In a normal world anyone in a position of prominence such as Jonathan Greenblatt who made colossal blunders in judgement as ADL’s national director and CEO, would either be fired by the board of directors or resign (“Profiles in conflict: Two leaders take opposing paths,” Feb. 21). He stood up publically in support of Congressman Keith Ellison as a candidate for the head of the DNC, despite strong evidence of his anti-Semitic past and present hatred of Israel. Ellison has taken multiple actions against Israel while accepting support from groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization designated by several Muslim countries as a terrorist group. Ellison worked to keep pro-Israel positions out of the DNC platform and instead took anti-Israel stands. His personal remarks, actions, and association with and support of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam should have immediately disqualified Ellison from any consideration for such a post yet Greenblatt astonishingly bestowed on him the ADL “kosher” seal of approval. Eventually Greenblatt was forced to back off of his endorsement, admit Ellison’s past was disturbing, and disqualify him yet Greenblatt shared a podium, with him at February’s refugee rally in Battery Park.
Ellison’s recent appointment as deputy chair of the DNC has been met with silence. If his record disqualified him from being the head of the DNC why wasn’t he equally disqualified to be its deputy chair?
On the other hand, Greenblatt, a former member of President Obama’s staff, jumped on the bandwagon against President Trump’s choice of Stephen K. Bannon as a senior advisor and branded him an anti-Semite without any basis whatsoever. Greenblatt was compelled to issue a weakly worded partial retraction that the ADL was not aware of any anti-Semitic statements by Bannon. The damage to Bannon’s reputation was done.
When the ADL gives someone with a considerable history of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel behavior a free pass, while falsely branding another person who is innocent of such a charge as an anti-Semite, the credibility and prestige of the organization is severely diminished. That these missteps have generated an increase in ADL funding is astounding. Why should anyone trust Greenblatt or the Jewish community the next time he issues his judgment? With the ever-present threat of anti-Semitism the Jewish community needs leaders who can tell the difference between friend and foe, and not have their public pronouncements clouded by their political connections.
Hal R. Crane