More than 100 leading anti-racist, social justice and civil rights groups are calling on allied organizations to end their relationships with the Anti-Defamation League.
“Many organizations in our communities find themselves in spaces with the ADL, using its anti-bias education materials, or counting on the ADL to support our political goals,” the groups state in an open letter.
“In light of a growing understanding of the ADL’s harmful practices, many progressive groups are rethinking those relationships,” the letter adds.
The letter was published on Tuesday along with a 34-page primer – “The ADL is not an ally” – on the ADL’s history of advancing repressive practices and a racist agenda.
A major Israel lobby organization, the ADL masquerades as a civil rights group while systematically undermining social justice movements and repeatedly denouncing Black activists for expressing support for the Palestinian liberation struggle.
At the same time attempting to portray itself as an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement, the ADL has long boasted that it has sent hundreds of US “law enforcement executives” to be trained by Israeli forces in “intensive counter-terrorism” tactics.
But its signature efforts have been to shield Israel from criticism and accountability for its human rights abuses.
The groups calling for ending partnerships with the ADL include Jewish Voice for Peace, Dream Defenders, Palestine Legal, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the Movement for Black Lives, American Friends Service Committee, the Red Nation, Friends of Sabeel North America and the Democratic Socialists of America.
They say that even when their work benefits from “access to some resources or participation from the ADL,” its destructive role betrays social movements and their core visions for justice and equality.
“In short, the ADL has sought to portray itself as the authority on rights and justice – at the great expense of Black, immigrant, queer, Arab, Muslim, Jewish, and many other communities,” the primer states.
Highlighting its history of repressive practices on US campuses, the primer details the ADL’s targeting of student organizations and efforts to censor discussions of Palestinian rights “by falsely portraying it as a violation of Jewish students’ rights.”
The primer also notes the ADL’s ability to use its credibility to gatekeep and censor content on social media.
In addition to filtering speech for Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft, the ADL “vets content for YouTube/Google, where videos about the ADL’s police training exchanges with Israel have been censored as ‘hate speech,’” the primer explains.
It also points out the ADL’s support for actual anti-Semites, including Donald Trump and other right-wing figures.
Throughout its history, the ADL has consistently opposed left-wing movements while purporting to champion civil rights.
Whether it is its documented record of spying on human rights defenders, Palestine solidarity and other leftist activists, or its collaboration with the apartheid government of South Africa, the ADL’s “opposition to the left” has framed its work, the primer says.
Activists are hoping that the primer will encourage social justice groups to drop the ADL and seek out alternative organizations to help further their work.
“We who are committed to a vision of collective liberation cannot aid the ADL in projecting a false badge of progressivism that helps advance a racist agenda,” the primer states.