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November 9, 2021 11:36 am

‘Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism,’ Head of ADL Declares in Speech to Summit Combating Hate and Discrimination

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Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Photo Credit: ADL.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will warn in a speech on Tuesday night that a belief is taking hold on the political left “that all Jews are oppressors — part of a white establishment that has exploited racial and ethnic minorities for generations.”

In his address to be delivered later to the ADL’s three-day “Never is Now” annual summit, the organization’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said that such views represented an “ugly form of historical revisionism” that would “come as a big surprise to my grandparents who fled Europe for their lives — only to come to this country and experience discrimination. Or to Iranian or Ethiopian Jews who came more recently but also seeking refuge from vicious persecution. Or to the more than half of Israeli Jews who aren’t of European descent.”

Greenblatt’s speech, a copy of which was shared with The Algemeiner in advance, sounded the alarm on antisemitism on both left and right. Comparing the rise of antisemitism to the global environmental crisis, Greenblatt quoted the observation of a German anti-racist activist who told him that far-right antisemitism was reminiscent of devastating weather events like hurricanes, whereas antisemitism on the left was akin to the gradual change in climate.

“Slowly and surely, the temperature is increasing,” Greenblatt said. “Often people don’t perceive the shift or choose to ignore it even when there are once uncommon storms. But the environment is becoming more hostile, and the conditions threaten to upend life as we know it if we sit back and do nothing.”

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Addressing the widespread hostility on the left to Israel and Zionism, Greenblatt said, “Don’t get me wrong: there certainly are things that the Israeli government has done that deserve rebuke. But, criticizing the actions of a government is categorically different than deeming it illegitimate because of wildly inaccurate claims that it is instituting ‘apartheid’ or leading a ‘genocide.'”

He continued: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Denying the right of Jews — alone among the people of the world — to have a homeland is antisemitism. Singling out the Jewish state for condemnation while ignoring others, is a contemptible expression of prejudice. And, unfortunately, these positions appear to be increasingly popular.”

Other speakers at the ADL Summit included US Vice President Kamala Harris. In an address on Sunday evening, Harris also emphasized the antisemitic impulse behind the singling out of Israel, asserting that when “Jews are targeted because of their beliefs or their identity, when Israel is singled out because of anti-Jewish hatred, that is antisemitism. And that is unacceptable.”

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