Elsewhere in this paper, you will find a letter to the editor from my colleague Rabbi Judah Kerbel of the Queens Jewish Center. Rabbi Kerbel respectfully takes issue with my criticism of Anti-Semitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt and the ADL for not forcefully fighting anti-Semitism, especially during the current crisis.
Rabbi Kerbel wrote me directly and I encouraged him to write a letter to the editor to which I will respond. As he states in his letter, Rabbi Kerbel documents the petitions to Congress and other entities to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism. They are also doing important work with Hillel. No doubt these efforts are important.
However, we don’t need a multimillion-dollar organization specializing in defending Jews from anti-Semitism to get out petitions. The Agudah and the OU to some extent do that, as well. We need the ADL to loudly declare and push for legislation that anyone who is seen supporting a terror organization (Hamas) or calling for genocide (“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free”) will be subject to arrest, or at least deportation if not here legally. Something with teeth. If the Feds would put their mind to do so, it could be done.
Several organizations, such as the Coalition for Jewish Values and the Zionist Organization of America, have for years demanded ADL CEO Greenblatt’s resignation, as he refused to denounce anti-Semitism coming from the Left, especially on college campuses. They were thrilled to denounce the Proud Boys but lent major support to BLM. Just check their website. In fact, in this week’s Wall Street Journal, Greenblatt wrote a letter responding to an article by Jason Riley, which claimed that the ADL “was played” by BLM over the years. Greenblatt feebly responds that they have not embraced all of BLM’s chapters, and he says that now we have seen that some chapters were “disgusting” in response to the 10/7 massacre.
For years, the ADL coddled BLM and Muslim immigrants, plus just about every ethnic group. (Greenblatt still appears on television with Rev. Al Sharpton.) It was hard to decipher that they were a Jewish advocacy group. Let’s not forget that under Greenblatt, the ADL fought President Trump, as did Senator Charles Schumer, who wanted to limit Muslim immigration. We have seen the glorious results in CUNY and now throughout the States. The ADL was part of the problem, not the solution.
As for Lipstadt, she is great at writing books and attending meetings. But have you seen her screaming from the rooftops about the worst rate of anti-Semitism now taking place in our country? I have not. She has gone AWOL. Yes, she attends an Orthodox shul. In fact, she went to Central High School for Girls with my sister. But it was she who was outspoken in getting her Young Israel of Toco Hills to leave NCYI because of its support for Donald Trump. It can be argued that she didn’t want to belong to an organization that was openly political, but do you for a moment think she would have reacted the same had NCYI supported Obama? I am sure she has trouble swallowing all the hate coming from the Left now.
It used to be that being an anti-Semite in America was frowned upon. Then it became acceptable in polite social circles to say, “I am not anti-Semitic, just anti- Israel.” And many useful Jewish idiots joined in the conversation. Now, thanks to the Israel-Hamas War, it has become fashionable to be anti-Semitic, thus the outpouring of anti-Semites throughout the world. They have their freedom to accuse Jews of every blood libel they desire. And more useful idiotic Jewish kids and Senator Sanders join in, with the belief that if we show sympathy to other groups, they will like us. It has never worked and never will.
It would be late but nonetheless useful for State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky to apologize for her public criticism of Yeshiva University while saying nothing publicly about CUNY and its Jew-hating graduation speaker. YU is now taking on heroic measures to accommodate Jewish students who are afraid to attend other colleges.
For the third time, I implore our former councilman, now in Great Neck, to apologize for giving big support to BLM by painting their letters across Fifth Avenue. We need to see that our politicians have now gotten it and realize their mistake.
Now we have the ultimate arrogant person in Barack Obama. He sits with his silver-tipped tongue and declares that both sides are wrong in the current Israel-Hamas War: Hamas for the massacre and Israel for the “brutal occupation.” He says he ponders if there was something he could have done differently during his years as president.
How about this, Barack: How about if you did not embolden Iran and give them billions of dollars, they would not be able to be the source of terror that now dominates the entire Mideast?? You might want to ponder that.
As time goes on, and Israel emerges victoriously, with G-d’s help, there will be a lot of soul-searching. Political heads will fall, and some of us will genuinely have to ponder what we could have done better. But let us also remember how we got to where we are.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.