Anti-Defamation League

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL; formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith) is an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. The ADL states that its mission is to "[fight] anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, [defend] democratic ideals, and [defend] civil rights for all", doing so through "information, education, legislation, and advocacy".[1][2]

Founded in late September 1913 by the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish service organization in the United States, its original mission statement was "to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people." The ADL has stated that its primary purpose is "to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike, and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens."[1] The ADL has 29 offices in the United States and three offices in other countries, with its headquarters located in New York City. Abraham Foxman was the national director from 1987 for more than a quarter century. In November 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Greenblatt would succeed Foxman as national director in July 2015.[3] The national chair is Barry Curtiss-Lusher.[4]

The ADL has faced criticism for its support for Israel, charges of defamation,[5] spying allegations, its former stance on the Armenian Genocide, and possible conflation of opposition to Israel with antisemitism.[6]

Anti-Defamation League
FormationSeptember 1913 (as Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith)
FounderSigmund Livingston
TypeCivil rights law
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
Jonathan Greenblatt
Key people
Sigmund Livingston (Founder)
Robert G. Sugarman (Chairman)


Founded in late September 1913 by B'nai B'rith, with Sigmund Livingston as its first leader, the ADL's charter states,

The immediate object of the League is to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience and, if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.[1]

The Anti-Defamation League was founded by B'nai B'rith as a response to attacks on Jews; the recent conviction of Leo Frank was mentioned by Adolf Kraus when he announced the creation of the ADL.[7][8]


Jonathan Greenblatt by Gage Skidmore
Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League since 2015

The stated purpose of the ADL is to fight:

anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry (in the United States) and abroad, combat international terrorism, probe the roots of hatred, advocate before the United States Congress, come to the aid of victims of bigotry, develop educational programs, and serve as a public resource for government, media, law enforcement, and the public, all towards the goal of countering and reducing hatred.

Historically, the ADL has opposed groups and individuals it considered to be anti-Semitic and/or racist, including: Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, Henry Ford, Father Charles Coughlin (leader of the Christian Front), the Christian Identity movement, the German-American Bund, neo-Nazis, the American militia movement and white power skinheads (although the ADL acknowledges that there are also non-racist skinheads).[9][10] The ADL publishes reports on a variety of countries, regarding alleged incidents of anti-Jewish attacks and propaganda.

The ADL maintains that some forms of anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel cross the line into anti-Semitism. The Anti-Defamation League states:

Criticism of particular Israeli actions or policies in and of itself does not constitute anti-Semitism. Certainly the sovereign State of Israel can be legitimately criticized just like any other country in the world. However, it is undeniable that there are those whose criticism of Israel or of "Zionism" is used to mask anti-Semitism.[11]

Since 2010, the ADL has published a list of the "ten leading organizations responsible for maligning Israel in the US", which has included ANSWER, the International Solidarity Movement, and Jewish Voice for Peace for its call for BDS.[12]

Separation of church and state

One of the ADL's major focuses is religious freedom for people of all faiths.[13][14] In the context of public schools, the ADL has taken the position that because creationism and intelligent design are religious beliefs, and the government is prohibited from endorsing the beliefs of any particular religion, they should not be taught in science classrooms: "The U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights of Americans to believe the religious theories of creation (as well as other theories), but it does not permit them to be taught in public school science classes."[15] Similarly, the ADL supports the legal precedent that it is unconstitutional for the government to post the Ten Commandments in courthouses, schools, and other public places: "True religious liberty means freedom from having the government impose the religion of the majority on all citizens."[16] The ADL has also condemned the public school Bible curriculum published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, saying that it raises "serious constitutional problems" and "advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another".[17] The ADL opposed Proposition 8 and supported the Matthew Shepard Act.

Tracking extremists

The ADL keeps track of the activities of various extremist groups and movements.[18] According to ADL Director Abe Foxman, "Our mission is to monitor and expose those who are anti-Jewish, racist, anti-democratic, and violence-prone, and we monitor them primarily by reading publications and attending public meetings …. Because extremist organizations are highly secretive, sometimes ADL can learn of their activities only by using undercover sources … [who] function in a manner directly analogous to investigative journalists. Some have performed great service to the American people—for example, by uncovering the existence of right-wing extremist paramilitary training camps—with no recognition and at considerable personal risk."[19] A person apprehended in connection to the 2002 white supremacist terror plot had drawn a cartoon of himself blowing up the Boston offices of the ADL.[20]

The ADL regularly releases reports on anti-Semitism and extremist activities on both the far left and the far right. For instance, as part of its Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), the ADL has published information about the Militia Movement[21] in America and a guide for law enforcement officials titled Officer Safety and Extremists.[22] An archive of "The Militia Watchdog" research on U.S. right-wing extremism (including groups not specifically cited as anti-Semitic) from 1995 to 2000 is also available on the ADL website.[21]

In the 1990s, some details of the ADL's monitoring activities became public and controversial, including the fact that the ADL had gathered information about some non-extremist groups. In 2013, J.M. Berger, a former nonresident fellow of the Brookings Institution, wrote that media organizations should be more cautious when citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and ADL, arguing that they are "not objective purveyors of data".[23]

In July 2017, the ADL announced that they would be developing profiles on 36 alt-right and alt-lite leaders.[24][25]

Role in arrest of potential assassins of Barack Obama

In October 2008 the ADL reportedly assisted the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) by providing, on request, information on Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and their associates and contacts, and on their ties to the Supreme White Alliance. Shortly thereafter the two men were arrested on charges of plotting to murder dozens of African Americans and plotting to assassinate US President-elect Barack Obama.[26][27]

Holocaust awareness

The ADL holds that it is important to remember the Holocaust, in order to prevent such an event from reoccurring. Along with sponsoring events and fighting Holocaust deniers and revisionists, the ADL has been active in urging action to stop modern-day ethnic cleansing and genocide in places such as Bosnia, Darfur, and Sudan.

The ADL gives out its Courage to Care Award to honor rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust.

The ADL spoke out against an advertising campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) beginning in 2003 that equated meat-eating with the Holocaust. A press release from the ADL stated that, "PETA's effort to seek 'approval' for their 'Holocaust on Your Plate' campaign is outrageous, offensive and takes chutzpah to new heights. Rather than deepen our revulsion against what the Nazis did to the Jews, the project will undermine the struggle to understand the Holocaust and to find ways to make sure such catastrophes never happen again."[28] In May 2005, PETA apologized for its campaign, with PETA President Ingrid Newkirk stating that causing pain "was never our intention, and we are deeply sorry".[29]

Political positions

The ADL supports the Jewish state, and has vociferously opposed resolutions such as the 1975 United Nations resolution (revoked in 1991) which equated Zionism with racism,[30] and attempts to revive that formulation at the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.[31] The ADL also has expressed concern over Israeli legislative proposals that would stifle freedom of expression and undermine Israeli democracy.[32][33]

The ADL honors individuals throughout the year for various reasons. On September 23, 2003, at its Tribute to Italy Dinner, the ADL awarded Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi the ADL's distinguished statesman award, an honor "conferred on world leaders who exhibit a commitment to furthering the achievement of regional and world peace, and who possess a special commitment to promoting human and civil rights".[34] Berlusconi is also known for his staunch pro-Israel stance.[35][36]

In 2006, the ADL condemned Senate Republicans in the United States for attempting to ban same-sex marriage with the Federal Marriage Amendment, and praised its demise, calling it "discrimination".[37] That same year, the ADL warned that the debate over illegal immigration was drawing neo-nazis and anti-Semites into the ranks of the Minutemen Project.

In 1974, ADL national leaders Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein published a book called The New Anti-Semitism (New York, 1974), arguing that a new kind of anti-Semitism is on the rise. In 1982, ADL national leader Nathan Perlmutter and his wife, Ruth Ann Perlmutter, released a book entitled The Real Anti-Semitism in America (New York, 1982). In 2003, ADL's national director Abraham Foxman published Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (San Francisco, 2003), where, on page 4, he states: "We currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s—if not a greater one."[38]

In 2010, during a hearing for Florida House Bill 11 (Crimes Against Homeless Persons), which was to revise the list of offenses judged to be hate crimes in Florida by adding a person's homeless status,[39] the League lobbied against the bill, which subsequently passed in the House by a vote of 80 to 28 and was sent to the Senate,[40] taking the position that adding more categories to the list would dilute the effectiveness of the law, which already includes race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and age.[41]

When the anti-Mormon film The God Makers (1982) was produced, Rhonda M. Abrams, Central Pacific (San Francisco) Regional Director for the ADL, wrote a critical review, including the following statement:

Had a similar movie been made with either Judaism or Catholicism as its target, it would be immediately denounced for the scurrilous piece that it is. I sincerely hope that people of all faiths will similarly repudiate The Godmakers as defamatory and untrue, and recognize it for what it truly represents - a challenge to the religious liberty of all.[42]

The ADL supports Comprehensive and DREAM Act legislation that would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal aliens of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.[43]

In October 2010, the ADL condemned remarks by Ovadia Yosef that the sole purpose of non-Jews was to serve the Jews.[44]

The ADL has spoken out against McCarthyism.[45]

Relations with religious and ethnic groups

Relations with Arabs and Muslims

In 2012, ADL released a statement opposing groups like the Stop Islamization of America and Stop Islamization of Europe, and activists such as Pamela Geller and David Yerushalmi, describing them as "anti-Muslim bigots".[46]

Relations with African-Americans

In 1997, the National Center for Black-Jewish Relations of Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans, awarded the director of the ADL, Abraham H. Foxman, with its first Annual Martin Luther King, Jr.–Donald R. Mintz Freedom and Justice Award.

In 2004, the ADL became the lead partner in the Peace and Diversity Academy, a new New York City public high school with predominantly black and Hispanic students. In celebration of Black History Month, the ADL created and distributed lesson plans to middle and high school teachers about Shirley Chisholm (1924–2005), the first black woman elected to the US Congress, and an important civil rights leader.

The ADL has also publicly accused certain African Americans of being anti-Semitic:

  • The ADL has catalogued a three-decade history of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's espousal of anti-Semitic rhetoric such as claims that certain Jews are "not real Jews" and that they are "wicked deceivers of the American people" who "sucked [Americans'] blood", and that powerful Jews promote homosexuality and control black leadership.[47] Farrakhan first attracted the attention of the ADL with comments in a March 11, 1984, radio broadcast saying that, "Hitler was a very great man".[48] Farrakhan insists that he was using the word 'great' in the sense of 'Great Depression' or 'great white shark'.[49] and on June 24, 1984, he described the Jewish state as "structured on injustice, thievery, lying and deceit and using the name of God to shield your dirty religion under His holy and righteous name."[48] The ADL has urged various groups including the NAACP (whose leader Benjamin Chavis developed a working relationship with Farrakhan in 1994) to dissociate themselves from Farrakhan and his views.[50]
  • In 1984 The Boston Globe reported that then ADL national director, Nathan Perlmutter, said that Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. was anti-Semitic, after Jackson referred to New York City as "Hymietown".[51][52] However, the ADL later reconciled with Jackson and has worked with him on the issue of the Iranian Jewish community.[53]
  • Film Director Spike Lee was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League for his portrayal of Jewish nightclub owners Moe and Josh Flatbush in his 1990 film Mo' Better Blues. The Anti-Defamation League said that the characterizations of the nightclub owners "dredge up an age-old and highly dangerous form of anti-Semitic stereotyping", and it was "disappointed that Spike Lee – whose success is largely due to his efforts to break down racial stereotypes and prejudice – has employed the same kind of tactics that he supposedly deplores".[54] Lee's portrayal also angered the B'nai B'rith and other such Jewish organizations causing Lee to apologize via an Opinion-Editorial article in The New York Times.[55]
  • During the 2002 election cycle, the ADL, in a letter to The New York Times, harshly criticized Congressional Black Caucus member Cynthia McKinney of Georgia for launching attacks perceived as racial against her Jewish opponent. According to an August 19, 2002, article in The New York Times, ADL Director Abraham Foxman said, "It made sense that Jewish Americans would want to contribute to efforts to replace Ms. McKinney".
  • In February 2005, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman called it hypocritical for hip-hop producer Russell Simmons to lead an ad campaign against anti-Semitism while also, according to Foxman's view, defending or excusing Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements.[56] Later that year the ADL urged prominent black leaders including Simmons to reconsider their support for Farrakhan and Malik Zulu Shabazz organizing the Millions More Movement and to "stand up" against black anti-Semitism.[57] Simmons, responding to ADL Director Abraham Foxman, said, "simply put, you are misguided, arrogant, and very disrespectful of African Americans, and most importantly, your statements will unintentionally or intentionally lead to a negative impression of Jews in the minds of millions of African Americans".[58] Foxman replied, "If there were a Jewish event which was led by an out-and-out racist, I would expect Black leaders to say to me that ADL should have nothing to do with it. And I would agree with them, rather than condemn them for their action."[59]

Interfaith camp

ADL's New England Regional Office has also established a faith-based initiative called "The Interfaith Youth Leadership Program", better known as "Camp If", or Camp Interfaith. Involving teenagers of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths, the camp brings the teens together for a week at camp where the teens bond and learn about each other's cultures. The camp has emerged as a new attempt to foster good relations between younger members of the Abrahamic faiths.[60]


Spying controversy

Since the 1930s, the ADL has been gathering information and publishing reports on whatever it identifies as antisemitism, racism, and prejudice, and on anti-Jewish, anti-Israel, racist, anti-democratic, violent, and extremist individuals and groups. As a result, the organization amassed what it once called a "famous storehouse of accurate, detailed, unassailable information on extremist individuals and organizations".[61] Over the decades the ADL has assembled thousands of files.

During the 1930s, the ADL, along with the American Jewish Committee, coordinated American Jewish groups across the country in monitoring the activities of the German-American Bund and its pro-Nazis, nativist allies in the United States. In many instances, these community-based defense organizations paid informants to infiltrate these groups and report on what they discovered. The longest-lived and most effective of these American Jewish resistance organizations was the Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee (LAJCC), which was backed financially by the Jewish leaders of the motion picture industry. The day-to-day operations of the LAJCC were supervised by a Jewish attorney, Leon L. Lewis. Lewis was uniquely qualified to combat the rise of Nazism in Los Angeles, having served as the first national secretary of the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago from 1925-1931. From 1934-1941, the LAJCC maintained its undercover surveillance of the German-American Bund, the Silver Shirts and dozens of other pro-Nazi, nativist groups that operated in Los Angeles. Partnering with the American Legion in Los Angeles, the LAJCC channeled eyewitness accounts of sedition onto federal authorities. Working with the ADL, Leon Lewis and the LAJCC played a strategic role in counseling the McCormack-Dickstein Committee investigation of Nazi propaganda activities in the United States (1934) and the Dies Committee investigation of "un-American activities" (1938-1940). In their final reports to Congress, both Committees found that the sudden rise in political antisemitism in the United States during the decade was due, in part, to the German government's support of these domestic groups.[62][63]

Lawsuit Arab American and African American groups

In 1996, the ADL settled a federal civil lawsuit filed by groups representing African Americans and Arab Americans, that alleged that the ADL hired agents with police ties to gather information. The ADL did not admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to a restraining injunction barring the ADL from obtaining information from state employees who are forbidden by law to divulge such information. The ADL also agreed to contribute $25,000 to a fund that funds inter-community relationship projects, and cover plaintiff legal costs.[64][65][66]

Partnership with FBI under William H. Webster

During congressional testimony in 1990, the organization was implicated in the use of Executive Order 12333 to facilitate some of its intelligence initiatives.[67] This compounded on a partnership with the FBI expanded by William H. Webster beginning in 1978 and resulting in a memorandum in 1985 instructing its field offices to "contact each [ADL] Regional Office to establish a liaison and line of communication."[68]

Armenian Genocide controversy

In 2007, Abraham Foxman came under criticism for his stance on the Armenian Genocide. The ADL had previously described it as a "massacre" and an "atrocity", but not as a "genocide".[69] Foxman had earlier opposed calls for the U.S. Government to recognise it as a "genocide".[70] "I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue. The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgement", said Foxman in a statement issued to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress, and "a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel, and the United States".

In early August 2007, complaints about the Anti-Defamation League's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide led to Watertown, Massachusetts's, unanimous town council decision to end its participation in the ADL's "No Place for Hate" campaign. (Watertown is known for its Armenian population.) Also in August 2007, an editorial in The Boston Globe criticized the ADL by saying that, "as an organization concerned about human rights, it ought to acknowledge the genocide against the Armenian people during World War I, and criticize Turkish attempts to repress the memory of this historical reality".[71] Then on August 17, 2007, the ADL fired its regional New England director, Andrew H. Tarsy, for breaking ranks with the main organization and for saying that the ADL should recognize the genocide.[72] In an August 21, 2007, press release, the ADL changed its position and acknowledged the genocide, but maintained its opposition to congressional resolutions aimed at recognizing it.[69] Foxman wrote, "the consequences of those actions", by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians, "were indeed tantamount to genocide".[73] The Turkish government condemned the league's statement.[74] Andrew H. Tarsy was rehired by the league on August 27,[75] though he has since chosen to step down from his position.[76]

The national ADL issued a "Statement on the Armenian Genocide" on August 21, 2007. The statement declared, "The consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide." Activists felt that the statement was not a full, unequivocal acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide, because the use of the qualifier "tantamount" was seen as inappropriate, and the use of the word "consequences" was seen as an attempt to circumvent the international legal definition of genocide by avoiding any language that would imply intent, a crucial aspect of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention definition. The ADL convened its national meeting in New York City in early November 2007 at which time the issue of the Armenian Genocide was discussed. Upon conclusion, a one-sentence press statement was issued that, "The National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today, at its annual meeting, decided to take no further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide."[77]

The ADL was criticized by many in the Armenian community including The Armenian Weekly newspaper, in which writer Michael Mensoian stated:

The belated backtracking of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in acknowledging the planned, systematic massacre of 1,500,000 Armenian men, women and children as "…tantamount to genocide…" is discouraging. Tantamount means something is equivalent. If it's equivalent, why avoid using the term? For the ADL to justify its newly adopted statement because the word genocide did not exist at the time indicates a halfhearted attempt to placate Armenians while not offending Turkey. Historians use the term genocide simply because it is the proper term to describe the horrific events that the Ottoman Turkish government unleashed on the Armenian people.[78]

After Foxman's capitulation, the New England ADL pressed the organization's national leadership to support a congressional resolution acknowledging the genocide.[79] After hours of closed-door debate at the annual national meeting in New York, the proposal was ultimately withdrawn.[79] The organization issued a statement saying it would "take no further action on the issue of the Armenian genocide". The ADL had earlier received direct pressure from the Turkish Foreign ministry.[80] Tarsy submitted his resignation on December 4.[79]

In the subsequent months, some human rights commissions in other Massachusetts communities decided to follow Watertown's lead and withdraw from the ADL's No Place for Hate anti-discrimination program.[79][81]

On May 13, 2016, Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL's CEO for less than a year, published a blog post in which he wrote "What happened to the Armenian people was unequivocally genocide" and urged the U.S. to take a position recognizing the Armenian genocide.[82]


Role in cancellation of speech by Tony Judt at Polish Consulate

In 2006, the ADL, in addition to the American Jewish Committee, was criticized by academic Tony Judt for allegedly pressuring the Polish Consulate-General in New York to cancel a scheduled appearance by Judt at Network 20/20, a non-profit organization that rents space from the consulate. In an interview with the New York Sun, Foxman claimed that the group "had nothing to do with the cancellation",[83] insisting that the ADL only called to ask if the event was being sponsored by the Polish government.[84] Polish Consul General Krzysztof Kasprzyk suggested in an interview with The Washington Post that calls by the ADL and the American Jewish Committee were "exercising a delicate pressure".[85] In reference to the role of the ADL and the American Jewish Committee in organizing the cancellations, Judt told The Washington Post: "This is serious and frightening, and only in America—not in Israel—is this a problem. These are Jewish organizations that believe they should keep people who disagree with them on the Middle East away from anyone who might listen."[85] The ADL denied the charges. According to Foxman, "I think they made the right decision... He's taken the position that Israel shouldn't exist. That puts him on our radar."[85]

Denver defamation suit

In 1994, the ADL became embroiled in a dispute between neighbors in Denver, Colorado. Upon the involvement of the ADL, the petty quarreling of next door neighbors, initially about garden plants and pets, quickly escalated into both civil and criminal court cases involving charges of anti-Semitism, and counter charges of defamation.

Candace and Mitchell Aronson, Jewish next door neighbors of William and Dorothy Quigley, used a Radio Shack police scanner to listen in on the cordless telephone conversations of Mr. and Mrs. Quigley. When the Aronsons heard the Quigleys discuss a campaign to drive them from the neighborhood with "Nazi scare tactics", the Aronsons contacted the Denver office of the ADL. Upon the advice of the ADL, the Aronsons then recorded the Quigley's private telephone conversations. The conversations included discussions of putting pictures of oven doors on the Aronsons' home (a reference to the Holocaust), burning one of the Aronson children, and wishing that the Aronsons had been killed in a suicide bombing. (The Quigleys later indicated that these remarks were not anti-Semitic, and were only intended to be sick humor.)[86] Neither the Aronsons nor the ADL were aware that Congress had amended federal wiretap law which made it illegal to record conversations from a cordless telephone, to transcribe the material and to use the transcriptions for any purpose.

Not knowing about the new federal law, the Aronsons used the tapes as the basis for a federal civil lawsuit against the Quigleys in December 1994. A day later, Saul Rosenthal, Regional Director of the ADL, appeared at a news conference with the Aronsons in which he described their encounter with the Quigleys as "a vicious anti-Semitic campaign", based solely on conversations he and associates had with the Aronsons. Later that day, Mr. Rosenthal expanded on his remarks in an interview on a Denver radio talk show.

Two days later, Jefferson County prosecutors used the tapes as the basis for filing criminal charges against the Quigleys.

The Quigleys became the target of scorn and ridicule. They received threats, and were forced to hire security guards for their home. A package of dog feces was mailed to their house. When they attended church, their priest openly chastised them in his sermon. The family was forced to shop in other towns, to avoid being recognized.[87] Mr. Quigley's career with United Artists suffered serious damage.[88]

Upon investigation, and after assistant district attorney Steven Jensen heard on the tapes the context of Mrs. Quigley's remarks, all charges but one, a misdemeanor traffic violation against Mr. Quigley, were dropped. The district attorney issued two letters of apology to the Quigleys, saying he found no evidence that either had engaged in "anti-Semitic conduct or harassment".[89]

The Quigleys brought a lawsuit against the ADL, Rosenthal, the Aronsons, and two ADL volunteer attorneys. The two attorneys agreed to pay $350,000 to the Quigleys in settlement of their claims. The Quigley settlement with the Aronsons did not involve a cash payment. The Quigleys maintained their action against the ADL and Rosenthal, which was heard in federal court. A federal jury returned a verdict of $10 million in favor of the Quigleys. The ADL appealed.

According to an April 13, 2001, article in The Forward, upon hearing the appeal, a federal judge "lambasted the ADL for labeling a nasty neighborhood feud as an anti-Semitic event" and upheld most of Quigley's $10 million lawsuit for defamation. According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News, with accrued interest, the judgment amounted to more than $12 million.[90]

New antisemitism controversy

In 1974, ADL national leaders Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein published a book called The New Anti-Semitism (New York, 1974), arguing that a new kind of anti-Semitism is on the rise. In 1982, ADL national leader Nathan Perlmutter and his wife, Ruth Ann Perlmutter, released a book entitled The Real Anti-Semitism in America (New York, 1982). In 2003, ADL's national director Abraham Foxman published Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (San Francisco, 2003), where on page 4 he states: "We currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s—if not a greater one."[38]

Reviewing Forster and Epstein's work in Commentary, Earl Raab, founding director of the Nathan Perlmutter Institute for Jewish Advocacy at Brandeis University, argued that a "new anti-Semitism" was indeed emerging in America, in the form of opposition to the collective rights of the Jewish people, but he criticized Forster and Epstein for conflating it with anti-Israel bias.[91] Allan Brownfeld writes that Forster and Epstein's new definition of antisemitism trivialized the concept by turning it into "a form of political blackmail" and "a weapon with which to silence any criticism of either Israel or U.S. policy in the Middle East",[92] while Edward S. Shapiro, in "A Time for Healing: American Jewry Since World War II", has written that, "Forster and Epstein implied that the new anti-Semitism was the inability of Gentiles to love Jews and Israel enough".[93]

Norman Finkelstein claims that organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League have brought forward charges of new anti-Semitism at various intervals since the 1970s, "not to fight antisemitism, but rather to exploit the historical suffering of Jews in order to immunize Israel against criticism".[94] The Washington Post has noted that the ADL has repeatedly accused Finkelstein of being a "Holocaust denier", and that "these charges have proved baseless".[95]

Conflict with Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

ADL is an advocate for gun control legislation.[96] The ADL supported the District of Columbia before the US Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller which argued that the city's ban on the possession of handguns and any functional firearms, even for self-defense in the home is not prohibited by the Second Amendment.[97] The League urged the Court to ensure that states retain the ability to keep guns out of the hands of "violent bigots".

Gun rights group Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) has been highly critical of the Anti-Defamation League. In pamphlets such as "Why Does the ADL Support Nazi-Based Laws?",[98] and "JPFO Facts vs. ADL Lies",[99] the JPFO has accused the ADL of undermining the welfare of the Jewish people by promoting gun control. In a 2007 handbill, the JPFO accused ADL Director Abraham Foxman of knowingly supporting the "use of Nazi gun control laws in America".[100] Foxman has written about the JPFO: "Anti-Semitism has a long and painful history, and the linkage to gun control is a tactic by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership to manipulate the fear of anti-Semitism toward their own end."[101]

Park51 Community Center controversy

On July 28, 2010, the ADL issued a statement in which it expressed opposition to the Park51 Community Center, which sponsors planned to build near the World Trade Center site in New York. The ADL stated, "The controversy which has emerged regarding the building of a Community Center at this location is counterproductive to the healing process. Therefore, under these unique circumstances, we believe the City of New York would be better served if an alternative location could be found."[102] The ADL denounced what it saw as bigoted attacks on the project. Foxman opined that some of those who oppose the mosque are "bigots", and that the plan's proponents may have every right to build the mosque at that location. Nevertheless, he said that building the mosque at that site would unnecessarily cause more pain for families of some victims of 9/11.[102][103][104][105]

This opposition to the Community Center led to criticism of the statement from various parties, including one ADL board member, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Rabbi Irwin Kula, columnists Jeffrey Goldberg and Peter Beinart, the Interfaith Alliance,[106] and the Shalom Center.[107] In an interview with The New York Times Abe Foxman published a statement in reaction to criticism.[108] In protest of ADL's stance, CNN host Fareed Zakaria returned the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize the ADL awarded him in 2005.[109] ADL chair Robert G. Sugarman responded to a critical The New York Times editorial[110] writing, "we have publicly taken on those who criticized the mosque in ways that reflected anti-Muslim bigotry or used the controversy for that purpose" and stating that the ADL has combated Islamophobia.[111]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Our Mission". Anti-Defamation League.
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Anti-Defamation League.
  3. ^ "White House aide Jonathan Greenblatt to succeed Abe Foxman as ADL chief", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Barry Curtiss-Lusher, National Chair, accessed November 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Post, Tom McGhee | Special to The Denver (May 14, 2014). "Jay Horowitz, Watergate prosecutor and Colorado lawyer, has died". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
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A Rugrats Chanukah

"A Rugrats Chanukah", titled onscreen as simply "Chanukah" and sometimes called the "Rugrats Chanukah Special", is a special episode of Nickelodeon's animated television series Rugrats. The first episode of the show's fourth season and the sixty-sixth overall, it tells the story of the Jewish holiday Chanukah through the eyes of the Rugrats, who imagine themselves as the main characters. Meanwhile, Grandpa Boris and his long-time rival, Shlomo, feud over who will play the lead in the local synagogue's Chanukah play. Since most American children's television programs have Christmas specials, this is the first Chanukah episode of a children's television series.

Raymie Muzquiz directed "A Rugrats Chanukah" from a script by J. David Stem and David N. Weiss. In 1992, Nickelodeon executives had pitched the idea of a Chanukah special to the production team, but the concept was revised and became the 1995 special, "A Rugrats Passover". After production of the Passover episode wrapped, the crew returned to the Chanukah idea. Nickelodeon broadcast "A Rugrats Chanukah" on December 4, 1996; the episode received a Nielsen rating of 7.9 and positive reviews from television critics. Along with other Rugrats episodes featuring Boris and his wife, the special attracted controversy when the Anti-Defamation League compared the character designs to anti-Semitic drawings from a 1930s Nazi newspaper.

Abraham Foxman

Abraham Henry Foxman (born May 1, 1940) is an American lawyer and activist. He was National Director of the Anti-Defamation League from 1987 to 2015, and is currently the League's National Director Emeritus. In March 2016, he became head of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City.

Alex Linder

Milton Alexander Linder (born June 30, 1966) is the owner-operator of Vanguard News Network (VNN), an antisemitic, white separatist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Holocaust denying, fascist, and white nationalist website which he launched in 2000. VNN is one of the most active white supremacist sites on the Internet, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Its motto is "No Jews. Just Right."

American Italian Anti-Defamation League

The American Italian Anti-Defamation League was a political advocacy group formed by a group of Italian Americans from New York City in 1967. They held a concert in New York City where Frank Sinatra, the national chairman, played for an audience of 20,000. The group's ostensible purpose was to prevent Italian Americans as a group from being defamed, primarily by being uniformly stereotyped as all being involved with or related to persons or activities associated with the Mafia.

They were sued by the original Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization founded to discredit the blood libel, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other instances of anti-Semitism. The suit was based on the purported appropriation of the ADL's name in a way which would likely cause confusion between the two groups by members of the general public. The Italian group relinquished the name and eventually dissolved.

American Renaissance (magazine)

American Renaissance (AR or AmRen) is a monthly white supremacist online publication founded and edited by Jared Taylor. It is published by the New Century Foundation, which describes itself as a "race-realist, white advocacy organization". It has also been described as "alt-right" by The Guardian.

Animal rights and the Holocaust

Several writers, including Jewish Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, and animal rights groups have drawn a comparison between the treatment of animals and the Holocaust. The comparison is regarded as controversial, and has been criticized by organizations that campaign against antisemitism, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.A character in one of Singer's stories described the treatment of animals by humans as "an eternal Treblinka". Similarly, the eponymous character in J. M. Coetzee's Elizabeth Costello compared the Nazis' treatment of Jews to methods used by the meat industry to herd and slaughter cattle. The comparison began immediately after the end of World War II, when Jewish writers recounted the lack of resistance by European Jewish victims of the Holocaust, who were led to their death as "sheep to slaughter". The ADL argues, however, that the subsequent use of Holocaust imagery by animal rights activists is a "disturbing development".Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews for Animal Rights argues in her essay "Animal Suffering and the Holocaust: The Problem with Comparisons" that, although there is "connective tissue" between animal suffering and the Holocaust, they "fall into different historical frameworks, and comparison between them aborts the ... force of anti-Semitism." She has also written that she "agree[s] with I.B. Singer's statement, that 'every day is Treblinka for the animals'", but concludes that "some agonies are too total to be compared with other agonies."


GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is an American non-governmental media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media. Before March 2013, the name "GLAAD" had been an acronym for "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation", but became the primary name due to its inclusiveness of bisexual and transgender issues.


The Hammerskins (also known as Hammerskin Nation) are a white supremacist group formed in 1988 in Dallas, Texas. Their primary focus is the production and promotion of white power rock music, and many white power bands have been affiliated with the group. The Hammerskins were affiliated with the record label 9% Productions. The Hammerskins host several annual concerts, including Hammerfest, an annual event in both the United States and Europe in honor of deceased Hammerskin Joe Rowan, the lead singer of the band Nordic Thunder.It was one of the most prominent American white power skinhead groups. The Anti-Defamation League describes them as the United States' best-organized neo-Nazi skinhead group, with the Hammerskin Nation website boasting six chapters in the United States and chapters existing in Canada, various European countries, New Zealand, and Australia. The Hammerskins also have supporter chapters, known as Crew 38, in most of these countries.

Hans Schmidt (Waffen-SS)

Hans Schmidt (24 April 1927 – 30 May 2010) was a German-born naturalized American citizen, member of the Waffen-SS during World War II, and founder of the German-American National Political Action Committee (GANPAC). He was primarily known for his promotion of White separatism, National Socialism, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial. Schmidt was arrested in Germany on hate charges in 1995, but avoided standing trial by returning to the USA while released on bail.

Hitler Didi

Hitler Didi (English: literally Hitler Sister but figuratively Auntie Hitler) is a daily Indian soap opera that aired on Zee TV. It premiered on 7 November 2011. The story is located in the backdrop of Delhi. It airs in Pakistan on Express Entertainment. It also airs in Persian on Gem Bollywood as same name Hitler Didi.

The title of the show has been called "disturbing" by the Anti-Defamation League. In some countries, the show is known as General Didi.

Italian-American Civil Rights League

The Italian-American Civil Rights League (IACRL) was formed as a political group in and around New York City in the early 1970s. William Santoro, a defense attorney that represented many Colombo crime family figures, was responsible for the legal work that incorporated the league. Its stated goal was to combat pejorative stereotypes about Italian-Americans.

The group began as the Italian American Anti-Defamation League on April 30, 1970, when approximately 30 Italian-Americans, led by mobster Joseph Colombo, picketed the Manhattan headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They were there to protest the recent arrest of Colombo's son, Joseph Colombo Jr., on a charge of conspiracy to melt down old U.S. silver coins (the mintage of which had ceased five years earlier) into ingots. (The charge was later dismissed when the chief witness against the junior Colombo admitted to having committed perjury). Prior to this, the senior Colombo had complained of harassment of himself and his family by various federal law-enforcement authorities, who alleged that Colombo was the boss of one of New York City's five Mafia families—a charge he repeatedly denied.

The 30 demonstrators who appeared at the FBI building were joined by others in successive days, and ultimately their number grew to more than 5,000. The group then adopted the name "Italian-American Civil Rights League" after Colombo's attorney, Barry Slotnick, had suggested it. A logo, consisting of the numeral "1" superimposed upon a map of the United States, with the organization's name encircling it, was then devised. The logo invoked Christopher Columbus, the famous Italian explorer who opened the Americas up to European colonization.

Within two months, the organization claimed 45,000 dues-paying members, and held a large rally in Columbus Circle on June 28, 1970. The league gained further momentum when Frank Sinatra held a benefit concert in its honor at Madison Square Garden in November of that year.

The group then turned its attention to what it perceived as cultural slights against Italian-Americans, using boycott threats to force Alka-Seltzer and the Ford Motor Company to withdraw television commercials the league objected to; and United States Attorney General John Mitchell to order the United States Justice Department to stop using the word "Mafia" in official documents and press releases. The league also secured an agreement from Albert S. Ruddy, the producer of The Godfather, to omit the terms "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra" from the film's dialogue, and succeeded in having Macy's stop selling a board game called The Godfather Game. The IACRL boycotted the Ford Motor Company because of its sponsorship of the television show The F.B.I. and its negative references to Italian-Americans as gangsters. Alka-Seltzer was boycotted for its "Dat's a Spicy Meatball" ad campaign.

In the spring of 1971, the IACRL announced that it had purchased land for use as a summer camp, known as Camp Unity, in upstate Rosendale, New York. The camp covered 250 acres (1.0 km2) and was open to all underprivileged New York City youth, regardless of ethnic background.

On June 28, 1971, the league held another rally in Columbus Circle. At the rally, Colombo was shot three times in the head by a man who was then immediately shot and killed; the blast left Colombo in a coma from which he would never recover (he died on May 22, 1978). Theories abounded as to the motive for the shooting; the most commonly held belief was that other Mafia bosses in New York ordered the hit because they did not like the media attention Colombo and the group were receiving. The organization, at that time believed to number more than 100,000, had effectively disappeared within a year after the shooting.

Jonathan Greenblatt

Jonathan Greenblatt (born November 21, 1970) is an American social entrepreneur, corporate executive, and the sixth National Director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Prior to heading ADL, Greenblatt served in the White House as Special Assistant to Barack Obama, and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

Mark Pitcavage

Mark Pitcavage is a historian and analyst of far right wing groups. He works with the Anti-Defamation League and was the creator of the now archived Militia Watchdog website. The site has been an archive since 2000 when Pitcavage took the position of Director of Fact Finding for the Anti-Defamation League.

Nation of Islam and antisemitism

A number of organizations and academics consider the Nation of Islam to be antisemitic, stating that it has engaged in Holocaust denial and antisemitic interpretations of the Holocaust, and exaggerates the role of Jews in the African slave trade. The Nation of Islam has repeatedly rejected such charges as false and politically motivated.

Nazi symbolism

The 20th-century German Nazi Party made extensive use of graphic symbols, especially the swastika, notably in the form of the swastika flag, which became the co-national flag of Nazi Germany in 1933, and the sole national flag in 1935. A very similar flag had represented the Party beginning in 1920.

Neturei Karta

Neturei Karta (Jewish Babylonian Aramaic: נָטוֹרֵי קַרְתָּא nāṭōrē qarṯā, literally "Guardians of the City") is a religious group of Haredi Jews, formally created in Jerusalem, British Mandate of Palestine, in 1938, splitting off from Agudas Yisrael. Neturei Karta opposes secular Zionism and calls for a dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah. While the Neturei Karta consider themselves true Jews, the US-based Jewish Anti-Defamation League has described them as "the farthest fringes of Judaism".In Israel some members also pray at affiliated beit midrash, in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood and in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. Neturei Karta states that no official count of the number of members exists. The Jewish Virtual Library puts their numbers at 5,000, while the Anti-Defamation League estimates that fewer than 100 members of the community take part in anti-Israel activism. According to the Anti-Defamation League, members of Neturei Karta have a long history of extremist statements and support for notable anti-Zionists and Islamists.According to the US branch Neturei Karta:

"The name Neturei Karta is a name usually given to those people who regularly pray in the Neturei Karta synagogues (Torah Ve'Yirah Jerusalem, Torah U'Tefillah London, Torah U'Tefillah NY, Beis Yehudi Upstate NY, etc.), study in or send their children to educational institutions run by Neturei Karta, or actively participate in activities, assemblies or demonstrations called by the Neturei Karta".

Polish League Against Defamation

The Good Name Redoubt – Polish Anti-Defamation League or Polish League Against Defamation (Polish: Fundacja Reduta Dobrego Imienia - Polska Liga Przeciw Zniesławieniom) is a right-wing non-governmental organization based in Warsaw, Poland. It was founded in 2013 by Maciej Świrski, who according to internet media company Buzzfeed has close ties to the ruling Law and Justice Party.

Steve Adler (lawyer)

Stephen Ira Adler (born March 23, 1956) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician who has been the Mayor of Austin, Texas, since January 6, 2015.

Adler has been a practicing attorney in Austin in the areas of eminent domain and civil rights law for 35 years. For eight years he worked as the chief of staff and later general counsel to Democratic State Senator Eliot Shapleigh in the Texas Legislature. He has also worked with or board chaired Austin-based nonprofits and civic organizations, including the Texas Tribune, Anti-Defamation League, GEN-Austin, Breakthrough Austin, and Ballet Austin.

Triple parentheses

Triple parentheses or triple brackets, also known as an (((echo))), are an antisemitic symbol that has been used to highlight the names of individuals of a Jewish background, or organizations who are thought to be owned by Jewish people. The practice originated from the alt-right blog The Right Stuff; the blog's editors have explained that the symbol is meant to symbolize that the historic actions of Jews caused their surnames to "echo throughout history". The triple parentheses have been adopted as an online stigma by antisemites, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists to identify individuals of Jewish background as targets for online harassment, such as Jewish political journalists critical of Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign.Use of the notation was brought to mainstream attention by an article posted by Mic in June 2016. The reports also led Google to remove a browser extension meant to automatically place the "echo" notation around Jewish names on web pages, and the notation being classified as a form of hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League. In the wake of these actions, some users, both Jews and non-Jews, have intentionally placed their own names within triple parentheses as a sign of solidarity.Prior to its use in this manner, ((( screen name ))) had been used in online communities such as AOL to indicate that a user was "cyberhugging" the user with the specified screen name.

Core topics
Antisemitism and
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Religious antisemitism
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and government actions
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Organizations working
against antisemitism
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Major religious movement
(and associated rabbinical membership
and policy body; seminary)
Major youth groups
Major college organizations and
Jewish fraternities
Major communal activities

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