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Friday, September 28, 2007

Arlington, Mass. And Other Towns Say No To The ADL

BRAVO to this group of people with TRUE integrity for standing up to the strong arm bigoted pressures of the ADL and Abe Foxman

In reading about the other towns who have said NO to the ADL, their reason given has been the ADL's refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide. Arlington, Mass. takes their opposition to the ADL much further in this open letter they wrote.

Group opposes ADL involvement

Arlington, Mass. -
(all links are added by Under the Holly Tree as support of statements made below)

We are among several residents of Arlington of different religions and
ethnicities who strongly support a town program to fight bigotry and
make our community a place where diversity is welcome, but who have
opposed Anti-Defamation League sponsorship of such a program from the
time public announcement was made about plans to bring No Place for
Hate here more than eight months ago.

We are encouraged by the suspension or reconsideration of the program
in Watertown, Arlington, Belmont, Newton and other nearby communities
pending full ADL acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide and support
for a congressional resolution to that effect. And we applaud our
Armenian sisters and brothers for their principled and powerful
political stand on this issue. But our concerns with the
Anti-Defamation League are far broader, although many of them are
rooted in the organization's support for Israeli positions, actions and

Since it was founded in 1913, ADL has played an important role in
fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination. Many are
familiar with ADL's anti-hate work and bridge-building to religious and
ethnic communities, especially in New England. However, over the last
30 years the ADL has also allied itself with right-wing forces in our
country, silenced dissent on matters related to Israel and blacklisted
and defamed progressive voices expressing views that are not in keeping
with its own, particularly on Israel and Palestine. Journalists and
researchers who publish in the mainstream press have documented this.

As residents who care about our town and want to help create a welcome
and open community, we say that ADL is not an appropriate co-sponsor
for an official local program.
Here are some of our reasons.

1) ADL blacklists, defames and silences the voices of academics,
progressive Jews, Arabs, Muslims, and other critics of Israeli policy.
As noted on the Jewish Voice for Peace Web site, "The ADL's stated
mission is to protect the rights of Jews and fight bigotry wherever it
appears. But the ADL has created an environment of fear and
intimidation, in which thousands of American Jews are systematically

In 1984 and in 1995-96, the Middle East Studies Association of North
, the major academic and professional association setting the
standards for scholarship on the Middle East, condemned ADL's
blacklisting of critics of Israeli policy. ADL continues to harass
academics critical of Israeli policy and American foreign policy in the
Middle East. Arab, Muslim, and Jewish voices in the academy are
especially targeted. ADL has destroyed the careers and reputations of
academics by disseminating falsehoods about their views.

Since the 1970s, national ADL leaders have written about what they
call the "new anti-Semitism," which renders any serious critic of
Israel an anti-Semite or "self-hating Jew." In 2006, ADL condemned
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports on the
Israeli-Hezbollah war, calling Amnesty's report "bigoted, biased and
borderline anti-Semitic" and castigating Human Rights Watch for
"immorality at the highest level." More recently, ADL strongly
criticized former President Jimmy Carter for employing "the old canard
and conspiracy theory of Jewish control" and more broadly challenged
his integrity for his book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." Only two
weeks ago in an NPR interview, ADL National Director Abe Foxman
condemned Harvard Professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago
Professor John Mearsheimer for their new book on the Israel lobby by
employing analogies to Hitler and Stalin.

2) ADL conducts illegal surveillance. In the 1980s and 1990s, ADL
conducted illegal surveillance of more than 950 groups and nearly
10,000 activists. Targeted groups included NAACP, Asian-American Law
Caucus, Artists Against Apartheid, Farm Workers Union, ACLU, Mother
Jones magazine, National Lawyers Guild, American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee, Greenpeace, Act Up, Action for Animals,
United Auto Workers and the American Indian Movement. ADL operatives
shared information on anti-apartheid organizing in the U.S. with South
Africa's Afrikaner government. (Spy Case Update, the ADL Fights Back-WRMEA)

In the 1990s several lawsuits were filed against the ADL in San
In 1999 Federal Judge Richard Paez issued an injunction
permanently enjoining ADL from engaging in further illegal spying on
, anti-apartheid and civil rights activists and requiring
ADL to show evidence of adherence to this injunction. Since the 1990s,
several other cases against ADL have made or are making their way
through the courts.

The ADL's history of surveillance dates back to the 1940s when ADL
spied on leftists and communists. The ADL also shared this information
with The House Committee on Un-American Activities and the FBI.

3) ADL opposes affirmative action. In the 1970s ADL was an early
staunch leader in the national fight against affirmative action. In
1978, ADL head Nathan Perlmutter called for a ban on all race-based
criteria for university admissions. In 2003, in support of
anti-affirmative action plaintiffs, ADL filed an amicus brief to the
Supreme Court in a case involving race-based admissions at the
University of Michigan. The Town of Arlington has a firm commitment to
affirmative action, as embodied in our Affirmative Action Advisory
Committee. This is a sharp contrast with the position taken by the ADL
on affirmative action.

4) ADL advocates for war in the Middle East. Since the 1980s ADL has
aligned with right-wing forces in the U.S. and abroad. In 2002, ADL was
one of the groups advocating for the invasion of Iraq and it has long
maintained a hawkish stance on U.S. military action in the region,
currently beating the drums to promote U.S. war on Iran.

For these reasons, in addition to the national organization's
long-standing refusal to fully acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, we
believe that ADL is not an appropriate sponsor of a program on teaching
openness to diverse perspectives. We ask our Arlington friends and
neighbors: If you were a member of any of the groups targeted by the
ADL, would you want the organization to be sponsor of an
anti-discrimination program in your town?

This commentary was signed by:
Susan Barney,
Mary Lynn Cramer,
Elaine Hagopian, Noble Larson,
Marilyn Levin,
Susan Rivo,
Hilda Silverman


Read: "The Ugly Truth About the Anti-Defamation League"

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