At Least House of Cards Spelled the Anti-Defamation League’s Name Right

 At Least <em>House of Cards</em> Spelled the Anti Defamation Leagues Name RightSpoiler Alert: The Anti-Defamation League is portrayed in two scenes in the opening episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards. 

Kevin Spacey’s majority whip character sabotages the president’s choice for secretary of state after he unearths an editorial criticizing the illegal occupation of Palestine in the college newspaper that was edited by the nominee. In the fictional depiction, the ADL calls the nominee an anti-Semite.

In real life, the ADL wrote a blog post to react to its portrayal.

“For us at the Anti-Defamation League, the old Madi­son Avenue line ‘as long as they spell my name right’ par­tially applies to the new mini-series House of Cards,” the ADL wrote.

The post goes on to explain that, while on one level they are flattered to be included in the Netflix hit, on another they feel it plays into the image that they criticize anyone who criticizes Israel.

“On one level, we see it as a form of flat­tery that the cre­ators of the pro­gram thought of ADL for such a theme,” they wrote. “On the other hand, it plays into an image of ADL which dis­torts who we are. It sug­gests, as some do, that ADL will call any­one who crit­i­cizes Israel an anti-Semite with the con­nected impli­ca­tion that we are try­ing to sti­fle legit­i­mate crit­i­cism of Israel.”

The truth is that while they would be “sharply critical” of anyone who referred to the West Bank as an occupation, they would not necessarily call that person an anti-Semite.

And ultimately, the ADL explained, they will not protest, as it’s a fictional show.

“We under­stand that House of Cards is fic­tion so we have no inter­est in protest­ing,” the post concludes. “But the more nuanced view that we have just described is the real ADL, an orga­ni­za­tion to whom cred­i­bil­ity is every­thing and one that makes sure that the term anti-Semitic is used when it is truly warranted.”

But the ADL’s post raises another question: is House of Cards the new Girls, about which everyone is obligated to offer an opinion?