Open letter to progressives: The ADL is not an ally

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is one of the signatories of this call to progressive organizations and social justice movements to Drop the ADL. 100+ racial, economic, and social justice organizations and coalitions have issued an open letter with an accompanying primer encouraging community institutions and organizations to rethink their relationships to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The letter comes in response to the ADL’s history of targeting and co-opting movements for justice—particularly those led by communities of color—and advancing Islamophobia, policing, and global militarism while projecting a false badge of progressivism.

We invite you to join us in signing on to this letter at the link:

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
  • Coalición de Derechos Humanos
  • 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
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism
  • Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
  • MediaJustice
  • Methodist Federation for Social Action
  • Mijente
  • Movement for Black Lives
  • Movement Law Lab
  • MPower Change
  • Muslim American Society
  • National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • 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
  • Adalah Justice Project
  • Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition
  • allgo, a queer people of color organization
  • All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)
  • Alliance for Global Justice
  • American Association of University Professors (NYU Chapter)
  • Arab American Action Network
  • Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice
  • Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance
  • Berkeley Copwatch
  • Catalyst Project
  • Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
  • Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network
  • Equality for Flatbush
  • Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine at UMass Boston
  • Freedom to Thrive
  • Friends of Sabeel – North America
  • Grassroots International
  • Interfaith Action Group for Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine
  • International Action Center
  • Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice
  • Islamophobia Studies Center
  • Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council
  • Jews Say No!
  • Labor for Palestine
  • LAGAI – Queer Insurrection
  • Los Angeles Muslim Professionals
  • Middle East Children’s Alliance
  • Muslim Justice League
  • National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
  • National Students for Justice in Palestine
  • Nevadans for Palestinian Human Rights
  • O’odham Anti Border Collective
  • Pan-African Roots
  • Participatory Action Research Center
  • Peace Action
  • Progressive Jews of St. Louis
  • QUIT! Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism
  • Researching the American-Israeli Alliance
  • Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
  • San Francisco Rising
  • Southsiders For Peace
  • St Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee
  • Stand with Kashmir
  • Trans Liberation Collective
  • Tufts Arab Student Association
  • United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network
  • US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
  • Vigilant Love
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US
  • Women Watch Afrika, Inc.

Printable primer:

Download the PDF file .

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