ADL promotes conspiracy theories to undermine support for Palestine at Occupy Wall Street

Education event schedule at Occupy Wall Street.

Collin David Anderson Flickr

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the influential pro-Israel lobby group headed by Abraham Foxman, is in a panic about support for Palestinian rights at Occupy Wall Street protests across the United States.

Seeking to delegitimize US popular solidarity with Palestinians suffering under US-financed Israeli occupation, apartheid and brutal violence, the ADL charged in a release on its website that, “Anti-Israel Groups Attempt to Co-Opt Occupy Wall Street Message.”

The release claims:

The anti-Israel left is engaged in a coordinated effort to unite their cause with the Occupy Wall Street (“OWS”) protests taking place in hundreds of cities around the country. In recent weeks, anti-Israel signs have been spotted at OWS protests and several anti-Israel groups have begun to organize campaigns using the language of OWS in an attempt to exploit the enthusiasm of the movement and channel it for their cause.

Spreading conspiracy theories

The ADL then goes on to list a whole range of Palestine solidarity actions at various Occupy protests around the country by groups as diverse as Adalah-NY, Jewish Voices for Peace, Jewish Women for Justice in Palestine, and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Foxman’s group cannot see Palestinians and their supporters as legitimate members of American society who might share the same concerns as other Americans. Nor can it respect or recognize that any support for Palestinian rights and opposition to Israeli crimes could be genuine.

So instead, the ADL seems to be spreading conspiracy theories about all-powerful pro-Palestinian groups able to manipulate and “exploit” gullible Americans and infiltrate and “co-opt” their movements with “coordinated” efforts.

ADL even condemns the Boycott National Committee (BNC) in Palestine for issuing a statement of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests.

You would think that if the ADL genuinely cared about the well-being of Americans it would welcome the support for Occupy Wall Street from all groups that, like the BNC and unlike the ADL, espouse universal human rights and social justice.

ADL promoting hate reminiscent of anti-Semitic attacks on Jews

ADL’s effort to ghettoize Palestinians and their supporters and declare them beyond the pale of American political life and activism are painfully reminiscent of attempts in America’s past to keep Jews out of public life and to vilify them as subversives, anarchists and communists.

It is not surprising that the ADL has reacted this way given that Foxman has a long history of promoting Islamophobia. Morever, Steven Salaita has argued persuasively in his recent book Israel’s Dead Soul, that based on its own activities, the ADL should be classed as a “hate group” according to its own criteria. Its latest statement only adds to the body of evidence.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.