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Posted at 9:36 AM ET, 01/12/2011

ADL incensed at criticism

By Jennifer Rubin

Yesterday afternoon I received an irate phone call from Anti-Defamation League spokesman Todd Gutnick. He was incensed that I had written such a critical piece on the ADL. I asked him what his specific gripe was. He said, "Well, for starters, it wasn't a 'press release.' It was a 'media advisory." Ah, I see. But really, not so much.

Then he insisted that the invitation to reporters to consult with ADL experts on "right-wing extremists" was justified. He claimed that it was ridiculous not to see the connection between right-wing extremists and anti-Semitism. But do the Arizona shootings have anything to do with anti-Semitism? Oh no, he assured me. In fact, the ADL has issued a statement saying the shootings have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Now I'm confused again. If the mass murder did not have anything to do with anti-Semitism and can't be linked to right-wing (or any) political rhetoric, why then is the ADL using the opportunity to peddle its experts? Gutnick said, indignantly, "People are interested in our work, and we consider this part of our work." He said the ADL is talking to lots of journalists. I bet.

But it is obvious what is going on here. By tying the shooting to its own expertise in combating rightwing extremism, the ADL is promoting the view -- and certainly feeding the left's storyline -- that conservatives are to blame for the tragedy.

A conservative pro-Israel activist is flabbergasted. He told me that the ADL "is voluntarily defining itself as WAY left. Why is that good for them? How does that help them? The Conference of Presidents of Jewish Organizations, B'nai Brith and AIPAC are all so much more careful."

Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, is similarly appalled. He e-mailed me: "At a time when everyone is calling for civility and a change in the public discourse, sadly, the ADL itself is playing to the worst kind of fear-mongering by trying to link the tragic events in Arizona to conservative groups. It's sad and disappointing that the ADL would engage in this. Rather than leading by example, the ADL is engaging in precisely the kind of behavior that we are trying to avoid now. With no facts or evidence to back up their narrative that Loughner was driven by conservative ideology, the ADL should be part of helping the nation heal rather than inflaming people's passions further."

One additional note: I received a number of e-mails from mainstream journalists on the piece. To a person, they were all shocked by the ADL "media advisory." Perhaps the ADL just doesn't get it. Perhaps the group is so insulated that it doesn't even realize its own actions are feeding the blame game. Or, then again, perhaps the group is so desperate to remain relevant that it doesn't mind insinuating a false connection between Jared Loughner and right-wing ideology.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 9:36 AM ET
Categories:  Arizona shooting  
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I think their comment, "He claimed that it was ridiculous not to see the connection between right-wing extremists and anti-Semitism." is ridiculous and offensive. Prove it - show some evidence.

At the same time I don't think its ridiculous to point out that the shooter read Mein Kampf and then went out and shot a Jewish Congresswoman.

I think its a fair question to ask if anti-Semitism fueled any of his deranged actions.

But of course that has nothing to do with what the ADL said or why they felt they needed to talk about the political environment in relation to the shooting. Unless they were merely trying to ingratiate themselves to the Left.

Posted by: jay22 | January 12, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Considering the Helen Thomases of the world are being propped up by liberals, ADL should rethink their strategy.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | January 12, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The ADL thinks everything is anti-semitic. I've got no problems with Jews, it's the Israeli government and their misguided policies I have serious issues with. But, I'm sure they'll find something anti-semitic in that.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 12, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Considering the Helen Thomases of the world are being propped up by liberals, ADL should rethink their strategy.

Posted by: Cornell1984

I think this is a very smart point

Posted by: Jennifer Rubin | January 12, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

No doubt the ADL has many experts on "right-wing extremists." However, considering that much, if not most, of the demonization of Jews and Israel emanates from the political Left, one wonders why that phenomena does not receive the same attention from the ADL.

Posted by: Lumiere1 | January 12, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Jennifer, for confronting the shameless exploitation by the ADL.
As a Jew, the empty shell that currently uses the name ADL is a disappointment and a fraud.

Posted by: MartinChuzzlewit | January 12, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The ADL is being defamed for reckless talk? Well, that IS a turnabout.

Posted by: nvjma | January 12, 2011 1:39 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 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The ADL is outliving its usefulness. The major groups supporting Israel and Jews in the world are Conservative Groups.

Leftist Secular Jews ATTACK Israel with spurious pro-Palestinian diatribes and equivalency arguments.

What exactly is the purpose of the ADL in attacking groups who support Jews and Israel?

Is it possible that the ADL is headed by anti-Christian bigots? Is Abe Foxman, himself a left wing anti-Christian bigot? Just asking.

Posted by: crypticguise | January 12, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"He claimed that it was ridiculous not to see the connection between right-wing extremists and anti-Semitism."

Considering progressives foisted the term 'right-wing' on their American opponents as an insult (vs. any genuine link to the European right)... and that American 'right wing' means liberal in most of the world... Yes, I'm missing his point.

Posted by: stevenhamori | January 12, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The ADL had better think carefully about whom they go after considering that ALL of the MSM and the left is pro Palestinian and anti-Israel. The MSM and the left throw the race card at every opportunity and it has lost its effect. The ADL should remember this and think relly hard before throwing it, anti-Semitic charges, out especially against their most ardent allies.

Posted by: inspectorudy | January 12, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

jay22 said:

"At the same time I don't think its ridiculous to point out that the shooter read Mein Kampf and then went out and shot a Jewish Congresswoman."

HOLD IT! I'm not gonna let you get away with spreading such a falsehood!

Here are some facts you obviously are not aware of:

According to an exclusive Mother Jones interview with close friend Bryce Tierney, "Loughner was very interested in pushing people's buttons—and that may have been why he listed Hitler's Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books on his YouTube page. Loughner's mom is Jewish, according to Tierney."


On his internet Facebook page, Loughner says that in addition to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, among his most favorite books are The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, Siddhartha, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Aesop’s Fables, Plato’s Republic, Fahrenheit 451, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan.


Some in the media theorized that Loughner was an “anti-Semite.” This theory was based on the fact that Congresswoman Giffords, whom he shot, is Jewish. But, as it turns out, Jared Lee Loughner is himself a Jew. He listed himself as “Jewish” on his My Space internet page.

Posted by: jhnpickett | January 13, 2011 4:51 AM | Report abuse

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