ADL boss “both sides” the “Death to the Arabs” march

Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL gesticulates from behind a podium at an ADL event

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, took a “both sides” approach to Israeli violence and anti-Palestinian intimidation last week in occupied East Jerusalem.

Michael Brochstein SIPA USA

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, “both-sided” the extremist Israelis who marched through occupied East Jerusalem last week during a “Death to the Arabs” rally.

He compared the marching ultranationalists, whose numbers included national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (a follower of the extreme racist Meir Kahane) and self-described “fascist homophobe” finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, to the Palestinians they oppress in an apartheid reality.

Greenblatt tweeted: “It’s inexcusable that extremists on both sides use Jerusalem Day to exchange hateful rhetoric and engage in anti-Arab and anti-Jewish violence. Provocations help no one.”

He added, “Moderates on both sides must set the tone and allow both peoples to express their connection to the city.”

Just days later, on Sunday, Ben-Gvir declared at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, “We’re in charge here” and “We’re in charge of Jerusalem and all of the land of Israel,” meaning everything between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. A US State Department spokesperson rebuked him for his “provocative visit” and “accompanying inflammatory rhetoric.”

The response to Greenblatt was sharp after a day of Israeli racists intimidating and violently attacking Palestinians and journalists in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Arielle Angel, editor-in-chief at Jewish Currents, pointed out that Greenblatt “both sides’d Charlottesville too,” following neo-Nazi and white supremacist violence in the southern US state of Virginia.
Greenblatt’s immediate response to both incidents speaks volumes. Later, the ADL CEO did try to make clear the difference between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, but by then the damage had been done with President Donald Trump invoking language not much different from Greenblatt’s early blurring.

The ADL has a long history of smearing supporters of Palestinian rights. Masquerading as defenders of civil rights, the Israel lobby group routinely criticizes Black campaigners for racial justice in the United States, one of the reasons dozens of anti-racist groups have urged people not to work with the ADL.

Even the US State Department did better than the leader of this anti-Palestinian “civil rights” organization:

Also noteworthy in the tweet is that Greenblatt can’t bring himself to call Palestinians Palestinians. Instead, he refers to them as Arabs, implicitly trying to marginalize their claim to the land, which they were expelled from in 1948 and again dispossessed of 19 years later in 1967.

Jake Tapper’s take

CNN’s anti-Palestinian anchor Jake Tapper referred to the march as occurring in Israel despite the fact that it occurred in occupied East Jerusalem as did an Israeli police assault on CNN journalist Ben Wedeman. CNN producer Kareem Khadder was also reportedly pushed by the police.

Tapper’s misleading commentary is unsurprising.

It comes just days after CNN hosted a town hall with Trump – a president who was both anti-Palestinian and anti-Semitic – moderated by Kaitlan Collins, who remains unapologetic for her anti-Arab and anti-Muslim reporting for The Daily Caller, a publication co-founded by white nationalist Tucker Carlson. The racist Carlson once called Iraqis “semi-literate primitive monkeys.”

Tapper in December 2016 told me via email that he had “muted” a prominent East Coast Palestinian American commentator, falsely accusing the individual of being a “troll and a liar.” He asked that I stop recommending this individual to him.

The views of Greenblatt, on the other hand, with his both-sidesism reprising his initial take on racist violence in Charlottesville along with his anti-Palestinian rage at Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib – a sentiment shared by Tapper – will likely mean he remains a welcome guest at the network.

The anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim views of some of CNN’s top hosts – Tapper and Collins – need careful review by Chris Licht, the CEO at CNN. That’s unlikely when Licht is irresponsibly promoting Trump, a known bigot and authoritarian for the US presidency.

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Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, TheNation.com, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.