By Dennis King
Letter to Newsday sent March 26, 2001; published the following month
The behavior of ADL national director Abe Foxman in arranging the presidential pardon for Marc Rich is truly outrageous. The ADL refused to lift a finger for Jonathan Pollard, a true hero who risked (and received) life imprisonment for providing U.S. ally Israel with information vital to its survival. Yet the lure of cash from a cheap con man, Mr. Rich, caused the ADL director to exert his lobbying clout on the highest levels of our government for an ignoble cause.
This is not the first outrage involving the ADL under Mr. Foxman. First, there was the inaction of the ADL during the Crown Heights pogrom--issuing tepid press releases while an entire Jewish neighborhood was under assault. Second, there was the spy scandal in which ADL officials were caught compiling dossiers on labor unions and on rival Jewish organizations for almost incomprehensible reasons. Third, there was Foxmanís weird attack last year on Holocaust survivors seeking monetary compensation from German corporations which used them as unpaid slave labor during World War Two--Foxman said they should cease their efforts because it might make gentiles think that Jews care too much about money. Fourth, there was the ADLís support on bogus civil liberties grounds for neo-Nazi leader Matt Haleís petition for a law license in Illinois (in the aftermath of this display of tender-heartedness, one of Haleís followers went on a rampage gunning down Jews and minorities).
If a government official or a corporate executive had compiled a record comparable to Mr. Foxmanís, he or she would have been sacked long ago. The ADL, as a nonprofit organization, is not accountable to stockholders or the voting public. But it does have a national commission. That commission should move immediately to fire Mr. Foxman, to turn over every penny of the Marc Rich slush fund to the defense team of Jonathan Pollard, and to return the ADL to its historic mission of fighting anti-Semitism.