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Ever since Hamas’s horrific October 7 attack on Israel, antisemitism has shown itself to be rampant around the world — and particularly on college campuses across America.

While one might hope that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — which was founded more than a century ago to combat antisemitism — would lead the way to defend those who defend Israel, the organization has chosen instead to smear those on the right — including our own Ethan Peck, an Israeli-American Jew and staunch supporter of Israel.

In a Human Events commentary, Ethan describes how and why the ADL chose to target him (and us) as antisemitic, and how this attack is part of a growing trend for the ADL, which sadly bears less and less resemblance to the noble principles of its founding.

Read Ethan’s commentary below.

In its own words, the ADL was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” For some time, that was mostly true. And as a rise in antisemitism can often be a reliable indicator of a dying society, a properly functioning ADL thus served an important role. If antisemitism is the canary in the coal mine of societal decline, as the ADL itself understands, then the ADL – as the leading anti-antisemitism organization in the world – is most responsible for listening for that canary and sounding the alarm.

Ethan Peck

Ethan Peck

But over the last few decades – as institutions from universities to media to corporations to governments to hospitals to charities and everything in between became more and more overrun by neo-Marxist ideologies in a society-wide institutional coup – the ADL, like most others, morphed into a different entity, only bearing resemblance to its origins superficially. Much like the ACLU and SPLC, two organizations that also once upon a time served just causes before becoming woke, the ADL now predominantly exists for the proliferation of wokeness – or, more accurately, as the thought police of views that dissent from the woke orthodoxy presiding over our culture – instead of properly serving its original purpose.

There are two main ways that woke corruption of the ADL has caused it to lose credibility. The first is that the ADL doesn’t flag antisemitism as frequently – and as ardently – as it should when it comes from the left. But the second, more common and more destructive reason is that the ADL has become radically over-sensitized to antisemitism from the right, to the point that it regularly hurls ridiculous and false smears at wildly undeserving targets.

This inflation of accusations of antisemitism renders future accusations less serious and trustworthy, especially when they come from the ADL (but also from all others), so that actual antisemites – from the left and the right – are less efficiently identified, understood and countered, which is a really big problem considering that antisemitism is more abundant today than it’s been in a century. I believe the appropriate academic term for this phenomenon is ‘the boy who cried wolf’ (like all communists with their heads perpetually stuck in utopia, the wokesters at the ADL still haven’t learned the lessons of 3rd grade).

In November, I learned this lesson in a personal way when the ADL’s ‘Center on Extremism’ wrongly smeared my organization – and me specifically by name – as purveyors of antisemitic dog whistles and antisemitic conspiracy theories. It didn’t matter to the ADL that I’m an Israeli-American Jew and staunch supporter of Israel, and that the organization I work for has been consistently and explicitly pro-Israel and active opponents of all forms of discrimination. All that mattered to them was that we espouse right-of-center views and speak truth to power. To the woke thought police, that’s a big no-no.

Our crime? That we dared to oppose corporate funding of the World Economic Forum (WEF) via shareholder proposals that we submitted to a number of corporations, and that we criticized the agenda of the United Nations (UN) in a research report we wrote. More specifically, that we used the terms “globalist” and “transhumanism” to describe them and their goals in these shareholder proposals, which the ADL – blinded by wokeness – deemed to be antisemitic dog whistles and antisemitic conspiracy theories. They wrongly assumed that by “globalist,” we meant Jew, but what we actually meant by globalist, was globalist.

The woke like to project and accuse others of what they themselves are doing – they assume that because they regularly manipulate the meanings of words, and use esoteric definitions to advance a political agenda, that everyone else must as well. We said the WEF is a “globalist organization” because the WEF is a globalist organization. Just look at their own mission statement on their website. They have been openly and proudly asserting for five decades that their goal is to merge countries and corporations (that’s literally fascism) under a single global entity that just so happens to convene at their own forum in Davos in pursuit of their vision for the world. If that’s not globalist – the desire for a “global” “public-private partnership” – then what exactly would qualify as globalist? And we also said that the WEF promotes transhumanism because they do. There isn’t much daylight between the definition of transhumanism and what the WEF calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the “Internet of Bodies.”

And the relevant thing here is that there is absolutely no basis for the absurd claim that our opposition to these evil organizations and their agendas is antisemitic. In fact, the opposite is true.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab’s father was the head of Escher Wyss, an industrial manufacturer that produced heavy water for the Nazis’ atomic bomb efforts. And then in 1967, after the Nazi atrocities were well documented, Klaus Schwab sat on the board of Escher Wyss himself. But we don’t need to go back 50 years to make this point. The WEF’s agenda’s today – in that it’s communist, fascist, anti-individual, anti-freedom and anti-national sovereignty at its core – is therefore also anti-biblical, anti-Judaism and anti-Israel. Which is why it should come as no surprise that WEF held a Hamas-apologist discussion at its most recent conference in Davos.

But the ADL didn’t stop at the WEF. It also smeared our critique of the UN, a notoriously anti-Israel and antisemitic organization, who’s subsidiary, UNRWA, was recently exposed for some of its employees directly participating in the October 7 attack. A month before this news broke, we submitted a shareholder proposal to Mastercard going after the company’s funding of and partnerships with UNRWA and other ostensible human rights organizations that propagandize on behalf of Hamas.

This is also relevant, because in smearing our shareholder efforts at large – which are to get corporations out of politics and back to neutral – the ADL therefore also came to the defense of woke corporations, who have stuck their noses into every single political matter but were dead silent on October 7 (and not due to a policy of neutrality).

I personally drafted that UNRWA shareholder proposal and the WEF shareholder proposal that the ADL deemed antisemitic, and I did both in defense of what I believe to be Judeo-Christian, American and liberal (according to the actual meaning of the word) values. The ideology and goals of the WEF and UN run counter to all that. They’re the antisemites. And the ADL stomped on us to defend them.

As backwards and as untrue as the ADL’s smears were, and shocking as it was for me to be publicly smeared as antisemitic, I decided not to immediately write this oped publicly outing the ADL’s mistake. In the aftermath of October 7, when it felt like the whole world was ganging up on 0.2% of the global population, the last thing the Jewish community needed was to be distracted by nonsense like this – we needed unity.

So I reached out to the ADL privately – after they publicly defamed me – just to talk. And I told them who I was and who my colleagues are. I told them that I’m an Israeli-American Jew that has Shabbat dinner every Friday night; that I’m very pro-Israel and have lived in Israel; that I was Bar Mitzvah’d at the Western Wall; that I have family members fighting in the IDF right now, risking their lives in the face of true evil; that I share their concerns for the growing antisemitism on the far-right; that I speak, read and write Hebrew fluently; that my girlfriend is Israeli and that we raised money together for the IDF after October 7; and of the many Jewish and pro-Israel organizations and causes that I’ve worked for and supported. I also told them that I was still open to potentially working with the ADL, even after they smeared me, to try to hold corporations accountable for their anti-Israel bias. I emailed them all this back in November, and they still haven’t responded nor taken down their nonsensical smear from their website.

That tells you all you need to know about the ADL. Mistakes can happen, but even when presented – in no uncertain terms – with the knowledge of who I am, what I stand for and what my organization stands for, they not only kept the blog up but were unwilling to have a single conversation with me. Their goal isn’t truth and it isn’t even to combat antisemitism – it’s to police the thoughts that are deemed non-kosher by the woke.

Ethan Peck is an associate for the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research. This first appeared at Human Events.

Author: Ethan Peck