The Anti-Defamation League boasts that its model hate crimes statute inspired changes to law in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The ADL claimed another victory in July when the US Senate approved a hate crime statute similar to one approved in April by the House of Representatives. The slight differences will be resolved in the fall when President Barack Obama promised he will sign the ADL-crafted legislation into law.
In Congressional testimony on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Attorney General Eric Holder conceded the lack of evidence that hate crimes are not being prosecuted by the states. The US Commission on Civil Rights opposed the legislation, describing ADL’s model statute “a menace to civil liberties.” So what gives here? What, really, is the ADL’s agenda?
ADL was founded in 1913 by B’nai B’rith (“children of the covenant”) to oppose anti-Semitism. According to its website, the ADL now opposes any bias that may “tear at the fabric of our society and fragment communities.” Its model statute includes bias based not just on race, color, religion, national origin and gender but also, with this bill, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
With each new category, the ranks of potential ADL allies expands. Yet even while mobilizing opposition to anti-Jewish bias, ADL argues that anti-Semitism must also include criticism of Israel.
In describing this sleight-of-hand, Senator Carl Levin explained that the ADL-inspired statute targets “bias-motivated crimes” where there is “evidence of speech, beliefs or expressive conduct.” Where a defendant claims an absence of bias, the House bill allows impeachment of that claim with evidence of “expressions or associations.”
Bias alone is not a federal crime. At least not yet. While free speech is protected (sort of), bias-motivated crimes will soon be authorized for federal prosecution. Americans henceforth had best beware of their speech, beliefs, associations and “expressive conduct.” While there’s no sign as yet of the federal Thought Police, the statute authorizes the hiring of additional personnel to “prevent and respond to alleged violations.”
If a state jury acquits, federal prosecutors can try defendants again for the same offense. While not technically Constitution-prohibited double jeopardy—due to the presence of dual sovereigns (state and federal)—the chilling effect, as intended, is palpable and real.
The Department of Justice can intervene when “necessary to secure substantial justice.” In practical effect, the ADL statute transforms the perception of bias into a “currency” that can be deployed to silence critics of Israel.
The intimidation campaign mounted against University of California professor William Robinson showed the lengths to which the ADL will go to stifle critics even when—as in Gaza—Israeli conduct would be considered racist and imperialist anywhere but in the US [See “Treason in Plain Sight?” and “The ADL Thought Police.”]
With this legislation, critics of the Zionist state (or Zionism) could find themselves victims of an ADL intimidation initiative sold to Congress and the White House as a means to protect victims of prejudice. Declaring in its testimony “we are unimpressed,” the US Commission on Civil Rights warned that the legislation “will do little good and a great deal of harm” under cover of an ADL-lobbied statute that, as the Commission says: “purports to protect civil rights.”
Identity Politics and the ADL
Hate crimes legislation is the latest face on the identity group politics that has fragmented US society since the 1960s. Its roots are found in the “Frankfurt School” of the 1920s, a transnational network of social critics frustrated that class warfare failed to gain global traction after the Russian revolution of 1917. Drawing on the class oppression of Karl Marx and the emotional repression of Sigmund Freud, victim group identity became a means to catalyze social solidarity that—like class identity—would supersede national identity.
As identity politics became a stand-in for class politics, prejudice displaced class as the focal point for reform. With enactment of the ADL’s model statute, reform means federal monitoring of “expressive conduct” backed by the threat of a lengthy prison term.
Over four decades, a failed theory of political alienation was replaced with a psychological theory of social and sexual alienation. As repression shifted from the economy to society and sexuality, a litany of liberation movements emerged. With each new group’s claim of bias, prejudice and repression, the ADL gained more potential recruits for its opposition to “anti-Semitism.”
Out of this fusion of disaffection, activism and academia emerged “Critical Theory” whose goals remain obscure though its advocates spawned “special studies programs” on campuses nationwide: African American, Native American, Latino, Jewish, feminist, gay and so forth. Akin to the endless debate typical of a yeshiva, ceaseless social critique emerged as both means and end while identity group theorizing became a career path for academics.
From this intellectual lineage emerged charges of an “Imperial America” ever eager for another conquest and led by a succession of Oil War fascists in need of sensitivity training. As the ranks of the repressed grew, the commitment to identity groups deepened while allegiance to the US—and to democratic values—began a steady decline
With identity politics came not only a fragmented society but also a fractured national psyche. Rather than devotion to community and country, loyalty shifted to parts less than the whole. Allegiance flowed to like-minded sub-groups that often reflected a shared personal bias. Group-reinforced dedication to that identity bred intolerance and arrogance. Why endure the views of others when you are certain your views are correct?
National self-criticism was catalyzed by a series of confidence-shattering assassinations. Those iconic murders undercut an entire nation’s self-assurance as the American psyche deteriorated into self-doubt and an erosion of faith in self-governance. The loss of a costly and unnecessary war in Southeast Asia further sapped the ‘Can Do’ spirit of a post-WWII populace.
Duplicity, Hate and the Criminal State
Fast-forward four decades and Americans again find themselves waging a costly and unnecessary war induced by false intelligence “fixed” around the expansionist goals of Greater Israel. As the common source of that deception comes clearly into focus, critics of Israel are forced to contend with a federal statute that’s a recipe for repression—traceable to the same source those critics now cite at their peril.
Rather than a campus-by-campus silencing campaign, ADL and affiliates of this covenant can mobilize the Department of Justice to quell criticism nationwide. Or, as stated in the ADL model statute approved by the House: “to prevent and respond to alleged violations.”
Hate has long been a currency used by those who proposed this statute. Many Jews are critical of Israeli policy. Those who dare to speak out are routinely described as “self-hating.” Non-Jewish critics are dismissed by the ADL with one or more toxic smears: anti-Semite, Jew-hater, neo-Nazi or Holocaust-denier—each category deserving of hate.
ADL extremists no more represent the broader Jewish community than Christian Zionists John Hagee and Pat Robertson represent the Christian community or radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr represents the broader Muslim community. Extremism is a trait that merits the hatred of freedom seekers worldwide.
With its deceitful statute, the ADL seeks to induce identity groups to empathize with anti-Semitism while evoking hate to obscure Zionism’s true goals. Much as the politics of class warfare failed to gain traction nine decades ago, the politics of hate will also fail.
With transparency, a long-deceived global public will grasp how Americans were deceived six decades ago by an enclave of religious fanatics they naively sought to befriend and defend only to see their behavior tear at the social fabric and fragment communities.
To betray, you must first befriend. To defraud, you must first create trust. Accountability for this trans-generational duplicity will commence as the ADL’s true motives become transparent and its supporters apparent. The restoration of national security requires that those complicit in this covenant—including cooperative lawmakers and their staffs—are held accountable for their support of this statute.
Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide. Gates’ latest book is Guilt By Association—How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War (2008). His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. For two decades, he was an adviser to policy-makers worldwide. He was also Counsel to the US Senate Finance Committee (1980-87).