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Jeff Blankfort on ADL Accusations

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  • ummyakoub
    http://www.sfbayview.com/012804/antisemitic012804.shtml Anti-Defamation League accuses the Bay View of being anti-Semitic by Jeff Blankfort The Bay View
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2004

      Anti-Defamation League accuses the Bay View of 'being anti-Semitic'

      by Jeff Blankfort

      The Bay View received a letter last week from the Anti-Defamation
      League (see page 5) suggesting that the paper had "crossed the line
      from being simply critical of the policies of the State of Israel, to
      being anti-Semitic." One of the two examples provided concerned JR's
      report on the unsuccessful attempt of workers at the Rainbow Grocery
      Co-op to implement a boycott of Israeli products in protest against
      Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and the brutal and
      inhuman treatment of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli
      army. What the ADL objected to and characterized as "misleading" was
      JR's reference to "Israel's founders having simply 'invaded and
      settled Palestine in 1948;' the use of inflammatory phrases such
      as 'the Israeli Zionist government ... steal[ing] more and more of
      the Palestinians' land;' as well as direct comparisons to South
      Africa during the Apartheid era."

      It is true that Israel did not invade and settle Palestine in 1948.
      The settlement of European Jews, what the indigenous Palestinian
      Arabs (and JR) correctly perceived as an "invasion," began as a
      trickle in the latter part of the 19th century. When Lord Arthur
      Balfour, the foreign secretary of Great Britain, the reigning
      imperial power of the time, declared in 1917 that Palestine should
      become the national home of the Jewish people, the influx gathered
      steam and gained the support of the Western powers. That a minister
      of one country awarded the land of another to a third has never
      troubled many who oppose the abuses of imperialism, but make an
      exception when Israel is concerned.

      What did happen in 1948 was the establishment of Israel and with it
      the destruction and theft of 382 Palestinian villages and the
      expulsion of their estimated 750,000 inhabitants who have never been
      allowed to return despite UN Resolution 194 guaranteeing them the
      right to do so. The 150,000 Palestinians who remained were held under
      military law in 1966 and to this day, as non-Jews, are restricted
      from owning or leasing property within 93.7 percent of Israel's 1967

      The "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinians from their land has never
      ceased, nor has Israel's expropriation of what remains, as attested
      to by Israel's ongoing construction of the 25-foot high "apartheid
      wall" through sections of the West Bank that has received
      international condemnation and whose legality is soon to be reviewed
      by the World Court in the Hague.

      When it objects to comparisons between Israel and apartheid South
      Africa, particularly when it does so in San Francisco, the ADL is
      treading on dangerous ground. It was 10 years ago this month that an
      embarrassed SFPD revealed that one of its officers, Tom Gerard,
      working together with Roy Bullock, a long-time undercover agent for
      the ADL, had been spying on the African National Congress, Black
      South African exiles, and the anti-apartheid movement, for South
      African intelligence. Since Bullock had been spying on the apartheid
      movement for the ADL, as he told SFPD Inspector Ron Roth, doing the
      same for the South Africans meant little extra work, since much of
      the information the South Africans wanted he and the ADL already

      As would be expected, the pair were already spying on Palestinian and
      Arab groups and individuals. But what was revealed in the more than
      700 pages of documents released by District Attorney Arlo Smith was
      that the ADL was keeping files on more than 10,000 individuals* and
      600 political groups that ranged across the political and racial
      spectrum - from the NAACP to the Asian Law Caucus to the San
      Francisco Labor Council - and that similar operations were being
      conducted by ADL agents across the United States, making the ADL
      probably the largest private intelligence gathering operation in the

      At the time, Bullock had been paid through a cut-out, a Beverly Hills
      lawyer, who would send him a check every week. The ADL's response to
      the "revelation" that their agent was moonlighting for the South
      Africans was to put him directly on its payroll. At the time, Israel
      was a close ally of the apartheid regime, selling it weapons, tear
      gas, water cannons and high tech electronic equipment, and jointly
      developing atomic weapons, in violation of the international
      sanctions then in effect. As they were then and remain today, the
      ADL's policies are indistinguishable from those of the Israeli
      government. When questioned in May 1993 about his organization's
      spying on the ANC and the apartheid movement, the ADL's long-time
      national director, Abe Foxman, was unapologetic.

      "People are very upset about (the files) on the ANC," he told the
      Jewish Bulletin. "At the time we exposed the ANC, they were
      communist. They were violent, they were anti-Semitic, they were pro-
      PLO, and they were anti-Israel. You're going to tell me I don't have
      the legitimacy to find out who they were consorting with, who their
      buddies are, who supports whom?" Comparisons between Israel and South
      Africa are not new and have been made by critics of both regimes,
      including Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. In 1987, Israeli
      Uri Davis wrote "Israel: An Apartheid State," and, more recently,
      Israeli Professor Tanya Reinhart of Tel Aviv University wrote:

      "By July, 2002 . Israel's 'separation' can no longer be compared with
      the apartheid of South Africa. As Ronnie Kastrils, South Africa's
      minister of water affairs, said in an interview with Al-Ahram
      Weekly, 'The South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort
      of oppression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians. For all the
      evils and atrocities of apartheid, the government never sent tanks
      into Black towns. It never used gunships, bombers, or missiles
      against the Black towns or Bantustans. The apartheid regime used to
      impose sieges on Black towns, but these sieges were lifted within
      days.' Nor, we may add, had South Africa applied a systematic policy
      of bringing the Black population to starvation. What we are
      witnessing in the occupied territories - Israel's penal colonies - is
      the invisible daily killing of the sick and wounded who are deprived
      of medical care, of the weak who cannot survive in the new poverty
      conditions, and of those who are approaching starvation"
      ("Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948," Seven Stories Press,

      There is much more to this story that the ADL does not want us to
      know, so it will be continued.

      *Jeff Blankfort is one of those individuals who brought a class
      action suit against the ADL for violation of our privacy rights under
      California law. In 2002, the ADL settled out of court. Email him at
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