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Posted Thursday, September 3, 1998


Merchants of Hatred

David Irving writes:

FOR OVER twenty years the powerful New York based Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai Brith (ADL), an organisation that is responsible to nobody but itself, has policed the media in North America (and much of the rest of the world), monitoring even the smallest provincial newspapers for advertisements or reader's letters and for evidence of activities by individuals whom they will list on their database as their enemies.

The ADL has then used its best efforts to destroy these people--not openly, and by fair means, but using their own network of influences and contacts, with ugly tentacles which often extended deep into the regular forces of law and order (the ADL were found in April 1992 to have bribed corrupt officials in San Francisco to secure secret police files.)

I have a special reason to loath the ADL: in February 1996 they started a clandestine campaign of terror against my New York publishers, St Martins Press Inc. and Doubleday Inc. Both stood firm for two months before finally capitulating to an unprecedented reign of intimidation and smears upon which even mainstream newspapers commented. At considerable cost, and of course at heavy loss to myself as well, these publishers abandoned their contractual obligations to publish my biography of the Nazi propaganda minister Dr Joseph Goebbels, the product of eight-years of research in archives around the world.

It is the ADL who have organised, through front organisations with names like the Coalition for Human Dignity, and the Nizkor Website, gangs of mobspitters to intimidate normal, law-abiding audiences, and a concerted effort to swamp the Internet with their own hate-filled propaganda. Simultaneously, the ADL backroom boys are trying to develop 1984-style software to choke off free speech on the Internet. Through their associates in the North American library system and state and county education boards they are trying to enforce the installation of this software on North American computers.

The article reproduced below was first published in the authoritative and respected Village Voice, New York (to whom acknowledgement is made). It is reproduced without any editing. We direct the attention of our visitors to our growing index of material on the ADL, which we intend to expand over the coming months.

May 11, 1993

The Jewish Thought Police

How the Anti-Defamation League censors books and librarians, and spies on citizens

By Robert Friedman

BOOK BANNING may seem like a minor inconvenience compared to home demolitions and mass-deportations, to name just two of the better-publicized tactics employed by Israel in its war against the Palestinians. Yet while censorship does not maim like a rubber bullet or a soldier's club, it is meant to obliterate the national consciousness - the very soul of a people. For this reason, the Israeli military has banned nearly 4000 books in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip since 1967, including the plays of Sophocles, the works of Egyptian Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, and The Battle for Peace by Ezer Weizmann, Israel's president. Few in the West have protested this assault on intellectual freedom. But a Chicago librarian decided it wasn't a trivial matter.

In July 1992, David Williams presented a resolution at the American Library Association's annual convention in San Francisco, calling "upon the government of Israel to end all censorship and human rights violations in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, and in Israel itself." The censorship resolution and a second resolution condemning the pending deportation of a Palestinian librarian were overwhelmingly passed at the ALA's membership meeting. They were also endorsed by the organization's ruling office.

The 56,000 member ALA, which has been the central forum for libraries and librarians since its founding in 1876, is hardly a radical organization. Though it passed resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa, it didn't take a firm stand against segregated libraries in America until the late 60's - and then only after a decade of acrimonious debate. The resolution condemning Israeli censorship was easily the most daring political statement the ALA had ever made.

The ALA's action did not go unnoticed outside the cloistered world of librarians. In fact, the resolution set the stage for a dramatic showdown this June at the ALA convention in New Orleans: On one side was a small band of progressive librarians, many of them Jewish. On the other was a well-oiled coalition of conservative Jewish librarians backed by the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith, which engineered a campaign to rescind what is called the "false and biased anti-Israel resolution."

But this is not just a cautionary tale about one librarian's battle against book banning in the occupied territories. It is part of a larger story about the most powerful Jewish organization in America, and its attempt to determine what should be taught in our nation's schools, what should be read in our nation's libraries, and what should be publicly discussed about Israel at public forums. Through its 31 offices across the country, the ADL monitors school curricula, library acquisition lists, and public conferences and symposiums, working behind the scenes to stifle intellectual freedom.

All of this is occurring against the backdrop of the biggest domestic spy scandal in recent U.S. history, embroiling the ADL in a criminal investigation in San Francisco, where it may face multiple felony charges for illegally obtaining confidential information from police files on thousands of groups and individuals ranging from American Arabs to anti apartheid activists. According to the police confessions of two paid ADL investigators, buttressed by 700 pages of court documents and interviews, the ADL freely passes its files to South African and Israeli intelligence.

In recent weeks, the criminal probe has spread to Los Angeles, where police are investigating allegations that the ADL illegally received confidential information about citizens from one or more police officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

And, revealed here for the first time, the Internal Affairs Divisions of the Chicago Police Department is currently investigation allegations that the ADL has been running a massive spy operation in the Midwest that was aided and abetted by local police officers. "We are identifying people in the Chicago Police Department who may have provided information illegally or improperly or improperly to the ADL," Sergeant John Putney of the Chicago Police Department's special investigations unit told the Voice. Putney added that he is also attempting to identify three ADL undercover operatives in the Chicago area known only as Chi.l, Chi.2, and Chi.3. The existence of the Chicago spy network was revealed in documents released by the San Francisco D.A.'s office.

FoxmanThe ADL refuses to speak to the Voice for this article. But defamation league national director Abraham Foxman (left) has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing on the part of his organization, declaring that he sees nothing wrong with keeping files on groups and individuals he believes are a threat to Jews. Foxman told the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California that critics who have called the ADL's information gatherings "spying" are "scapegoating" the organization. This is "an attack on the Jewish community vis-à-vis an attack on the ADL," he declared.


  AT FIRST GLANCE David Williams seems an unlikely candidate to take on the ADL. Hardly an imposing figure, the 43-year-old librarian stands just a tad over five-six, and would be lost in a crowd save for his trademark Panama straw hat. In 1972, when Williams graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the stately Mid-Western campus was the seat of radical anti-war protests that had spread across the country like rolling thunder. As a student, Williams was deeply engaged in the antiwar movement. Upon graduation, he went to Atlanta to help organize for the Socialist Workers Party. and later earned master's degrees in history from Georgia State University and library science from Emory.

In 1976 Williams was hired as a reference librarian by the Chicago Public Library. He became head of the Social Science and History Division's Middle East acquisitions six years later. In 1983, Williams wrote to the ALA, documenting examples of Israeli book censorship in the occupied territories. "I fear that ALA will not be willing to confront this issue, given the hysteria that arises in the United States whenever anyone sharply criticizes our alley and the 'only democracy in the Middle East,"' Williams wrote. "Of course, it's easy to dismiss this issue with the excuse that ALA's concerns for intellectual freedom are limited to the domestic United States.... Not being familiar with ALA structure and procedures, I can't suggest a particular action that you might take on this issue, but have brought it to your attention in at least the faint hope that ALA could be prevailed upon to study the matter and make some pronouncement."

Over the next decade, Williams not only bombarded the ALA with countless missives about Israeli censorship, but brought speakers to from Israel and the occupied territories to speak at an annual convention as well. While some colleagues admired his determination, others found him to be strident and single-minded. Even some of his allies in the censorship battle say his tendency to self-righteously attack his political opponents undercut his support. "David sometimes showed a real lack of sensitivity," says Mark Rosenzweig, a professor at La Guardia Community College who backed the censorship resolution.

A growing number of librarians even whispered accusations of anti-Semitism, a charge Williams vehemently denies. "Equating legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism is a way of intimidating public criticism of Israel," says Williams. "It's an outrageous and false charge. They can't find anything I've done except criticize Israeli policies on human rights grounds."

Williams insists that he was "very pro-Zionist" until he went to college and read books that contradicted the Leon Uris myth that fair-haired Jews wrested Israel away from venal Arabs who were, in any case, interlopers with no historical ties to the land. Today, though Williams calls himself "an anti-Zionist," he favors a two state solution on pragmatic grounds, declaring that "Israel should not have been established at the expense of the Palestinian people." While many of his progressive friends busied themselves over the past two decades with protesting the Vietnam War, or apartheid, or U.S. policies in Latin America, few dared to speak out on Israel, because, he says, they feared being labeled Jew-haters by groups like the ADL.

Williams soon discovered how treacherous the ADL, could be when he became ensnared in a heated controversy about - of all things - a bibliography. In 1989 he complied a bibliography on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the Chicago Public Library. It included 147 books divided into 11 categories, such as "The Palestinian National Movement" and "Zionism." Williams selected a mix of Israeli and pro-Israeli Jewish authors, as well as many Arab authors who are often ignored in standard reading lists on the topic. He also included several avowedly anti-Israeli polemicists. Uri Davi's Israel: An Apartheid State and Ingela Bendt's We Shall Return: Woman of Palestine could be found alongside Golda Meir's My Life and Menachems Begin's The Revolt. Williams bibliography was widely praised by academics, and was used as a teaching aid by the prestigious Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago.

In August 1989 Chicago's Chief Librarian Samuel F. Morrison received a call from a prominent Jewish patron, complaining about the "biased" bibliography. The library's director of collection development was dispatched to meet with Williams and examine the bibliography title by title. Convinced that the list was thoroughly professional, Morrison sent a letter to the patron affirming the bibliography's balance.

Two months later, the ADL and the Jewish Community Relations Council launched a concerted campaign against the bibliography, sending letters to library administrators and trustees as well as to Cindy Pritzker, the president of the Chicago Library Board (Whose family owns the Hyatt Hotel chain). On November 8, Morrison responded to the ADL's allegations of bias, stating that "as a matter of policy, The Chicago Public Library endorsed the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. Article 2 of the Library Bill of Rights states that 'Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view in current and historical issues.' Proposition 1 of the Freedom to Read Statement states that 'it is in the public interest of publishers and librarians to make available the widest possible diversity of views and expressions.' It is the opinion of Library staff that the bibliography successfully reflects those principles.

Undeterred, the ADL responded in a November 22 letter, complaining that the bibliography lacked balance and was flavored by a pro-Palestinian bias. The ADL also prepared a 19-page précis of William's bibliography, attacking authors and books deemed not to the league's liking (so, therefore, presumably unfit for public consumption). the ADL portrayed many prominent Israeli historians like Benny Morris and Avi Shlaim as unfairly criticizing Israel. Even so mainstream a figure as David Shipler, the former New York Times bureau chief in Israel, was lambasted for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Arab and Jews. Wounded Spirits in the Promised Land. "Often," the ADL wrote, "his attempt at evenhandedness results in distorted equivalencies between Arab and Israeli actions." Books that earned the ADL seal of approval included Bower J. Bell's sympathetic history of the right-wing terrorist underground, the Irgun and the Stem Gang, headed by Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir respectively

Soon after, Chicago-area ADL leaders met with Morrison behind closed doors and demanded a revamped bibliography. Instead, Morrison agreed to send the bibliography to four Chicago-area branch library heads for critical review and comment. The branch heads praised the bibliography's professionalism, though two reviewers who supported the list suggested adding a few more avowedly pro-Zionist titles. But the ADL wasn't appeased. When informed of the results, the league turned the letter writing campaign up a notch. Aldermen in heavily Jewish neighborhoods were bombarded with calls until they too complained to library officials and even the major's office.

In January 1990, a shell-shocked Morrison offered the ADL a compromise. He would update the bibliography, adding many more pro-Zionist books. Not satisfied, the ADL demanded that Morrison place 38 books it chose in a new bibliography and forbid Williams from working on this and future reading lists.

On the second week of January, the library administration capitulated, agreeing in writing to include more than 30 titles selected by the league in a revised bibliography, which would be compiled by someone other than the troublesome Mr. Williams. But the ADL's victory was short-lived. On January 30, Chicago Sun Times columnist Dennis Byrne revealed the ADL's covert attempt to impose its will on the readers of Chicago. "Chicago has been A place where you can fix everything from getting pals to zoning for skyscrapers," Byrne wrote. "But have you ever heard of people using their clout to get a library reading list changed?... Ominously, the group (ADL) has complained about the compiler's (David Williams) past. In a letter to the library, the group warned that it is 'aware' of his 'previous role' and 'association' with (an Arab) group on the other side... I can hear the echo of Joe McCarthy demanding: 'Are you now or have you ever been a member of the ..."'

The column followed by a second one a few days later, created an uproar. Here was unequivocal proof that the ADL was attempting to censor a public library, eerily reminding Williams of Israel's practices in the occupied territories. Dozens of outraged educators, attorneys, and librarians wrote to the Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library to condemn the ADL's assault on intellectual freedom. "As a Chicago Public Library cardholder, a taxpayer, an educator, indeed, as a Jew with a very personal stake in seeing that balanced treatments of the tragic Palestinian-Israeli conflicts are presented to the American public, I ask you to stand firm." wrote Sandra Lee Bartky, a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois. "There is a shared perception that political pressure of the sort brought by the ADL and the JCRC threatens the independence, not to say the excellence of a major cultural resource in out city and that the giving way to such pressure would set a dangerous precedent."

John Coatsworth, the chair of the University of Chicago's history department , wrote the commissioner, saying: "For the general reader, Williams has put together an extremely useful and carefully balanced works on this important topic. As usual, Mr. Williams work conforms to the highest standards of professionalism. Criticisms by groups like with strongly partisan sympathies in respect to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should, in my judgment, be dismissed out of hand."

Used to working quietly behind the scenes, the ADL backed away from its high-pressure lobbying campaign (as did the JCRC in its cameo role) after the flurry of negative press coverage. Still, Williams was instructed to include some titles from the ADL's list in an updated bibliography. So he balanced ADL-recommended books like Clare Sterling's The Terror Network with Edward Herman's The Real Terror Network.

The ADL's public drubbing in Chicago was an anomaly. Like the Yankees of DiMaggio and Gehrig, the league expects to win big every time it enters the park. The ADL, with a budget of $32 million, has far more firepower than a recalcitrant librarian - a fact that Williams was reminded of at the ALA's recent national convention.


   NEW ORLEANS, June 28, 1993. The fight to rescind the year-old resolution condemning Israel's censorship policies in the occupied territories drew more than 1,500 librarians - three or four times more than usual - to the Monday night membership meeting of the ALA's annual convention.

"There he is," cried a Jewish librarian, sitting directly behind me, as David Williams strode into the cavernous Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel, where members had gathered to either reaffirm or reject the controversial resolution. "I'd like to kill the little bastard."

Calls for William's head had been echoing through library corridors ever since his censorship resolution passed the previous summer. Back then, he had strong support on the floor, most notably from E.J. Josey, an African American professor of library science at the University of Pittsburgh and a past president of the ALA, who dramatically rose to support the resolution during the debate, saying that Israel was committing an "injustice." I think I did sway a lot of votes," Josey says now.

The ADL immediately went to work to overturn the resolution. An ADL delegation met with ALA director Peggy Sullivan in Chicago, where the library association is headquarter. The ADL demanded that Sullivan unilaterally revoke the resolution. "I was very conscious of how unknowing they were about the way the ADL works," says Sullivan, who told the ADL that the resolution's fate was up to the will of the membership.

So the ADL launched a letter-writing campaign, sending communiqués around the country. "Behind the scenes, the Anti-Defamation League met several times with ALA, with no positive results," Martin Goldberg, a co-chair of the ALA's Jewish Librarians Task Force, wrote to colleagues. "Abraham Foxman, ADL national director said, "Unfortunately, the failure of the ADL leadership to public denounce these resolution...signals to us that the ADL leadership condones inflammatory anti-Israel activities within its organization."

Meanwhile, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, sent an action alert to its members to attend the New Orleans convention in order to defeat the "anti-Israel" resolution. Hadassah, like the ADL, also prepared a "fact sheet" on censorship in the Middle East, asserting it was much worse it the Arab world, so why single out Israel? The fact sheets were distributed at the convention, and Haddassah flew down a professional lobbyist as well. (The fact that the ALA in years past had endorsed resolutions condemning censorship practices in Afghanistan, Iran, and even Great Britain was conveniently ignored by the Hadassah women.)

"We decide we would bring something to this effort - something that no other Jewish organization could, and that is grassroots involvement," says Sarabeth Lukin, a senior Hadassah official who headed the organization's efforts. "We had many of our members down there."

Although she doesn't have precise figures Lukin acknowledges that the ALA membership meeting was packed with Hadassah women. A large delegation of librarians from New York cheered every time a speaker criticized Williams. Moments before the vote, Jesey left the room. He later told me he felt ill. But according to another librarian, Jesey said he was afraid he would be branded a black anti-Semite if he voted to reaffirm the censorship resolution.

After the acrimonious 45-minute debate, the librarians voted to overturn the censorship resolution by a huge margin. By most accounts, the overwhelming rejection was due to a larger number of pro-Israel activists who came down at the behest of Hadassah, the fear of many ALA members that the controversy was tearing the organization apart, and a backlash against William's overbearing and self-righteous personality. "The resolution was very divisive to the ALA," says Sullivan, who supported revoking it. "We had members who felt it was not appropriate; they felt embarrassed by it, ashamed by it, mad about it."

After the vote, I spoke to Helen S. Kohlman, a lawyer and a library trustee, who is also head of the 1000-woman New Orleans Hadassah chapter. Several days before we met, she had hosted a cocktail party at her home for ALA officials, who mixed with local Jewish leaders lobbying against Williams. "David Williams is either anti-Semitic or stupid," said Kohlman. "If anybody has any Simmel at all and they want things to be fair, and they want a more humane Middle East, then they shut up! Now is the time for calm, now is the time for quiet. Now is not the time for David Williams.. .1 have a right to take him on. And I did. And I'm glad. And we won, And I feel wonderful."

The same week in New Orleans, ALA officials announced that they had set up a task force - reported at the ADL urging - to investigate Williams. (Some Jewish librarians privately speculated that Williams was on the PLO payroll, but when asked for evidence, could offer none.) While the task force was quickly disbanded thanks to protests by liberal librarians who warned it smacked of McCarthyism, ADL issued a press release, praising the ALA for rescinding the censorship resolution.

   FROM ITS INCEPTION in 1913, the ADL has successfully masqueraded as a civil rights organization concerned with the civil liberties of all Americans. Yet the ADL has had a long and inglorious history of suppressing intellectual freedom. It is a history that is now only coming to light in the wake of the revelations emerging from the ADL spy scandal.

The ADL was founded by Sigmund Livingston, an attorney from Bloomington, Illinois, to fight anti-Semitism. It started with a budget of $200 and two desks. When Arnold Forster, a young, tough, street-smart Jewish lawyer, joined the league in New York in 1938, it was still relatively unknown. Several years before coming to the league, Forster had set up an organization called the Junior Guild. It's members, mostly Forster's law school chums, traveled around New York on the subway, monitoring the meetings and speeches of anti-Semitic hate groups. It was a time when "Jews were suffering a national epidemic of scapegoating," Forster wrote in his autobiography, Square One.

The guild soon became, wrote Forster, an informal field arm of the ADL in New York, and I "assigned the members to cover meetings of such as the KKK, Christian Front and German-American Bund, check backgrounds of anti-Jewish activists, and identify the sources of anonymous anti-Semitic literature.. .When people reported anti-Semitic slurs in a subway car or on a street corner, I would assign a volunteer member to meet with the complainant and prepare an affidavit for counteraction. We were at long last routinely able to record under oath much of the violent anti-Semitism in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and later, Boston... As thin as our operation seemed - by today's standards, insignificant and amateurish - its fact-finding and counteraction became the heart of the organization and eventually American Jews adopted ADL as its eyes and ears for exposing and monitoring anti-Semitism.

At the onset of the Cold War, the ADL was running perhaps the largest private spy agency in America, regularly feeding the FBI information not only on anti-Semitic groups like the KKK and the American Nazi party, but also on Jewish leftists and members of the Communist Party. "They [the ADL] maintained this very strong anti-Nazi, anti-Communist position," says a San Francisco official who is closely involved in the investigation of the ADL. "The anti-Nazi position was obviously very common to everyone in the U.S. at that time. But the anti-Communist position was not common during World War II. Immediately after the war people had a lot of different feelings about Communists - until the Iron Curtain really shut down." But there was the ADL, blithely combing through its files, naming names. It supplied not only the FBI, but, according to the Congressional Record, the Commerce Department, which reviewed the files of applicants for government jobs, searching for "subversives."

Meanwhile, Forster had become the ADL's spy master. "In many instances our agents were employed by an outside investigative agency operating as an independent contractor," wrote Forster. "Many were retired local or federal government investigators, non-Jews as worried about the safety of our democracy as we were. (Jewish agents were not as secure from detection, having to conceal their Jewishness to function effectively. In a sense that created a kind of double jeopardy - hiding one's real purpose and true identity.)"

In the '50's and '60s, the ADL continued to penetrate and expose racist and fascist groups. It also championed the civil rights movement, speaking out for fair housing and against job discrimination. Yet as always, there was a darker side. The ADL spied on Martin Luther King and passed its files to J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, according to Henry Schwarzchild, who was an ADL officer from 1962 to 1964 and is now an official with the ACLU. "It was common and casually accepted knowledge," Schwarzchild told the S.F. Weekly.

Two events occurred in the late 1960s that sent the ADL on a headlong plunge toward neo-conservatism: The Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that followed the 1967 Six Day War, and the birth of the New Left. With all of its radical assumptions about race and feminism and its fervent support of Third World liberation movements, the New Left not only threatened the ADL's hard-line anti-Communist critique, but seemed to undermine Israel as well. The ADL viewed its embrace of Palestinian nationalism as a new kind of anti-Semitism that used anti-Zionism as its smoke screen. The New Left certainly had its share of anti-Semites. But in the ADL's myopic zeal, the entire counterculture became suspect - not to mention a prime target for penetration, misinformation, and elimination.

By the time the Likud came to power in Israel in 1977, the ADL was a transparently right-wing organization. The Likud's desire to colonize all of the West Bank and Gaza found enthusiastic adherents in the ADL. Its current national director, Abraham Foxman, keeps a framed portrait of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the tyrannical founding father of the Likud, on prominent display in his office. The ADL also publicly supported Ronald Reagan's policies in Latin America, criticized Nelson Mandela's ANC as a terrorist organization, and embraced the Christian evangelical community, whose conservative domestic and foreign policy views went against the Jewish community's long-standing support for civil rights and abortion and opposition to school prayer.

"The [Christian] fundamentalists' relative religious intolerance can and does coexist with religious and political attitudes being supportive of Israel's well-being," wrote Nathan Perimutter, the late director of the ADL. "Fundamentalists intolerance is currently not so baneful as its friendship for Israel is helpful."

In past years, says an ADL regional head who spoke on condition of anonymity, the 31 regional directors gathered annually to hash over policy with the organization's national officials. But that practice stopped around the time Liked came to power. Now policy is dictated by neocons in New york. Liberal ADL officials - and there were once many - either hold their tongue or have fled the organization.

"The left in this country, including those within the ADL, really feel either sort of betrayed or stifled or rolled over by the ADL," says the ADL regional head. "Liberals used to say this was the first place they were going to go for an ally. Not anymore."

The ADL took a particular hard line against the affirmative action, straining its relations with the black community almost beyond repair." So strong was the ADL's objection to affirmative action that when Richard Lobenthal, the ADL's Michigan representative, wrote a book supporting it, he was ordered to remove his name or be fired, according to knowledgeable sources. A few years later, when the ADL issued a white paper smearing civil-rights leader James Foreman as an anti-Semite, more than a dozen regional heads wrote to the national office in New York denouncing the tract as racist garbage. Jack Greenberg, the legendary head of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, who filed many affirmative action lawsuits in the belief that they held the key to advancement for minorities, told Jonathan Kaufman, the author of Broken Alliance, that in his view, the ADL's most vociferous opponents of minority quotas had become "haters."

As far as the ADL's critics are concerned, one of the most notorious "haters" is Irwin Suall. In 1967, after a brief stint as a sales-man for his brother's candle company, Suall joined the ADL's fact-finding Department, which he soon headed. Suall was the embodiment of the anti-Communist paranoid. In his youth, he had been a socialist with Trotskyite leanings. By the time he joined the ADL, according to those who knew him, he hated the left with a vengeance. Under Suall, the fact-finding Department became even more politicized, as he expanded its spy-gathering operations to the New Left, including Jewish peace groups. "I think that fact-finding without perspective is dangerous," says the ADL regional head. "I am never comfortable that Suall has a sense of perspective... Suall is too narrow. If you don't say yes to everything he says then you are an enemy."

After Breia, a Jewish peace group, began spreading its doctrine of a two-state solution in the early 1970s, it was pilloried by the ADL and other Zionist organizations for being "a dangerous cell of PLO supporters," according to Edward Tivnan's book, the Lobby. B'nai B'rith, the ADL's parent organization into Breira's leader, Rabbi Arnold Wolfe, then Hillel director at Yale, who was publicly denounced by the ADL national leadership. "They were quite open about it," says Rabbi Wolfe, who now officiates at a Chicago synagogue. "They tried to get me fired because my view of a two-state solution...,was in their opinion unacceptable. Now they have the right to argue with me. Maybe they have the right to get me fired if they can, but they can't expect me not to notice that they are spending community funds and community energy in a decisive action - an action which turns Jews against Jews, not just in debate, which is certainly permissible, but in this undercover activity."

The ADL undercover activity wasn't limited to Jewish progressives. Nor was it limited to domestic matters. Indeed, in 1948, the ADL set up a joint intelligence-gathering operation with the government of Israel, an activity that seems to raise questions about its charitable, tax-exempt status.

In a July 7, 1961, letter, ADL national director Benjamin Epstein asked Saul Joftes, a senior official of the B'nai B'rith, for $25,000 to help fund a spy operation against Arabs. "As you know," Epstein wrote, "The Anti-Defamation League for many years has maintained a very important , confidential investigative coverage of Arab activities and propaganda... In the course of our work, we have maintained an information-gathering operation since 1948 relating to activities emanating from the Arab Consular Office, Arab United Nations Delegations, Arab Information Center, Arab Refugee office, and the Organization of Arab Students.

"In order to obtain complete and thorough data on these activities, we must follow the Arab diplomatic corps in their political efforts, lobbying activities and propaganda programs emanating from their embassies... [as well as] Arab relations with organizations like the American Friends of the Middle East and all their publicity efforts.

"Our information, in addition to being essential for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both the United States State Department and the Israeli Government. All data have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to each other that we were the source..."

Around the same time, the B'nai B'rith set up a joint spy operation with the Israeli government to debrief Jewish tourists and business men returning from East bloc nations. The operation was run out of B'nai B'rith's New York headquarters and coordinated by Un Ra'anan, the Israel consul general. Ra'anan subsequently taught Soviet Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, where one of his star pupils was Jonathan J. Pollard, later convicted as an Israeli spy. (Ra'anan, Pollard told Blitzer, was "my Jewish experience at Fletcher." Pollard also told Blitzer that he spied on Third World students at Tufts as a "free-lancer" for the CIA. In a letter to a supporter written from prison, Pollard implicated a top ADL official in his Israeli spy ring.)

But at least one senior B'nai B'rith official took issue with the Soviet Bloc operation run by Ra'anan. "I am absolutely opposed to any involvement by any B'nai B'rith entity.. .in any such activity as described in the memorandum [which detailed the spy operation]," Joftes wrote to B'nai B'rith head Philip Klutznick in a confidential memorandum dated September 12, 1960. "I am astonished at the naiveté of the proposal. I suggest that this memorandum with attachment be destroyed." Joftes continued to battle with his superiors for several more years, until he was fired.

Few outside the ADL knew about the extent of its massive, decades-long spy operation until the San Francisco Examiner revealed in January that the district attorney's office was investigating the league for illegally gathering information on thousand of private citizens and more than 900 political groups, ranging from the American Indian Movement to skinheads. Many of the ADL's files were allegedly based on confidential information illegally obtained from police computers. Investigations by the FBI and police in San Francisco have also revealed that the ADL has shared at least some of its spy gathering material with Israeli government officials. According to court documents, a veteran ADL investigator sold reports he had prepared for the league on anti-apartheid activists to South African intelligence. Suall later told the FBI that "he didn't think dealing with South African intelligence was different than dealing with any other police agency," according to a law enforcement source. On May 11, the San Francisco Examiner reported that top officials of the ADL, including Suall, "are the ultimate targets of the San Francisco district attorney's domestic spying investigation....

A San Francisco law enforcement official with detailed knowledge of the criminal probe has told the Voice that when police, armed with search warrants, raided ADL offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles last April, they discovered numerous memos from Suall instructing field operatives to obtain confidential criminal records from law enforcement agencies. While the San Francisco DA is investigating allegations that Suall may have acquired this information illegally, ADL officials insists the organization has done nothing wrong.

"On the ADL's behalf - it's kind of a backhanded compliment - they have been obtaining confidential files from law enforcement all over the country for 50 years," says the official force. "Most of their people are legitimately shocked that anyone would have the nerve to tell them they can't have these records because...they are more like the police than the police are... They thought that they not only had the right to it, but that they had the premier right. And they happen to be wrong."

In fact, the ADL has become a clearing-house for law enforcement agencies. In the '70s and '80s, as many police intelligence units that gathered political information on citizens were shut down under court order because the violated constitutional guarantees to privacy and freedom of speech and assembly, their files were often bequeathed to the ADL. The ADL, in turn, would often lend the files back to the original donor or broker them to another intelligence agency. "It is like sending your money to the Bahamas," says the San Francisco law enforcement source. It's a way for police agencies to avoid violating their own rules."

   THE SAN FRANCISCO DA's investigation has devastated the conservatives who run the ADL. At a breakfast in New York not long ago, ADL general counsel Arnold Forster looked back at his long past with the organization, reportedly bowed his head in anguish, and cried, "All that I've worked for is being destroyed!"

Others would say that happened long ago, when the ADL decided to use its vast resources to spy on progressives, shape bibliographies, and attempt to fire progressive rabbis.

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