New York – Abe Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, is probably very sorry by now that he waded in to the quagmire of controversy over the construction of the Cordoba House mosque near Ground Zero in New York.
This isn’t the first time that the League, one of the most powerful Jewish organizations in the world, has been tainted by scandal under Foxman’s 23-year stewardship, but it doesn’t seem that any of the previous uproars have so fundamentally brought into question the role of the ADL, which was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” and today bills itself as the United State’s “premier civil rights/human relations agency.”
It’s not that the opposition to building the new mosque near the site of the biggest mass-murder carried out by Islamist terrorists is totally without merit – far from it. As Foxman pointed out, the families of the 9/11 victims who feel deeply offended and hurt by what they see as an insensitive project certainly deserve a hearing.
And not enough has been done to question the murky motives of the mosque’s imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who believes that the American administration shares part of the blame for the attack on the World Trade Center and sympathizes with some of the worst Islamic elements, including Hamas and the Iranian regime.
But the debate around the mosque in the U.S. has become an ugly mud-fight in which bigotry and political opportunism are the main motives.