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After Foxman vs. Limbaugh, Some Call for a New Head of ADL, with ZOA's Mort Klein in the Wings
The Anti-Defamation League under the helm of its national director, Abraham Foxman, has a mixed reputation in the Orthodox-Jewish community. While the organization's chief mission, according to its charter, written in 1913, calls for it "to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people," Mr. Foxman's detractors say that, over the years, he has taken many stands that place him and his organization at odds with traditional Jewish positions.
While most Jews agreed with Mr. Foxman's criticism of actor Mel Gibson, former President Jimmy Carter, and "Israel Lobby"-bashing authors John Measheimer and Stephen Walts, many disagreed passionately with the ADL director's refusal to recognize the Turkish role in the Armenian Genocide; his excoriation of Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who has spoken out against militant Islam; and, especially, his periodic outbursts against the president of the Zionist Organization of America, Mort Klein.
It is undeniably true that Mr. Foxman sees more antisemitism emanating from the political right than from the left, a position that has allowed him to defend former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and even the late Yasir Arafat.
Last month, Mr. Foxman excoriated a popular conservative media personality whom many consider an extraordinarily philo-semitic opinion-maker.
On Thursday, Jan 21, as a part of a discussion on the Senate race in Massachusetts won by Republican Scott Brown, talk-show host Rush Limbaugh angrily suggested that when President Barack Obama slams "big banks," the President might be using a code word for "Jews."
"To some people, banker is a code word for 'Jewish,' and guess who Obama is assaulting. He's assaulting bankers. He's assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish," said Mr. Limbaugh.
Making the point that he was not one of the people who accept that code, Mr. Limbaugh said those who do are "Jew-haters."
Recognizing that Mr. Obama had won close to 80 percent of the Jewish electorate in the last election, Mr. Limbaugh wondered "if there's starting to be some buyer's remorse."
Acknowledged as one of Mr. Obama's staunchest critics, Mr. Limbaugh was clearly voicing his disapproval of the President and merely wondering if the Jewish community was getting ready to join him.
But Mr. Foxman did not see it that way. In a prepared statement, he accused Mr. Limbaugh of reaching "a new low with his borderline antisemitic comments about Jews as bankers, their supposed influence on Wall Street, and how they vote."
"Limbaugh's references to Jews and money in a discussion of Massachusetts politics were offensive and inappropriate. While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of antisemitism and is widely accepted by many Americans. His notion that Jews vote based on their religion, rather than on their interests as Americans, plays into the hands of antisemitic conspiracy theorists. When he comes to understand why his words were so offensive and unacceptable, Limbaugh should apologize," said Mr. Foxman.
The response from the pro-Israel Jewish community was immediate. Author and former editor of Commentary magazine Norman Podhoretz explained that, just recently, as part of a chat about Mr. Podhoretz's most recent book, "Why Are Jews Liberals?" he and Mr. Limbaugh discussed the exact same idea that the talk-show host presented on his program.
In his book, Mr. Podhoretz argues that it no longer makes any sense for his fellow Jews to continue aligning themselves with the political Left. He also tries to demonstrate that Jewish interests and ideals, both as Americans and as Jews, "have come in recent decades to be better served by the forces of the Right."
According to Mr. Podhoretz, in the course of describing and agreeing with the book, Mr. Limbaugh cited a few of the "numerous reasons for the widespread puzzlement over the persistence of liberalism within the American-Jewish community."
"And while discussing those reasons, he pointed to the undeniable fact that for 'a lot of people' prejudiced people, as he called them twice the words 'banker' and 'Wall Street' are code words for 'Jewish,'" said Mr. Podhoretz.
According to Mr. Podhoretz, Mr. Limbaugh then wondered if Mr. Obama's attacks on bankers and Wall Street might be triggering "a certain amount of buyers' remorse within the American-Jewish community, which gave him 78 percent of its vote."
"Finally, taking off from my observation that many Jewish liberals like to call themselves 'independents,' Rush wondered whether a fair number of the self-described Independents who deserted Obama and voted for Scott Brown might actually have been Jewish liberals," said Mr. Podhoretz.
According to Mr. Podhoretz, Mr. Limbaugh posited that Mr. Brown's "victory could be even more indicative of an even bigger change in the political temper of the country than has so far been recognized."
Mr. Podhoretz seemed stunned that, for this idea, Mr. Limbaugh had been "subjected to a vile attack by Abraham Foxman."
"Of course, Mr. Foxman has a long history of seeing an antisemite under every conservative bed while blinding himself to the blatant fact that antisemitism has largely been banished from the Right in the past 40 years, and that it has found a hospitable new home on the Left, especially where Israel is concerned," said Mr. Podhoretz, adding that this makes Mr. Foxman "the perfect embodiment of the phenomenon I analyze in 'Why Are Jews Liberals?'"
He termed Mr. Foxman's denunciation of Mr. Limbaugh as an antisemite and demand for an apology "chutzpah."
"Well, if an apology is owed here, it is the national director of the ADL who should apologize for the defamatory accusation of antisemitism that he has hurled against so loyal a friend of Israel as Rush Limbaugh," said Mr. Podhoretz.
On the Internet, many sided with Messrs Podhoretz and Limbaugh and against Mr. Foxman.
Blogger Pamela Geller excoriated Mr. Foxman for "coming out against a great and wonderful friend of the Jews." This, she said, is "symptomatic of a deeper problem."
"I have for years derided Jews in America and the Jewish lay leadership for tolerating and supporting clear and present enemies of the Jewish people among our senior ranks. It is a sickness of the soul. The liberal Jew worships at the church of human secularism. These lost souls are married to their liberal dogmas," she wrote, adding that she stood "with Rush Limbaugh and would take up against Foxman in a heartbeat."
"Thank G-d for righteous gentiles like Rush. He is beyond delicious. He has such a yiddische heart, I'd marry him under a chupah," she said, calling Mr. Foxman "a plague on our people."
In his own defense, Mr. Limbaugh said he suspected "somebody took a few words that I said in a pretty long monologue, cut them up, and published them in a way to make it appear I said something that I didn't say."
The mainstream media, which reported the incident, made no attempt to confirm the veracity of Mr. Foxman's attack, said Mr. Limbaugh.
This, he said, is how he has been treated by the mainstream media for the past 20 years. "Me being taken out of context and every one of them shown to be wrong, every one of these attacks being shown to be fallacious. I would think that, by now, some people would realize what's going on. But I don't think they do. I think they want these attacks and out-of-context quotes to be real," he said.
Mr. Limbaugh's point was proved by the far-left Jewish commentator MJ Rosenberg, who said he had "always taken it for granted that Rush Limbaugh does not like Jews," mostly, he said, because they are "overwhelmingly Democrats and they are liberals."
For this, Mr. Rosenberg, who has called on Israel to make ever increasing concessions to the Palestinians, called Mr. Limbaugh "a hater."
In fact, Mr. Limbaugh has, like his friend, Mr. Podhoretz, wondered publicly "out of a legitimately political sense" why so many Jews are liberal "when it seemed so much of what liberals do would be anathema to Jewish people, particularly abortion, but also any number of other things, such as taxes and tax increases."
On his radio program after Mr. Foxman's attack, Mr. Limbaugh, who has visited Israel and spoke lovingly in public about his trip, the Israeli people, and their daily valiant struggle against terrorism and attempts at delegitimization, said, "Mr. Foxman, if you really want to go after antisemitism, you should first start looking at it on the Left and within the Obama administration and within his circle of friends, because that's where you're going to find it. You're not going to find antisemitism on this radio show. You're going to find nothing but love and respect and admiration for the Jewish people and unwavering support for Israel. That has never shaken."
Mr. Rosenberg did not deny that Mr. Limbaugh is strongly pro-Israel, but, he said, that would not staunch the charge of antisemitism.
"Stating that one is 'pro-Israel' to defend against the charge of Jew-hatred is the modern equivalent of 'some of my best friends are Jewish,'" said Mr. Rosenberg.
Mr. Limbaugh's legions of fans in the pro-Israel community disagree.
Like Mr. Podhoretz, Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel, called on Mr. Foxman to apologize to Mr. Limbaugh.
She also asked the community to email (ElRushbo@eibnet.com) or fax (212-445-3963) Mr. Limbaugh notes of support.
Other groups that came to Mr. Limbaugh's defense include American Friends of Likud, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), EMUNAH of America, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the National Council of Young Israel, Religious Zionists of America, and Z-Street.
These groups issued a joint statement expressing their "dismay by [Mr. Foxman's] unfounded criticism of the talk show commentator's observations."
"While one may agree or disagree with Mr. Limbaugh's views on many subjects, his outspoken support for Israel has been eloquent, informed, and undeniable. Moreover, in commentary on the Jewish people, he has been nothing short of a philo-Semite. We are grateful for his strong and singular voice on these issues," they said.
Other voices of support came from syndicated columnists and foreign policy experts Dr. Michael Ledeen and Mark Steyn, who criticized Mr. Foxman for "wrongly attacking radio broadcaster and strong friend of Israel, Rush Limbaugh."
Mort Klein, president of the ZOA, called Mr. Foxman's attack "wrong, confused, and irresponsible."
Calling Mr. Foxman "a disgusting, craven little twerp," Mr. Steyn said he had "never heard anything more stupid and more contemptible from a Jewish organization than mounting this stupid assault on one of the best friends in the US of the Jewish people and the state of Israel."
Mr. Steyn pointed out that there is currently, throughout the world, "the biggest resurgence in antisemitism since the Second World War."
"And this boob, this pathetic, contemptible, cowardly man thinks it's his job, as spokesman for a major Jewish organization, to attack Rush. This is beyond pathetic. It is actually self-destructive," he said.
He argued that, in attacking Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Foxman had gone after "a soft target because he doesn't have the guts to actually confront the real sources of antisemitism in the world today."
He defined these "real sources" as an alliance between "psychotic Islamists and the college Left, the polytechnic Left, the educated Left in the US and in the broader Western world."
Mr. Steyn said ADL's supporters and leaders "should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves" for allowing Mr. Foxman, whom he called "a buffoon," to speak for them. He suggested the powers-that-be at the ADL tell Mr. Foxman, "We'd just as soon appreciate it if you took early retirement."
Mr. Ledeen said Mr. Foxman and the American-Jewish community as a whole should look on Mr. Limbaugh as a hero.
"But they are so blindly partisan that they can no longer distinguish between their friends and their enemies," he said.
Mr. Ledeen's one-word response to Mr. Foxman's demand for an apology from Mr. Limbaugh was "nuts."
"I want Foxman retired and replaced by somebody who fights for the Jews and our friends," said Mr. Ledeen.
Many Jews believe the ZOA's Mr. Klein not only would fit the bill, but, in a real sense, has become the most important US defender of the Jewish people against defamation. Indeed, for the past several years, he has often been the lone voice describing and decrying antisemitism in the US, especially as it relates to anti-Israel activity.
One such example is the research and follow-up conducted by ZOA and its Center for Law and Justice in the matter of illegal antisemitic and anti-Israel activities by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) on the University of California, Irvine, campus.
At the end of 2009, ZOA successfully convinced Rep Brad Sherman (D-CA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, to call on Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman, to investigate the activities of George Galloway, a radical left-wing, anti-Israel Member of the British Parliament; his organization, Viva Palestina; and a California-based entity called the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizations/Pastors for Peace (IFCO), to determine whether they have been soliciting funds for Hamas, the violent Palestinian faction in control of Gaza that is still a US-designated foreign terrorist organization.
ZOA has been able to provide compelling videotaped evidence that, on May 21, 2009, Mr. Galloway appeared at an event sponsored by UC Irvine's MSU and solicited funds on behalf of Viva Palestina. At the event, Mr. Galloway made it clear that the major purpose of Viva Palestina is to provide material support to Hamas.
The program, entitled "The Politics of Genocide," was part of an annual Israel-bashing event sponsored by the MSU.
According to Mr. Klein, for years, the MSU has been sponsoring antisemitic and Israel-bashing programs and speakers which have caused Jewish students at the school to feel harassed and intimidated.
Based on UC Irvine records, at the May 2009 program, the MSU solicited funds without UC Irvine's approval and misrepresented to school officials, telling them the event was not going to be a fundraiser.
Referring to Ismail Haniya, a high-ranking Hamas official in Gaza, where he is serving as prime minister, Mr. Galloway said at the event, "We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all of the contents and we make no apology for what I am about to say. We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine, to Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics. We are giving this money now to the government of Palestine. If I could, I would give them ten times, 100 times, more."
Viva Palestina is not a tax-deductible entity. According to ZOA and Mr. Sherman, it apparently uses the IFCO as a conduit to accept charitable donations.
Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, agreed with Mr. Galloway that Viva Palestina's goal is not to distribute charity, but, rather, to provide support to Hamas.
At the UC Irvine event, Mr. Galloway discussed the convoy of supply-filled vehicles he and his group were planning to take to Gaza in an effort not only to provide material support to Hamas, but also to force Israel to remove all barriers to the terrorists bent on the destruction of the Jewish state.
"The convoy is the first thing. If you can't come, then help those who are fundraising to send others. There are many ways that you can do it. Please take it. It's a small colored leaflet, Viva Palestina USA, which tells you how you can raise the funds, how you can help this great cause," said Mr. Galloway at the event.
Thus far, Viva Palestina has conducted three convoys to Gaza. The first, which originated in the United Kingdom, gave thousands of British pounds in aid and dozens of vehicles to the Hamas leadership.
The convoy also included 12 ambulances, a fire engine, and $1.4 million which was given directly to the Hamas Economy Minister Ziad al-Zaza.
The second convoy, which originated in the US, left for Gaza in July 2009. To prepare for this convoy, Viva Palestina reportedly held more than 20 fundraisers in cities throughout the US between April and June 2009. Mr. Galloway traveled across the US and spoke at most of the fundraisers, many of which were held on college campuses.
On July 2, 2009, a fundraiser in Kansas City raised $103,000 in a single evening. That night, Mr. Galloway boasted that he had raised $2 million for the convoy.
According to Mr. Klein, the convoy passed the donations it had raised in the US, which included funds raised at MSU's May 2009 event at UC Irvine, to an organization in Gaza called "Expertise in Consulting and Development" (CODE), a group which has received funding from the Union of the Good, designated by the US under Executive Order 13224 in 2008 as a terrorist organization which cannot receive US funds.
A designation under the Order provides the government with a way to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terror groups. It authorizes the government to block the designated group's assets.
The blockade of Gaza imposed by Egypt allowed Mr. Galloway's second convoy to spend only 24 hours in Gaza. But during that time, the Viva Palestina leaders met with Mr. Haniya and visited Hamas-run facilities, including the Ministry of Prisoners, whose mission is to help families of so-called Palestinian "would-be martyrs" in Israeli jails. Martyrs who succeed are suicide bombers who die while deliberately murdering Israeli-Jewish civilians.
The third Viva Palestina convoy was an international effort which included groups from the US. Partnering with a radical British group, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and the Turkish-based IHH, an organization banned by the Israeli government in 2008. the Viva Palestina convoy was scheduled to arrive in Gaza at the end of December.
Egyptian officials, however, delayed this third convoy's crossing into Gaza and did not permit all the vehicles to go through. Convoy organizers protested and violence erupted, leaving dozens injured and an Egyptian soldier dead.
Egypt ultimately deported Mr. Galloway and he may not be allowed to return, just as he has already been banned from Canada.
Mr. Sherman has urged Mr. Holder to investigate Mr. Galloway, Viva Palestina, and IFCO. "Clearly, people and organizations in the US cannot be allowed to solicit funds for foreign terrorist organizations. That such a solicitation occurred during the middle of the day at a public university is truly frightening," said Mr. Sherman in a letter to Mr. Holder.
In his letter to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sherman asked for an investigation to determine if Mr. Galloway and his foreign associates should have any outstanding visas revoked and any future admission to the US barred. He also asked if Viva Palestina, its leadership, and its affiliates should be designated as supporters of a Foreign Terrorist Organization and, thus, banned from raising funds in the US.
In his letter to Mr. Shulman, Mr. Sherman asked for an IRS investigation to determine whether IFCO's tax-deductible status should be revoked.
"The taxpayers of the US should not and cannot support the activities of recognized terror organizations," said Mr. Sherman.
Based on ZOA's evidence, Mr. Shulman also asked Dr. Michael V. Drake, the chancellor of UC Irvine, to thoroughly investigate the MSU.
By the end of December, Mr. Klein was able to report that UC Irvine's chief campus counsel had thanked ZOA for bringing the matter to the university's attention. UC Irvine has referred the matter to law enforcement and has initiated its own internal probe.
According to Mr. Klein, the school is investigating the conduct not only of the MSU, but also that of university officials who were present at the MSU event on May 29 and knew or should have known that unauthorized and possibly illegal fundraising was taking place.
"These officials did nothing to stop the solicitation of funds for Viva Palestina, and when one official submitted a report about the event to the vice chancellor, he did not even mention that funds had been solicited there," said Mr. Klein.
For several years, pro-Israel students have complained to ZOA that, when facing the MSU, UC Irvine had not been enforcing the university's own policies. On May 29, the MSU publicly admitted it had violated the university's policies on fundraising.
In January, a second member of Congress, Rep Sue Myrick (R-NC), the founder of the bipartisan congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, urged the US Treasury Department to designate Viva Palestina under Executive Order 13224 for its support of the terrorist group Hamas.
Ms. Myrick asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to take this action that would prevent Viva Palestina from sending "convoys" of vehicles, money, and goods to Hamas in Gaza.
She noted that, in addition to giving Hamas and other Hamas-linked non-government organizations direct contributions, Viva Palestina has "provided political cover for the terrorist organization."
Mr. Sherman called the evidence of Viva Palestina's fundraising "alarming."
In his letter to Dr. Drake urging the investigation into the MSU's Galloway-Viva Palestina event, Mr. Sherman said he believed the probe "will confirm that the UC Irvine MSU has solicited funds for a terrorist organization, or knowingly aided and abetted such solicitation."
"After you confirm these facts, I believe you will, at a minimum, prevent the MSU from operating on campus unless and until its leadership is purged of those responsible," said Mr. Sherman.
Praising Mr. Sherman and Ms. Myrick, Mr. Klein said they understand that "one essential means of fighting terrorism is to cut off the support and funding of terrorists and terror organizations."
"Our government must do everything it can to stop groups like Viva Palestina from supporting and aiding the terrorist group Hamas. This is especially important because Viva Palestina has been falsely portrayed as a humanitarian group, and Galloway and others are soliciting funds for this group on our own college campuses," said Mr. Klein.
He encouraged "all of our colleges and universities to do their part and be vigilant in ensuring that their campuses are not used as a base for fundraising for terrorists and terrorism," he said.
Only after ZOA's efforts to collect the evidence and make it available to public officials did the ADL express concern. In a letter to Mr. Holder, Mr. Foxman urged the Justice Department to investigate whether Viva Palestina has been raising funds "for the purpose of providing material support to Hamas."
On behalf of the Conference of Presidents of Major American-Jewish Organizations, Alan P. Solow and Malcolm Hoenlein informed Mr. Holder of their support for the investigation into the UC Irvine affair.
"Consistent with our country's commitment to fighting international terrorism at home and abroad, the Justice Department should ensure that our anti-terrorism laws are not being violated and that our college campuses are not being used to promote or support terror groups," said Messrs Solow and Hoenlein.
Mr. Klein praised those who joined the call for a thorough investigation into the activities at UC Irvine, but he castigated Rep John Campbell (R-CA) for "his public silence and inaction in response to the troubling and possibly illegal conduct" of the MSU. UC Irvine is located in Mr. Campbell's district.
Despite letters from the ZOA describing the MSU's Israel-bashing and promotion of antisemitic bigotry on campus, Mr. Campbell, according to Mr. Klein, took no action.
"He has never issued any public statement and has never taken any public action in response to the MSU's troubling actions in his own district at UC Irvine. Why hasn't Congressman Campbell shown any public concern over the prospect that the university in his district may have been used to promote terrorism and terrorist groups?" said Mr. Klein.
He noted that it is "especially troubling" that an official has not responded to the possibility that there may have been a serious violation of federal law right in his own district.
"Particularly now, when we are facing danger from terrorists and terrorist groups around the world, including right here in our own country, law enforcement officials must thoroughly investigate all incidents where there is any evidence that groups or individuals are promoting or supporting terrorist groups like Hamas," said Mr. Klein.
Those who know Mr. Limbaugh stress that he would not only agree with Mr. Klein, he would probably join the effort to support ZOA, much as Mr. Klein has supported the effort to repudiate Mr. Foxman's attack.
Mr. Klein knows from personal experience how assaults from Mr. Foxman can come.
In the 1990s, Mr. Klein opposed the appointment of John Roth to head the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, after it was discovered that the Holocaust scholar had, among other controversial writings, compared Israeli policies toward the Palestinians to the Nazis' treatment of Jews. Mr. Klein also criticized Jewish organizations that offered a podium to New York Times columnist Tom Friedman after he, too, attacked Israel.
When Mr. Klein made his objections to the two men public, Mr. Foxman summoned a press conference at which he publicly dubbed the ZOA president "the attack dog of the Jewish thought police."
In 2007, when Mr. Foxman advocated extending a platform to former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mr. Klein angrily pointed out that Mr. Tutu had compared Israel to the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
In a 2002 speech in Boston, Mr. Tutu compared the Israeli system to that of apartheid. "I've been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa," he said.
Mr. Tutu also expressed the antisemitic canard that the pro-Israel lobby in the US, because it is "very powerful," exerts an undue and even malignant influence that stifles debate.
"People are scared in this country [the US] to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful very powerful," he said.
He also accused Jews of smearing critics of Israel as antisemites. "You know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US] and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed antisemitic, as if Palestinians were not Semitic," he said.
In other speeches, Mr. Tutu equated Zionism with racism, accused Jews of "exhibiting the arrogance of power," complained about "the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust," and "urged Israelis to forgive the Nazis for the Holocaust," a statement the Simon Wiesenthal Center called "a gratuitous insult to Jews and victims of Nazism everywhere."
When Mr. Tutu was invited to speak at Minnesota's University of St Thomas, the school's president, Father Dennis Dease, rescinded the invitation when Mr. Tutu's record of virulent anti-Israel words and actions were brought to his attention.
Mr. Foxman seized the moment to urge Father Dease to reinstate the invitation. "While Archbishop Tutu is not a friend of Israel, we do not believe he is an antisemite," said Mr. Foxman, admitting that the former South African archbishop's words "have often stung the Jewish community."
"However, while he may at times have crossed the line, we believe that he should have been permitted to speak on your campus," said Mr. Foxman.
Furious, Mr. Klein pointed out that while the head of the ADL had no problem defaming the president of the ZOA as "an attack dog," he also had no problem defending Mr. Tutu, who had "made truly ugly attacks on Israel and its supporters, not on Israel's defamers, as I had."
"I don't see Foxman describing Tutu as the 'attack dog of the Palestinian thought police,'" said Mr. Klein. "As head of the Ant-Defamation League, Mr. Foxman is supposed to fight those who defame Israel and Jews, not help them retain speaking engagements."
Mr. Klein recognized that while free speech under the Constitution allows people to express their views, "it does not confer an obligation on everyone to provide a platform to anyone else."
"If a newspaper, for example, refuses to publish a piece by Abe Foxman on its opinion page, is that a denial of his right to free speech? If the University of St Thomas would refuse to give a platform to Abe Foxman, is that denial of his free speech. The answer is no in both cases," he said.
For that reason, he said, "it was certainly inappropriate and mystifying that Mr. Foxman, of all people, urged the University of St Thomas in Minnesota to reinstate its invitation to Tutu."
"Put simply, the ADL should not help Tutu to potentially spread his venom. Abe Foxman and the ADL should be fighting those who defame Israel, not helping them in anyway," said Mr. Klein.
Recalling that episode after Mr. Foxman attacked Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Klein said it was "ironic" that the same ADL leader who attacked the talk-show host had also regularly defended critics of Israel like Mr. Tutu.
"Foxman even publicly praised Yasir Arafat for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, saying he deserved it. He even defended Arafat's use of the term 'jihad,' contending that Arafat meant a 'jihad for peace,'" recalled Mr. Klein.
"So Foxman whitewashes Desmond Tutu and defends him from a charge of antisemitism, but now he attacks Rush Limbaugh for comments that, in Foxman's view, were 'borderline antisemitic,'" said Mr. Klein. "If Foxman is so concerned about attacks on Jews from whatever source and consistent in denouncing them, why didn't Foxman criticize President Obama for having sat for 22 years in black-supremacist and virulent-critic-of-Israel Jeremiah Wright's church and for calling Wright 'a great man' and 'my mentor?' More recently, why hasn't Foxman criticized President Obama for defaming Israel by saying falsely in an interview that Israel had not made 'bold gestures' as concessions to the Palestinians and doesn't wish to have a 'meaningful conversation' with the Palestinians? Why didn't Foxman condemn Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Conference for glorifying terrorism, praising terrorists, and refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state?"
Like the other Jewish groups that rose to Mr. Limbaugh's defense, Mr. Klein called on Mr. Foxman to retract his attack on the talk-show host and to apologize to him.
Susan L. Rosenblueth is publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Voice and Opinion, POB 8097, Englewood, N.J. Contact her at 202 569 2845.
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