Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt reiterated his claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism in a significant policy speech, highlighted the danger to openly Orthodox Jews, and charged The New York Times with an “antisemitic attack” for its coverage of Hasidic movements.
The previous president Donald Trump and his extreme supporters were one subject he avoided discussing, despite the ADL and Greenblatt frequently raising this issue in recent years.
The speech Monday morning at the ADL’s annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C., was notable for rarely referencing what has been the organization’s emphasis for years: the threat from the far right, which has been stoked in part by Trump’s ascent.
Instead, Greenblatt stuck to the middle of his prepared speech and reiterated his point at the same summit a year prior: anti-Zionism is unquestionably antisemitism.
He said, “To reiterate what I said at this event last year: Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. I know that bigots — especially those who self-style as “anti-Zionists” — use Israel’s Independence Day as a day to redouble their efforts to ensure that it is Israel’s last Independence Day. Stop right there.
His address from the previous year garnered criticism from the left for marginalizing Jewish groups that oppose Israel and associating that group with a current of extremism on the opposite end of the political spectrum that has inspired murderous attacks on Jews.
Despite not being mentioned in Greenblatt’s speech, the threat from the right was still heavily represented on the conference agenda.
One session was devoted to the rise of the far right on social media, and another focused on connections between the extremes of the conservative movement today and the John Birch Society, a seminal extremist group founded in the enthusiasm of the mid-20th century anticommunist sign.
Tuesday’s Capitol Hill anti-antisemitism protest will be the conference’s grand finale. It will be organized with the ADL’s stalwart allies in the LGBTQ, civil rights, and minority communities.
The Biden administration’s domestic policy advisor Susan Rice, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and Reza Pahlavi, the deposed Iranian shah’s son who has positioned himself as an advocate of Iran-Israel relations, are among its featured speakers.
In his speech, Greenblatt emphasized that antisemitism has no particular ideological origin. He mentioned the disturbing increase in antisemitic attacks that the ADL has observed and the fact that more than half of the violent attacks have targeted overtly Orthodox Jews.