I’m shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that the Anti-Defamation League has joined the alliance of militant Christians, militantly atheistic “Objectivists,” and other assorted militant nut-jobs in calling for a ban on the so-called “Ground Zero mosque, ” otherwise known as Cordoba House. After all, why would an organization ostensibly devoted to “civil rights” and “tolerance” get in bed with Pamela “Shrieking Harpy” Geller, the Religious Right, and Leonard Peikoff, the Peripatetic Pipsqueak?
To find out, let’s travel to the ADL web site and read their statement of policy on the matter:
“We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans — Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths — to build community centers and houses of worship.”
So far, so good: no indications of militant craziness here, just the same old bromides we’ve heard from the ADL all these years, and, just in case we don’t get the message that these are just your average, everyday Jewish liberals, there’s more reassurances up front:
“We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry. However …”
Uh oh! Here it comes:
“There are understandably strong passions and keen sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center site. We are ever mindful of the tragedy which befell our nation there, the pain we all still feel — and especially the anguish of the families and friends of those who were killed on September 11, 2001.”
Since it wasn’t Islam that attacked and demolished the World Trade Center, but a marginal group of fanatics who used religion as a cover for their blood lust, what the ADL is referring to here are the “strong passions” of Islamophobes who hate everything to do with Islam — why, those poor sensitive souls, their feelings must be woefully hurt! One question, though: Are the “keen sensitivities” of those who conflate one of the world’s greatest religions with the handful of thugs and cut-throats who killed 3,000 people on 9/11 really something that needs to be taken into account? What if, in the wake of the 1967 bombing of the USS Liberty by Israeli warplanes — in which 34 US servicemen were slaughtered — a campaign had been mounted to banish all synagogues from a two-mile radius of Arlington National Cemetery? How would the ADL have reacted?
Surely they would have vehemently disagreed with those who — invoking the families of our fallen sailors — justified such a loopy and transparently bigoted proposal, especially if these bigots had the chutzpah to argue that these synagogues were “counterproductive to the healing process.” Yet this is how the ADL rationalizes their opposition to Cordoba House — speaking the same language of collective guilt that informs the lexicon of anti-Semitic crazies the world over.
The ADL has always opposed conspiracy theories, as a matter of high principle, and are quick to compare them — no matter how much evidence accrues to their credibility — with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery. Yet “in these unique circumstances,” as Foxman & Co. put it, they are perfectly willing to embrace a conspiracy theory that accuses the builders of Cordoba House of receiving money from “terrorist” sources: that the whole project is a plot by radical Islamists with lots of cash to rub our noses in the 9/11 terrorist attacks — just in time for the ninth anniversary!
What is the evidence for this conspiracy theory? The answer is: none, not even a shred. Indeed, those who raise the issue of the source of the funding don’t bother offering any: they merely call for an investigation on the grounds that, apparently, any and all Muslims are automatically suspect. This is what the ADL is enabling and endorsing: defamation, pure and simple.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.