Jewish News Syndicate Commentary: Anti-Defamation League ‘Smeared’ NLPC

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Elle Krasne-Cohen has come to the defense of National Legal and Policy Center in an opinion piece distributed by the Jewish News Service titled, “When Will the ADL Start Fighting Antisemitism on the Left?”

She points to the Anti-Defamation League’s embrace of causes like Black Lives Matter and juxtaposes it with an incident closer to home for NLPC:

More recently, the ADL smeared two mainstream policy organizations—the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) and the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC)—accusing them without evidence of antisemitism. The ADL claimed that mere criticism of “globalism” or “globalist organizations,” including the antisemitic United Nations, is an “antisemitic dog whistle.”

Krasne-Cohen continues:

The NCPPR and NLPC are mainstream organizations, neither of which, to my knowledge, has displayed antipathy towards Jews or any other racial or religious minority.

The smear was in the form of a posting on the ADL website on November 21 titled “Conspiracy Theories, Some With Antisemitic Roots, Crop Up in 2023 Shareholder Proposals.”

The post appeared only six weeks after the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack, while antisemitic incidents and demonstrations were exploding worldwide. Why the ADL would devote time and resources to attacking NLPC, which has a long history of fighting antisemitism, was completely baffling to us.

Equally baffling, the hit piece was dropped as the Thanksgiving holiday was getting underway. It was almost as if the ADL wanted the story out but didn’t want anyone to report it. The strategy, if it existed, worked because no one else covered it.

Even more weirdly, the post itself carried this all-purpose disclaimer that tended to negate the impression that every other word of the post was calculated to create:

At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that either organization’s agents espouse overt antisemitism, or that these proposals were filed with antisemitic intentions.

So what is going on here? What was behind the attempted smear of NLPC and our ally, the National Center for Public Policy Research? Could it be that the ADL just doesn’t like us filing shareholder proposals, a form of activism dominated for many years by the Left?

Krasne-Cohen and a number of other Jewish commentators and activists are making this case that the ADL, under the “leadership” of former Obama White House staffer Jonathan Greenblatt, has devolved into an ideological and partisan tool.

ADL’s hit and run on NLPC was actually quite clever. Even if no one paid any attention to it when it was published, whoever wrote it (the piece is unsigned) sought to plant it on the internet for anyone to find for years to come. Any journalist seeking to discredit us can now simply describe NLPC as a “group that, according to the ADL, promotes antisemitic conspiracy theories.”

It was a nice try but it is not going to work. NLPC’s track record of fighting antisemitism over many years is just too strong. Indeed, while the ADL has been sanitizing antisemitism by partnering with the likes of Al Sharpton, NLPC has been consistent, resolute and effective.

To wit:

Ben & Jerry’s - When the Unilever subsidiary Ben and Jerry’s announced in 2021 that it would end ice cream sales in “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” NLPC swung into action, launching the StopBenandJerrys.org website.

In September 2021, NLPC filed a Complaint with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against Anuradha Mittal, the anti-Israel chair of the Ben & Jerry’s board of directors. A few weeks later, she was named 2021 “Antisemite of the Year” by the website StopAntisemitism.org.

Mittal appeared to have violated laws governing self-dealing by acting as a trustee of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation while approving donations to her personal nonprofit where she is executive director taking a full-time salary. Also, the president of Ben & Jerry’s charitable foundation, Jeff Furman, steered more than $100,000 of its funds to his own nonprofit organization.

In the wake of October 7 Hamas attack, Flaherty wrote an op-ed titled, “Unilever, Ice Cream and Antisemitism.”

Unilever Divestment - NLPC was a proponent of Unilever divestment efforts in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia. From the September 16, 2021, New York Times:

“We are doing this because somebody has to hold the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s accountable for their anti-Semitic use of their platform and company resources,” said Tom Anderson, a director of the National Legal and Policy Center.

NLPC collaborated with activist investor Michael Asher in support of Unilever divestment by New York State and New York City. In Virginia, Flaherty met with State Attorney General Jason Miyares and urged him to seek divestment of state funds from Unilever. In North Carolina, NLPC asked Treasurer Dale Folwell requesting divestiture of Unilever holdings in public pension funds.

Black Lives Matter & Patrisse Cullors - As a result of original NLPC research, Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation co-founder Patrisse Cullors was forced to resign from the group in 2021. NLPC’s allegations, detailed in a Complaint to the IRS, related to her purchase of four pieces of real estate, and apparent self-dealing and inurnment. NLPC has also emphasized Cullors’ 2015 call at Harvard Law School for individuals to “step up boldly and courageously to end the imperialist project that’s called Israel.”

NLPC was early in reporting about Black Lives Matter’s (BLM) links to anti-Israel groups. In 2016, Carl Horowitz, then a member of the NLPC staff, wrote a website post titled “Black Lives Matter Activists Join Anti-Israel Boycott.”

Following October 7, NLPC asked Visa, Inc. to remove its BLM endorsement from its website and condemn Hamas and antisemitism. We had raised the BLM issue earlier in the year at the company’s shareholders’ meeting. NLPC had also raised the issue of Coca-Cola’s support for BLM at the company’s annual meeting.

ADL’s Omar Resolution - NLPC has been a persistent critic of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Talib. While we have cited financial irregularities in a Federal Election Commission complaint against Ocasio-Cortez and a House Ethics Committee complaint against Omar, NLPC has also criticized hostility to Jews by these members. In 2019, NLPC endorsed and publicized the ADL-initiated House resolution condemning Omar.

See this op-ed titled “Antisemitism and Islamophobia: No Moral Equivalence” by Horowitz.

Foreign Funding of U.S. Higher Education - The recent spate of on-campus antisemitic incidents has shed light an issue on foreign financial support for American colleges and universities, an issue that NLPC has investigated and publicized for several years. See this column by Charles Gasparino that extensively quotes NLPC Counsel Paul Kamenar.

Al Sharpton - Whereas the present leadership of the ADL has sought to erase Sharpton’s past, NLPC will not forget his incitements in the 1991 Crown Heights riots, in which a Jew was murdered, nor will we forgive his dangerous statements, such as “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

Sharpton was fined $285,000 in 2005 by the Federal Election Commission as a result of an NLPC Complaint for running an “off the books” presidential campaign. For several years, NLPC raised the issue of support for Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) at the shareholders’ meetings of American corporations, including PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and Colgate-Palmolive.

Unlike the ADL, NLPC has never used the fight against antisemitism as a partisan weapon. In 2010, NLPC objected to the sponsorship of Sharpton’s National Action Network annual meeting by the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the participation of then-RNC Chairman Michael Steele. In 2009, NLPC asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to end his partnership with Sharpton in a campaign for “education reform.” That same year, NLPC criticized then-President George W. Bush for praising Sharpton.

Jesse Jackson - In 2005, the New York Stock Exchange ended its financial support for Jackson’s Citizenship Education Fund, in response to a demand by NLPC that cited Jackson’s 1984 “hymie” and “Hymietown” comments, as well as financial improprieties involving the Fund.

And if none of this is good enough for the ADL, it should be noted that NLPC has many Jewish supporters, including prominent individuals and former government officials, several of whom serve on the boards of local and national Jewish organizations.

From 2001 to the time of his death in 2019, Edward M. Ackerman of Dallas was a key advisor and major donor to NLPC. His legacy is carried on today by NLPC and the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. The ADL itself has partnered with the Ackerman Center.

Founded in 1991, the National Legal and Policy Center promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action.

Contact Details

National Legal and Policy Center

Dan Rene

+1 202-329-8357

drene@nlpc.org

Company Website

http://www.nlpc.org

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