Open letter to progressives: The ADL is not an ally.

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 American Studies Association

Arab Resource & Organizing Center

Asian American Advocacy Fund

Association of Raza Educators LA

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Black and Pink, Inc.

Black LGBTQ+ Migrant Project

Causa Justa: Just Cause

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Political Education

Civil Rights Corps

Claremont Colleges Prison Abolition Collective

Coalición de Derechos Humanos

Community Peacemaker Teams

Cooperation Jackson

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Critical Resistance

Democratic Socialists of America

Detention Watch Network

Dream Defenders

DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving

East Coast Asian American Student Union

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Haiti Action Committee

Highlander Research and Education Center

If Not Now

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

International Middle East Media Center

Jewish Voice for Peace

Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

The Jewish Vote


Kavod Boston


Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York


Methodist Federation for Social Action


Movement for Black Lives

Movement Law Lab

MPower Change

Muslim American Society

National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression

National Lawyers Guild

National Students for Justice in Palestine

New York Collective of Radical Educators

No Dakota Access Pipeline Global Solidarity Campaign

Nodutdol for Korean Community Development

Palestine Legal

Palestinian Youth Movement

Project South

Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

Rising Tide – North America

School of the Americas Watch

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Southerners on New Ground

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Teachers 4 Social Justice

The Red Nation

United We Dream

UnKoch My Campus

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

US Palestinian Community Network

Veterans for Peace


War Resisters League

…and further signatories.

See a full list of the signatories.
Sign the letter.
Press inquiries: DropTheADL (at)
August 2020