The ADL is not just an anti-racist and anti-anti-Semitic organization but also a militant supporter of Israeli nationalism. And the ADL has shown time and again that when push comes to shove, it will abandon the battle against bigotry in order to champion what it sees as in Israel’s best interest. As New Yorker writer Isaac Chotiner summed up the matter, “The most prominent organization fighting anti-Semitism in America will commend your ‘leadership in fighting hate’ 24 hours after you endorse vile neo-Nazi anti-Semitism…if you take a strong stand against critics of Israel.” This type of selective forgiveness of anti-Semitism on behalf of Zionism is hardly unique to the ADL. The recent March for Israel rally in Washington featured as a guest speaker John Hagee, a notoriously anti-Semitic preacher of apocalyptic Christianity. The ADL was formed in 1913 in the wake of the arrest of Leo Frank, a Jewish man falsely convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old girl. Frank was lynched in Georgia in 1915. For many decades, the group was on the forefront of fighting not just anti-Semitism but all forms of racism. But like many centrist and liberal Jewish organizations, the ADL changed its politics after the Six Day War of 1967, when it became evident that Israel would face increasing pressure from liberals and the left over its occupation of a large Palestinian population. From that point onward, the ADL started to see the left and pro-Palestinian organizations as major foes.
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