denounce Israeli racism and offer your support for the Qa'adan family in their attempt to move into the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of their choice. A gesture such as this would prove that you truly are sincere, and the ADL really is against all forms of discrimination and bigotry. After all, as previously documented in this letter, the ADL has condemned discrimination against Jews in housing as an "insidious form of anti-Semitism." By the same token then, Jewish discrimination against Arabs in housing should also be condemned by ADL. "Diversity is our greatest strength" has become a standard slogan of the ADL. If this be so, then let's make Israeli neighborhoods stronger by integrating Israeli Arabs and Jews.
I look forward to your response.
Paul Grubach, Lyndhurst, OH
Director Foxman Replies
Jan. 5, 2000.
Dear Mr. Grubach,
I hesitate to respond to your letter which reflects such an animas toward Israel and ADL. Let me be clear that I believe you do not write in good faith.
However, because the issues of civil rights in Israel are indeed legitimate concerns, I am writing this letter. ADL is proud of its work in supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, as well as working toward peace between Israel and its neighbors. At the same time we have engaged in programs and have issued statements trying to work for greater tolerance among all of Israel's inhabitants and toward a society where all minority rights are protected.
Israel is a great democracy, but not a perfect society. We hope that the coming of peace will enable all of us to focus on Israel's becoming an even more democratic society.
Meanwhile, what is so stark is that there is no other democracy, no other country in the region that has the fully independent parliamentary judicial and journalistic institutions which offer the only real hope for freedom. If you were sincere in your concerns about inequalities and nondemocratic manifestations, you would be focusing on the far greater Arab problems throughout the region.
Abraham H. Foxman, National Director, Anti-Defamation League, New York, NY
A Reply To Mr. Foxman
Jan. 11, 2000.
To Mr. Foxman
The following is my response to your letter of Jan. 5, 2000.
You begin: "I hesitate to respond to your letter which reflects such an animas toward Israel and ADL." You falsely confuse "hatred" with "justifiable anger." I am indeed angry with ADL and Israel, and rightly so. In 1993 I was informed by the San Francisco Police Dept. that ADL seriously wronged me-your group illegally spied on me. Suppose the tables were turned, and I hired a private detective agency to illegally spy on you. Would Abraham Foxman then be hostile toward Paul Grubach?
Your intense Jewish ethnocentrism blinds you to the fact that much anger directed at ADL is in fact a normal psychological response caused by the collective behavior of the people within the organization.
The totality of evidence shows that Israel is responsible for numerous wrongs against the United States. For example, in June 1967 the Israeli military knowingly attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans. All of the evidence strongly suggests this was a premeditated attack, designed to prevent the American government from finding out sensitive information concerning Israeli war plans. Political officials are so terrified of the Jewish-Zionist power elite that Congress is reluctant to launch a determined effort to expose this act of blatant murder of American citizens and the subsequent coverup.
Your claim that Israel is a democracy is balderdash. Israeli Jewish scholar Israel Shahak writes:
"The principle of Israel as a 'Jewish state' was supremely important to Israeli politicians from the inception of the state and was inculcated into the Jewish population by all conceivable ways. When, in the 1980s, a tiny minority of Israeli Jews emerged which opposed this concept, a Constitutional Law... was passed in 1985 by an enormous majority of the Knesset. By this law no party whose program openly opposes the principle of 'a Jewish state,' or proposes to change it by democratic means, is allowed to participate in the elections to the Knesset. I myself strongly oppose this constitutional principle. The legal consequence for me is that I cannot belong, in the state in which I am a citizen, to a party having principles with which I would agree and which is allowed to participate in Knesset elections. Even this example shows that [Israel] is not a democracy due to the application of a Jewish ideology directed against all non-Jews and those Jews who oppose this ideology."
Abraham Foxman, you yourself have highlighted an anti-democratic aspect of Israel: there is no separation of church and state, as the Jewish religion is forcibly imposed on Israeli society. In a speech on Feb. 13, 1998 in Palm Beach, Florida, you let the cat out of the bag:
"Pluralism as we know it, separation of church and state as we know it, are not the same for Israel [and the United States]. Israel decided...that the state should have a religious nature. It established itself not like other nations, but as the only Jewish state. Israel has a Ministry of Religion; we [in the U.S.] have separation of church and state... What does it mean to have a Ministry of Religion? It is like having a Department of Religion in the United States, something we vehemently oppose."
Furthermore, Israel is not a democracy in the ADL's sense of the term. Where different ethnic groups exist in the same nation, ADL is a strong advocate of an integrated society in which all ethnic groups function as social and political equals. ADL preaches racial integration, racial equality and multiculturalism. None of this exists in Israel. In fact, quite the contrary.
The title of Uri Davis's book says it all: Israel: An Apartheid State. Ninety percent of Israel's territory has been legally defined as land which can be leased and cultivated only by Jews-Arabs need not apply. Key institutions such as the kibbutz are reserved exclusively for Jews.
Jewish scholar Ian Lustick has pointed out that the Israeli military is by and large a segregated institution. Most Muslim Arabs, who constitute the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arab citizens, do not serve in the armed forces-they are not conscripted, nor are they permitted to volunteer for service. This has important social consequences. In Israel, participation in the armed services is a prerequisite to social advancement and mobility. Cut off from the military, they are cut off from access to one of the main avenues of social advancement.
"We [ADL] have engaged in programs," you claim, "and have issued statements trying to work for greater tolerance among all of Israel's inhabitants and toward a society where all minority rights are protected." Many believe that ADL rhetoric such as this is meaningless, insincere lip service, designed to fool the public into believing that you really are a "civil rights" organization and not a bunch of Zionist hypocrites. I'm offering you a golden opportunity to publicly disprove this claim.
Adel Qu'adan is an Israeli Arab who wanted to move his family into the predominantly Jewish town of Katsir, Israel. He was told that Katsir does not accept Arabs into the community, and the Katsir local council informed him that they will not sell houses or land in Katsir to non-Jews. In an attempt to remedy this injustice, Mr. Qa'adan has taken his case to the Israeli Supreme Court. Clearly, this is a case of racial discrimination which the ADL should loudly and clearly condemn.
Your letter to me has missed (or consciously evaded?) my bone of contention. The issue is not whether Israel does or does not have a free press or "independent parliamentary, judicial and journalistic institutions." Rather, it is that ADL ardently promotes racial integration, multiculturalism and racial equality everywhere in the world except for one place-Israel. Here, ADL most ardently supports an apartheid, racially segregated state.
Mr. Foxman, I would like for you to disprove what I say by lending ADL support to the Qa'adan family in their attempt to move into the Jewish neighborhood of their choice. A gesture such as this would show that your organization does not harbor a hypocritical double standard.
ADL has condemned discrimination against Jews in housing as an "insidious form of anti-Semitism." By the same token then, Jewish discrimination against Arabs in housing should also be condemned by ADL. "Diversity is our greatest strength" is a stock-in-trade ADL slogan. If this be so, then let's make Israeli neighborhoods stronger by integrating Israeli Arabs and Jews.
Finally, you aver that if I were sincere in my concerns "about inequalities and nondemocratic manifestations, I would be focusing on the far greater Arab problems throughout the region." Wrong again, Mr. Foxman. The ardently pro-Zionist U.S. mainstream media focuses heavily on the autocratic, anti-democratic features of the Arab societies of the region, but they rarely mention the numerous sins of the Jewish state of Israel. In order to help correct this media bias, I choose to focus my writing energies on exposing the many sins of Zionism and Israel. If and when the day arrives that the mainstream American press devotes equal time to the inequities of Israel and Arab states, then I will gladly devote my writing energies to the problems of the Arab world.
In this context, let us discuss racial hostility, something which ADL purveys. I've asked numerous Arab intellectuals this question: "Why do so many in the Arab world hate the U.S.?" The answers are all the same. American foreign policy in regard to the Middle East, they say, is made by white American politicians in collusion with Jewish Zionists. The American government is the major supplier and financier of Israel, which in turn uses American aid to oppress Arab people in the region. It is for this reason that so many in the Arab-Muslim world are hostile toward European-descended Americans. They see a Euro-American political bureaucracy united with a Jewish-Zionist power elite oppressing Arabs throughout the region.
And, Mr. Foxman, my Arab friends are basically correct. It is politicians of European descent, in collusion with Jewish Zionists, who have created the U.S.'s totally irrational and destructive unconditional support of Israel.
Just as it is socially and morally acceptable for you as a Jew to work for the best interests of the Jewish people, so too, it should be the same for Americans to work for their best interests. By exposing the oppression of Arab people in Israel in my writings, I can help to bring it to an end. This in turn will help to alleviate Arab-Muslim hostility toward Euro-Americans.
Originally published in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2000, pp.72-75 http://www.washington-report.org/archives/April_2000/0004072.html
- Quoted in Lee O'Brien, American Jewish Organizations & Israel (Washington, DC; Institute of Palestine Studies, 1986), p. 93.
- Ibid., p. 98.
- ADL On the Frontline, Sept./Oct. 1997, p. 13; ADL On the Frontline, June 1998, p. 7.
- Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority (Austin, Tx., University of Texas Press, 1980); Sima Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities (New York, Pantheon Books, 1987).
- Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (London, Zed Books Ltd., 1987).
- See Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/Aug. 1999, pp. 14, 20.
- ADL On the Frontline , Summer 1997, p. 8.
- See Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Dec. 1999), pp. 28-34; James M. Ennes, Jr., Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship (Random House, 1979).
- Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (Pluto Press, 1994), p. 3.
- ADL On the Frontline, June 1998, p. 10.
- Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (Zed Books Ltd., 1987).
- Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority (University of Texas Press, 1980), pp. 93-94.
- See Washington Report (July/Aug. 1999), pp. 14-15.
- ADL On the Frontline, June 1998, p. 7.
- Ibid, Summer, 1997, p. 8.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Is The ADL Hypocritical?, The Grubach-Foxman Letters Debate|
|Sources:||Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2000, pp.72-75|
|First posted on CODOH:||April 29, 2000, 7 p.m.|