Abe Foxman Takes on a New Threat: Jewish Paranoia

That’s right: Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has written a forceful essay attacking what he sees as a tendency among Jews to see enemies everywhere and overlook signs of friendship, and thus to risk missing opportunities for peace.

Foxman frames his thesis around the Carmel fire and the outside help that Israel sought and received. Some Israelis found it humiliating to depend on the kindness of others, given the country’s image of self-reliance, Foxman writes:

Foxman maintains his familar stace that anti-Israel sentiment is intensifying in various parts of the world. He sounds an unfamiliar, nuanced tone, though. Some of the anti-Israel rhetoric (that is, some but not all) is expressed “in ways that even suggest a heavy dose of anti-Semitism within it.”

That goes for the Arab world, too, in ways that are too often ignored:

Which brings him back to the Carmel fire.

The essay doesn’t seem to be an afterthought — it’s been the lead item on the ADL homepage for upwards of a week, suggesting it’s meant to attract attention. Most readers will find it to be a change in tone for the organization. Now we’ll have to wait and see whether or not Foxman and ADL are going to follow through and exercise the kind of leadership he’s touting.

It was published initially on December 8 at JTA.org, but at this writing it hasn’t yet gotten any responses there.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Abe Foxman Takes on a New Threat: Jewish Paranoia

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