A Guest Post by Eli Clifton:
On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League(ADL)-whose mission statement is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all”-issued a statement condemning remarks made by Dutch MP Geert Wilders in south Florida.
The ADL issued the following statement:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly condemns remarks made over the last few days at various appearances throughout South Florida by Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. In his speeches, he claimed that “Islam is not a religion” and “the right to religious freedom should not apply to this totalitarian ideology called Islam.” Mr. Wilders also stated that the Koran is a book of hatred, and that Mohammed was both “a pedophile and a warlord.”
Andrew Rosenkranz, ADL Florida Regional Director, issued the following statement:
The ADL strongly condemns Geert Wilders’ message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals.
This rhetoric is dangerous and incendiary, and wrongly focuses on Islam as a religion, as opposed to the very real threat of extremist, radical Islamists.
Ali Gharib, Daniel Luban and I have been following Geert Wilders’ trips to the US and detailing the groups who have sponsored his appearances in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach. We’ve written about Wilders and his supporters here and here. Ali has blogged on Huffington Post about his run-in with some of Wilders’ more rabid supporters here and David Frum‘s institutional ties to Wilders here.
The ADL—as discussed recently by Daniel Luban in his review of Defamation—is known for aligning with the Israeli right-wing Likud party and liberally throwing accusations of anti-Semitism at critics of Israeli policy.
Most recently, retired diplomat Charles Freeman came into the cross-hairs of the ADL for his comments questioning the US’ unconditional support of Israel. Freeman, who had been nominated to chair the National Intelligence Council, was forced to withdraw his name from nomination after he was targeted by the ADL, the Zionist Organization of America, the Middle East Forum, and, more discreetly, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Condemnation of Wilders’ rhetoric from a high-profile, Jewish, right-wing source won’t help Wilders’ credibility as a friend of the Jews or a loyal supporter of the state of Israel.
Hosts such as: Frank Gaffney’s Centre for Security Policy, David Horowitz’s Freedom Centre, Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors may have to explain to their members why they’re hosting a man that the Anti-Defamation League has publicly denounced as, “inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals”.
This, added to Wilders’–and a number of his hosts’–refusal to distance themselves from the Belgian Vlaams Belang party—which gained notoriety for advocating on behalf of convicted Nazi collaborators—could make the decision to support Wilders an increasingly difficult position to defend.
Below is a video clip of some of Wilders’ incendiary remarks made at a south Florida synagogue.