As people in the U.S. and around the world try to make sense of the mud wrestling match – also known as the first presidential debate of 2020 – one racist organization is getting great exposure. I am not referring here to any of the “usual suspects” that Trump would not condemn, like Proud Boys and others. I am referring to a more sophisticated, more influential and far more dangerous organization. It is an organization that for decades has managed to conceal its racist activities. It is an organization that to this day presents itself as a legitimate civil rights organization dedicated to fighting racism and particularly anti-semitism. This organization acts to justify, not to say legitimize, systemic racism, and acts of violence. The organization I am referring to here is none other than the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL.
Drop the ADL
Close to two hundred organizations that include faith groups and civil rights groups, among others, have signed on to an important initiative calling to end all collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). However, as commentators analyzed the finer points of the first 2020 presidential debate, many have quoted the ADL which came out against President Trump’s unwillingness to come out against racist white supremacist groups. In a move that is strategically brilliant but hypocritical, the ADL came out stating that the Proud Boys are “a hate group.”
The Drop the ADL initiative, also known as Communities Say No to the Anti-Defamation League, states on its website that, “The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has branded itself as a civil rights organization in ways that conceal and legitimize its right-wing activities.”
The website goes on to say:
Many progressive individuals and organizations partner with the ADL not knowing its ongoing legacy of supporting racist policing, surveillance, colonialism, and the silencing of social justice activism.”
Apparently, this important information about the ADL has not yet reached many of the civil rights organizations or the mainstream media, which continues to give it credibility as an organization fighting racism.
The ADL supports Trump
In a statement published in December of 2017, the ADL came out enthusiastically for Donald Trump. The statement congratulates the president for a statement he made in which he declared that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and will move its embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.
Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued a statement, saying that, “For decades, ADL has called on the United States – and the entire international community – to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” They went on to say, “We welcome President Trump’s announcement that the United States – almost 70 years after the founding of the State of Israel – will begin the process to relocate its embassy.”
Jerusalem was a Palestinian Arab city for for more than a millennium. It had a majority Muslim population and several minority communities including Armenians and Jews to name a few. The city was occupied by the Zionist forces in two stages that included violent assaults by Zionist forces, the western part of the city was taken in 1948 and the eastern part of the city was taken in 1967. After its occupation, west Jerusalem underwent a brutal campaign of ethnc cleansing and not a single Palestinian family or individual was allowed to remain. The homes and property of Palestinians – both private and public – were stolen and confiscated by Israel.
East Jerusalem, which was also taken in the assault of 1967 and it too underwent massive brutal campaigns of ethnic cleansing. East Jerusalem still has a large Palestinian population, and the State of Israel is constantly destroying neigborhoods, communities, demolishing homes and generally strangling the Palestinians of Jerusalem in an attempt to create a Jewish only city.
The Anti-Defamation League, which identifies itself as, “the world’s leading anti-hate organization,” and a global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online,” sees no issue with the United States legitimizing Israeli brutality in Jerusalem and ignoring the legitimate rights of Palestinians to Jerusalem.
The Drop The ADL campaign website provides a comprehensive list of resources proving that this organization is, in fact, a racist organization that supports violence. These resources show how the ADL acts on all fronts to support Israeli violence and to silence groups and individuals that speak up for Palestinian rights. Three examples of these resources that are well worth the time to read, are the following: A report published by Jewish Voice for Peace, titled “The Deadly Exchange.”
This report is extensive and shows how “The ADL regularly brings top-ranking U.S. law enforcement officers, including police chiefs, as well as homeland security, border patrol and ICE executives, to Israel for training with Israeli police, army and security officials.” The report also allows the reader to follow along with the itinerary of the ADL’s National Counter Terrorism Seminar (NCTS).
A second resource is an exhaustive report by Palestine Legal. This report, titled, “The Palestine Exception to Free Speech, A Movement Under Attack in the U.S.,” describes in great detail how pro-Israel organizations including the ADL work to undermine the legitimacy of groups and individuals who speak up for the cause of justice and freedom in Palestine. These organizations engage in vicious smears of activists, labeling them as supporters of terrorism and anti-semitic. The role of the ADL in these smear campaigns is significant.
The third is a report published in the Boston Review, titled, “The Anti-Defamation League Is Not What It Seems.” It states that “The ADL’s persistent power in U.S. politics has been strangely unaffected by its history, probably because that history is so little known.” It goes on to report that, “ADL’s calls to action have successfully mobilized public opinion against black leadership for decades, from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Ocean Hill-Brownsville parents in the New York City teacher strikes of 1968 to the Movement for Black Lives and Marc Lamont Hill.”
“The stakes are high for the ADL, because its moral authority is a moneymaker.” According to the Boston Review report, the ADL reported a combined total of $67 million in contributions in 2016.
Dedicated to the Defamation of Muslims and Arabs
As I note in my book, “Injustice The Story of the Holy Land Foundation, Five,” the ADL has an Islamophobic agenda. They were instrumental in the smear campaign against the Holy Land Foundation, which was at one point the largest Muslim relief organization in the United States.
Its campaign brought about the wrongful convictions and lengthy prison sentences of five innocent American Muslims of Palestinian descent.
The Drop the ADL campaign brings forward what is a largely unpublicized history of the ADL. Thankfully the ADL’s true mission is increasingly being exposed as a result of its role in condemning the Movement for Black Lives, its false accusations against Palestinian rights organizing, and its attack against Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar and Marc Lamont Hill.
As people across the world are shocked by the clarity of Donald Trump’s love of all things racist, we would do well to expose and isolate the ADL.
Feature photo | Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington., May 2, 2017. Carolyn Kaster | AP
Miko Peled is an author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. He is the author of “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”
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