Rabbis Condemn Southern Poverty Law Center, Call on Amazon Smile to Drop It

COMMENTARY Civil Society

Rabbis Condemn Southern Poverty Law Center, Call on Amazon Smile to Drop It

Sep 21st, 2020 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Joel Griffith

Research Fellow, Financial Regulations

Joel is a research fellow in the Roe Institute at The Heritage Foundation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center on March 3, 2020 in Montgomery, Alabama. Barry Lewis / Contributor / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Prominent Jewish rabbis are urging Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to eject the Southern Poverty Law Center from the Amazon Smile program.

Defamation is nothing new to the organization.

Its inclusion in the Amazon Smile program arms the organization with funds to continue its defamatory endeavors.

Prominent Jewish rabbis—including leaders in the Rabbinical Alliance of America and Young Israel—are urging Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to eject the Southern Poverty Law Center from the Amazon Smile program.

The Southern Poverty Law Center ostensibly strives to expose hate groups. It rightly identifies numerous groups, such as the KKK and the Nation of Islam, as hateful, but it also leverages its credibility to wrongly apply that label to others.

It targets groups engaged in countering ideological extremism, which deprives itself and others of valuable allies in the fight against white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and radical Islamism.

For that reason, a chorus of Jewish leaders are decrying the Southern Poverty Law Center as “uniquely detrimental and even dangerous to the Jewish community.”

Defamation is nothing new to the organization. In 2018, it paid $3.4 million and issued a public apology for calling Maajid Nawaz, executive director of the Quilliam Foundation, an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Nawaz is himself a Muslim who has devoted his life to fighting Islamism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism. How shameful that the organization nearly derailed his worthy mission to eliminate such hate.

In the same publication, it called Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Policy Forum—one of the most reputable opponents of anti-Semitism—“anti-Muslim.”

Pipes warned that the Southern Poverty Law Center has strayed far from its mission of defeating racism.

“The SPLC has turned into a left-wing hatchet group, using its accumulated prestige to go after legitimate organizations and individuals. Along the way, ironically, SPLC itself acquired some of the reprehensible characteristics it was created to fight. The result is a hugely rich institution with a formidable reputation lacking a raison d’etre or even a moral conscience. It has become a parody of itself.”

Its inclusion in the Amazon Smile program arms the organization with funds to continue its defamatory endeavors. The partnership fools an unsuspecting public into thinking that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a mainstream charity. An unwarranted “hate group” label from the group poisons the public to the important message of the targeted organizations and dries up their financial support.

The Amazon Smile partnership only invites those dangerous consequences and gives the Southern Poverty Law Center a patina of respectability it doesn’t deserve. Amazon should sever those ties.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal