Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: ADL Wrong on Islamic Attack at the Boston Marathon

If you want to know what grassroots Jews are thinking about the international Islamic terror, Israel issues, U.S. politics and more, please don't look to the self-appointed leaders of the Jewish Establishment.
Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:12 AM


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)  seemed to want to do everything possible to direct attention away from the possibility that the Boston Marathon attack was the work of Islamic terrorists when it issued an April 15 statement on the attacks.

ADL head Abe Foxman stated:

"This apparent terrorist attack comes during a week when we are already on heightened alert because of the history of extremist-related events that have taken place during the week of April 20th, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the federal raid of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas. While we do not yet know who was responsible for the attack ... the investigation should look into whether whoever carried out the attack was motivated by extremist views."

The ADL media release went on to mention the fact that Adolf Hitler's birthday was April 20th and did not once use the words Arab, Palestinian, Islam, Islamic or Muslim.

With the news that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were responsible for the attack, the ADL has yet once again proved that it has long outlasted its effectiveness or should revamp its leadership's thinking.

Yet another memorable time was when the ADL issued a press release that attacked Rush Limbaugh on January 21, 2010 and made the ridiculous charge that Rush made "borderline anti-Semitic comments" on his radio show. Rush Limbaugh?

There are times that you just have to kind of wonder if the last vestige of clear thinking Jews in America is to be found on talk radio. There are amazing Jewish talk radio show hosts now on the air. And Rush Limbaugh richly deserves much of the credit for that. Rush not just reinvigorated the talk show format and dynamically brought talk to the frontlines of American political debate, but he has always been decisively and passionately pro-Israel. He has also been an extremely generous and nurturing professional and gave Michael Medved his first national radio host experience as a guest host on The Rush Limbaugh Show.

And one of the most remarkable responses by an American Jew to the excesses of the ADL came from another Jewish guest host, Boston's late Dean Barrett, and in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack it seems highly appropriate to recall him and his words.

Boston area attorney Dean Barnett tragically passed away in October 2008 from cystic fibrosis when hew was only 41 years old. Barnett guest-hosted for California-based Salem Radio Network host Hugh Hewitt on April 30, 2008. Let's recall the point he made during the conversation he had with an African-American caller:

The caller explained that Rev. Jeremiah Wright and other so-called leaders of the African-American do not speak for him and that no one elected these leaders. Barnett responded to the caller by stating something to the effect that he sympathized with the caller and understood completely. Barnett said that, as a Jew, he often feels the same exact way when he sees the partisan statements of the Anti-Defamation League.

There - someone had finally said what so desperately needed to be said about the American Jewish community: The ADL does not speak in our name. The ADL has offended Christians and Jews time and again by attacking the Evangelical Christian community and others on the political right. Its head, Abraham Foxman, has won no elections in the U.S. Jewish community.

Thankfully, Dean Barnett's voice was not an anomaly on talk radio. As a young, pro-Israel activist in Philadelphia in the 1980s, I was profoundly influenced by a local talk show host named Irv Homer (who died in June 2009 at the age of 86) and the pro-Israel guests he featured. The pro-Israel, pro-American and clear thinking tradition of Jewish talk show hosts began when talk radio was in its infancy by Irv Homer and New York-based Barry Farber was continued by Dean Barnett and others in our era.

If you want to know what grassroots Jews are thinking about the international Islamic terror, Israel issues, U.S. politics and more, please don't look to the self-appointed leaders of the Jewish Establishment. Look to Jewish hosts on talk radio.

Jews such as Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Jeff Katz (formerly of Philadelphia), Chuck Morse (Boston), Michael Savage, Matt Drudge, Zev Brenner, Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, Howard Riell, Gary R'nel, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Rabbi Tovia Singer, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and Rabbi Shmuely Boteach all have shows that are well worth listing to.

There are right thinking Jews combine who writing and the talk show game. Worldnetdaily.com's Aaron Klein (a former Philadelphian now based in Israel) began to host his own talk show on WABC in January 2010 (Klein's website has become very popular.)

Seth Leibsohn was part of the Bill Bennett show for years and is one of the most intelligent Jews on talk radio today. Seth not only made the show highly enjoyable, he was one of Israel's most articulate defenders on the air. He now hosts "Arizona Politics& Culture with Seth Leibsohn and Tom Brown" on Salem Broadcasting's 960 "The Patriot" in Phoenix, Arizona. Seth attended the School of Law at Northeastern University in Boston.

In 2011Leibsohn and Bennett published the book "The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam" and as the title so clearly indicates ADL's Foxman should have known better when he wrote his press release.

An article mentioning Jewish political commentators from Boston would not be complete without remembering former Boston Herald writer Don Feder. Don is Jewish and he is truly the dean of politically conservative Jewish pundits. He supported Barry Goldwater in 1964 and created the Interfaith Zionist Leadership Summit in May 2003. Don later headed a group called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation and it responded to the ADL's tirades against Evangelicals more often and more effectively than anyone else in the past decade.

At The Boston Globe, columnist Jeff Jacoby continues to impress and inspire as well.

Alan Keyes participated in Feder's Interfaith Zionist Leadership Summit.

No one elected the ADL to speak for all American Jews. No one appointed the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to speak for all African Americans. African-Americans have their conservative, Pro-Israel pundits too: Dr. Thomas Sowell, Alan Keyes, Walter Williams (another Philadelphian) and Larry Elder all come to mind.

Clear thinking American Jews need step out of the shadows and support those individuals and grassroots organizations that advocate a strong America and a secure Israel. In the wake of the Patriot Day attacks in Boston, there has never been a better time to get involved than now - or a more important one..