Top ACLU Official: Israel ‘Exploiting’ Antisemitism to ‘Encourage’ Jewish Immigration


A high-level official at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has accused the Israeli government of exploiting antisemitism so as to secure greater Jewish immigration to Israel – leading one senior Jewish human rights advocate to counter that the veteran civil rights organization is actively compromising the fight against anti-Jewish prejudice.

“He has an important position within the ACLU and one would hope he would use that platform to fight antisemitism, rather than making it harder for those of us who are trying to do so,” antisemitism expert Kenneth Marcus told The Algemeiner on Monday, following a tweet on Sunday from Jamal Dakwar – the director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program – that “Israeli leaders exploit horrible acts of anti-Semitism to encourage Jews to move to Israel.”

Dakwar added, “Judaism ≠ [does not equal] Zionism, Anti-Zionism ≠ [does not equal] Anti-Semitism.”

The tweet was a comment attached to a short video on the nature of antisemitism by the British pundit, Mehdi Hasan, that was broadcast by the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera network. Acknowledging that antisemitism is a form of racism – “no ifs, no buts” – Hasan then presented the problem as largely concerned with the far right, tying it heavily to the election of US President Donald Trump last November. Antisemitism on the left was mentioned in passing, while antisemitism among European Muslims was not discussed at all, with Hasan describing the terror attack on the Hypercacher supermarket in January 2015 as “the attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris,” without mentioning that the perpetrators were Islamist terrorists.

Hasan’s fundamental point – which recycles a favored theme of past Soviet and Arab anti-Zionist propaganda – is that Israel’s “cynical” leaders welcome eruptions of antisemitism as an opportunity to urge Jews to immigrate en masse to the State of Israel.

When it came to those engaged in “conflating” the Jewish people with Zionism and Israel, Hasan concluded, “maybe let’s not forget to include as well some of the irresponsible, and yes, cynical leaders of the State of Israel.”

Marcus – President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and the author of “The Definition of Antisemitism,” published by Oxford University Press in 2015 – expressed amazement that, in sharing Hasan’s video, Dakwar was buying into a definition of antisemitism coined by Al Jazeera.

“He is not wrong to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism, nor is he incorrect that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are different conceptually,” Marcus explained. “But he has borrowed from Al Jazeera a simplistic and distorted understanding of the relationship between them.”

Marcus continued: “It’s extraordinary that he relies on Al Jazeera‘s conception of antisemitism and then criticizes (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu for failing to follow it. It is as if he assumed that anti-black racism is entirely what white supremacists define it to be, and then castigated black leaders for holding a different view.”

Marcus also pointed out that the ACLU – founded in 1920 – “has been leading the battle against the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which is one of the most important current legislative efforts to fight antisemitism in colleges and universities.”

The Act – passed by the Senate in December 2016, but still to be considered by the House of Representatives – uses the definition of antisemitism approved by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which provides guidance on how to determine whether anti-Zionism has crossed into antisemitism, as is frequently the case. But the ACLU believes that Act will clamp down on First Amendment free speech rights for pro-Palestinians and anti-Zionist groups on campus such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which supports the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel through the creation of a single Palestinian state.

“The ACLU should be leading this battle,” Marcus argued. “But they’ve gotten on the wrong side of it.”

(C) 2017    .   The Algemeiner      Ben Cohen






  1. Israel is a Jewish Country, defined as determined by the Torah Moses received, not the watered down version of the Chiloinim, Reform, Conservatives, etc. Stop drafting the yeshiva boys, etc.

    Though will not succeed in the end.

    You will have to keep on fighting wars, BDS, UN resolutions, UNESCO, etc.

    Stop already.

    • You are interesting because this clearly scares you. In truth you fear the “watered down” faith.

      You are wrong however and will not strengthen kiruv because you approach the reform and others with hate.

      Thus you water across negativity.

      There is no watering down of any silent soul. They Hate Up.

      Thus heaven hears and souls can not justify the idea that Torah is drastic and just ‘water’ it down.

      Their water becomes a baptism and strength is not given Israel.

      Less fate more heart. We challenge them with kiruv. Our hate should be directed to the wicked who want a hated up religion. It is hate.

      • by pointing out thier non judaism , is not hate. when one will say baseball is 3 innings, 5 players, 3 bases, and oblong ball and we will pointed out thats not baseball,….its not hate . what is, is a guilty conceious of the non the way kiruv is not the ultimate mitzvah and does not negate any halacha in the process

  2. This is a scary scenario. Because latently I am seeing him justifying anti-semitism – the type that even Al Jazeera would define as such, as a natural outgrowth of the “irresponsible and cynical” Israeli leaders. Of course, that’s not what he said, but it feeds into the “license to hate”, theory. i.e.- the attack on the supermarket is a direct result of the venimous anti-Israel rhetoric. Not one muslim country teaches to hate violators of humn rights in the context of anything but Israel…so who caused it?

  3. Interesting. Are the Satmar hasidim and other haredi anti-zionists who wants to dismantle Israel, antisemits?

  4. A slightly annoying concern but the ACLU is not a main platform at all against the Jewish State. In all lets see where this goes.

    I would think that the ACLU would have to discuss this matter. If the fall out is negative, it is a concern. Still, I would not hesitate to think that the ACLU defends the values that many jews in the USA must discuss including civil liberty and human relation.

    So the little I feel I must keep this in my davening, the little it must be.

    Will wait on more discussion.

  5. Interesting…………………Let’s see now………..I am a Torah Observant Jew and a Patriotic American Citizen (and a Viet Nam Veteran) but I am not a Zionist. Zionism is diametrically opposed to Judaism. But, I support the protection of Israel because the physical lives of so many Jews depend on it. I support Jews wherever they may be, but, I can not support a government which allows toeyvah and all other sorts of anti Torah abominations. I do support the military draft because you can’t rely on miracles, even though Hashem protects us and they do occur. We Torah Jews have always been warriors and we have protected ourselves through many means with Hashem overseeing our endeavors.
    Today we have those who just want to stay in Yeshiva or Kollel, safely away from danger. Many of these well meaning but ill advised members of our Community are not only shirking their responsibility of protecting their fellow Jews but aren’t even learning correctly. We told Hashem “Naaseh V’Nishma”, “We will do and we will hear (learn)” but in reality we are learning and doing nothing with what we learn (except for ourselves). Rabbosai! Where is Naaseh?? “We will do?” What are we doing besides Nishma? What are we doing for Klal Yisroel???

    • Yes, severely unfortunately, the purported “Judaism” that has been produced by the modern Zionist movement, contains horrendous distortions of certain aspects of Judaism and in many ways is THE EXACT OPPOSITE of many aspects of Judaism: Thus, it is exceedingly sad that we are compelled to say that the modern non-religious secular State of Israel is largely a very UN-Jewish “Jewish” state! This is true especially with its foundation upon outright atheism and its heavy promotion of full Toeiva.

      For one example, in 2008, upon the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country, I saw on C-Span a recording of some of the addresses that were delivered in the Knesset. The (then) President of Israel, Shimon Peres, A’H, in his speech, DID mention G-D a couple of times. The (then) President of the United States, George Walker Bush, in his speech, mentioned G-D very many times. By sharp contrast though, the (then) Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, in his speech, DID NOT SAY THE WORD G-D EVEN ONCE!!

      Such wicked items are obviously a terrible Chillul Hashem.

  6. @Vos Iz Dos: There is a well known story of Rabbeinu Yoel (The Divrei Yoel of Satmar) who, when meeting with Hubert H. Humphrey, former VP under Johnson and then Presidential candidate, kept asking if he will be pro-Israel, and clearly insisting that he be so. When asked later why, given his shitos regarding the State of Israel, he answered that to the world Israel means Jews, and Jews means Israel. If he commits to Israel, he is likewise committed to Jews.

  7. The wicked ACLU has a significant history of — with their exceedingly distorted views of what they call “civil rights” and “freedom of speech” — taking positions that are opposed to and sometimes even an outright danger, Rachmana Litzlan, to Klall Yisroel and quite a lot of other people. Probably their “masterpiece” of this wickedness was in 1979, when major group of Nazis was given A FULL LEGAL PERMIT to stage a massive demonstration march in the city of Skokie, Illinois. The purpose of their planned march was to not only to further publicize their evil agendas but obviously to sadistically taunt Jews and especially Jews who had been through the horrors of the Holocaust, a large number of whom lived in Skokie.

    During that episode, Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT’L, expressed severe horror and vehement outrage at the fact that it was the organization of the ACLU — with its numerous JEWISH lawyers — who had taken the Nazi’s case and had represented them before the U.S. Supreme Court and thus secured for them the legal permission to stage their sinister march. In total astonishment, Rav Miller exclaimed how could these Jewish ACLU lawyers be so bizarrely stupid???????


    He thus further emphatically stated that this terrible incident glaringly shows us the ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL importance of bringing ALL Jews back to Torah. For when there is a Jew who is away from Torah, the problem is not just that he will not eat Kosher food or that he will not observe Shabbos or that he will not say the special prayers of Yom Kippur or that he will not sit in a Sukka or that he will not do many other Mitzvos.


    • Definitely true. G-dless Jews and Torahless Jews are evil and dangerous not only to their Jewish brethren but to the world at large. George Soros a Nazi collaborator is a perfect example, Bernie Sanders another one, and there are many many more in the political world who would outdo the Nazis yemach shemom.

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