Not So Wild for Wilders at the ADL

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.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. My “don’t have a cow” remark was directed towards scott, not Mary.

  2. There are some serious questions that should be honestly discussed. After all we are pelted with claims of religious fanatics as a nod to Muslim terrorists. Yet, with regards to Israel/Palestine the religious claims to that land are on one side.

    Muslims have no claim to that land. In fact, there is an Islamic end-times prophecy that when the Messiah returns there will be almost no Muslims in the area. The Palestinians are defending their own land.

    I am bothered that religious fanaticism is claimed for one by those who are restoring a 3000 yr old tome. Hell the Romans removed the Jews from there, the Byzantine empire reigned there, followed by the Ottoman empire. Some Palestinians and a few Sephardic Jews lived there for centuries.

    Finally Jon, why would you pick Judaism of the three? Islam is the most tolerant of the three and offers more civil rights by our modern sensibilities. Sorry, but I feel ignorance of Islam and our own faith traditions is a big part of the Antisemitism (Arab and Jew) and anti-Muslim claims.

  3. “David Frum is a neocon cautiously looking for a new host.” Put perfectly.

  4. Well, I picked Judaism because Jews don’t actively try to convert nonbelievers. It’s Christians and Muslims that have a history of putting nonbelievers to the sword, way beyond anything the Jews have done.

    In my view, no one has or can have a “religious claim” to any land. All the Abrahamic religions are illusory — or perhaps I should say delusional — and therefore any claims they make based on theological grounds are, for me, without merit.

    The Jews lost Palestine in the second century. The Arabs had been living there since the 7th century. That the Jews should expropriate the Arabs because they (the Jews) were persecuted by the Germans is a false notion. Any American who believes the Jews should have a Jewish state in Palestine needs to turn over his or her property to the nearest Indians, or else he or she is a hypocrite.

    I was only trying (and gently, too) to make two points yesterday. First, appeals to authority do not prove an argument. Second, that I personally dislike the Abrahamic religions — or more accurately, the believers who feel that they can (and must!) foist their beliefs on the rest of us. What any individual believes personally is nothing to me. But when their beliefs threaten or interfere with me and mine — well then, to the Devil with them, and the quicker the better.

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