[back] Anti-Defamation League

What is the real Racial/Ethnic agenda of the ADL?

By Paul Grubach

  The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) is probably well known to most readers of this Website. This New York based, tax-exempt Jewish-Zionist religious organization with affiliates in forty-two countries claims to be one of the premier civil rights organizations in the world, and allegedly, ending discrimination and securing equal rights for all are among its main goals.1 Undoubtedly, the sociopolitical agenda of the ADL reflects the wishes of a significant portion of the world Jewish Community. This is why it is important to ask the question: What is the real ethnic agenda of the ADL?

ADL preaches racial integration, racial equality and multiculturalism, as one of their most popular slogans is: “Diversity is our greatest strength.”2 This highly influential pressure group sponsors activities that urge people “to reject racial division,” and condemns discrimination against Jews in housing as an “an insidious form of anti-Semitism."3 A major focus of their activity in the US in the 1960s was the implementing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.4 This legislation help create a racially integrated society in the US. They allegedly reject all forms of "racial domination.” That is, a situation where one ethnic group dominates another, as they are especially hostile toward all manifestations of "white supremacy.” Where different ethnic groups coexist in the same nation, ADL appears to be a strong advocate of an integrated society in which all ethnic groups function as social and political equals.

Critics however have claimed that this ADL "moral agenda" is, for the most part, an ideological facade, a method by which to surreptitiously advance Jewish-Zionist interests under the guise of morality.5 According to this viewpoint, public opposition to racial/ethnic discrimination is being used in the service of the ADL's Jewish-Zionist ethnic/cultural nationalism. ADL preaches universalistic equality and racial/ethnic mixing for non-Jews while maintaining an exclusivist-separatist group identity for Jews. Judaism has been characterized by genetic and cultural separation from others, and an explicit double standard of morality—altruism and cooperation among Jews, but competition with non-Jews.6 Thus, according to this viewpoint, the Jewish Communities that reside outside of Israel where Jews are a minority need a nation that tolerates their long-term policy of non-assimilation and group solidarity. In a racially integrated society composed of a variety of different and competing ethnic groups, all with divergent interests, it is very difficult to develop a cohesive Gentile movement that is opposed to organized Jewry. In addition, in racially integrated societies outside of Israel in which the surrounding Gentiles have only a week and feeble sense of their own racial/cultural/religious identity, Jews are less likely to be identified as a hostile, non-assimilable, and alien element. As a consequence, in racially integrated, multicultural societies outside of Israel, Jews can gain power and influence.

So which is it? Is the ADL truly interested in creating racially diverse, multicultural societies where all ethnic groups coexist on an equal basis everywhere in the world? Or is this universalistic/multicultural agenda in reality an ideological front under which they promote a Jewish-Zionist agenda—Jewish dominance in Israel where Jews are a majority, but “racial equality” and multiculturalism outside of Israel because Jewish Communities benefit enormously from such an agenda?

Fortunately, we are offered a situation where we can test these two rival, competing hypotheses: Israel. In a past issue of the New York Times, there was a controversial article that discussed proposals for replacing the Jewish-Zionist state of Israel with a Jewish-Arab state--a binational, ethnically integrated, secular state where Jews and Arabs would live together as social and political equals. In the article’s own words: “The unthinkable was that Israel should be replaced by a binational country in which Jews and Palestinians would live together in democratic harmony.”7

National Chair of the ADL Barbara B. Balser responded to the article with her own “letter to the editor.” This missive apparently expresses a formal, etched-in-stone policy of the ADL. They reject the idea of a binational, ethnically integrated, secular state in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs would live together as political equals. They label this as an “insidious anti-Israel effort,” and “an effort to destroy Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land.” They clearly want to maintain Jewish sovereignty (read: Jewish dominance over the area--a state where Jews are segregated from and maintain dominance over non-Jews).8 This strongly suggests that what critics of the ADL say is indeed true. If the primary motive of the ADL was to promote racial equality and multiculturalism and ending all forms of racial and ethnic supremacy, then we should expect that they would promote this agenda in Israel (where Jews are a majority) just as ardently as they promote it everywhere else in the world (where Jews are a minority). But this is not the case. For the most part, the ADL promotes racial integration and multiculturalism everywhere outside of Israel because it actually advances Jewish-nationalism, and enables Jews to acquire power and influence in predominantly non-Jewish societies. That is, Universalism and calls for "racial equality" are used to serve sectarian Jewish nationalism. It is hard to believe that they sincerely believe in the ideals of racial equality and multiculturalism when they are the most ardent supporters of Israel, a separate and unequal society in which discrimination is part of the established social order and Jewish supremacism is enshrined in law.9


1. See the ADL’s website at http://www.adl.org/ Also, see Lee O’Brien, American Jewish Organizations and Israel (Washington, DC; Institute of Palestine Studies, 1986), pp.93-103.

2. See the ADL’s publication, ADL On the Frontline, Summer 1997, p.8.

3. ADL On the Frontline, Sept./Oct. 1997, p.13; ADL On the Frontline, June 1998, p.7.

4. O’Brien, pp. 93-94.

5. For example, see Paul Grubach’s “letters debate” with the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, April 2000, pp.72-75. Online: http://www.washington-report.org/archives/April_2000/0004072.html

6. Kevin MacDonald, A People that Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy (Westport, Connecticut; Praeger, 1994); Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (Westport, Connecticut, Praeger, 1998).

7. Edward Rothstein, “Seeking an Alternative to a Jewish State,” New York Times (Late Edition (East Coast)), Nov. 22, 2003, p. B.11.

8. Barbara B. Balser, Letters to the Editor, The New York Times, November 25, 2003. Online: http://www.adl.org/media_watch/newspapers/20031125-nytimes.htm

9. Uri Davis, Israel: An Apartheid State (London, Zed Books Ltd., 1987); Ian Lustick, Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel’s Control of a National Minority (Austin, Texas, University of Texas Press, 1980)