Absolutely outrageous. The Anti-Defamation League has released a statement approving of efforts to bar the construction of a Muslim mosque in southern Manhattan, several blocks from the WTC site. While attempting to disassociate themselves from the conceded “bigotry” which they acknowledge animates some of the mosque’s opponents, the ADL claims that the site “will cause some victims more pain – unnecessarily – and that is not right.” “[U]ltimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right.”
I submit that it is a question of both, and the precedent that the ADL is adhering to is one that is exceedingly detrimental to the safety and equality of religious minorities worldwide, including Jews.
The ADL’s attempt to distinguish folks whose opposition to the mosque is based on “bigotry”, and those for whom it isn’t, is unavailing. It’s all bigotry — some of it is simply better dressed than others. Restricting the civil rights of a given population because some members of that population committed horrible acts is bigotry per se. There’s no getting around it. We might sympathize with folks who — having been brutally victimized by members of religious group — are fearful or otherwise antagonistic towards that group as a whole. But such sentiments simply can’t be given force of law. To force members of a religious group to bear additional burdens based on the actions of their brethren in faith — actions which they themselves oppose stridently — is bigotry in its purest form.
I am literally shaking with rage over this, because I trust the ADL to be there when the rights of religious minorities are threatened. I can no longer do that. That the ADL apparently views Egypt’s treatment of its Jews as a model example of religious liberty is disqualifying for them to be taken seriously as a civil rights organization concerned with the fair and egalitarian treatment of all people. Their position on this issue is absolutely unconscionable, and is an embarassment to anyone who truly cares about the rights of religious minorities in the United States and worldwide.
Greg Sargent: “On this one, you’re either with the bigots or you’re against them. And ADL has in effect sided with them.”
Adam Serwer: “I learned a very important lesson in Hebrew School that I have retained my entire life. If they can deny freedom to a single individual because of who they are, they can do it to anyone.”
Tablet Magazine: “Founded in 1913, the ADL, in its words, ‘fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.’ Except when it does the precise opposite.”