Abraham Foxman, the former head of the Anti-Defamation League, says he will skip the Zionist Organization of America’s annual gala after the group invited Steve Bannon to the event.
Foxman said he was misled by ZOA organizers who framed the event as a tribute to ZOA board member Bernie Marcus — then offered a platform to the controversial Bannon.
“ZOA manipulated and abused my trust when they announced my decision to attend without my permission because they have politicized this event,” Foxman said. “My intention was solely to be in attendance to honor Bernie Marcus, and not to make any political statement.”
Mort Klein, the head of the ZOA head, said he couldn’t have misled Foxman because Foxman was not invited to the dinner, but instead asked to come. Further, Klein said, the dinner hasn’t been politicized because it features a range of guests, including “liberal Democrat” Alan Dershowitz and Republican Ed Royce.
The ZOA has aggressively backed Bannon in the face of accusations that as head of Breitbart News he provided a forum for the so-called ‘alt right,’ which inculdes white supremacists and anti=Semites.
The ADL’s new head, Jonathan Greenblatt, called on President-elect Donald Trump to dump Bannon saying his extreme views have no place in the White House.
Foxman retired this year after decades in charge of the ADL, where he became the face of the world’s premier group fighting anti-Semitism.
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner