Since some Israel partisans continue to disseminate falsehoods about what I've written – taken from claims made originally by the extremely pro-Israel advocacy organization, the Anti-Defamation (sic) League – I am reposting my response to the ADL:
I’ve discovered that the Anti-Defamation League, whose devotion to Israel-right-or-wrong many people feel is extremely destructive, has listed me first in those it has decided are “anti-Israel.”
In looking through their entry about me, I've noticed a number of distortions and inaccuracies; however, I generally don’t think it’s worthwhile to take time away from productive projects to respond to the many mistruths that abound about me on websites and blogs by various fanatic Israel devotees. Instead, I expect that people will read my writings for themselves and visit the If Americans Knew website to learn about me.
However, one section of the ADL entry is so blatantly defamatory that I’ve decided to demand that they correct it. The problem is that I can’t find any contact information on their site for emailing a letter; the only option seems to be a fill-in-the-blank system that restricts comments to 1,000 characters. Therefore, I’m using that option to direct them to read my letter here:
I am aware that the ADL frequently considers reporting negative facts about Israel to be "anti-Semitic," therefore, I am not surprised that your organization is displeased with my work to provide information about Israel-Palestine to the American public.
However, I would expect your writers to discuss what I write and say, not misrepresentations of these. In scanning your entry about me, I noticed that there seem to be a number of distortions and inaccuracies. While I will not bother to address most of these, I must demand that you correct the following particularly defamatory misrepresentations:
This entry claims, incorrectly, that my "…. criticism of Israel has, at times, crossed the line into anti-Semitism." As alleged evidence of this, the writer misrepresents what I had written in a piece in the Greenwich Citizen entitled, "What Our Taxes to Israel are Funding," an op-ed written in response to points raised by a previous column in the newspaper.
Your writer states that I had allegedly: "…hand-picked quotations from Jewish religious texts and used them erroneously to define and defame Judaism, which she described as 'such a ruthless and supremacist faith.'"
1. I did not hand-pick quotations. I quoted from books by two renowned scholars of Judaism whose point, as I wrote in my article, was the significance to a portion of Israelis, particularly Israeli soldiers, of some little-known (in the US) religious texts. As I wrote in my article:
" 'What makes such texts particularly significant,' Shahak explains, is that '[i]n Israel these ideas are widely disseminated among the public at large, in the schools and in the army.' In a booklet published by the Israeli Army for its soldiers, Shahak reports, the Chief Chaplain wrote:
" 'When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good.'
"One can only imagine what this kind of teaching means for Palestinians in Israel itself, and, still worse, for those in the West Bank who live next to settlements populated by heavily armed adherents of such a ruthless and supremacist faith…"
2. As can easily be seen, I am describing the extreme beliefs above as "ruthless and supremacist," not Judaism, as the ADL entry claims.
3. I went on to specifically note that these extreme beliefs specifically do not, as your entry claims, "define Judaism":
"While the above citations do not in anyway represent the whole of Judaism…"
4. I then went on to emphasize that these views are not representative of Jewish Americans:
"I have no doubt that the vast majority of Jewish Americans have long since repudiated these..."
5. I also specifically stated:
"…most Israelis also do not hold the beliefs touched upon above…"
6. Finally, I emphasized similarities among Jewish and non-Jewish Americans and urged moving forward together:
"… just as Christian and Muslim leaders have publicly condemned and disowned spurious dogmas and practices, I suspect it would be valuable for Rabbi Hurvitz and other Jewish leaders to do the same. Such shared honesty and humility by all our religious leaders, I believe, helps us move forward as a stronger, more moral, and more unified society."
My entire article can be read at:
I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how your writer could so seriously misconstrue my article, and cannot but feel that the intent was malicious. Please correct your defamatory and inaccurate statements and intimations immediately.
If Americans Knew
office: (202) 631-4060
The ADL has never replied to me. However, with an annual budget of approximately $20 million it probably assumes it is far more powerful than I am and that there is no need to treat me with fairness, honesty or courtesy.