This piece was inspired by the ADL's bizarre public statement that the "Ground Zero Mosque" (which again isn't at Ground Zero and isn't a mosque) had every right to exist and would be a good thing for the community, but should still be opposed. For some reason. Maybe because of Muslims? Who knows?
The Anti-Defamation League's Ground Zero Mosque Hypocrisy - The Daily Beast
For much of the 20th century, the ADL lived this mission well. It opposed Joe McCarthy, lobbied for civil rights, and denounced the anti-Catholic bigots who insinuated that John F. Kennedy would take orders from Rome. Then came the creation of the state of Israel. For the ADL, Israel posed a conundrum: the conundrum of Jewish power. In the United States, it was relatively easy to oppose all forms of discrimination while still serving particular Jewish interests, since Jews—by virtue of their place in society—were bigotry’s victims but rarely its main perpetrators. But Israel was different. While Israel’s Jews certainly suffered from Arab bigotry and violence, the Jewish state also perpetrated a great deal of bigotry and violence itself, especially after 1967, when it made itself occupier of millions of Palestinians to whom it denied the vote.
Had the ADL genuinely tried to apply its universalistic mandate to the Jewish state, it would have become something like the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) or B’Tselem (full disclosure: I’m on B’Tselem’s American board): Israeli human rights organizations that struggle against all forms of bigotry, and thus end up spending a lot of time defending Muslims and Christian Palestinians against discrimination by Jews. But the ADL hasn’t done that. Instead it has become, in essence, two organizations. In the United States, it still links the struggle against anti-Semitism to the struggle against bigotry against non-Jews. In Israel, by contrast, it largely pretends that government-sponsored bigotry against non-Jews does not exist. When Arizona passes a law that encourages police to harass Latinos, the ADL expresses outrage. But when Israel builds 170 kilometers of roads in the West Bank for the convenience of Jewish settlers, from which Palestinians are wholly or partially banned, the ADL takes out advertisements declaring, “The Problem Isn’t Settlements.”
For a long time now, the ADL seems to have assumed that it could exempt Israel from the principles in its charter and yet remain just as faithful to that charter inside the United States. But now the chickens are coming back home to America to roost. The ADL’s rationale for opposing the Ground Zero mosque is that “building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain—unnecessarily—and that is not right.” Huh? What if white victims of African-American crime protested the building of a black church in their neighborhood? Or gentile victims of Bernie Madoff protested the building of a synagogue? Would the ADL for one second suggest that sensitivity toward people victimized by members of a certain religion or race justifies discriminating against other, completely innocent, members of that religion or race? Of course not. But when it comes to Muslims, the standards are different. They are different in Israel, and now, it is clear, they are different in the United States, too.