We need to set the record straight on several points raised in a recent letter taking issue with the Anti-Defamation League’s efforts to advocate for the fair treatment of African-Americans at the hands of police (“Critical Of #BlackLivesMatter,” Letters, July 22).
First of all, ADL has not endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement. We do not have an official relationship with the body of activists who claim membership in this effort. And we are well aware that a small minority of leaders within the Black Lives Matter movement have supported anti-Israel — and at times anti-Semitic — positions. We have repeatedly made clear that we take offense at those positions and have strongly condemned statements made by those who have expressed support for efforts to boycott and divest from the State of Israel. We will continue to call out such statements because they often are rooted in bigotry and do nothing to advance a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Rather, they only perpetuate hostility and hate.
At the same time, we also know that many of the concerns raised by participants in the Black Lives Matter movement are critical civil rights issues that merit attention. Police brutality, mass incarceration, racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline are legitimate topics of discussion both in an educational setting and in the larger community. That is why we have developed educational materials that encourage critical thinking skills among students tied to these and other current events. And it is why we continue to collaborate with other civil rights groups, law enforcement and government officials to address these societal issues.
ADL is committed to fighting anti-Semitism and resisting bigotry in all forms as we seek to build the kind of society we all want to see for our children. And through this work we have collaborated with leaders in other communities to extend our reach, increase our impact and advance a shared agenda of pluralism and respect. ADL will continue to support those in any movement when they call for a more just society free of racism, prejudice and bigotry. If we can make this happen, we all win.
CEO and National Director Anti-Defamation League