ADL maps Jewish peace rallies with antisemitic attacks

On October 27, several thousand Jews and their allies shut down the main terminal of Grand Central Station during rush hour in New York City, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. Organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, the activists at the peaceful sit-in wore black T-shirts that read “Not In Our Name.” “It’s the largest sit-in protest the city has seen in over two decades,” Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman said. About 400 people were arrested, including rabbis.

The Anti-Defamation League has classified the event — and dozens of other protests led by Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow — as “anti-Israel,” according to an analysis by The Intercept, and added them to their database documenting rising antisemitism across the U.S.

“We’re seeing a genuine rise in antisemitic attacks and white nationalist, white supremacist, antisemitic hate and violence,” Eva Borgwardt, the national spokesperson for IfNotNow, told me. “When white nationalism is on the rise, to cheapen the accusation of antisemitism by applying it to Palestinian rights advocates, including Jews, is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous.”

Since Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack on southern Israel where Palestinian militants killed over 1,400 Israelis — most of them civilians — and took over 200 hostages, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group that tracks antisemitism and extremism, has been keeping track of the alarming rise of antisemitic incidents.

In 2020, over 100 progressive organizations — including the Movement for Black Lives, Democratic Socialists of America, and Center for Constitutional Rights — signed an open letter asking the progressive community to not partner with ADL because the group “has a history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements led by communities of color, queer people, immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence.” Now, ADL is targeting a new group of people: progressive Jews.

Israel’s indiscriminate massacre of civilians in Gaza — killing over 10,000 Palestinians so far in the densely populated Gaza Strip, including over 4,000 children — has led to the largest anti-war protests in the U.S. since the Iraq War, including a surge of renewed activism from progressive Jewish groups. Israel has bombed Gaza nonstop since the October 7 attack, ordered the relocation of over 1 million civilians, launched a ground invasion, and is blocking food, water, medical supplies, and fuel from making it into Gaza, triggering a humanitarian crisis and leading to what legal scholars call a genocide against Palestinians.

While the ADL told The Intercept that it does not consider the ceasefire protests “antisemitic,” just “anti-Israel,” its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, has said otherwise. After several thousand Jews and their allies marched on the U.S. Capitol on October 18 calling for a ceasefire, ADL DC released a statement equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Greenblatt piled on, calling the groups that organized the protest, including Jewish Voice for Peace, “hate groups.”

Roughly 500 Jews, including 25 rabbis, were arrested at the Capitol protest.


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