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Posted at 4:30 PM ET, 01/11/2011

ADL goes over the line -- and beyond the pale

By Jennifer Rubin

As more and more mainstream news outlets are acknowledging the fallacy of the connection between overheated rhetoric and the Arizona violence (The Post's Paul Farhi has a must-read piece on the subject) the Anti-Defamation League sends out an appalling press release that reads: "ADL EXPERTS AVAILABLE ON RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS AND ANTI-GOVERNMENT GROUPS."

Have we established that this is the root of the problem? Are they uninterested in left-wing groups? A pro-Israel conservatives e-mails me: "This is about the worst thing I can ever remember them doing. It is astonishing. Anything for a headline, I guess."

The release has struck a chord on Capitol Hill. A pro-Israel staffer on the Democratic side tells me, "With anti-Semitism on the rise across the world, one would think this esteemed organization could more productively apply its not unlimited resources."

But maybe grabbing headlines, foisting one's expertise on a subject (whether or not implicated in the Arizona shooting) and drumming up business is what this incident has become.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 11, 2011; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Arizona shooting  
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Under the leadership of Abe Foxman, the ADL has become an organization deeply rooted in the past. The organization is incapable of responding to the threats Jews face today, specifically from Muslim extremist and their allies on the Left.

Posted by: Lumiere1 | January 11, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I find this post kind of ridiculous. The press release on the ADL site (which I presume is the one Jennifer is talking about even though she doesn't link to it) does not blame the shooting on right-wing extremist groups. It quotes Abe Foxman saying this:
"While there is still much we don't know about Loughner, his online footprint offers one window into his mindset in the months leading up to the killings," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The writings that have come to light so far suggest someone who probably was not associated with any extremist group or movement, but who has a generic distrust of government and a vague interest in conspiracy theories." The analysis it links to says "However, Loughner's writings do not provide any solid body of evidence or any patterns that would seem clearly to point to a particular ideology or belief system as a significant motivating factor."

So the fact that the press release states that ADL has experts on right-wing extremism and anti-government groups--something which is true and a topic ADL has studied for decades--is somehow "beyond the pale" and "appalling," even though the content of the press release absolves right-wing groups from responsibility? Maybe that's what the experts are for, to tell the press, "Hey, we don't think this guy is part of these movements because we've studied them, and actually he's a lone wolf or a mentally unstable person?" Did you even read the entire press release?

Nowhere in the

Posted by: TheFingerman | January 11, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

ADL's disinformation on the "rise of antisemitism" is just that. There is no rise in anti-semitism. ADL trots out that smear every decade.

What there has been is legitimate, factually-correct, and morally-honest criticism of Israel. ADL and the rest of The Israel Lobby are trying to conflate criticism of Israel, no matter how justified, with anti-semitism.

That is a blood libel of critics of Israel.

Posted by: Garak | January 11, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Jennifer !!!!!!

Posted by: MartinChuzzlewit | January 11, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

If the “must-read “ referenced article by Paul Farhi is the best that the Washington Post can do to show how “more and more mainstream news outlets are acknowledging the fallacy of the connection between overheated rhetoric and the Arizona violence” count me as severely underwhelmed.

Let’s deconstruct it, shall we?

First we have the headline:
“Jared Loughner's alleged shooting rampage blamed on media by commentators”

Then there are unflattering photos of the three main culprits: Palin, Beck and Limbaugh. Underneath these is the caption:
ACCUSED: Among those who have been blamed in Saturday's shooting in Arizona: former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and conservative commentators Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. (Getty, AP, Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

So far the usual witch hunt is in perfect accord with the partisan media form manual. Even for the Washington Post this does not go very far in “acknowledging the fallacy of the connection between overheated rhetoric and the Arizona violence.” Of course, what it does do is stroke the Left’s hatred sensitivities for their usual suspects.

Now that everybody is comfortably riled against their hate objects, let’s read the opening paragraph:
Let's blame Sarah Palin. Let's blame Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Let's blame the overheated rhetoric on the right and the left. And, as always, let's blame the media.

Oh Yeah, that smooths matters over just fine. With some effort one could fantasize that maybe we are in for a flip version of Mark Antony’s speech: I did not come to blame Palin, Beck and others, but to exonerate them.

But the next paragraph does not defuse the explosive allegations; it just restates them more clinically.

Ok, let try the next paragraph. Oh great, we are treated to the world class champion of liberal bilious hate speech.

And then what next? An actual video clip so we can enjoy Olbermann spewing his two minutes of hate in living hate filled color.

My, aren’t we making great strides in “acknowledging the fallacy of the connection between overheated rhetoric and the Arizona violence”?

I am not going to go on. Suffice it to say not once does Paul Farhi say anything to explicitly undo his own hate-speech: “Let's blame Sarah Palin. Let's blame Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.” The whole article is carefully crafted to provide opportunities to plant hateful comments hither and thither, while making half-hearted noises out of the other side of his mouth.

if I ever needed a reminder of how The Washington Post simply can’t help itself in pedaling media bias this article will do just fine.

Posted by: nvjma | January 11, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

In her two blog postings, “ADL goes over the line—and beyond the pale” (January 11) and “ADL incensed at criticism,” (January 12), Jennifer Rubin misrepresented both ADL’s motives in sending out a “media advisory” offering its expertise and ADL’s interpretation of the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Arizona.

Since the unfolding of the events in Arizona, ADL urged caution in connecting the events of that day to extremist groups or any particular political ideology until we learned more about the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner. Once ADL analyzed the available information about Loughner, we concluded that his writings indicate that he was probably not associated with any extremist group or movement, and we shared that analysis:

Since the media was awash with rumors, theories and speculation about Loughner’s views and possible affiliations, ADL responsibly advised the media that we had experts who would be able to speak knowledgably about right-wing extremists and anti-government groups. When talking to the media, our experts made it clear that there was a distinction between Loughner’s semi-coherent, rambling writings and those on the far right who espouse a well-defined extremist ideology. Our approach was both responsible and measured.

Posted by: Anti-Defamation_League | January 12, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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