Thursday, September 04, 2003

A friend recently asked me about my opposition to the ADL; here's what I wrote back.

Here are some reasons I object to the ADL and find them obviously biased and dishonest.

First off, they have a link on the left edge of their pages to the absurdly dishonest "Militia Watchdog" site ( run by Mark Pitcavage. This is presented with no indication of any kind as to the dishonesty of that site. That's all I need to see, as I checked out "Militia Watchdog" years ago and observed that it mixes honest conspiracy research web sites in alongside neo-Nazi and other racist sites and colors them all with the same brush. Anyone who can't distinguish between those categories has no business setting up shop as an authority on them, and any group who steers people to "Militia Watchdog" sans warning is obviously way off base.

But ADL isn't just guilty by association. On their site they have a page about all the awful anti-Semitism sweeping the nation as a result of the Columbia shuttle disaster ( (What, didn't you hear this on every corner? It's everywhere!! The ADL wouldn't exaggerate.) As proof of this massive trend, they post (among other things) a description of something Alex Jones said. When you see what he actually said, there's nothing anti-Semitic about it (and, to be fair, they didn't explicitly call Jones anti-Semitic). Further, they say "This document [the one from Alex Jones, which discussed the 1962 "Northwoods" memo --JJ] included the assertion that the Joint Chiefs had proposed blaming Cuba if any problems arose with the 1962 launch of John Glenn." Either the ADL doesn't realize the Northwoods memo actually did say that, or else they are deliberately trying to undercut Jones' credibility by choosing the word "assertion" rather than another word, such as "report". They do that a lot, which serves to undercut _their_ credibility with me.

Other discussion of the Columbia disaster, largely on conspiracy discussion sites, which included speculation that the Israeli government might have been involved somehow is also offered as evidence of anti-Semitism. But criticizing a government is not the same as criticizing everyone of the corresponding nationality/race. This distinction is lost on the ADL. In their eyes, if you question the Israeli government, you're fomenting anti-Semitism. I find that very interesting, as it effectively exempts the Israeli government from criticism.

Here's a classic paragraph: "For years, hate groups have created written materials of every kind to spread their propaganda, including books, glossy magazines, newspapers, flyers and even graffiti. As communication technologies advanced, these groups have kept up. First, they used standard broadcast-band and shortwave radio, audiotape, videotape and public-access cable TV. More recently, bigots of all kinds recognized the Internet's power and rushed to use it to rally their supporters, preach to the unconverted, and intimidate those whom they perceive as their enemies." That last part perfectly describes the ADL, who seem to believe free speech is a threat to their beliefs, and hence they wring their hands over the "problem" of people being free to talk amongst themselves in a free market of ideas. Isn't that strange? Now why would that be?? Hmmmmmmmmmm. Seems to me that in such an environment the truth would eventually and inevitably prevail, and the only real threat to the truth would be anyone who wants to control our free speech. Maybe the ADL thinks most people are too stupid to sift truth from error, and thus require the noble ADL to come to their intellectual rescue. They certainly act stuck-up with all their righteous rhetoric.

While deeply disturbing, the growth of hate and extremism on the Internet simply mirrors the expansion of Internet use.

This text is actually singled out, in this font [note: font was reproduced in my email but is not reproduced here in my blog --JJ], on the ADL site, set by itself as a "flowed-around" sidebar (sorry, I don't know the correct desktop publishing term for that) on this page: Sadly, though, the ADL misses the very point their own highlighted text makes clear: there's no massive growth of racism in our country. This is not an epidemic. It's a minor problem which will either always be around or else it will die out on its own, unless of course it's provoked by jerks with ulterior political motives (like the ADL) who posit themselves as superior to others and inherently entitled to make the important decisions on behalf of their fellow man.

Ultimately, there's no better way to see my point than to read what the ADL themselves say about the patriot community. Take a look: Here's the first paragraph: "In mid-1994, bands of armed right-wing militants calling themselves "militias" began to appear in several states. Often spouting mistaken interpretations of early American history to justify their actions, Militia members are united in their obsession with "protecting" Americans' Constitutional rights, which they claim the Federal government has trampled. A variety of activists make up the militia movement. There are those militia adherents who merely discuss the Constitution and perceived Federal intrusions. Others trade conspiracy theories at gun shows. At the extreme are members of heavily armed paramilitary units." Change just a few words and this would be exactly what you'd expect to read in a report to King George III on the situation in the colonies in the early 1770s. Rather than learn any lessons, though, the ADL, prejudiced to no end, prefers to take the government's side in everything, the truth -- and its adherents -- be damned.

There ARE evil folks on the web, and in real life. Some of them ARE racists, and some of those ARE anti-Semitic. The ADL does report on a lot of real hatred, and I understand that. Don't misunderstand my point here. That to which I object in the ADL is the same thing to which I object in the racists about whom the ADL constantly shrieks: their rhetoric is worthy of GOEBBELS, their labeling of people is SLOPPY, their thinking is OBSESSIVE (about the wrong things), their publications are HARMFULLY DIVISIVE and UNFAIR, and their bigotry catches both the rightful targets (the evil ones) as well as many others who only share certain demographic similarities with the evil ones but do NOT share their evil. The pointing finger of the ADL would be much more persuasive with me if it weren't for the 3 other fingers pointing right back at them. They are a proverbial brood of vipers, hissing their venomous hate in the ears of government officials and other misinformed Americans. In short, they are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They are LIARS.

I hope that suffices. If not, read this: and especially this:


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