Imagine my surprise to read that the ADL has just released its list of “Top 10 anti-Israel groups in America,” listing such organizations as Jewish Voice for Peace (a group with which I proudly affiliate) as well as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Friends of Sabeel, the International Solidarity Movement, If Americans Knew, and the US Campaign to Stop the Occupation.
There have already been some fine responses to the ADL’s silly blacklist – check out these articles in Salon, the Daily Beast and Mondoweiss. JVP itself has released a very eloquent response that I encourage you to read as well.
We do not hold Zionism as a litmus test for membership. Some of our members are Zionists, some are anti-Zionists, and some are non-Zionists. We believe you can define yourself in any of these ways as long as you support an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — and Gaza, and you advocate for human rights, which naturally apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.
We stand by Israelis that hold these views, such as Israeli conscientious objectors and Israeli actors refusing to play in illegal settlements in the West Bank.
We stand by Palestinians that hold these views, such as Palestinian activists protesting the Israeli confiscation of land in the West Bank town of Bil’in.
We stand by internationals that hold these views, such as students pressing for divestment from occupation and war crimes or activists trying to break the siege of Gaza.
What unites us is our belief in human rights and equality.
I’ll cite one more response to the ADL’s intolerance: it comes, interestingly enough, from the ADL itself.
Among the many projects sponsored by the ADL is it’s “A World of Difference Institute,” an impressive provider of anti-bias education and diversity training programs and resources. According to its mission, the AWOD Institute ” seeks to help participants recognize bias and the harm it inflicts on individuals and society; explore the value of diversity; (and) improve intergroup relations.”
As it turns out, our younger son recently told us that AWOD is coming to his High School to conduct a student workshop they call “Names Can Really Hurt Us,” a program that “allows students open, honest and relevant exploration about diversity and bias in their school communities.”
I’m enormously glad to hear that the ADL cherishes diversity and encourages open, honest exploration.
I’d say it’s time it applied these values to the Jewish community as well.