A Member of the Anti-Defamation League's Diversity Council is Embroiled in an Anti-Semitism Scandal. The Anti-Semitism Watchdog Has Nothing to Say About It.

Google sits on ADL's corporate leadership council on diversity

ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt / Getty Images
June 11, 2021

The Anti-Defamation League, which bills itself as an anti-bigotry watchdog group, is curiously silent in the face of anti-Semitic remarks from an employee of a key member of its corporate diversity council.

Google, which reassigned a top employee last week after a Washington Free Beacon report on his anti-Semitic remarks, is among a handful of corporations that work with the ADL on diversity issues. "We thank these corporations and others who stand with us to help us build diversity," a recent ADL report said, recognizing Google as a partner in its efforts.

Google came under fire last week for the anti-Semitic remarks made by its then-diversity chief, Kamau Bobb, who said in a 2007 blog post that Jews have an "insatiable appetite for war." Bobb is still working on Google’s tech education initiatives, although he was removed from his diversity role after the Free Beacon reported on his comments.

An ADL spokesman did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The ADL's silence follows criticism that the group has taken a biased and partisan approach under director Jonathan Greenblatt, who joined the organization after serving as an aide to President Barack Obama. The group criticized Facebook—which is not listed as a member of its corporate leadership council—for its failure to permanently ban President Donald Trump from the platform due to his "hate and disinformation" posts and also vocally condemned Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination.

It is unclear if Google has donated to the ADL. An ADL pamphlet advertising the corporate leadership council says that corporate leaders interested in joining should contact its fundraising department.

Bobb drew controversy earlier this month after the Free Beacon reported on a blog post he wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which he described Jews as insatiably violent.

"If I were a Jew I would be concerned about my insatiable appetite for war and killing in defense of myself," he wrote in a Nov. 30, 2007, post on his personal blog, where he was still actively publishing as recently as April 2021. "Self defense is undoubtedly an instinct, but I would be afraid of my increasing insensitivity to the suffering [of] others."

Bobb later said he was "deeply sorry" for the post, which he acknowledged "crudely" characterized Jews. Google followed up with a statement saying it "unequivocally condemn[ed]" Bobb’s comments and said he would be removed from the diversity team but would remain with the company to work on science and education issues.

"He will no longer be part of our diversity team going forward and will focus on his STEM work," said Google.

The group has also been accused of engaging in partisan attacks—such as its immediate condemnation of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination—while downplaying or ignoring anti-Semitic remarks from Democrats.

Writing in the Jewish News Syndicate in 2018, Jonathan Tobin described Greenblatt’s opposition to Kavanaugh as "the act of a reckless partisan who doesn’t even feel the need to maintain the pretense that the group he leads has a higher purpose than diving into the daily political scrum."

Last summer, the ADL launched a campaign asking advertisers to boycott Facebook and claiming that "hate, extremism and misinformation still thrive on Facebook in sanctioned misinformation, conspiracy theories, and unmoderated hateful groups."

The campaign coincided with the ADL’s lobbying effort to get Facebook to ban Trump. Last week, Greenblatt issued a press release saying that Facebook’s decision to extend Trump’s suspension for two more years "simply doesn't go far enough."

"We and the Stop Hate for Profit coalition will push for this to be a permanent ban as we also expect them to take stronger action to combat the onslaught of antisemitic and racist content as well as all forms of hate on the platform," said Greenblatt.