Two weeks ago the Anti-Defamation League released a 27-page report “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies” in which it alleges that there exist a host of conspiracies against President Obama within various levels of the religious/conservative right.
A week ago I posted my article “ADL Blasts ‘Paranoid’ Right.” It went viral, stimulating postings or comments on dozens of websites and has dominated search engines all week. I was correct in predicting that most Christian/conservative “watchdog” groups, fearing ADL’s legendary powers of recrimination, would say nothing against this attack on them and their constituents. One outstanding exception: Although I did not know it at the time, Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily and criticized in ADL’s report, had, two days earlier, hit back at ADL in his own article. (See, The ADL targets WND) Farah says, “…the ADL is after me and my news organization.” Farah defiantly informs ADL that they are not going to succeed in making an anti-Semite out of him and millons of other Americans – just for protesting Obama. Way to go, Joe!
A number of the largest Jewish-owned internet media were also roused to voice opinion about ADL’s report. Here is an overview of what the Jewish press is saying.
Commentary Magazine , founded in 1945, is a Jewish-owned, respected bastion of neoconservatism from a largely Jewish perspective. Executive editor Jonathan Tobin agrees that ADL is way out of line in portraying anti-Obama protesters as involved in a conspiracy to take down Obama any way they can. (See, ADL Crosses the Line with Report Bashing Obama Critics)
But if the Anti-Defamation League has its way, the election of Barack Obama will herald a changing of the rules. Opponents of this president are apparently going to have to tread a lot more lightly or face all the opprobrium that this group can muster…
…“ Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies ”…claims that those who are disgruntled with the president have unleashed a “toxic atmosphere of rage in America” since Obama’s election…
But “Rage Grows in America” isn’t content with smoking out the nuts. Its goal is to link them to the broad spectrum of activists, writers, and thinkers who are less than enthralled with the age of Obama…
In one tidy package, the ADL links not only “mainstream” critics but also radio and television talkers like Glenn Beck and peaceful “tea party” protests against higher taxes with those who talk of armed resistance to the government and even those responsible for the 1994 Oklahoma City bombing. Seen in this light, those who merely cry that they “want their country back” from the Democrats while standing outside a town-hall meeting become the thin edge of the wedge of a new threat to democracy and, by extension, a threat to the Jews…
…what the ADL seems to forget is that the right of the people to feel “anger and resentment” against the government of the day — be it Republican or Democratic — is what we call democracy in this country… But by choosing to frame its report denouncing this brand of extremism in such a way as to associate all those who have opposed Obama’s policies in one way or another with the far Right, the ADL has stepped over a line that a nonpartisan group should never cross.
The Jewish Week’s article, “ADL report on ‘toxic atmosphere of rage’ ignites…well, rage,” by James Besser, says:
“Predictably, the right has gone ballistic over last week’s ADL report describing a “toxic atmosphere of rage in America” and tying that to the “birther” and “tea party” movements, this summer’s health reform town meeting disruptions and some conservative talk show hosts.
I googled “ADL” and “tea parties” and “rage” and came up with dozens of hits, many of them from renowned conspiracy theorists who see in the report proof that the ADL is interested only in stifling dissent, undermining Christianity and promoting a radical left agenda.
I found this comment – “The ADL is allegorically pinning a yellow star on ‘conspiracy theorists,’ Oath Keepers, Tea Party protesters, and anyone else who dares express dissent in response to the financial looting of the country or Barack Obama’s big government agenda” – repeated on at least 52 Web sites and blogs…”
Yet Besser disagrees with Commentary’s claim that ADL is singling out the right for suspicion. He claims ADL is “an equal opportunity nag,” which has also criticized liberals and is entitled to take on conservatives this time around.
He also says, “This week’s anti-ADL outbursts were amplified by Christian groups that insist hate crimes laws – which ADL has long and successfully advocated – are the leading edge of a conspiracy to foist homosexuality on the nation, undermine marriage and limit the free speech and religious rights of Christians.”
The Jewish-owned Los Angeles Times, featuring an opinion by Tim Rutten, not only agrees with the Jewish Week but says the ADL is right on target: Scrutiny and warning against the danger of the anti-Obama right – particularly talk show host Glenn Beck – should be heightened. In his opinion piece “Who’s Watching Glenn Beck?” he says:
“As a Jewish organization, the ADL’s first preoccupation naturally is anti-Semitism, but in the last few decades it has extended its scrutiny to the whole range of bigoted malevolence…For the first time in living memory, the ADL is sounding the alarm about a mainstream media personality: Fox News’ Glenn Beck, who also hosts a popular radio show.”
Rutten says, Beck “intends to use his TV and radio shows to promote a mass movement that will involve voter registration drives, training in community organizing and a series of regional conventions that will produce a “100-year plan” for America to be read from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a mass rally Aug. 28.”
Rutten soon goes in for the kill, saying, “Beck is an offensively dangerous demagogue,” who reminds him of “anti-Semitic” Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930’s. He says Beck should be “unplugged” at FOX News now, before his “extremist political campaign” does real damage.
The Jerusalem Post earlier lent credibility to ADL’s report, saying, “The sections of the report that draw our concern…spotlight the activities of a minority on the Right who have crossed the line between criticism of President Barack Obama’s policies to denying the legitimacy of America’s political system itself.”
Who are these transgressors? The Post says, “…it is destabilizing conspiratorialists who trouble us. They say Obama is a closet Muslim, or assert that his Hawaii birth certificate is a forgery so he is constitutionally ineligible to be president.” This is a description of Joseph Farah, whom ADL identifies as chief promoter of the “birther” conspiracy theory. The Post concludes: “We worry, however that Foxman’s claim of ‘a toxic atmosphere of rage’ in America is not hyperbole, but a true assessment of the political system’s condition.”
ADL: Educator of U.S. Police about Hate Crimes
Is this debate merely about ADL’s opinion versus the conservative right’s? No. Under ADL’s Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, ADL appointed itself the federally approved teacher of everything having to do with “tolerance,” “prejudice,” and hate crimes education and enforcement to all federal and local law police agencies in America. ADL boasts of its total involvement with hate crimes mentoring of police and that it has the loyalty of more than 150 police chiefs who testify concerning the acute need of ADL’s federal hate crimes law. Every time ADL issues a warning on the level of magnitude of its recent report, it is sent to law enforcement ranging from the US Justice Department and FBI to every local precinct in America. This spring, Missouri State Police finally realized they were being manipulated into issuing a similar ADL/SPLC directive profiling possible Christian/conservatives as potential terrorist threats. They quickly and responsibly rejected such input.
The same must take place now. ADL’s latest declaration that the anti-Obama, conservative right is paranoid and conspiratorial has undoubtedly further prejudiced thousands of members of law enforcement against millions of well-meaning Americans. ADL should undo such damage. It should tell law enforcement to disregard its stereotyping, as conspirators, of many tea parties, town hall, and anti-Obama protesters.
This summer and fall, hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans, perhaps for the first time in their lives, took action, feeling pride as patriots during tea party and healthcare protests. Yet ADL says even though much behavior at townhall meetings was “ugly,” similar behavior at the massive Washington, DC rally in September was “uglier.”
ADL should do more than remove “Rage in America” from its website. ADL has offended the American people and the American way.
It should apologize to the nation.