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August 3, 2016 3

Anti-Muslim Extremists’ Disgraceful Attack On The Family Of An American Hero

Khizr Khan has been in the pub­lic eye since he spoke at the 2016 Demo­c­ra­tic National Con­ven­tion.  In react­ing to Khan’s promi­nence, some long-time anti-Muslim activists are seek­ing to dis­credit him.

Walid Shoebat

Walid Shoe­bat

Anti-Muslim extrem­ist, Walid Shoe­bat, who is known for pro­mot­ing Chris­t­ian mil­i­tancy, pub­lished an arti­cle on his web­site claim­ing that Khizr Khan, the father of Cpt. Humayan Khan is “a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Agent Who Wants To Advance Sharia Law And Bring Mus­lims Into The United States.” Cpt. Khan was killed in com­bat in Iraq in 2004 and posthu­mously was awarded the Bronze Star and Pur­ple Heart for his service.

The arti­cle bases this claim on a schol­arly paper pub­lished in the Hous­ton Jour­nal of Inter­na­tional Law in 1983 titled Juris­tic Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Islamic Law, which Shoe­bat claims was writ­ten by Khizr Khan. How­ever, it is not clear that this is the same Khizr Khan who is the father of the slain Cpt. Khan.

Based on this schol­arly paper, Shoe­bat claims that Khan’s fas­ci­na­tion with Islamic Sharia stems from his life in Saudi Ara­bia, and that the paper cites Islamic Law, a book writ­ten by a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ide­o­logue, Said Ramadan.  For Shoe­bat and oth­ers like him, fab­ri­cat­ing absurd claims to attack oppo­nents is noth­ing new. How­ever, what is unusual here is that anti-Muslim extrem­ists are using this vile tac­tic to defame griev­ing fam­i­lies of fallen Amer­i­can soldiers.

Pub­licly exposed after a 2011 inves­tiga­tive CNN report revealed his fab­ri­ca­tion of sev­eral sto­ries about his back­ground, Shoe­bat pro­motes a form of anti-LGBT/anti-Muslim Chris­t­ian mil­i­tancy. He also posts arti­cles on his web­site that express hos­til­ity towards Jews. One arti­cle writ­ten by his son Theodore pub­lished on Shoebat’s web­site on June 18, 2015 claims, “There are many Jews (the major­ity in Amer­ica are far-left) who har­bor anti-Christian sen­ti­ments, and express vit­riol when you try to talk about Christ with them.”

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, Shoe­bat, who claims to have con­verted to Chris­tian­ity, attacked evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers who con­demned his son’s remarks that in “a bib­li­cal society…every f-g would be rounded up and killed.” Shoe­bat responded to their crit­i­cism of this com­ment by ask­ing, “So how far will the Evan­gel­i­cal move­ment in the United States go to please the LGBT agenda?”

Other anti-Muslim extrem­ists echoed Shoebat’s attack on the Khan fam­ily. Some of them are plan­ning to attend an upcom­ing anti-Muslim event in Los Ange­les about Islam and West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion on August 21st.

The event will fea­ture speak­ers known for their anti-Islamic big­otry includ­ing Elis­a­beth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Frank Gaffney, and Pamela Geller. The event will also fea­ture Mor­ton Klein, Pres­i­dent of the Zion­ist Orga­ni­za­tion of Amer­ica (ZOA) as a speaker.

By attack­ing the Khan fam­ily, who made the biggest sac­ri­fice a human can endure, the hate­ful agenda of anti-Muslim extrem­ists has reached a new low.

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July 29, 2016 1

Poland: Revisionism, Remembrance, Revival

“…the mem­o­ries will stay with me long into the future.”

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

The 75th Anniversary Commemoration of the Polish Pogrom at Jedwabne

The 75th Anniver­sary Com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Pol­ish Pogrom at Jedwabne

In the clos­ing days of my first year on the job as ADL CEO, I selected Poland as the site for my first inter­na­tional ADL lead­er­ship mis­sion. His­tor­i­cal events in Poland will for­ever anchor the coun­try to ADL’s found­ing pur­pose — to pro­tect the Jew­ish peo­ple. And con­tem­po­rary devel­op­ments give us cause for new concern.

A small group of ADL’s top national lead­er­ship joined me on this trip, includ­ing National Chair Mar­vin Nathan, to pur­sue three goals: (1) to demon­strate sol­i­dar­ity with the Pol­ish Jew­ish com­mu­nity in the face of increas­ing Holo­caust revi­sion­ism and anti-Semitic polit­i­cal speech, (2) to com­mem­o­rate vic­tims of anti-Semitism, and (3) to wit­ness the inspir­ing revival of Jew­ish life in Poland. This was my first visit to Poland – and the mem­o­ries will stay with me long into the future.

Jed­wabne

The urgency of the first goal became even most appar­ent the day after our visit con­cluded, when Poland’s Edu­ca­tion Min­is­ter Anna Zalewska repeat­edly refused to acknowl­edge dur­ing a tele­vised inter­view that Pol­ish cit­i­zens were respon­si­ble for killing their Jew­ish neigh­bors dur­ing anti-Semitic pogroms in Jed­wabne and Kielce dur­ing and after World War II.  The con­tro­versy was the top story in the Pol­ish press.

The ADL del­e­ga­tion had attended the 75th anniver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Jed­wabne mas­sacre just days ear­lier. Together with Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schu­drich, lead­ers of the Pol­ish Jew­ish com­mu­nity, and painfully few oth­ers, we mourned the hun­dreds of Jews, mur­dered by their Pol­ish Catholic neigh­bors on July 10, 1941, while the town was under Nazi occu­pa­tion. Most of the Jews were forced into a barn, which was then set on fire.

At the Jedwabne memorial with ADL National Chair Marvin Nathan

At the Jed­wabne memo­r­ial with ADL National Chair Mar­vin Nathan

The events of the Jed­wabne pogrom were largely unknown until 2001. While cen­trist Pol­ish lead­ers have apol­o­gized to the Jew­ish com­mu­nity for the mas­sacre, Pol­ish nation­al­ists have rejected Pol­ish respon­si­bil­ity. They con­tend that accu­sa­tions of Pol­ish respon­si­bil­ity are smears against Poland’s rep­u­ta­tion. The recent rise of the far-right in Poland led to the elec­tion in Octo­ber 2015 of the Law and Jus­tice party, some of whose gov­ern­ment min­is­ters had caused us deep con­cern, even before Edu­ca­tion Min­is­ter Zalewska’s comments.

While the small Jew­ish com­mu­nity in Poland has suf­fered very few anti-Semitic inci­dents, the polit­i­cal atmos­phere has notice­ably changed in Poland with increas­ing anti-Semitic rhetoric on the far-right.  The con­tro­versy over Jed­wabne is its sym­bol.  The week we were there a major news mag­a­zine, W Siece, put on its cover a burn­ing barn and the head­line, “Jed­wabne: We need to inves­ti­gate anew.”

Polish Paper

Speak­ing at the Jed­wabne com­mem­o­ra­tion, in front of a small memo­r­ial on the site of the barn, moved me as much as any­thing else I have done in my first year at ADL. It was an incred­i­bly pow­er­ful moment. I pledged on behalf of ADL to remem­ber the vic­tims, to pro­tect that mem­ory from dis­tor­tion by those who would re-write his­tory for their own polit­i­cal pur­poses, and to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with the cur­rent Jew­ish com­mu­nity against the chal­lenges they face.

Speaking at the Jedwabne commemoration, July 10

Speak­ing at the Jed­wabne com­mem­o­ra­tion, July 10

The next day we met with gov­ern­ment lead­ers, includ­ing For­eign Min­is­ter Witold Waszczykowski, and told them directly of our con­cerns. We expressed appre­ci­a­tion for Pres­i­dent Andrzej Duda’s remarks at the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Kielce pogrom, where he said “there is no room for anti-Semitism” in Poland and acknowl­edged that “ordi­nary [Pol­ish] peo­ple were involved in the attack.”  But, we noted that no senior gov­ern­ment offi­cial had con­demned the burn­ing of an effigy of a Has­sidic Jew at a far-right demon­stra­tion just weeks after Law and Jus­tice came to power.  We were dis­ap­pointed in For­eign Min­is­ter Waszczykowski’s dis­mis­sive atti­tude toward the issue.

The ADL delegation meeting with Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and ministry officials

The ADL del­e­ga­tion meet­ing with For­eign Min­is­ter Witold Waszczykowski and min­istry officials

We reminded Min­is­ter Waszczykowski that ADL has been a lead­ing voice against the defam­a­tory phrase “Pol­ish death camps” (which should be “Nazi death camps”), and we expected Poland’s lead­ers to speak out against anti-Semitic rhetoric or inci­dents to demon­strate that anti-Semitism is unac­cept­able in Poland.  Given the per­va­sive belief in Jew­ish stereo­types among the Pol­ish pub­lic, as shown in ADL’s Global 100 sur­vey, we under­scored the impor­tance of such con­dem­na­tions.  From the For­eign Min­istry, we left for Krakow and our visit the fol­low­ing day to Auschwitz.

Auschwitz

At Auschwitz, after a long tour of hor­rors, we stood in front of a pit where ashes from the cre­ma­to­ria were dumped by the Nazis as they imple­mented the Final Solu­tion. We said Kad­dish, but noth­ing else other than silence seemed appro­pri­ate. No other moment in the past year has so vis­cer­ally rein­forced my com­mit­ment to ADL’s mission.

The ash pit and a destroyed crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Past National Chair Glen Lewy and National Commissioner Michael Sheetz.

The ash pit and a destroyed cre­ma­to­rium at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Past National Chair Glen Lewy and National Com­mis­sioner Michael Sheetz.

ADL’s edu­ca­tion pro­grams present our Pyra­mid of Hate with geno­cide at its apex. I had just seen another pyra­mid of hate, a moun­tain of shoes taken from thou­sands of Jews mur­dered over the course of just a few hours.

Shoe Exhibit - Poland

ADL National Chair Marvin Nathan at the shoe exhibit in Auschwitz

ADL National Chair Mar­vin Nathan at the shoe exhibit in Auschwitz

Pon­der­ing a cat­tle car at Auschwitz-Birkenau, I thought about Elie Wiesel, the unsur­passed mas­ter of bear­ing wit­ness, who must have arrived at this spot in one just like it.  His pass­ing on July 2 bereaved us all.

ADL delegation at Auschwitz-Birkenau in front of a cattle car used for deportations.

ADL del­e­ga­tion at Auschwitz-Birkenau in front of a cat­tle car used for deportations.

Krakow

The Jew­ish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter of Krakow is an hour from Auschwitz by car and couldn’t be far­ther by nature. The JCC is a scene of Jew­ish revival and of opti­mism. Jew­ish iden­tity is cel­e­brated, and young Poles with Jew­ish roots are affil­i­at­ing with their her­itage. Under the impres­sive lead­er­ship of its Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Jonathan Orn­stein, the JCC offers oppor­tu­ni­ties for all to con­nect, to learn, and to cre­ate community.

JCC-Poland

Over a delight­ful din­ner, the ADL del­e­ga­tion heard from young men and women who are intent on rebuild­ing Krakow’s Jew­ish com­mu­nity.  The food itself – home­made, fresh and kosher – sym­bol­ized the community’s ethos of renewal. But their words made an even deeper impres­sion on our group.  Though the com­mu­nity is very small, their sense of com­mit­ment bodes well for the future.

JCC-Poland-2

ADL’s Con­tin­u­ing Mission

Krakow is the home to the Jew­ish Cul­ture Fes­ti­val, attended by 20,000 peo­ple each year, and we saw min­i­mal secu­rity at Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the city.  How­ever, we know Krakow is not an oasis devoid of anti-Semitism. ADL can sup­port the devel­op­ment of these small com­mu­ni­ties in Krakow, War­saw, and else­where in Poland by keep­ing up the pres­sure on elected offi­cials, law enforce­ment, and civil soci­ety lead­ers to speak out against anti-Semitism, to take legal action when appro­pri­ate, and in gen­eral to make clear to the Jew­ish com­mu­nity that they are equal mem­bers of Pol­ish soci­ety, enti­tled to the same pro­tec­tions and respect as all other Pol­ish citizens.

Through our reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions with lead­ers of the Pol­ish Jew­ish com­mu­nity and with anti-racism watch­dogs like the NEVER AGAIN Asso­ci­a­tion, ADL can respond to con­cerns in sol­i­dar­ity and coop­er­a­tion.  On this lead­er­ship mis­sion, ADL’s lead­ers and local com­mu­nity lead­ers faced chal­leng­ing issues together and at the end raised glasses l’chaim, to life. It should always be so.

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July 28, 2016 5

Rep. Hank Johnson, Your Words Have a History

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

Much has been said and writ­ten about our response at the Anti-Defamation League to the recent com­ments by U.S. Rep. Hank John­son (D-GA) com­par­ing the Israeli set­tle­ment enter­prise to “ter­mites” under­min­ing the two-state solu­tion. (You can watch the offend­ing com­ments here begin­ning at 34:00). Some appre­ci­ated our strong words. Oth­ers anguished over our response on Twit­ter, sug­gest­ing that we did not go far enough in con­demn­ing him.

This was one of those moments when 140 char­ac­ters failed to fully con­vey our feelings.

So I wanted to take the oppor­tu­nity now to put this issue into full con­text, to explain why the remarks were so offen­sive both to Israelis and Jews across the polit­i­cal spec­trum and to elu­ci­date what elected offi­cials must do in such instances to assure the pub­lic that they do not sup­port the kind of anti-Semitic notions the remark sug­gested for so many.

First, to the remarks them­selves: As I myself tweeted, there’s absolutely no doubt that Rep. Johnson’s com­ments were both irre­spon­si­ble and rep­re­hen­si­ble, par­tic­u­larly because they played into tra­di­tional anti-Semitic canards. The image of “ter­mites” being used to describe Jews has sor­did con­no­ta­tions. In the annals of anti-Semitism, from the medieval period to Czarist Rus­sia, and most pro­nouncedly in Nazi Ger­many, there is a com­mon leit­mo­tif of Jews being por­trayed as sub­hu­man – rats, cock­roaches and other unde­sir­able crea­tures. Even today, depic­tions of Jews in anti-Semitic car­toons that per­vade the Arab press often con­form to this legacy.

Surely Rep. John­son can under­stand a people’s legit­i­mate sen­si­tiv­i­ties that emerge from a long his­tory of oppres­sion. And surely there is room for legit­i­mate and bal­anced crit­i­cisms of pol­icy which do not resort to these prej­u­diced tropes.

In light of the fact that the com­ment – inad­ver­tently or not – evoked clas­sic anti-Semitic stereo­types, our ini­tial tweet on the remarks call­ing it an “offen­sive and unhelp­ful char­ac­ter­i­za­tion” did not go far enough in spelling out pre­cisely why it was so objec­tion­able. Indeed, that impelled my sub­se­quent tweet that “yes, there was apol­ogy, but no ‘point’ jus­ti­fies refer­ring to human beings in such an abhor­rent, inap­pro­pri­ate manner.”

Our con­cern about Rep. Johnson’s remarks and those of oth­ers whom we have taken umbrage with dur­ing the cam­paign is not about politics—it’s about an expec­ta­tion of civil­ity in our pol­i­tics. ADL con­sis­tently has spo­ken out about inap­pro­pri­ate and offen­sive lan­guage made by can­di­dates and sup­port­ers of both polit­i­cal par­ties. This is not new and will never change.

Because this is an elec­tion year, peo­ple tend to read more deeply into our crit­i­cism of can­di­dates and other polit­i­cal pun­dits, sug­gest­ing our state­ments reflect a “hid­den” agenda or try­ing to pigeon­hole us as “left” or “right.”  Let me be crys­tal clear on this point. For us, it does not mat­ter whether it is a Demo­c­rat or a Repub­li­can or an Inde­pen­dent. It is the com­ment itself that jus­ti­fies our response. This is not about can­di­dates or par­ties – it is about ideas.

We will call out ideas that run counter to the val­ues we believe in so deeply – civil­ity, plu­ral­ism and tol­er­ance – even as we con­tinue to abide strictly by our sta­tus as a 501c3 non­profit which appro­pri­ately requires us not to oppose or sup­port can­di­dates for office.

All should under­stand that Rep. John­son quickly apol­o­gized and sub­se­quently restated his apol­ogy to me and to Rabbi David Wolpe. This was mean­ing­ful because we have seen oth­ers who refuse to demon­strate any pub­lic con­tri­tion after anal­o­gous lapses. But he and oth­ers need to know that it is unac­cept­able to den­i­grate any group of human beings regard­less of one’s views on the Israeli Pales­tin­ian conflict.

Con­sid­er­ing the where Rep. John­son was speak­ing adds addi­tional con­text to the sit­u­a­tion. His remarks were deliv­ered at an event spon­sored by the U.S. Cam­paign to End the Israeli Occu­pa­tion, a group with a one-sided view of this long-standing and deeply com­plex con­flict, who advo­cate for boy­cotting Israel and who pro­vide a plat­form for the most out­ra­geous charges against Israel. Rep. John­son was play­ing to a crowd—a crowd that eagerly applauded his remarks.

If we hope in any way to advance the cause of peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, we need to resist demo­niza­tion of the other side, to desist from incite­ment and refuse to slide into slander.

The Israeli-Palestinian con­flict is an endur­ing one and its his­tory is com­plex. It has so far frus­trated the attempts of our country’s most able nego­tia­tors. Achiev­ing its res­o­lu­tion will not be easy and may not hap­pen soon. But one thing is for sure: assign­ing blame only to one side fails to move us any closer to that destination.

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