In 2005, Fareed Zakaria was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey first amendment award (Humphrey, you will remember, was Johnson’s VP who lost to Nixon after one of the US’s darker election seasons). Zakaria is a long time commentator, works for Newsweek and CNN. One of the better ones, at least by Muffti’s tastes.

When he was awarded it, the ADL showered him with adulation:

Fareed Zakaria has become a household name in analysis and commentary on a wide range of foreign issues and their implications on domestic policy…Whether reading his compelling commentary in Newsweek or other publications, tuning in to his eloquent analysis as a regular member of the roundtable on ABC’s ‘This Week With George Stephanopoulous’ or his weekly PBS show ‘Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria,’ he provides us with important information and insight,” Mr. Foxman said.

5 years later, Fareed has returned the award ($10,000 and plaque) over the ADL’s recent press release regarding the Mosque controversy in New York City:

The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings. “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?

(see the rest of his column here.)

In less eloquent words, Muffti thinks that Zakaria is asking Is the ADL on crack?

The ADL replied curtly in a press release:


You should know better than to link the Anti-Defamation League position on the Islamic cultural center/mosque with those of bigots. You certainly know that ADL takes seriously our commitment to combat all forms of bigotry, including that against Muslims, particularly since 9-11, especially the charge that all Muslims are terrorists.

In returning the ADL’s prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedom Prize, you seem to be throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

A fellow Humphrey Prize recipient, Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten, wrote that while he thinks ADL’s position is a mistake, “it was an error committed out of an excess of compassion and not an expression of animosity” and “ADL, even if it occasionally errs, is an organization I regard as indispensable.”

Good people can legitimately disagree about what is the best approach on this issue. Rest assured that the ADL you “long admired” is the same one doing battle against the bigots, even if we hold different opinions on this issue.

There are clearly a few issues at play here – (1) whether or not the ADL’s position on the Mosque is in keeping with their general position qua their mission statement. (2) Whether or not perceiving a tension between the organization’s aims and it’s actions in this matter justify the returning of a self-proclaimed prestigious award. (3) Whether or not the ADL is on crack. Muffti thinks ‘unclear’, ‘up to the recipient’ and ‘yes’ respectively.

On the other hand, the ADL did come out on behalf of the anti-prop 8 proponents. (for those of you who haven’t kept track, Proposition 8 was a narrowly passed voter initiative to ‘protect’ marriage by constitutional amendments. Married people, fear for your relationships as the case is probably going to the 9th circuit and perhaps the supreme court).

Today’s decision is a ringing reaffirmation of the right of same-sex couples to enjoy the fundamental right to marry. We are gratified that the court has recognized that there is no basis for “singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license,” and that such discrimination is unconstitutional.

ADL stands committed to the principle of equal treatment for same-sex couples. With this ruling, California can once again proudly demonstrate leadership in this fight for individual liberty and freedom from discrimination for all.

Maybe they switched to blunts?

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  • Common sense > ADL > Fareed Zakaria > Ground Zero Mosque > Jihadees

  • What I think you are referencing is Alexander Khanukov’s Concentric Circles of Care(TM) which is due out soon, as part of a script I’m writing in my free time. But please don’t confuse it with the simple Algebra above. 🙂

  • GandMuffti,

    Do you agree with Fareed’s latest brilliant insight that Hezbullah “respects Jews”?

    The August 22, 2010 edition of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” opened with a debate about the controversial mosque slated to be built in Manhattan. It ended with a monologue in which the host seemed to imply that Hezbollah’s “respect” for Jews could be a model for Americans concerned with the mosque plans. In that final segment, Zakaria said:

    And now for the “Last Look.” With all the talk about places of worship and where they do and don’t belong, I wanted you to see this. This is the Magen Abraham synagogue. It’s not in Miami. It’s not in Tel Aviv. It’s in Beirut. That’s right, Beirut, Lebanon.

    The synagogue is just now emerging from a painstaking restoration project. When the repairs began over a year ago, the temple was literally a shell of its former self. So why did this nation, often teetering on the brink of religious hostilities and hostilities with Israel, restore a Jewish house of worship? To show that Lebanon is an open and tolerant country.

    And indeed, the project is said to have found support in many parts of the community, not just from the few remaining Jews there, but also Christians and Muslims and Hezbollah. Yes, Hezbollah — the one that the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization.

    Hezbollah’s view on the renovation goes like this. “We respect divine religions, including the Jewish religion. The problem is with Israel’s occupation of Arab lands … not with the Jews.” Food for thought. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for “Reliable Sources.”


    We’ll be waiting for your retraction with baited breath.