TownHall: ADL and ‘Zuckerbucks’
August 2, 2021

By Rabbi Moshe B. Parnes, TownHall

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, recently excoriated several Republican legislators for drawing attention to the undue influence of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in American politics. These legislators, appropriately upset, referred to his hundreds of millions of dollars in donations as “Zuckerbucks.”

Let’s be clear: “Zuckerbucks” is nothing more than a pointed diss. But Greenblatt claimed that it was not just criticism of an individual (who happens to be a Jew, and a rather secular one at that), but rather a bigoted broadside against the Jewish people. “The term ‘Zuckerbucks’ is a revival of the anti-Semitic age-old stereotype that wealthy Jews maintain control over governments,” he said. “Those who use the term ‘Zuckerbucks’ are dangerously enabling (this) antisemitic trope.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Subscribe for more!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Greenblatt is the one who’s being antisemitic here. Reflexively jumping to proclaim that any connection made between money and a person who happens to be Jewish reveals, more than anything, one’s own prejudices and preconceptions.

Break out the schnapps! Bring out the gefilte fish and kishke! We must wish a hearty “mazal tov” to Zuckerberg. Apparently, he is the complete and living embodiment of Judaism itself. Greenblatt, by transitive property, portrays Zuckerberg as the very culmination of countless heartfelt parental prayers throughout the millennia for the continuation of the Jewish heritage. So herald, an attack on the tech titan is an attack on the entire People of the Book!

Before Greenblatt goes any further in honoring Zuckerberg (and names his next child something like “WhatsApp Greenblatt”), it’s worth reminding him of several things involving the anointed Moses of Silicon Valley.

In an interview with Recode, Zuckerberg shockingly noted that Holocaust deniers aren’t “intentionally getting it wrong.” If that’s not appalling enough, he stated that he didn’t believe that they should be removed from Facebook because “it’s important to give people a voice.” Zuckerberg is seeming less and less to be the child that Jewish mothers and fathers would want their children to emulate. Actually, he doesn’t seem like the type of kid that would make any tolerant parent proud.

Greenblatt should also recall that Facebook long provided a soapbox to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has called for, on another social media platform, the “elimination of the Zionist regime through firm and armed resistance.” He has also insisted that Israel is “a cancerous tumor that will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.” Clearly, Khamenei wants the democratic state of Israel to be supplanted with an autocratic theocracy. Zuckerberg offered him a stage.

Further, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook didn’t prevent advertisers from targeting users based on phrases such as “Jew hater,” “How to burn Jews,” and “History of ‘why Jews ruin the world.’” Zuckerberg, the Jewish icon, must have momentarily forgotten that he was Jewish, and that the haters were going after him, too.

Zuckerberg, who was raised in a Reform home, has described himself as an “atheist.” An atheist rejects the essential pillar of Judaism: G-d exists. Zuckerberg did recently say he sees value in religion. He also gave a kiddush cup to his son. Though seeing value in something isn’t exactly the most ardent endorsement. And Greenblatt ostensibly thinks that Zuckerberg’s mere identification with a Jewish object—in this case, a kiddush cup—makes him a proud Jew. (That’s a rather, dare I say, materialistic judgement for Greenblatt to make.)

I almost forgot—Zuckerberg posted a picture of his family pet, “Beast” the Hungarian sheepdog, wearing a tallis (prayer shawl) and a kippah (traditional head covering), two of Judaism’s most sacred objects. It’s possible he believes the litmus test of fealty to the Jewish people is whether your animals are also identified as Jewish. In that instance, he agrees with the bigots that the ADL is supposed to be tracking down that Jews are best symbolized as dogs.

Mr. Greenblatt, you can continue playing games by stretching words, symbols, and actions to absurd conclusions or you can finally get serious about fighting antisemitism by putting aside your personal politics. Zuckerberg is not the Jewish people, and the Jewish people are not Zuckerberg. His public positions are his alone, and he represents no one but himself. Save your fire for real antisemites, not those you conjure up for self-interested partisan reasons. If you’re not willing to make that simple and reasonable effort, it’s time for you to step down at the ADL.

Rabbi Moshe B. Parnes is Southern Regional Vice President of Coalition for Jewish Values, the largest rabbinic public-policy organization in America, and Dean of the Hollywood Community Kollel in Hollywood, Florida.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Spread the Word