Jackie Mason

There has been a lot of criticism of the ADL’s worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, and many of the obvious flaws in the study already have been discussed (or linked to) here. At the outset, the organization that commissioned the study is hardly a disinterested, unbiased observer. An ADL study on anti-Semitism should be greeted with the same skepticism as a tobacco industry study on the effects of second-hand smoke.

The ADL has multiple interests in exaggerating and even promoting the threat of anti-Semitism. First, ADL perpetually has its hand out for donations, and what better way to motivate donors than a screaming headline that there are one billion anti-Semitic adults on the planet? In fact it wasted no time in doing that here, as ADL’s home page trumpets the frightening results and offers visitors an easy way to “Help ADL Change the World” with a single click. Just have your VISA card ready. It is difficult to imagine that the survey was not planned, at least in part, as a fundraiser, with foreknowledge of a direct relationship between the quantification of the danger and the anticipated revenues.

Second, the ADL enhances its own prestige and even justifies its existence with the looming threat of anti-Semitism. This point was scathingly made a few years ago by an unlikely source, the comedian Jackie Mason, a steadfast pro-Israel voice who has been known to dabble unapologetically in anti-Palestinian racism.  Mason, for reasons of his own,  passionately defended Mel Gibson following his drunken anti-Semitic tirade. Gibson’s detractors were motivated, said Mason, by

jealousy and hate and contempt for a guy who’s doing too good. Also with this guy Abe Foxman, this head of the ADL. Another fake from top to bottom. I don’t talk about people, it’s not my nature, but he’s a total fake. Let’s be honest about it. Anybody who makes a life out of fighting racism in effect has to blow-up racism in order to justify himself and the job he has, otherwise he’d have to go to work. Otherwise he’d have to get up in the morning and get a real job.

Finally, the ADL makes no secret of its own pro-Israel agenda. Israel, like the ADL itself, feeds off the perception of worldwide anti-Semitism, which serves to portray the country as a necessary refuge for Jews from the threat of persecution.