Conversation Overheard at the ADL
by Burton S. Blumert
by Burton S. Blumert
There's never a scintilla of doubt about their mission at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), but wouldn't it be refreshing if once, just once, something like the following exchange took place in their war-room:
Senior Staff Member (SSM): "Mr. Foxman, I have disheartening news. We have scoured all segments of the media worldwide, including the Internet and we can't find one instance of anti-Semitism anywhere during the past 60 days."
Abe: "Impossible! We have three fund-raising letters to get out and the bills must be paid. Get on it. What about the NY Knicks basketball team getting rid of Isaiah Goldberg? That incident reeks of anti-Semitism."
SSM: "Goldberg was only 5'4" and the fact that he had committed to memory the statistics of every team in the NBA was of no value during an actual game. The Knicks signing Goldberg was another failed example of affirmative action, and it was the Jewish fans who actually led the campaign to have the team dump him."
Abe: "What about those virulent statements coming from Malaysia attacking Jews? Let's play that up. Surely we can find some atrocity photos that will fit into an effective fundraising piece."
SSM: "Frankly, sir, anti-Semitism in that part of the world seems to be a non-issue. First, there are so few Jews living there, and the differences between Jew and Gentile is lost on most Asians. I just don't see our donors getting worked up enough to mail in checks on that story."
Abe: "You fellows are laughable. Anti-Semitism is suffocating all of us and you blithely go about your lives not finding anything. What about some of those leads to anti-Semitism I gave you last month?"
SSM: "We struck out, sir. Your wife's assessment that Martha Stewart seems like a nice Jewish lady, and that the shoddy treatment given her smacks of anti-Semitism is of no value, since she's not Jewish.
"Need I remind you of the embarrassment we suffered when you suggested that the Pope was guilty of an anti-Semitic cabal when he appointed eight new Cardinals and not one was Jewish? We still get nasty mail on that one."
Abe: "I was misquoted — but I still feel that all the churches could show a bit more tolerance in their hiring practices. It wouldn't kill them to have a few Jews around each church to provide a different perspective."
SSM: "One other thing, Mr. Foxman, the entire ADL staff is fed up with picketing Mel Gibson's movie. None of us share your concern that, at the close of the film, the entire audience would storm the closest video store to buy and then burn all Woody Allen movies. The only movement I witnessed were people moving closer to their faith."
Abe: "I'm glad you were so touched by the Gibson film, but if you don't find me some juicy anti-Semitic material soon you'll be back slicing corned beef in the kosher deli."
March 19, 2004
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