We were stunned by the news that the ADL will be working with Rev. Al Sharpton in organizing a boycott of Facebook. Apparently the ADL’s CEO Jason Greenblatt wants to pressure Facebook into censoring what he considers “hate speech” and enlisted Sharpton in the effort. Presumably, Greenblatt has speech directed at Jews and non-Jews alike in mind.
Partnering with the likes of Sharpton did not go down easy in the Jewish community, and Greenblatt was roundly criticized across the Jewish organizational world. Still vivid in our collective memories are Sharpton’s anti-Jewish incitements and incendiary language during the 1991 riots that targeted the Jews of Crown Heights and ultimately resulted in the murder of Yankel Rosenbaum.
Yet our concerns with the Greenblatt-Sharpton embrace are a little different from those of the others. To be sure, we have a problem with making common cause with someone like Sharpton who still has not seen fit to acknowledge that he betrayed us in 1991, causing much harm to countless individuals, but also exacerbating the split between the Jewish and black communities. Some of our prominent Jewish personalities marched with Dr. King and other black leaders in Selma.
But we also have a problem with nurturing decision-making by mob protest and rogue intimidation, which Greenblatt has done his fair share of engaging in. We shuddered at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments on the destruction of Baltimore’s Christopher Columbus statue last week. “I don’t care that much about statues,” she said. When asked if she thought statues should be taken down by a commission or a city council as opposed to “a mob in the middle of the night,” she responded, “People will do what they do.”
This kind of apathy, even antipathy, toward American traditions, beliefs, and symbols seems all too pervasive nowadays, and a Sharpton-Greenblatt alliance doesn’t bode well for turning the tide. Whose definition of “hate speech,” for example, will Greenblatt-Sharpton employ? We know what to expect from Sharpton. As for Greenblatt: As part of its embrace of the LGBT community, the ADL lately has gone beyond urging equal rights for LGBT people to describing anything connoting negativity toward LBGTs as bigotry.
Is the biblical view of homosexuality included?