Open letter to progressives: The ADL is not an ally

100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations issue an open letter encouraging community institutions to rethink their relationships to the ADL
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We are writing to ask you to reconsider the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a partner in social justice work.

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. In light of a growing understanding of the ADL’s harmful practices, many progressive groups are rethinking those relationships.

Even though the ADL is integrated into community work on a range of issues, it has a history and ongoing pattern of attacking social justice movements led by communities of color, queer people, immigrants, Muslims, Arabs, and other marginalized groups, while aligning itself with police, right-wing leaders, and perpetrators of state violence. More disturbing, it has often conducted those attacks under the banner of “civil rights.” This largely unpublicized history has come increasingly to light as activists work to make sense of the ADL’s role in condemning the Movement for Black Lives, Palestinian rights organizing, and Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar, among others.

We are deeply concerned that the ADL’s credibility in some social justice movements and communities is precisely what allows it to undermine the rights of marginalized communities, shielding it from criticism and accountability while boosting its legitimacy and resources. Even when it may seem that our work is benefiting from access to some resources or participation from the ADL, given the destructive role that it too often plays in undermining struggles for justice, we believe that we cannot collaborate with the ADL without betraying our movements.

This primer lays out some of the ADL’s practices. We hope this can open conversations about this important issue.


American Friends Service Committee

American Muslims for Palestine

Arab Resource & Organizing Center

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Black and Pink, Inc.

Causa Justa: Just Cause

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Political Education

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Critical Resistance

Democratic Socialists of America

Detention Watch Network

Dream Defenders

DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Highlander Research and Education Center

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Jewish Voice for Peace

Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice



Methodist Federation for Social Action


Movement for Black Lives

Movement Law Lab

Muslim American Society

National Lawyers Guild

National Students for Justice in Palestine

New York Collective of Radical Educators

No Dakota Access Pipeline Global Solidarity Campaign

Palestine Legal

Palestinian Youth Movement

Project South

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Rising Tide North America

School of the Americas Watch

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Southerners on New Ground

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Teachers 4 Social Justice

The Red Nation

United We Dream

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

US Palestinian Community Network

Veterans for Peace

War Resisters League

A full list of signatories can be found here.

Sign your organization on to the letter here.

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How could anyone ever have mistaken the ADL as a ‘progressive’ ally?

Of course the ADL is no ally to “progressives” of any stripe. This brings to mind an article that Phil wrote in June: “George Floyd killing highlights issue of US police training in Israel …… Much of the criticism focuses on a yearly counter-terrorism seminar in Israel that looks to be a police junket paid for by the Anti-Defamation League, which has trained hundreds of US law enforcement officers. Lincoln Anthony Blades wrote about the ADL training in Teen Vogue in… Read more »

Remember Bassem Masri? He died.

Bassem Masri, 31, a Palestinian-American activist who live-streamed throughout the protests against police brutality and the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has died. Reports of his death circulated on social media on Tuesday, with other prominent activists and journalists offering condolences and memories about the man, who was known for his strong, outspoken beliefs, and his thoughtful conversation.”

So, here it all gets tied up like a pretty package and comes home to roost~ it happens all the time to Palestinians, courtesy of the IOF: “After the protests, lingering trauma: the scars of ‘non-lethal’ weapons Dozens of protesters sustained serious injuries from teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades, used by police to disperse crowds during the George Floyd protests … It was a warm evening, a few hours before the 8pm curfew set… Read more »

“as activists work to make sense of the ADL’s role in condemning the Movement for Black Lives”
It’s very simple. The ADL’s prime mission is fighting anti-semitism. With Black Lives Matter being riddled with anti-semitism it is pretty evident to the ADL to not be endorsing them.