ADL ‘Accepts’ Will Smith’s Clarification, JDL Supports Writers’ Strike

So the Anti-Defamation League has finally weighed in on L’Affaire Will Smith, and, I have to say, its statement is a little disappointing.

To recap: Will Smith, speaking off the cuff to a Scottish newspaper, suggested — quite reasonably — that Hitler was driven by a “twisted” notion of what he thought was “good.” The militant Jewish Defense League pounced, accusing the Hollywood star of saying that Hitler was a good person and having “spit on the memory of every person murdered by the Nazis.” Gossip sites joined in the frenzy, and Smith ended up issuing a clarification, attacking those who had distorted his words and calling Hitler “vile.”

Instead of calling out those who rush to defame celebrities over innocent mistakes, the ADL hailed Smith’s clarification and lectured that “celebrities bear a special responsibility to weigh their words carefully.” Everything in the ADL’s statement is true, but the emphasis seems off.

Decide for yourself whether the ADL struck the right note. Here’s the statement from ADL chief Abraham Foxman:

Incidentally, the JDL also welcomed and accepted Smith’s clarification — and used the occasion to weigh in on the Hollywood writers’ strike:

Dallas Morning News religion blogger Jeffrey Weiss thinks that Smith actually raised “an interesting question” about Hitler. Alas, the message most celebrities will take away from this whole incident: Don’t raise interesting questions.

Close