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Foxman Keeps Digging

Claims (falsely) that ADL was taken out of context

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Memo to Abraham Foxman: Remember the first rule of holes. (For update on Foxman’s latest op-ed, see end of post.) He is bewildered at the “very painful” anger many have expressed concerning the Anti-Defamation League’s opposition to the Islamic center slated to be built a couple blocks from Ground Zero. Did I say “opposition”? Apparently I and everyone else misread the ADL’s statement. “We didn’t say it should be found, and we didn’t say we were opposed to it, okay?” Foxman tells The Jerusalem Post.

Actually, it’s not okay. Foxman is not telling the truth. The statement, released last Friday, reads:

But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain—unnecessarily—and that is not right.

That is opposition, crystal-clear. There is no other way to read it.

Foxman goes on to plead that the statement was more “nuanced” than many of his critics alleged. That is true: Foxman’s opposition was predicated not on religious freedom or civil rights—in fact it acknowledged that Cordoba House’s developers have those rights—but rather on the ostensible sensitivity of survivors. To the extent that this nuance was elided (which it was not in Tablet Magazine), he has a point.

But there is nothing in the ADL’s mission statement about representing 9/11 survivors or pointing out sensitivities. It is a narrowly defined organization dedicated to promoting “civil rights” and “democratic ideals.” (By contrast, the unaffiliated Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), who said much the same thing as the ADL today, is allowed whatever opinion he wants.) This is probably why the American Jewish Committee declared that the Cordoba House “has a right to be built,” did not take a position on the survivors’ sensitivities, and expressed hope that the center would prove “a facility truly open to the entire community—and to a wide spectrum of ideas based on peace and coexistence.” This is probably why J Street was able to collect over 10,000 signatures in under 24 hours supporting the project.

All of that said, if you do want to play the concern-for-the-survivors game, then check out Jeff Goldberg’s post from this morning. Surely we can agree that our number-one goal ought to be to prevent further catastrophes and further sensitive survivors?

UPDATE: I did not see Foxman’s own defense until after writing this post. Suffice to say it is an extended version of the original statement, which did, indeed, as I have noted several times before, acknowledge the center’s rights. “However, we also must take into consideration the feelings of the families who lost loved ones at Ground Zero,” he writes. To which the natural response is: Why? Why is that any of the ADL’s business? And if, as a private citizen, Foxman felt he had also take the feelings of the families into consideration, why could he not have simply had the ADL say nothing at all?

Foxman Decries Outcry Against ADL [JPost]
If He Could, Bin Laden Would Bomb The Cordoba Initiative [The Atlantic]

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Yisrael says:

Marc, I await your article castigating J Street for stepping outside its “mission statement” and mandate. Or, maybe I’m missing something and you can explain to me why the Cordoba House controversy is relevant to forceful advocacy in pursuit of a two-state solution? How is this the mandate of a “pro Israel” lobby? You know, since your bothered by the whole Mission Statement thing.

Without expressing an opinion on the substance of J Street’s stance, it’s such an obvious fundraising ploy to distract from their continual beat-downs on every legislative initiative they take up! Since they have made ZERO traction with their actual work (legislation, letters, etc –anything to do with Congress….remember the Feinstein letter mobilization! ) they have come up with these ridiculous gimmicks (Cordoba House, “settlement” charities) to keep their progressive base from abandoning them en masse and to be able to tout SOMETHING in their fundraising materials other than “changing the debate” B.S.

There’s a good article for you, Marc. Compare and contrast J Street’s media attention over the last 2 years with actual, pro-Israel accomplishments.

I understand the Foxman wants to be sensitive to the survivors. But he is really saying to Muslims: “Members of your religious faith perpetrated these attacks. The idea of that faith being practiced so close to the site is offensive to many of the victims and their survivors. As a result, we support a buffer zone of indeterminate size around that site in which no Muslim house of worship will be erected.”

Would the ADL support a zoning law that created such a buffer zone?

I believe Abe when he says he is not motivated by bigotry. But does he really support the principle behind that sort of discrimination? Can he really explain how the effect is not a denial of religious liberty, or endorsement of religious discrimination?

Barry says:

It really comes down to the humanity (or lack thereof) of the American Muslim community.

CAIR has an action alert because someone wrote an e-mail which took the nom de guerre of “poopyhead” or something. (

So CAIR – which is exquisitely sensitive to poopiness – can perhaps explain to the Imam, when he’s back from the Apartheid Monarchy of Malaysia, that building a triumphant monument to tower over Ground Zero is at least as insulting as calling someone poopyhead.

And by the way, in light of the vicious wickedness of the New York Muslim community demonstrated by this mosque, we thankfully will never have to hear another word about “Muslim Sensitivities”. Thank G-d that’s over. If its legal and it insults Mohamhead: too fucking bad.

Well, okay — fair’s fair, and you did catch Foxman in an untruth, Marc. That was dumb of him. But I _so_ don’t get why more liberal commentators and Democratic politicians aren’t taking even the AJC’s position on this. Instead, they’re being silent, and leaving Republicans (plus, now, Lieberman) as the only people on the stage raising questions (even short of opposition) about this. Isn’t the imam’s refusal to condemn Hamas troubling? (I know his wife’s now condemned them _now._ The man’s wife is not the man, and there was too long an interval between his being asked about them and her “clarification” to make me entirely comfortable; forgive me.) Isn’t what he said about US policy being an accessory to 9/11 troubling? Aren’t there legitimate funding concerns? Will religious freedom have been infringed if (without the state violating their rights and requiring them to do so) Cordoba House’s organizers reconsider and build a bit further away from Ground Zero? But no…let’s keep focusing on Abe Foxman. That’s so much more fun.

Daniel Klein says:

Well said asc

David says:

This is for all you bleeding-heart Jews out there. Let’s say it together, “The Carmelite nuns have every right to build a convent next to Auschwitz.”


Let’s try this idea on for size. Just because people on the right don’t want a community center/mosque built next to Ground Zero doesn’t mean you have to be against the idea too. Thinking center-right doesn’t make you pure evil.

David says:

Marc, you should read this article. You might ACTUALLY learn something.

” This is not about the building of a mosque or a religious facility. It is not about religious freedom. This is about a deep, soulful understanding of what happened to our country on 9/11.

When Americans are attacked, they come together as one, under one flag, under one law against a common enemy that we are not afraid to identify. Religious freedom is central to our nation – and that is why the location of this project is so misguided. Ground Zero is purely about being American. It can never be about being Muslim.

The World Trade Center site represents Ground Zero in America’s war against radical Islamists who seek to destroy the American way of life. It is not ground zero of a cultural exchange.”-M. ZUHDI JASSER

lovelyisraelis says:

Given the Bernie Maddoff scandal, I think it’s obscene that people still want to build synagogues.

Have they no sensitivity to the victims?

Israelis *are* lovely, and it’s nice that the commentator just above me acknowledges that fact by naming him/herself after it. Madoff’s actions were perverse, but were they done in (even a perverse) interpretation of the requirements of Jewish religious duty? Is someone proposing to build synagogues near where his actions led to people’s deaths? Maybe it’s just me, but the analogy doesn’t quite seem like a 1:1 fit.

Marc asks, “Surely we can agree that our number-one goal ought to be to prevent further catastrophes and further sensitive survivors?” We can indeed agree on that. But I so don’t see how asking CH’s organizers to build a bit further away would make another catastrophe an iota more likely. As though, one day, we can expect to hear, as someone rattles off a list of grievances that led him to become a fanatic, “It was item #5,352 that really tipped the scales: that time when some people who wanted to build an Islamic Center two blocks away from Ground Zero were asked whether they might build it a bit further away. Some offenses can never be forgiven!” I can’t, of course, rule out that that’s possible. Some people turn fanatical at the drop of a hat. But on what sort of scale does that possibility weigh more than sensitivities we _know_ exist? To reiterate the concerns: 1. location; 2. funding; 3. the imam’s statements. 1 would be problematic even if there weren’t also 2 & 3 to worry about..which there are.

lovelyisraelis says:

Without US monetary and ideological encouragement of the rabid terrorists of Israel, it is unlikely the WTC would have been attacked.

Again, building synagogues in NY dishonors the victims more than building a mosque.

lovelyisraelis says:

Our friend David, on the other hand, seems intent on going the racist filth of Israel one better:

“Ground Zero is purely about being American. It can never be about being Muslim. ”

Implying, quite preposterously, that Moslems are not US citizens.

lovely i.: David was quoting from an article by the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. I don’t think the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy meant to imply that Moslems aren’t US citizens. You’ll forgive me for not responding to your other comment other than to say: you’re accusing _others_ of racist filth? Bizarre.


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Foxman Keeps Digging

Claims (falsely) that ADL was taken out of context

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