Letter to Editor
Astonishingly, Abe Foxman, head of the "Anti-Defamation" League, invites one of the chief journalistic defamers of Israel as a keynote speaker -- and then defames the ZOA's Mort Klein for criticizing his action!
That Friedman is an inappropriate choice for an organization that proclaims itself Zionist to honor in this fashion is beyond question. Friedman's deceptiveness alone should disqualify him. There was no novelty to yet another Jewish basher of the Jewish state, so Friedman presented himself as an ardent admirer suddenly and drastically disillusioned by the Lebanon war. But as history professor Jerold S. Auerbach (among others) has pointed out, Friedman's anti-Zionist credentials go back to his college days at Brandeis when he was a member of the steering committee of a self-styled Middle East Peace Group that attacked American Jews for protesting against Arafat's 1974 appearance at the UN General Assembly, pistol on hip, to declare Zionism was racism.
Friedman has been consistent ever since. Recently he spoke at an Arab propaganda conference in Washington filled with the usual array of hate- Israel activists from Edward Said on down. And, showing that he had already moved "beyond" the peace process, he wrote the introduction to Meron Benvenisti's new book Intimate Enemies that calls for Israel to fulfill the next step in the PLO's plan by becoming a "binational state," i.e., giving up its Jewish identity.
Instead of admitting his bad judgment, Foxman turns with fury on the messenger. Foxman remains "proud" of his invitation to Friedman, but, spouting incredible vitriol, vows to drum Klein out or the organized Jewish community.
Under its previous head, Nathan Perlmutter, the ADL was one of the Jewish community's finest organizations. Under Foxman it has become a source of shame.
Rael Jean Isaac
Irvington, New York
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