ADL Letter to Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC

Lawrence O’Donnell
Host, “The Last Word”

Dear Mr. O’Donnell:

Thank you so much for your kind words during the February 13 “Last Word” segment about the Anti-Defamation League and our work in battling anti-Semitism, and particularly for your gracious words about my work and leadership through the years.

In your segment, you urged me to speak out about the National Rifle Association’s so-called enemies list, suggesting the NRA is an organization that “secretly hates the Jewish people.”  You added that, “Most anti-Semites now know that they have to keep their views private, unless they are writing the public enemies list of the National Rifle Association.”

While we strongly agree that it is time for a more constructive discussion over gun control in America, I believe it is a mistake to accuse the NRA of engaging in anti-Semitism.  Such an accusation must always be used carefully, and in this case it does not apply.

While there are many Jewish groups on the NRA’s list of “National Organizations with Anti-Gun Policies,” it is also true that there are many other religious and non-religious groups included as well. Indeed, the list in no way singles out Jews. 

While we firmly reject Wayne LaPierre’s denunciation of organizations that stand in opposition to the NRA, we do so because it is counterproductive to a civilized debate on the issues, not because we believe it is anti-Semitic.  The reason the NRA opposes ADL is because we, like the many others on their list, hold principled views in support of gun control.


Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

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