Most polls ranking campaign issues place aid to education near the top of voter concerns. And judging by a series of congressional votes, most Americans don’t seem to mind if Jewish schools get government funding, as well. Nevertheless, a Senate vote earlier this month, which would free up money for parents with children in day schools as well as public schools, has ignited a fierce debate in the Jewish community over whether this was a necessary gift or a Trojan horse.
Hate groups have been out of the news in recent months, but that doesn’t mean they are not exploiting recent events — including the stock market plunge and the Monica Lewinsky scandal — to expand their base. That was the message in a new Anti-Defamation League report on the National Alliance, which the Jewish watchdog group called “the single most dangerous organized hate group in America today.”
As Irv Rubin lay on life support this week in a Los Angeles hospital after what authorities said was a suicide attempt, the controversial Jewish Defense League leader was remembered as “a fighter for Israel, a feisty old Brooklyn fighter.”
Hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who has admitted hyping the worth of the clothing line he founded to inflate its market value, is claiming now that ADL National Director Abraham Foxman "single-handedly caused millions of persons to flock to see the 'Passion of Christ.'" His assertion came in a letter to Foxman in which he blasted the Jewish leader for being "misguided, arrogant and very disrespectful of African Americans" for his call to black leaders to disassociate themselves from the Minister Louis Farrakhan and his Millions More March on Oct. 15.
Jewish community traditionally at the forefront of immigrant rights efforts has gone strangely mute as politicians fan public fury over illegal immigration. This week there were signs that is changing; the Anti-Defamation League issued a warning to the 2008 presidential candidates to cool their white-hot rhetoric on the issue.
But the ADL has been a lone voice; some critics say the timorous Jewish response is not commensurate with an anti-immigrant surge that could ultimately hurt all minorities – Jews included.
Mention the Anti-Defamation League, and the name Abraham Foxman —the group’s longtime professional leader — leaps out. For Glen Lewy, the group’s national chairman and top lay leader, that’s not exactly a liability.
“We’re blessed by having a dominant chief executive whose words carry weight, whose reputation has strength,” he said in an interview on the eve of the group’s national meetings here.
It's time for Congress to stop playing politics with a law that will protect all minorities
There’s a good reason the Anti-Defamation League and a number of other major Jewish groups have made passage of a new hate crimes bill a top priority: there are still too many places in America where violent crimes against unpopular minorities are not investigated or prosecuted with any vigor.