AFA's Don Wildmon: If ADL's Foxman criticizes religious right, some of them "won't support Israel anymore"December 8, 2005 7:36 PM EST ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association (AFA), used the occasion of the December 5 broadcast of AFA Report, his daily program on AFA-operated American Family Radio (AFR), to suggest that some members of the religious right would withdraw support for Israel if a prominent activist against anti-Semitism did not cease his criticism of it.
During the broadcast, Wildmon stated that Anti-Defamation League (ADL) President Abraham H. Foxman "got himself kind of in a bind" by criticizing the religious right. "[T]he strongest supporters Israel has are members of the religious right -- the people he's fighting," Wildmon said. "[T]he more he says that 'you people are destroying this country,' you know, some people are going to begin to get fed up with this and say, 'Well, all right then. If that's the way you feel, then we just won't support Israel anymore.' "
Wildmon's remarks came after Foxman, in a November 3 address to an ADL meeting, listed AFA among a group of conservative religious organizations whose "goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America." Salon.com reported Foxman's remarks on November 29. On December 5, Foxman and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, convened a meeting of American Jewish leaders to discuss what Foxman termed the religious right's effort to "Christianize America." In his December 5 broadcast, Wildmon discussed the New York meeting with three AFA staff members.
Later in the broadcast, Wildmon stated that "20 years ago ... when B'nai Brith ... complained about anti-Semitic [sic], some people paid attention to 'em. Really, today, not that many people pay attention to 'em."
B'nai Brith, a leading Jewish organization, founded ADL in 1913.
AFA's American Family Radio is a network of nearly 200 radio stations across the United States whose stated mission is to "inform Christians about what is happening in America." AFA also publishes the AFA Journal, a monthly magazine "full of information that will keep families informed about cultural trends, important issues, boycott information, and even television programming."
From the December 5 broadcast of American Family Radio's AFA Report, which also featured AFA Journal associate editor Rusty Benson, AFR news director Fred Jackson, and AFA Journal news director Ed Vitagliano:
WILDMON: We talked last week -- I think it was last week, the week before last -- Abraham Foxman. Anybody know who Abraham Foxman is or remember us talking about him?
JACKSON: Anti-Defamation League.
WILDMON: He's national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which is a Jewish organization. And Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, have set a meeting today in New York, and their discussion is how to stop the religious right, because they say that the religious right is threatening to destroy America. He says, "They are better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized, and organized -- of coalitions of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before." In other words, he's saying, Fred, that you three fellows sitting here -- now I'm excluded, I'm not like what he's talking about -- you're a danger to the Jews in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fred, is the Anti-Defamation League -- are they a very high-profile group these days?
JACKSON: You hear from them. I mean, the mainstream media will go to them for comments, like Mr. Foxman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you expect -- expect after this get-together for him to be on CNN or Fox or wherever?
JACKSON: Possibly, but you know, he doesn't get a lot of profile.
WILDMON: You know, he's got himself kind of in a bind, because the strongest supporters Israel has are members of the religious right, the people he's fighting. He's got himself in a bind here. Because the more he says that "you people are destroying this country," you know, some people are going to begin to get fed up with this and say, "Well, all right then. If that's the way you feel, then we just won't support Israel anymore."
JACKSON: Well, thankfully, there are people like [Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation president] Don Feder, there are people like [radio host] Michael Medved. He has a great editorial in today's USA Today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeff Jacoby of The Boston Globe.
JACKSON: Jeff Jacoby. There are people like that, Jewish people like that who've come out and said, "Mr. Foxman is dead wrong, and you shouldn't even be listening to him 'cause we don't feel the way he does."
WILDMON: You know, 20 years ago, people kind of feel -- when B'nai Brith, the organization here -- same organization -- complained about anti-Semitic [sic], some people paid attention to 'em. Really, today, not that many people pay attention to 'em.