ADL Pursuit of Meeting With Anti-Israel Activists Proves Fruitless

Move has prompted questions about ADL's commitment to its own values

April 26, 2016

One of America’s oldest Jewish community organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, is courting a far-left anti-Israel organization devoted to attacking the American Jewish community and questioning Israel’s right to exist.

The move has prompted questions about ADL's commitment to its own values under its new executive director, former Obama administration official Jonathan Greenblatt.

The ADL is seeking to obtain a meeting with If Not Now, a group of anti-Israel activists associated with former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer Simone Zimmerman, who was fired by the Democratic presidential candidate after the Washington Free Beacon unearthed an expletive-laden rant against Israel and its government.

A group of 17 If Not Now protestors were recently arrested outside the ADL’s New York headquarters during a protest of what they claim is the "Jewish establishment’s support of the occupation of Palestine."

After its entreaties for a meeting with the activist group were ignored, the ADL took to Twitter to repeat its invitation for a meeting with If Not Now. The ADL tweeted to the group, "there’s more we agree on than disagree on. Let’s talk about it. When are you free?"

If Not Now replied via Twitter, "we’re looking for action, not more meetings."

The ADL replied by wishing the group "Happy Passover" and once again asked the group for a meeting, a request that was ignored. "When you’re ready to publicly condemn the occupation as a moral crisis, let us know," the group said in a response dismissing the ADL’s outreach.


When asked to explain the majority of issues on which the ADL and If Not Now agree, Greenblatt told the Free Beacon that "one thing we do share in common with If Not Now and all Jewish organizations on the left and the right is the belief in a Jewish, democratic, strong and secure state of Israel."

"We assume we can agree that we share a vision of the Jewish state living at peace with its neighbors," Greenblatt added. "We believe that INN believes in this as well."

The official went on to describe what he views as common ground between ADL and INN, stating, "We do agree on the importance of finding a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security."

However, Greenblatt appears to be attributing positions to If Not Now that the group does not actually hold.

If Not Now has issued no endorsement of peace and security for Israel or the two-state solution, a Free Beacon investigation determined.

If Not Now does not express a position on Israel’s right to exist or its legitimacy as a Jewish state, according to a mission statement posted on its website.

The group also declines to take a stance on the global BDS campaign targeting Israel.

"We do not take a unified stance on BDS, Zionism or the question of statehood," the group writes.

The ADL told the Free Beacon that the group remains committed to its pro-Israel principals, but that it is making an effort to reach out to dissenting groups.

"It was an open-ended offer to meet with them to hear out their concerns—nothing more," Greenblatt said.

As of press time, If Not Now continues to reject ADL’s request for a meeting.

Published under: Israel