The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, last week called for ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to resign, after the ADL retweeted and seconded a statement that “Tucker Carlson went full nazi [sic],” accusing Carlson of “us[ing] his platform to stoke racial tensions.” The rabbis called this “minimizing the Holocaust,” a form of anti-Semitic bigotry, which the ADL would have excoriated rather than endorsed were it “even minimally competent” to fulfill its mission.
“Minimizing the Holocaust is never acceptable, “ said CJV President Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, “and to compare anyone to a Nazi does just that, unless that person is calling for genocide or at least inciting violence. Were the ADL even minimally competent, it would call out, not endorse, a ridiculous tweet claiming that Tucker Carlson ‘went full Nazi.’ Under Greenblatt, the ADL is incompetent to fight anti-Semitism at a time when it is on the rise. He must step down.”
CJV criticism of the ADL has continuously mounted over the past few years, as the ADL has increasingly gone off-mission. Greenblatt, in particular, has displayed a striking obsession with Tucker Carlson in lieu of calling out actual anti-Semitism. Last year, CJV highlighted ADL’s treatment of Carlson in contrast to muted criticism of the openly anti-Semitic rhetoric of the “Squad” in Congress and concluded that “if the current leadership of the ADL is unwilling to call out real anti-Semitism in an unbiased fashion, the ADL must urgently find new leadership who will.” This came just one month after CJV said that the ADL is “no longer competent to identify, let alone combat, anti-Semitism” under Greenblatt’s leadership. This year, CJV repeated that the ADL was “misus[ing] anti-Semitism for partisan purposes” after yet another attack on Carlson, and later blasted a CNN special report on anti-Semitism, in which Greenblatt played “a central role,” as “a deliberate whitewash of left-wing antisemitism.”
Recently, other prominent voices in the Jewish community have echoed CJV in criticizing the ADL for abandoning its mission, and also calling for Greenblatt’s replacement. Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser of the nascent Jewish Leadership Project accused the ADL in July of supporting groups “hostile to the Jewish community,” minimizing anti-Semitic activities, and ultimately “legitimizing Jew-haters.” In September, Jonathan Tobin, Editor-in-Chief at JNS.org, called for a “complete overhaul” at the ADL, starting with firing Greenblatt. Morton Klein and Liz Berney of ZOA seconded this a week later, offering a long list of cases where the ADL, under Greenblatt, clearly placed partisan leftist causes ahead of protecting the Jewish community.
This is the first time a rabbinic group has called outright for Greenblatt to step down. “It is regrettable but necessary,” averred CJV Midwestern Regional VP Rabbi Ze’ev Smason. “First of all, Carlson was calling out racism, the furthest thing from being racist, proven by the fact that had each mention of ‘black’ and ‘white’ people been reversed throughout the video, everyone, including the ADL, would endorse his remarks as crucial for reconciliation and unity. But this egregious inversion is almost beside the point: The ADL’s core mission is supposed to be fighting anti-Semitism, yet Greenblatt is so preoccupied with Carlson that the organization completely overlooked the Holocaust minimization in the statement it trumpeted out on Twitter. Any organization sensitive to anti-Semitic bias would have chosen a different source for the same video, had it wished to discuss it. An ADL insensitive to anti-Semitic bias has lost its reason to exist, and is merely obstructing real efforts to combat anti-Semitism, the world’s oldest and most enduring form of hatred.”