Joe Klein Defames ADL Leader As Intolerant for Questioning Appropriateness of Mosque Near Ground Zero

Time magazine's Joe Klein has a penchant for self-righteous bluster in his writing, particularly, it seems, when he's smacking around adherents of his Jewish faith who happen to disagree with him politically. Klein can't seem to let his wrath take a respite, as witnessed by a sabbath-day posting on Time's Swampland blog.

Klein lit into Abraham Foxman of the ADL in a Saturday morning blog post for his opposition to a planned Islamic center just blocks from Ground Zero in lower Manhattan (emphases mine):

The journey of the (Anti-)Defamation League from beacon of tolerance to slightly potty geyser of toxic foolishness continues apace. Two years ago, Abe Foxman--the ADL's very much over the hill president--accused me of anti-semitism for pointing out the Israel-first tendencies of more than a few neoconservatives, especially when it came to plumping for war with Iran (if you don't believe me, read anything--anything--that the goofy harridan Jennifer Rubin writes about Israel or President Obama over at the Commentary blog). Then, earlier this year, Foxman accused David Petraeus of being anti-Israel for making the indisputable point the the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn't make life any easier for US troops fighting in the region. And now Foxman has hit the jackpot, joining the intolerant know-nothings who are seeking to block the establishment of a mosque--actually an Islamic center-- near Ground Zero. The tragedy here is that the Islamic Center is precisely the sort of institution that the Anti-Defamation league traditionally supported


During the high-tide of anti-semitism, and then again during the civil-rights movement, and often since, the Anti-Defamation League transcended its Jewish origins to stand as a courageous American voice against prejudice. But now, it's making a mockery of its original mission and, in the process, it has sullied American Judaism's intense tradition of tolerance and inclusion.  I miss the old ADL and so does America. Foxman should be fired immediately. (Meanwhile, hooray yet again for Michael Bloomberg.)

Klein is free to disagree with the ADL's stance, but he's distorting the group's reasons for opposing the mosque. As Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll noted (emphasis mine):

The Anti-Defamation League said it rejects any opposition to the center based on bigotry and acknowledged that the group behind the plan, the Cordoba Initiative, has the legal right to build at the site. But the ADL said "some legitimate questions have been raised" about funding and possible ties with "groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values."

"Ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right," the ADL said in a statement. "In our judgment, building an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right."

Klein should at least address the ADL's stated concerns and logically argue why he believes they're a thin cover for bigotry rather than insisting bigotry is the only possible reason why the ADL opposes the mosque. But to do that would be require some charitable treatment of the ADL and Foxman, something it appears Klein is unable or unwilling to muster. One might reasonably call that intolerant on Klein's part.

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