Anti-Defamation League (ADL) top dog Jonathan A. Greenblatt on Wednesday penned a defensive op-ed in the Forward, complaining about the cancel culture. Has the ADL, which has strayed a considerable distance from its stated mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all” and trafficked eagerly in the cancel culture for years, suddenly recovered a respect for the freedom of speech and the common decency to refrain from demonizing opposing viewpoints as evil and worthy only of silencing? No, but it is getting a taste of the medicine it has dished out for so many years in stigmatizing and marginalizing foes of jihad terror, and demonstrating yet again that the Leftist elites will never be satisfied with anything but absolute compliance with their agenda.
Greenblatt begins with a strut, proclaiming that the ADL is “one of the oldest civil-rights organizations in the Jewish community,” and trying for a tone of sweet reason, insisting that “we’re not unaccustomed to criticism, even in the pages of one of America’s oldest Jewish news outlets.”
However, now something has happened that even the saintly Greenblatt can’t pass over this one with his usual manful stoicism: “But the OpEd by Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which the Forward published on Tuesday morning, was illuminating about how certain quarters in our society desperately try to employ cancel culture to silence others.”
What was that? The organization that produces articles with titles such as “Islamophobes React to Coronavirus Pandemic with Anti-Muslim Bigotry” has discovered the evils of the cancel culture? It seems unbelievable, but true at least as far as this goes. Greenblatt continues: “In this case, the author is trying to marginalize ADL and make support for the State of Israel disqualifying in pursuing civil rights for all Americans, including the Muslim-American community. Al-Marayati argues that ADL is a source of “anti-Muslim” rhetoric and cannot be fully trusted as an ally in the fight for civil rights because of our support of the Jewish state.” Greenblatt whines that it is a “common tactic in a smear campaign” to “narrow down a broader argument…into a singular, unfounded allegation.”
Oh, you mean like claiming that “American anti-Muslim ideologues are propagating a range of conspiracies aimed at stoking fear, claiming Muslims are defying social distancing rules and/or actively trying to spread the virus”? There are so many unfounded allegations in the ADL article that even al-Marayati would stand in awe. First there is the ADL’s smearing of foes of jihad violence and Sharia oppression as “anti-Muslim ideologues.” Then there is the characterization of the reporting of news stories as “propagating a range of conspiracies aimed at stoking fear.” Then there is the smearing of me as a “leading Islamophobe and right-wing conspiracy theorist,” which is the kind of language that precludes any honest discussion or debate out of hand, for the target has been prima facie ruled out of the bounds of acceptable discourse.
But now Jonathan Greenblatt is himself the recipient of his own tactics. He is discovering that any dissent, no matter how small and qualified, from the far-Left agenda — which is increasingly open in its hostility to Israel — will get you defamed as an “Islamophobe,” no matter how much you pander, no matter how much you desperately try to stay in the good graces of those who set the tune to which the rest of us must dance. Salam al-Marayati of MPAC has smeared ADL as “anti-Muslim” for supporting Israel, and Greenblatt is dismayed, saying that “the allegation that ADL falls along the same side of Islamophobes is patently false.”
Of course it is. The ADL has repeatedly done to foes of jihad violence against Israel and other states, and foes of Sharia oppression of women and others, exactly what Salam al-Marayati is doing to him now. Greenblatt could have used this as an occasion to wake up and realize how he is being played, and how the entire “Islamophobia” enterprise is a scam designed to intimidate people into not having the courage to oppose jihad terror, for fear of falling prey to what al-Marayati is subjecting him to. But instead of having an original thought for the first time in his life, Greenblatt is doubling down, pleading with al-Marayati to accept him. Will it work? Almost certainly not, but it will likely lead the ADL to become even more anti-Israel than it is now.
It’s a common tactic of Leftists: represent facts that are patently true as if they were self-evidently false, and egregiously hateful and bigoted, without any actual attempt to refute them. But this is what the ADL has done to those it smears as “Islamophobes” for years. It is tempting to grab some popcorn and indulge in some schadenfreude at Greenblatt’s discomfort, were it not for the fact that the Overton window of acceptable speech keeps narrowing and narrowing, until hateful Marxist and Islamic supremacist agitprop will be the only things you’re allowed to say. We’re well on our way there.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.