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The ADL's smear methods exposed


(Feel free to lift and use the image on right:)

San Francisco, April 2, 2002

 Part I: Paper trail of deceit



Winning wasn't easy, but fight after is harder  

This is the last of a two-part series on the hidden workings of the Anti-Defamation League and how three Bay Area activists were able to uncover a spy operation that reached into the San Francisco Police Department. Today: Acerbic battle leaves sour taste.

By Dan Evans
of The Examiner Staff

AFTER nearly a decade of fighting the Anti-Defamation League in court, attorney Pete McCloskey is as bitter as a man who consumed a gallon of vinegar.

The former Republican congressman from San Mateo, who recently won a settlement from the civil rights group for three Bay Area residents, is still tending to emotional wounds he endured from the ADL simply for defending his clients' rights.

"They come after anyone that disagrees with them," he said of the organization's tactics to paint him as an anti-Semite.

The decorated retired Marine, who represented his San Mateo County district in the House of Representatives from 1967 to 1983, is anything but an ideologue. He was one of the few Republicans who opposed the Vietnam War and fought with President Nixon on numerous occasions.

While he vehemently denies any ties to anti-Semitic or neo-Nazis groups, some of the avenues he chose to express his views have not helped his case.

Anti-Semitic newspaper

While in Congress, McCloskey granted an interview in 1982 with the anti-Semitic newspaper Spotlight. And in May 2000, he gave a speech at a conference of the Institute of Historical Review, a Holocaust revisionist group.

McCloskey spoke to the Spotlight because, he believes, one should speak to people they disagree with as much as people they agree with. The newspaper was the publication of the now-defunct Liberty Lobby.

Though he acknowledged the newspaper's subscribers were primarily right-wingers and racists, ascribing him similar views are ridiculous, he said.

"Not a year didn't go by during the years I was in Congress that the Spotlight didn't blast me as being a liberal Republican," he said.

In the Oct. 11, 1982 edition of the paper, McCloskey said Republicans were far better politically positioned than Democrats to push for a Palestinian state because GOP candidates were not as beholden to Jewish money to get elected.

"The battle will be for public opinion in the United States, whether the Congress will be willing to back Reagan and stand up to the Jewish lobby in this country," he said.

However, he also stated in the interview that he disagreed with 90 percent of the group's views, and suggested that peace in the Middle East would only be realized when the United States gave equal merit to both Arab and Israeli viewpoints.


As for his connection to the Institute of Historical Review, McCloskey said he respected the group's determination to question historical records. He said he strongly disagreed with the group's view on the Holocaust, but supported its right to say it.

In a letter last year to the group's president, Mark Weber, McCloskey spoke of his visits to death camps and his conviction that "there was a deliberate policy of extermination of Jews, Poles, gypsies and homosexuals by the Nazi leadership."

McCloskey also suggested Weber's group give up its views about the Holocaust, and instead focus on what he called the ADL's distortions of truth, one of them being its claim McCloskey was a Holocaust denier.

"It was like when Bush went down to Bob Jones University, and his political opponents tried to identify him with Bob Jones," he said, referring to the conservative South Carolina school that, until recently, prohibited interracial dating. "It's ridiculous."

"The primary view of the ADL is that Jews should not be stereotyped or guilty by association," he continued. "Yet you see them trying to discredit people by virtue of their association."

One of his clients, Steve Zeltzer, acknowledged he wasn't entirely comfortable with McCloskey going to the Institute of Historical Review convention. Still, he said, he supports the right of free speech, even if he strongly disagrees with the content.

"I wouldn't have done it, and I was opposed to him going," Zeltzer said. "I wouldn't attend one of their conferences. They have a right to say what they want to say, but I don't support their positions."

Another client, Anne Poirier, said she had not heard about her attorney's attendance at the conference and so couldn't comment on it.

"One thing I know for sure, though, is he's not an anti-Semite," said the Berkeley resident. "I'll go mano-a-mano with anybody that says so."

E-mail Dan Evans at


Dossier: The ADL'S illegal penetration of US and San Francisco police agencies, exposed in 1993
ADL in San Francisco Court, resists Demand to Disclose its Files
COUNTERPUNCH exposé: ADL's main fact-finder was also spy for South African regime; buddy was San Francisco cop who tutored El Salvadoran death squads
ADL settles San Francisco spying lawsuit, pays damages
ADL blinks, settles spying case