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For the second time in two weeks the name of Abraham Foxman, the long-serving director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has surfaced in the news in a way that discredits the organization. The first appearance was in connection with an effort to block Professors Mearsheimer and Walt from speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; the second and still more grim appearance is in connection with ADL’s firing of its New England director over his support for recognition of the Armenian genocide of 1914-15. Foxman issued a statement last week in which he essentially said that the Armenians and Turks have a historical problem, and that Jews should keep out in order to preserve Turkish-Israeli relations. In response to a storm of indignant reaction within the Jewish and Armenian communities. Foxman has changed course. His change looks every bit as opportunistic and insincere as his initial stance.
The ADL has a very long and noble tradition, starting with the traumatic case of Leo Frank in Atlanta between 1913-15—a case which ended with Frank being lynched. ADL’s involvement in the civil rights movement in the United States was a glorious moment, and ADL’s battle against anti-semitism, especially abroad, has been important.
I frankly have difficulty understanding what has happened to this organization and to Mr. Foxman. Instead of standing for principle, ADL seems now beholden to an increasingly crass political calculus. The fact that Foxman would compromise on a matter as important as the twentieth century’s first genocide because he feels raising his and his organization’s voice might interfere with Turkish-Israeli relations speaks volumes, and not to his or his organization’s credit. The only solution would appear to be a complete restructuring of the ADL’s leadership, introducing new voices with moral stature and credibility.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”