Anti-Foxman Hit Piece

The typically sound James Traub writes a piece in the New York Times Sunday Magazine critical of the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman. I find this story infuriatingly wrong on a number of levels.

Traub builds up the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis that the “Israel Lobby” squelches debate on U.S. foreign policy, injures American interests, and lead to the war with Iraq. He buttresses his point by arguing that some Jews, namely M.J. Rosenberg of The Israel Policy Forum, confirmed the assertions. Remember this was a memo unfactual that it wrongly stated that Arabs could not be citizens of Israel. A couple of points here before I get to Foxman. As the former Washington correspondent for the Forward, I can unequivocally report that the so-called Israel Lobby wanted nothing to do with the Iraq War. During the late 1990s, I reported that Ahmad Chalabi and his supporters were patently unsuccessful in their efforts to win the organized support of the Jewish community. Moreover, the current Forward, different in orientation from the paper I worked for, carries a story that reaffirms that Ariel Sharon, fearing a nuclear Iran, opposed the war.

As far as M.J. Rosenberg goes, he is the Washington representative of a national group, the Israel Policy Forum, that has been trying to supplant the primary pro-Israel lobbying group in America, AIPAC, for more than a decade, another old story.

Finally, Foxman. Abraham Foxman, who survived the Holocaust by hiding with a Polish Catholic family, is unafraid neither to call out anti-Semitism wherever it exists nor confront anti-Jewish excesses on the right or left. Foxman is absolutely vital in standing up for justice in an era when anti-Semitism has surged throughout the world. There’s no question that 9/11 tore the lid off of what is going on in much of the Arab world and Europe in terms of anti-Semitism. Whether it is the suburbs of Paris, the streets of Cairo, or conferences in Teheran, anti-Semitism is becoming the majority position nowadays. Foxman is leading the charge against it.

Where Traub is also wrong is to suggest that Foxman has somehow blocked the ADL from working on matters not directly relating to anti-Semitism. Foxman has encouraged a host of ecumenical programs that help Jews and anybody else who is the victim of bigotry, such as the No Place for Hate campaign. Moreover, the ADL’s regional offices are largely independent. We have in Boston a bridge named for  Leonard Zakim, because the late New England regional director was universally recognized as a healer of ethnic and racial divides throughout our area. The current leadership of the organization has carried on in that tradition — both standing up for hate as it relates to Jews and others.

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4 Responses to “Anti-Foxman Hit Piece”

  1. friend-of-fab-dana Says:

    another interesting one for you, gitell.com:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/arts/31jews.html?_r=1&ref=books&oref=slogin

  2. Blogging AIPAC « Dispatches from Seth Gitell Says:

    […] Rosenberg fails to disclose how or where he works to that effect. For that, you can go to Gitell.com. Back in January, I wrote “as far as M.J. Rosenberg goes, he is the Washington representative […]

  3. Political Mavens » Blogging AIPAC Says:

    […] Rosenberg fails to disclose how or where he works to that effect. For that, you can go to Gitell.com. Back in January, I wrote “as far as M.J. Rosenberg goes, he is the Washington representative of […]

  4. Steve Walt, “Israel Lobby” Author, Speaks at the Harvard Club « Dispatches from Seth Gitell Says:

    […] Walt, “Israel Lobby” Author, Speaks at the Harvard Club It’s no secret I’m deeply opposed to the “Israel Lobby” thesis put forward by Steve Walt and Joh…. What bothers me most is not their singling out of the pro-Israel community, a charge that borders […]

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