ADL Deems Pro-Palestine Protests ‘Anti-Semitic’

The ADL’s CEO said the group’s new report highlights a threat to Jews that’s “unprecedented in modern history.” 

ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in 2017. (Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

The Anti-Defamation League drew criticism this week after publishing a report that significantly expanded the group’s definition of anti-Semitic incidents to include demonstrations against Israel’s U.S.-backed genocidal war on Gaza.

“For the first time, the ADL is counting pro-Palestinian rallies that do not feature overt hostility toward Jews in its count of antisemitic incidents,” Jewish Daily Forward anti-Semitism reporter Arno Rosenfeld noted on social media in response to the organization’s new report, which lists what it claims are 3,283 anti-Jewish occurrences in the United States in the three months after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel that left more than 1,100 Israelis and others dead and over 200 others taken hostage. 

That three-month figure tops every full-year total except 2022 and represents a 360 percent increase over the same period a year ago. In an embargoed statement viewed by Rosenfeld, ADL national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that the tally highlights a threat to Jews that’s “unprecedented in modern history.” 

Anti-Semitic — and Islamophobic — incidents have undoubtedly surged in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and Israel’s bloody collective punishment in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, in which more than 90,000 Palestinians have been killed, maimed, or left missing. However, critics accuse the ADL and many other pro-Israel groups and individuals of conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. 

In a statement to the Forward, the ADL acknowledged that its report includes pro-Palestine protests at which “anti-Zionist chants and slogans” were observed. Rosenfeld said that these events appeared to account for 1,317 — or over 40 percent  — of the total incidents in the report.

[Related: US Congress: ‘We Stand With Genocide’]

Zionism is the settler-colonial movement for the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. A growing number of Jewish Americans are rejecting Zionism for what critics say are its inherent racism, settler-colonialism, and the illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and genocide perpetrated by Israel in the name of divine right and favor. 

Jewish Americans and groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow have been at the forefront of pro-Palestine demonstrations since Oct. 7.

“Today you will see many journalists and pundits promoting a number: 360%. It is from the ADL’s report on the increase of antisemitism,” Yonah Lieberman, co-founder of the Jewish-led peace group IfNotNow, wrote on social media Wednesday. “While antisemitism has risen, the number is vastly inflated because of the ADL’s intentional conflation between anti-Israel and antisemitism.”

“This is a well-documented strategy by the pro-Israel camp to weaponize antisemitism to shield Israel from accountability,” Lieberman added. 

IfNotNow co-founder Simone Zimmerman wrote

“There is no doubt that antisemitism in America has increased since October 7th. What is dubious is the reliability of data published by the ADL, who repeatedly makes clear that they care more about criminalizing pro-Palestinian speech and activism than fighting real antisemitism.”

Hadar Susskind, president and CEO of the left-wing nonprofit Americans for Peace Now, said that “two things can be true at the same time. Antisemitic incidents have greatly increased, and the ADL is not a reliable source of determining what is or is not antisemitism.”

Last month, just 13 U.S. House Democrats and one Republican voted against a resolution conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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4 comments for “ADL Deems Pro-Palestine Protests ‘Anti-Semitic’

  1. robert e williamson jr
    January 12, 2024 at 17:16

    It might be enlightening for some here to learn the Hebrew term ‘hasbara’.

    I recommend Middle East Policy Council, hXXps://

    thanks CN

  2. Jeff Harrison
    January 12, 2024 at 10:57

    No, dude. Criticizing Judaism, Zionism, or the state of Israel is not antisemitism. It means that you want to do Jews physical harm simply because they are Jews.That’s not a get out of being criticized free card.

  3. January 12, 2024 at 10:08

    This is a case where being right is wrong. Historical memory is distorting present realities.

    Just as in family systems, a serious abuser can create generational trauma, so an international abuser can create generational societal trauma. The irrationality of the flows of violence, driven by madness of humans ‘out of their depth’, can only be staunched the courage of truth, such as the efforts of South Africa and the reasoned arguments of those opposing genocidal violence in all its forms and applications. This is not an argument for ‘one side over another’, but for seeing an action in the context of its effect on humans and earth systems. The unimaginable violence our present technologies can deliver must be paused, stopped, rejected and understood before any resolution of the present societal traumas can occur. When the only response to irrational trauma-driven violence is more trauma-driven violence (often for cynical purposes these days), while the details of the outcome may be unknown, the ultimate result will always be great loss for everyone.

  4. torture this
    January 12, 2024 at 09:13

    Spending my time listening to and reading anti-Zionist Jews instead of the likes of people from the ADL has helped me keep separate the crimes of the government of Israel & the decency of Jews. Hopefully, the rest of the world has not totally associated every American with the crimes of the government of the US.

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