Oh, the irony.
I’ve actually been meaning to write about ADL’s flirtation with madness for a few months, ever since I went to their presentation at Google HQ on contemporary Cyberhate, back in February.
For the record, I’ve had a very good relationship with the ADL. I’ve shared their article on blood libel countless times. And yes, they fight modern blood libel too. When I encountered some anti-Semitic graffiti in my neighborhood, they contacted the police to remove it – when Facebook simply deleted my post about this and suspended me.
So it’s with great sadness that I saw their latest article, From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate, on my Twitter feed. In it hey smear a whole array of conservative voices with the “alt-right/alt-light” brush.
It was a conclusion I’ve been hoping to avoid since that fateful evening in Feburary. But now I have to come out and say it – they’re flirting with false realities to suck up to Silicon Valley leftists.
February’s meeting on Cyberhate featured Brittan Heller, based in Silicon Valley. She rattled off an impressive looking array of statistics with a specific agenda in mind – to show how Donald Trump’s rise to power is fueling Neo Nazis. Coupled with ADL’s pamphlets about classic Neo Nazi groups, this seemed to make an impressive display.
The only problem is none of the statistics withstood any scrutiny.
She mentioned “a billion” impressions of hate in the past year. The issue is even someone obscure like myself can average 2000-5000 impressions a day. So when you extrapolate to Twitter at large, that’s no more than the usual background noise. Even her chart on how hate impressions spiked in the past year can easily be explained by the contentiousness of this election season.
A couple of us challenged her on her findings, myself both in the meeting and via e-mail. She danced around my question, and didn’t answer my e-mail request for her statistics or how she arrived at them.
But who needs to provide evidence when you have an agenda to prop up?
And it looks like ADL is taking this agenda and running with it.
The post about Gavin McInnes is laughable at best, a tragedy at worst. Gavin’s video “ten things I hate about Israel” is pure satire. One of the things he hates is how Israelis get laid too much. I can live with that. And never mind that this was published under the Rebel Media label, owned by Ezra Levant, a proud and militant Jew. During a trip to Israel with Ezra Levant.
The fact that ADL would turn satire into evidence of Gavin’s hate is defamation. Full Stop.
I’m not even going to touch on Milo Yiannopoulos, whom I’ve defended once already. But I will say he got the Freedom Award from David Horowitz, another outspoken Jew. And he does sue people who smear him as a white nationalist. So look out for that.
A couple of people, like Richard Spencer or Baked Alaska, may raise an eyebrow and it’s good to keep them at a safe distance. But they’re also worth paying attention to, not just dismissing as hate symbols. Baked Alaska for one is worth watching for documentary footage alone – quite active and livestreams a lot of demonstrations. Cernovich and Posobiec are provocateurs at worst. Which does not file under hate. I haven’t seen either of them post anything remotely anti-Semitic.
But the fact is, Jews are all over the political spectrum. And we encounter hate and blame from both sides equally. This election cycle is no different. I’ve joked that no matter whether Trump or Hillary won the election, it’s comforting to know we’d still be blamed for it. And between leftist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace or the Chicago Dyke March getting a Jewish lesbian fired, the hate towards Jews I worry about is coming from the left.
I get the reason the ADL is doing this. In the end, they need money to survive, and it’s the Silicon Valley SJWs who have it. So they need to speak their language. Except it’s by publishing an agenda that flatters them and defames half the country. The term “Alt-Right” may have been coined by Richard Spencer, but it was made popular by Hillary Clinton. She meant it to smear everyone who opposed her as a deplorable Neo Nazi. It’s a blatant lie.
The ultimate problem is lies lead to hate. When you lie about people, when you smear and defame them, you only give them justified cause to hate you. The ADL can quickly lose their name and reputation if they continue on this track, a track the rest of the left seems to be doubling down on. I hope they issue a quick retraction and take a second look at this issue. A lot of us Jews are watching.
UPDATE: looks like the reaction is coming quick, and not just from the ADL’s targets. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has called the ADL a “partisan witch hunt group” for their list.