- AUGUST 6, 2005
(Part Six on ADL director Foxman and the Bloomberg-Independence Party alliance)
If one goes to the ADL home page, one will find (as of Aug. 10) a prominently displayed link with the title "African-American Leaders Urged to Reconsider Support for the 'Millions More Movement.''' Click on this priority item and one can read the ADL's May 2 press release on Louis Farrakhan's planned 10th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March, to be held Oct.14-16 in Washington DC.
The statement begins: "Saddened and disheartened by their possible involvement in the 'Millions More Movement', the Anti-Defamation League is urging prominent African-American leaders to reconsider their support for the march and its anti-Semitic organizers, Minister Louis Farrakhan and Malik Zulu Shabazz."
The press release says that the ADL had sent letters to over 30 prominent black leaders, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, Rev. Floyd Flake and U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, expressing the watchdog agency's concern that the involvement of Farrakhan and Shabazz would "taint the proceeding with the baggage of anti-Semitism and hate."
ADL national director Abe Foxman is quoted as saying, "We cannot understand why good people continue to tolerate this outrage of anti-Semitic views and behavior. It seems there is a line of denial--indeed a blind spot among many--within the African-American community when it comes to anti-Semitism."
All this is accurate enough and needed to be said. But if one searches the ADL home page and indeed the entire ADL website, one finds no press release indicating that a similar letter has been sent to prominent white political leaders, either Jewish or gentile, who are involved with the Independence Party led by Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani.
Pardon me, but is there a racial double standard here? Newman and Fulani may not be able to draw the types of crowds that Farrakhan does. But they have built a powerful political machine in New York that has made them extremely influential, and they have friends in high places to a degree that Farrakhan will never have.
It is high time that the ADL supplement its public appeal to African-American leaders regarding the Farrakhan rally with an equally public appeal, re Newman and Fulani, to:
* Hungarian-American leader George Pataki (Governor of New York);
* Italian-American leader Joe Bruno (New York State Senate Majority leader);
* Lebanese-American leader Jeanine Ferris Pirro (Westchester County District Attorney); and
* Jewish-American leaders Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York), Chuck Schumer (senior U.S. Senator from New York) and Eliot Spitzer (New York State Attorney General).
The ADL has challenged Black leaders by name to distance themselves from the Farrakhan rally, but has issued no public criticism of white leaders who appear at public functions of the Newman-Fulani cult to praise its goals--and who steer millions of dollars in public and private funds to its political and charitable fronts. It would appear that if the ADL raises this issue at all, it is through unctuous private communications like Foxman's April 20 letter to Bloomberg that carefully avoid giving offense on any level. (You can read Foxman's letter at http://www.lyndonlarouchewatch.org/pdf/foxman.pdf.)
And why, especially, are Bloomberg, Schumer and Spitzer let off the hook? Is the ADL going to justify itself with the old chestnut that it doesn't believe in criticizing "co-religionists"? Don't even try it, Abe. It's too well known in the Jewish community that you have a double standard towards your fellow Jews, attacking those you want to attack (including those who criticized your role as the pardon pimp for Marc Rich) and showering compliments on those you hope to get big donations from.
As to public criticism of Jewish individuals by the ADL as an organization, the watchdog group's website contains strong (and to my mind, fully justified) attacks on leftwing Israel-bashers Noam Chomsky and Adam Shapiro. This type of criticism has long been ADL policy. For instance, the ADL's 1995 report on the Newman-Fulani group ("A Cult By Any Other Name") points out that Newman is Jewish yet blasts him for his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements and for functioning as a power-hungry cult leader. As late as January 2004, an ADL press release criticized Newman's play "Crown Heights" as anti-Semitic for its portrayal of a scenario in which Jews are blamed for starting the 1991 pogrom.
So, why not criticize Michael Bloomberg? He doesn't make anti-Semitic statements or write anti-Semitic plays but he arranged for Newman and Fulani, whom he knows damn well are hate-mongers, to get an $8.7 million municipal bond to purchase and renovate the theater where they produced their infamous play--and he even gave them $50,000 out of his pocket via the Carnegie Foundation for their theater arts program. Then, when he found out that his and the city's resources had been used to insult and smear his co-religionists, he not only failed to pull the plug on Newman and Fulani's operation but also gave them an additional $250,000 for their so-called Independence Party (and lied about it to the Jewish community and the general public by calling the IP a "centrist" force).
If Newman is the anti-Semite, both as agitator and playwright, Mayor Bloomberg is his enabler--and deserves harsh, public, and unremitting criticism on this point (as indeed he has received from the New York Post and others while Foxman remains silent).
The first line of defense of the American Jewish community since World War Two has been its ability to appeal to the large majority of the American people who believe that overt expressions of anti-Semitism are morally wrong. But to retain and extend that majority, especially among segments of the population where anti-Semitic sentiments linger to a larger than average extent, it is important that the ADL--the best-known of all the major Jewish organizations--maintain a consistent moral position. It is not enough to condemn anti-Semitism at one end of the political spectrum while letting those at the other end off the hook. It is not enough to call on black leaders to repudiate a Jew-hater in their midst but to remain silent about white leaders who cozy up to the likes of Newman and Fulani.
Foxman's double standard regarding our billionaire mayor's pet bigots can only end up furnishing black leaders with an excuse (of sorts) to ignore his plea regarding the "Millions More Movement." Fortunately the ADL leader does not speak for the Jewish community as a whole. Certain other Jewish organizations have maintained a somewhat more consistent moral standard over the years. But any recipient of Foxman's May 2 letter who is still musing over how much support they should give to the Millions More Movement are not likely to see this larger picture--it is the ADL, not the other major Jewish organizations, that threw the stone from inside its glass house.
Mr. Foxman, if you want Jesse Jackson and other black leaders to do the right thing and boycott or at least downgrade their role in Farrakhan's rally, it is incumbent on you to do everything in your power to get Michael Bloomberg, George Pataki and other white politicians in New York to also do the right thing--by severing their ties with Newman and Fulani's Independence Party.