About the Anti-Defamation League

Many communities and individuals have expressed deep concerns about the inclusion of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the widely-publicized racial bias trainings to be held at Starbucks nationwide on May 29th initiated in response to concerted grassroots organizing following the arrest of two black men simply waiting for friends at Starbucks.

The team of organizations participating in the trainings include highly respected experts with long histories in fighting for racial justice. The ADL does not fit this bill. To the contrary, while the ADL markets itself as a civil rights organization, its history betrays an extensive record of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian advocacy.

There are countless ways the ADL has fueled Islamophobia for decades— from surveillance to smear campaigns–and their attacks on Muslim communities in the U.S. are far-reaching. For example, the ADL includes in their education section a dossier on the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR)–America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization–including baseless right wing talking points that try to delegitimize the organization and its leaders. When Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim American Congressman, who is a highly-regarded political and community leader, was seeking to lead the Democratic National Committee, the ADL ran a full-throttle campaign against him parroting false accusations of anti-Semitism.

The ADL has also exhibited its lack of commitment to standing against anti-Black racism and anti-Muslim violence and surveillance at the hands of the police. Their deep ongoing relationship with, and feting of, police departments make them an unfit partner to Black communities and all communities of color targeted by ongoing police abuse. For example, just a year after the murder of Michael Brown, the ADL honored the St. Louis Police Department. And when the entire Muslim community in NYC was being surveilled by the NYPD, the ADL did not oppose it.

The ADL often places its concerns for the Israeli government above its concerns for human rights. This includes their support, contrary to international law, for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; blaming unarmed peaceful protesters in Gaza for their deaths at the hands of the Israeli army; and actively supporting legislation that impinges on the constitutional right to boycott. They sponsor police exchanges with Israel where the worst practices of surveillance, profiling, and human rights abuses are shared and promoted.

This info sheet was compiled by JVP and Jews Against Anti Muslim Racism.

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