ADL chief: 'Anti-Semitism is the sign of a decaying democracy and a sick society'

'Anti-Semitic attacks in the US are acts of terrorism - time to start defining them that way,' says ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of ADL
Yoni Kempinski

Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), urged world leaders to confront anti-Semitism by embracing a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism and by designating violent acts of anti-Semitism as domestic terrorism.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva at the 5th World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem Thursday, Greenblatt lauded the dozens of world leaders who attended the event, while urging them to take direct action against anti-Semitism, saying they needed to ‘learn the lessons of the Holocaust.’

“What was so remarkable about this session was the gathering of 40 world leaders, who came together from across Europe here, in Israel, in Yad Vashem, to commemorate this very somber anniversary. It was very moving.”

“We want to see the leaders learning the lessons of the Shoah, to apply it to the fight against anti-Semitism today. That means, number one, having clarity about what is anti-Semitism. Which is why the IRHA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] is so important in all of its examples.”

“Number two is being honest about the willingness to call it out whenever it happens, whether its on the Left or the Right or it is a religious fanaticism, we need leaders to lead and to stand up and speak out, particularly when it happens our own ranks.”

“Number three, we need them to take action: whether it is anti-bias education in schools, whether it is training law-enforcement to deal with the victims of hate crimes.”

“Ultimately, anti-Semitism isn’t a Jewish problem, it is everyone’s problem. It is a sign of the decay of a democracy and it is the sign of a sick society.”

In the US, Greenblatt continued, “it is long overdue elected officials and public leaders” to “stop the surge in anti-Semitic incidents, whether it is in Pittsburgh, or Poway, or Jersey City, or Monsey, it comes from all sides and we need to do something about it.”

Specifically, Greenblatt said the US federal government should designate anti-Semitic attacks as a form of domestic terrorism.

“We want to see a domestic terrorism law, because we think it is important to call these acts what they are, they are acts of terror.”

“And we need a long-term approach…that means mandating Holocaust education, because ultimately, education is the best antidote to ignorance.”

Greenblatt also challenged big tech companies, particularly social media giants, to take responsibility for the use of their platforms by anti-Semitic elements spreading bigotry around the world.

“We think it is time to get the companies involved. Silicon Valley is part of the problem. The social media sites have become breeding grounds for bigotry. It is incumbent for the companies to act and take measures to ensure that hate speech has no place on their platform.”