Inside the ADL under Jonathan Greenblatt
Jonathan Greenblatt’s 2015 takeover of the Anti-Defamation League, the most famous Jewish civil rights group in America, was heralded by ADL supporters and segments of the Jewish press as an exciting shift. Greenblatt, The Forward reported in 2014, was “different in age, background, experience and politics from its outgoing iconic leader [Abe Foxman]” and “embodie[d] the ADL’s wish to open a new era in which young American Jews, currently turned off by the idea of joining membership organizations, will flock back home.”
But when I and my colleague Jacob Hutt took a close look at how the ADL was operating under Greenblatt, we didn’t see much evidence for a new ADL. Instead, we found that, when confronted with a choice between supporting crackdowns on criticism of Israel and protecting civil liberties, Greenblatt repeatedly chose the former, putting him in conflict with his own civil rights office, which expressed alarm over governmental efforts to interfere with speech critical of Israel.
We worked on this story for about a year, and now you can read it for yourself over at Jewish Currents. It’s a long piece, but I think you’ll find it rewarding and enlightening, especially if you’ve ever wondered what was up with the Anti-Defamation League. After you’re done, let me know what you think!
In other news, I teamed up with Palestinian writer Mariam Barghouti for a piece in +972 Magazine on how a global network of Israel advocacy groups is targeting the funding stream for the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees. It’s a feature piece exploring the Dutch government’s decision to freeze its grants to UAWC in the wake of a violent attack near an Israeli settlement that was allegedly overseen by UAWC employees. Read the whole thing here.