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The We-Could-Go-Either-Way-On-Defamation League Weighs In

Photo by seier+seier

Photo by seier+seier

As spotted by The Agonist and Alternet, the Anti-Defamation League manages to denounce, appease, and embrace anti-Muslim bigotry, all in one two-faced statement:

We regard freedom of religion as a cornerstone of the American democracy, and that freedom must include the right of all Americans – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other faiths – to build community centers and houses of worship.

We categorically reject appeals to bigotry on the basis of religion, and condemn those whose opposition to this proposed Islamic Center is a manifestation of such bigotry.

The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of an Islamic Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found.

Yes, the ADL actually condemned the anti-Islamic opposition to the Not-Actually-Visible-From-Ground-Zero Community Center With A Mosque Inside… and then recommended giving in to it.  But wait, it gets better:

In recommending that a different location be found for the Islamic Center, we are mindful that some legitimate questions have been raised about who is providing the funding to build it, and what connections, if any, its leaders might have with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values. These questions deserve a response, and we hope those backing the project will be transparent and forthcoming….

….The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong.  But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right.  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.

Amazing.  It’s like the ADL is pro- and anti-defamation at the same time.  It denounces the right-wing bigots while using birtheresque we’re-just-saying-there-are-questions-that-need-to-be-answered weasel words to echo their talking points.

For an encore, maybe the ADL can announce that it “categorically rejects” homophobia but is mindful of the “legitimate questions” about whether gays make suitable parents or undermine military unit cohesion, and therefore recommends that they stop trying to get married or enlist in the armed forces because it upsets too many people.

Or maybe it can denounce anti-immigrant xenophobia while pointing out the “legitimate questions” about whether Hispanics are dangerous disease-carrying criminals who will steal our jobs and social services, and oh-so-gently suggest that maybe they should find another country to emigrate to.

Look, it’s very simple really: You don’t oppose bigotry by tut-tutting it and then siding with the bigots.  You oppose bigotry by opposing bigotry.

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