WASHINGTON (JTA) — In a major policy speech, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt doubled down on his argument that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, emphasized the threat to visibly Orthodox Jews and accused The New York Times of an “antisemitic attack” in its coverage of Hasidic movements.
One topic he didn’t discuss: former President Donald Trump and his extremist supporters, a frequent topic of concern for the ADL and Greenblatt in recent years.
The speech Monday morning, at the ADL’s annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C., was remarkable for barely mentioning what has, for years, been the group’s focus: the threat from the far right, spurred in part by Trump’s ascendance. Instead Greenblatt, in prepared remarks, tacked to the center, remaining focused on a message he sounded at the same summit a year ago — that anti-Zionism is unquestionably antisemitism.
“I know that for bigots — especially those who self-style as “anti-Zionists” — Israel’s Independence Day is a day to redouble their efforts to make sure it is Israel’s last Independence Day,” he said, adding later, “To underscore what I said at this event last year: Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Full stop.”
His speech last year drew criticism from the left for marginalizing parts of the Jewish community that criticize Israel, and for equating that sector with a stream of extremism on the other end of the political spectrum that has fueled deadly attacks on Jews.
Despite not featuring in Greenblatt’s speech, the threat from the right was nonetheless very much embedded in the conference agenda; one session was dedicated to the surge of the far right on social media and another was dedicated to ties between the the extremes of the conservative movement today and the John Birch Society, the seminal extremist movement founded in the anticommunist fervor of the mid-20th century.
The conference will culminate on Tuesday with a Capitol Hill rally against antisemitism, held together with the ADL’s traditional partners from minority, LGBTQ and civil rights groups. Its featured speakers include Susan Rice, the former national security advisor who now serves as a domestic policy advisor to the Biden administration, as well as Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed shah of Iran, who has positioned himself as an advocate of Iran-Israel ties.
Greenblatt emphasized in his speech that antisemitism knows no single ideological home. He noted what the ADL has documented as an alarming spike in antisemitic attacks and that more than half of violent attacks have targeted visibly Orthodox Jews.
“This year, we find that the dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents is not due to any single ideology fueling violence, or one group becoming more accepting of antisemitism than another,” he said. “It’s due to every ideology becoming more comfortable with anti-Jewish hate.”
Since he took the ADL’s helm in 2015, Greenblatt has been under fire from conservatives for the organization’s emphasis on threats emerging from the extreme right, though the organization has always focused on far-right antisemitism. On Monday, Greenblatt’s speech touched almost exclusively on themes that have troubled Jewish conservatives: the perceived threat to pro-Israel Jews on campuses, attacks on visibly Orthodox Jews in the northeast, and defending haredi Orthodox Jews from perceived attacks on their lifestyles and education system.
Greenblatt took the New York Times to task for its series of articles reporting on deficiencies and malfeasance in Hasidic schools in New York.
“Our Orthodox brothers and sisters are constantly under threat,” he said. “It is one that needs solidarity and support from everyone – Jewish and non-Jewish alike. So to see this community singled out by elite institutions, like the New York Times, arguably the most important paper in the world, depicting them as clannish and using power to manipulate events … that represents an antisemitic attack on their community.”
Absent from his speech was any mention of Trump, although the former president is seen as the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and has intensified his attacks on “globalists” and on progressive Jewish billionaire George Soros, tropes that the ADL and other groups have said fuel antisemitism. Greenblatt was outspoken last year in criticizing Trump for having dinner with Kanye West after the rapper, who now calls himself Ye, embarked on a string of antisemitic comments. That dinner also included Nick Fuentes, the Holocaust denier and far-right provocateur.
Greenblatt also didn’t mention Ye in a section of his speech on the ADL’s work with corporations, even though the ADL led a campaign last year urging Adidas to end its partnership with Ye. After Adidas ended the collaboration, it announced a partnership with the ADL.
Greenblatt began his speech by celebrating Israel on the occasion of its 75th birthday, despite what he acknowledged as “complexity, worry, anxiety and concern” about the country’s future. A large part of that concern, within the country, has centered on the debate over the government’s effort to weaken the judiciary, which has brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis to protest in the streets. Greenblatt called the protests “something really special,” and “the triumph of Zionism.” He urged compromise on the judicial overhaul.
An ADL report from two weeks ago noted another worry — that Israel’s government includes politicians who “have polluted Israeli public discourse with chilling racist expressions that would have led to the immediate termination of their political careers in other democracies.” The report added that “Jewish racism is as deplorable as other forms of racism, and should never be excused or tolerated.”
Greenblatt did not mention that concern in his speech, though he called for Israel to have “a civil society where non-Jews enjoy the same rights and fulfill the same responsibilities as their Jewish neighbors.”
“There are challenges in Israel right now – and there will be challenges and difficult conversations to come, but ADL will never waver in its support of a democratic, Jewish state,” Greenblatt said in the speech. “Israel is a miracle, and I will never apologize for being a proud Zionist.”
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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