Why are communities opposing the ADL?
- Attacking our movements and intersectional organizing
- Promoting Islamophobia as “security policy”
- Holding back multiracial work to address anti-Semitism
- “Deadly exchange” of police strategies
- …and other controversies
The ADL’s work for rights and tolerance is matched with work against them. When communities work with the ADL, it lends credibility to its right-wing projects, and makes community spaces unsafe and unwelcoming to those the ADL targets. Given the ADL’s role in racial police violence, its opposition to emerging civil rights movements, and its promotion of Islamophobia, its presence in school systems and in social justice coalitions is untenable.
The ADL has a troubled history of undermining anti-racist groups in the US, from affirmative action to anti-apartheid struggle to the War on Terror to the Movement for Black Lives, and more. It’s a white-led organization—that doesn’t even recognize the vast diversity among US Jews—with a history of displacing the voices of communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and others in civil rights conversations.
In the past few years, the ADL has ramped up attacks on movements of people of color, LGBTQ people, and Jewish anti-racists and anti-Zionists. The ADL regularly labels its challengers as “anti-Semites,” “hate groups,” or “extremists” in public conversa- tion. Their targets include the Movement 4 Black Lives, the Women’s March, Jewish Voice for Peace, Muslim student groups, LGBTQ groups that oppose pinkwashing, and many others. In each case, it has attacked those who connect US racism, Islamophobia, and militarized policing with Israeli violence against Palestinians.
Promoting Islamophobia as “security policy”
Despite its claims to support religious freedom, the ADL partners with the federal government as a security and counterterrorism expert, explicitly and tacitly supporting Islamophobic policies in the War on Terror. The ADL is also a major voice driving US backing for the Israeli government, falsely equating support for Israel with support for Jews.
Holding back multiracial work to address anti-Semitism
The ADL regularly attacks Jewish groups that call for Palestinian rights, work across anti-racist movements, and challenge uses of the Nazi holocaust to justify racial violence against others, equate Israel with Jewish safety, and erase non-European Jews. It minimizes historical and current Jewish action for social change, instead promoting its own support for US and Israeli governments as “the Jewish view” and its opponents, including Jewish ones, as anti-Semites. Given these attacks, it’s particularly egregious that the ADL counts Jewish and other groups’ protests against Israeli policy as “anti-Semitic incidents” in its reports on national hate activity. The ADL’s tactics dangerously dilute the meaning of anti-Semitism in a moment when real anti-Semitism needs critical attention.
“Deadly exchange” of police strategies
The ADL’s connections to racist, militarized policing in the US have also become clearer in the past several years. The “Deadly Exchange” of policing strategies between the US and Israel is increasingly grievous as both US and Israeli police/military violence against communities becomes more visible and in some cases more intense.
…and other controversies
There are many communities who have long-standing objections to the ADL’s work. Some battles are ongoing. On some issues, like the Armenian Genocide, the ADL has adjusted its positions to adapt to criticism without addressing core issues. Some have had immediate and disastrous results for anti-racist activists, like the ADL’s intelligence-gathering on groups challenging the South African apartheid regime. For more history, visit http://www.DropTheADL.org.