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The Mapping Project

Anti-Defamation League (ADL)


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) uses their resources to surveil and police Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples in the US as well as worldwide. To this end, the ADL facilitates collaborations between US law enforcement and Israeli state, military, and security forces. The Anti-Defamation League of New England coordinates annual all-expenses-paid trips to Israel where Massachusetts police department leaders learn about "counterterrorism" from Israeli military and security forces. The ADL of New England also regularly coordinates trainings on "counterterrorism" for Massachusetts police and other law enforcement which occur right here in Massachusetts. The ADL uses these or other collaborations to encourage US law enforcement to identify with Israel, to view Palestinians as "terrorists," and to view anyone who speaks or acts in solidarity with Palestinians as "terrorist sympathizers." However, the ADL does not coordinate "counterterrorism" trainings and other collaborations with US law enforcement simply to bolster domestic support for Israel. Rather, the ADL supports US police and other carceral institutions of the US state, because the ADL is deeply invested in the power and dominance of the US state itself. To understand why this is, it is helpful to contextualize the ADL's current actions within their century-long history.


Beginning in the 1930s, the Anti-Defamation League undertook efforts to spy upon dissidents within the Jewish American community, handing over files on these individuals to the (so-called) House Committee on Un-American Activities and to FBI investigators. The ADL intensified this spying effort during the campaign of persecution against Communists and suspected Communists, spearheaded by US Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s. During the McCarthy era, the ADL leveraged their position as a Jewish organization to refute the claims of persecuted Jewish community members that antisemitism was a driving factor in US government's zeal to prosecute them. As one example, in 1952, in the midst the vicious campaign of persecution against Jewish Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the ADL stated: "The Communists, in their worldwide propaganda attack defending the con­victed atom spies, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, provide a vivid example of the technique of falsely charging anti-Semitism to hide conspiracy." With this blessing from the ADL, the US government ultimately executed Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Following the McCarthy era, the Anti-Defamation League continued to work with the US government, to surveil and monitor members of the Black freedom movement, along with anti-apartheid activists, and organizers for Palestinian liberation. In November 1983, the ADL of New England created a 49 page booklet containing names of individuals and organizations which the ADL classified as “pro-Arab propagandists." According to the New York Times, "The list, stamped ''confidential,'' was mailed to several dozen campus Jewish leaders in November 1983 by the Anti-Defamation League's New England office." Enclosed with this booklet was a cover letter from then ADL New England Executive Director Leonard Zakim, in which Zakim wrote, “Should you need more information on these individual groups or any others, please call us. Also, if you have any knowledge of any individuals or groups not listed in the booklet, please pass the information on to us so that we can have a more complete and useful listing.”

In the 1990s, the Anti-Defamation League was forced to settle in a lawsuit following revelations that the ADL had worked with police in California to gather intel and create files on over 10,000 individuals and 600 organizations engaged in anti-racist activism. Intel the ADL obtained through this police spying operation included personal information on activists organizing against Apartheid in South Africa, which was handed over to the government of Apartheid South Africa, as well as personal information on US-based Palestinian activists, which was handed over to the government of Israel. One individual the ADL spied upon through this single operation in California was prominent Black South African activist Chris Hani, who likely would have succeeded Nelson Mandela as South Africa's president, had he not been assassinated in South Africa shortly after a speaking tour in California. During Hani's speaking tour in California, he was followed by one of the police officers the ADL had hired, Steve Bullock, who prepared a lengthy report on Hani for the Apartheid South African government. Another individual the ADL spied upon through this single operation was Los Angeles based Palestinian community leader Alex Odeh. Odeh was killed while walking into his Los Angeles office in a bombing carried out by pro-Israel activists, after which investigators found a key and the floor plan to Odeh’s office​​ in the files​​ which the ADL-hired police ​​officer Steve Bullock had compiled on Odeh. ​​​​The 600 organizations which the ADL spied on through this single police operation in California included: the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Association of Vietnam Veterans, the NAACP, the Asian Law Caucus, ACT UP, Centro Legal de la Raza, Irish Northern Aid, the Japanese-American Citizens League, the National Indian Treaty Council, as well as 20 trade union locals and the San Francisco Labor Council. Jeffrey Blankfort, an activist who was targeted by this ADL spying operation and who fought the ADL in court over it, has stated that the ADL ran similar police spying operations in other cities across the United States, which never came to light. (See: hereherehereherehere, and here) And the ADL's collaboration with police to spy and gather intel on anti-racist activists is not a relic of the 20th century. Following the white supremacist violence that occurred in Charlottesville Virginia in 2017, the ADL created a "primer for law enforcement," in which the ADL encouraged police to film and plant undercover agents amongst anti-racist groups, in order to gather intel on anti-racist activists that could be used to prosecute them.

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, the Anti-Defamation League saw an opportunity. In the midst of the climate of heightened anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia which followed the attacks, the ADL stepped up its coordination of trainings for US police department leadership in methods of so-called "counterterrorism." The ADL has coordinated all-expenses paid trips to the "National Counterterrorism Seminar in Israel" for a wide array of leadership from US Police departments and other security forces. However, the ADL has also provided "counter-terrorism" trainings to an even wider array of police and security forces right here in the United States, through programs including the ADL's "Advanced Training School in Extremist and Terrorist Threats." In their 2016 annual report, the ADL stated: "100% of major U.S. metropolitan police departments have sent participants to the ADL’s National Counterterrorism Seminar in Israel and the ADL’s Advanced Training School in Extremist and Terrorist Threats." 

Whereas the ADL nationally saw an opportunity following the attacks September 11th, 2001, The ADL of New England saw an opportunity following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. The ADL of New England took advantage of the climate of heightened racism and Islamophobia in Massachusetts following the 2013 bombings to step up their collaborations with Massachusetts police around so-called "counterterrorism. The ADL of New England has coordinated all-expenses paid training trips to Israel for leadership from a wide array of Massachusetts police departments, as well as leadership from the Boston field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), New England Homeland Security, the US Marshalls Service, the US Secret Service, County Sheriff’s Offices (see for example: hereherehereherehere, and here). And like the national ADL, the ADL of New England's collaboration with these local forces is not limited to trips to Israel. The ADL of New England regularly hosts trainings for police on "counter-terroism" right here in Massachusetts. As one example, in 2019 the ADL of New England coordinated a "Law Enforcement Seminar" in Foxboro MA which featured presentations from an "Israeli counterterrorism expert" on "The Ten Commandments of Counterterrorism," and "Actionable Strategies for Securing Events and Open Spaces in Communities." The ADL of New England has also produced multiple dossiers on "extremism" (see here and here), which they have sent out to a mailing list of New England police department leaders. And, the ADL is listed as an "official partner" of the Boston and Massachusetts Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs (see: hereherehere, and here), programs which, as noted by Muslim Justice League, "falsely legitimize discrimination against Muslims and dissidents."

On March 4th, 2022, the Anti-Defamation League published an interview between ADL Director of European Affairs Andrew Srulevitch and Professor David Fishman from the Jewish Theological Seminary entitled, "Why is Putin Calling the Ukrainian Government a Bunch of Nazis?" In the interview, Srulevitch asked Fishman about segments of the contemporary Ukrainian nationalist movement which venerate Stepan Bandera and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (known as the UPA), both of whom collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. Fishman responded: “For Ukrainian nationalists, UPA and Bandera are symbols of the Ukrainian fight for Ukrainian independence. The UPA allied with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union for tactical – not ideological – reasons." As Daniel Lazare notes in a 2015 article about Bandera, “Although Bandera and his followers would later try to paint the alliance with the Third Reich as no more than ‘tactical,’ an attempt to pit one totalitarian state against another, it was in fact deep-rooted and ideological."​​​ Stepan Bandera and his followers, Lazare further explains, “played a leading role in the anti-Jewish pogroms that broke out in Lviv and dozens of other Ukrainian cities on the heels of the German invasion," and "served the Nazis by patrolling the ghettoes and assisting in deportations, raids and shootings.” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt sent Srulevitch's interview with Fishman out to ADL members nationwide as part of a March 15th, 2022 email newsletter. Similar to their insistence 70 years earlier that defenders of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were "falsely charging anti-Semitism to hide conspiracy," this recent attempt by the ADL to rehabilitate the reputations of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators illustrates that even the livelihood of Jewish people and the integrity of the historical memory of traumatic Jewish experiences are expendable to the ADL, insofar as they come up against the ADL's commitment to the domestic and geopolitical objectives of the US state and its allies. (See also: here and here; Archived copy of ADL interview linked here.)

Select list of Massachusetts agencies who have participated in ADL Israel trips

In 2016 alone, the following senior Law Enforcement officials participated in the ADL-sponsored, all-expenses-paid "Massachusetts Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel": Joseph Carafelli, Chief of Police, Revere Police Department; Dan Conley, District Attorney, Suffolk County; Kevin Coppinger, Chief of Police, Lynn Police Department; Matthew Etre, Special Agent In Charge, ICE-Homeland Security Investigations; Randall Halstead, Superintendent of Police, Boston Police Department; Rabbi William Hamilton, Chaplain, Massachusetts State Police, ADL Board Member; Michael Kent, Chief of Police, Burlington Police Department; Daniel Kumor, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Joshua Margulies, Environmental Safety Officer, Mount Auburn Hospital; Kevin Molis, Chief of Police, Malden Police Department; Richard McKeon, Colonel, Massachusetts State Police; Helena Rafferty, Deputy Chief of Police, Canton Police Department; Marian Ryan, District Attorney, Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office; William Taylor, Superintendent of Police, Lowell Police Department; Steven Tompkins, Sheriff, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office; Richard Wells, Chief of Police, Milton Police Department. (See: here, here, and here.)

Other senior Law Enforcement offices who have participated in ADL-sponsored, all-expenses-paid training delegations to Israel include (but are not limited to): Cambridge Police Deputy Superintendent Paul Ames; Boston Police Chief William GrossMBTA Transit Police Deputy Chief Joseph O'Connor  MBTA Transit Police Deputy Lewis BestMBTA Transit Police Chief Ken GreenSuperintendent of the Massachusetts State Police Kerry Giplin; Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Colonel Sharon Costine; Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno; Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes; Everett Police chief Steve Mazzie; Framingham Police Chief Ken FergusonGloucester Police Chief Len Campanello; Marblehead Police Chief Robert PicarielloNewton Police Chief Howard Mintz; Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham; United States Marshalls Service Marshall John Gibbons; United States Secret Service Assistance Special Agent in Charge Tom Baker; Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian; Chief of Police of the Arlington Police Department Frederick Ryan; a representative from New England Homeland Security; The Chief of Police from the Somerville Police Department; The Chief of Police from the Watertown Police Department; The Chief of Police from the Worcester Police Department; The Chief of Police from the Haverhill Police Department; The Chief of Police from the Foxborough Police Department; The Chief of Police from the Wakefield Police Department; The Sheriff from the Plymouth County Sheriff's DepartmentChief of the Cambridge Fire Department Gerard E. Mahoney.

Local university police departments that have participated in ADL delegations include Tufts University Police DepartmentBoston University Police Department, Northeastern University Police Department, MIT Police, and Suffolk University Police Department.

Other opposition to justice for Palestinians

The ADL of New England has worked with the AJC and JCRC to mobilize opposition to 2018 and 2021 BDS efforts in Cambridge, MA. Similarly, the ADL played a leading role in the multiple (failed) attempts over the past decade to pass Anti-BDS Legislation in the state of MA, laws which would have imposed civil and/or criminal penalties upon MA residents engaged in political boycotts of Israel. The ADL is also a member organization of the JCRC of Greater Boston, which itself plays a central role in coordinating opposition to local efforts in support of Palestinian liberation (see entry on JCRC of Greater Boston).


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) uses their resources to surveil and police Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples in the US as well as worldwide. To this end, the Anti-Defamation League of New England coordinates annual all-expenses-paid trips to Israel where Massachusetts Law Enforcement leaders learn about "counterterrorism" from Israeli state, military, and security forces. The ADL of New England also regularly coordinates trainings on "counterterrorism" for Massachusetts police which occur right here in Massachusetts. The ADL uses these or other collaborations to encourage US police to identify with Israel, to view Palestinians as "terrorists," and to view anyone who speaks or acts in solidarity with Palestinians as "terrorist sympathizers." However, the ADL does not coordinate "counterterrorism" trainings for US police and other collaborations between US and Israeli state agencies simply to bolster domestic support for Israel. The ADL supports US police and other carceral institutions of the US state, because the ADL is deeply invested in the power and dominance of the US state itself, as they have been throughout their century-long history.

Why is this? Our most generous explanation is that the ADL believes that Jewish people can only be free by assimilating into American white supremacy, and by providing the utmost support for the violent and carceral institutions which uphold it. The ADL believes that the only way Jewish people can keep the boot of antisemitism off our necks is by supporting the United States to drive the boot of white supremacy and colonialism into the necks of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples. But the ADL is wrong. Police, ICE, prisons, walls, bombs, and settler nation states don't keep anyone safe, and they don't make anyone free. Those of us in the Palestine solidarity movement know, from experience, that we are the ones who support and protect one another. And we also know, from experience, how to rise up together and dismantle institutions that are harming our people. The ADL of New England is one of those institutions.


The ADL's national leadership (as of 2022) is as follows:

Ben Sax - Chair, Board of Directors
Jonathan Greenblatt - CEO and National Director
Frederic L. Bloch - Senior Vice President, Chief Growth Officer
Eileen Hershenov - Senior Vice President, Democracy Initiatives
Kenneth Jacobson - Senior Vice President, Deputy National Director
Greg Libertiny - Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration
Sharon Nazarian - Senior Vice President, International Affairs
Tom Ruderman - Senior Vice President, Talent & Knowledge
Gabrielle Savage - Senior Vice President, Operations
George Selim - Senior Vice President, National Affairs
Steven C. Sheinberg - Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff/General Counsel/Privacy & Security
Larry Chertoff - Vice President, Technology
Cheryl Drazin - Vice President, Central Division
Greg Ehrie - Vice President, Law Enforcement & Analysis
Doron Ezickson - Vice President, Mid-Atlantic/Midwest Division
Steven M. Freeman - Vice President, Civil Rights
Stacy Kass - Vice President, Philanthropic Partnerships
Debora Lehrer - Vice President, Brand & Marketing
Deb Leipzig - Vice President, Leadership
Allison Padilla-Goodman - Vice President, Southern Division
Dan Roberti - Vice President, Communications and Digital
Oren Segal - Vice President, Center on Extremism
Max Sevillia - Vice President, Government Relations, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (GRACE)
Robert Trestan - Vice President, Western Division
Matt Williams - Vice President, Center for Antisemitism Research

ADL New England is led by Regional Director Robert Trestan. Its board (as of 2022) is as follows:

Joe Berman - Board Chair
Allison Burman Gordon - Vice-Chair
Jim Wallack - Vice-Chair
David Appel
Carl Axelrod
Kenneth S. Barron
Rabbi Laurence Bazer
Dana Benjamin-Allen
Jane Berman
Sheldon Berman
Janey Bishoff
Linda Blum
Ruth Budelmann
Diane Burman
Marc Busny
Douglas Cutler
Alan Dana
Michael Denning
Steven DiFillippo
Joanne Egerman
Robert Epstein
Dana Etra
Douglas Finn
Shira Furman
Lori Gans
Rhonda Gilberg
Connie Gilson
Richard Glovsky
Jamie Golden
Marlene Goldstein
Rabbi Robert Goldstein
Richard Golob
Esta Gordon Epstein
David Grossman
Pamela Hallagan
Rabbi William Hamilton
Michael Harris
Helaine Hazlett
Edward Hershfield
Kathy Hershfield
Dennis Kanin
Melissa Kaplowitch
Matt King
Douglas Krupp
Judith Krupp
Neal Levitan
Roanne Licht
Ginny MacDowell
Rabbi David Meyer
Bonnie Michelman
Diana Moskowitz
Nikki Nudelman
Thomas O’Brien
Rabbi Jay Pearlman
Sarah Perry
Jorge Plutzky
Suzanne Priebatsch
Amy Rabinowitz
Jeffrey Robbins
Dan Romanow
Jim Rudolph
Robert Rudolph
Phyllis Sagan
Leslie Saltzberg
Jordy Samiljan
William Sapers
Lewis Sassoon
Todd Saunders
Flori Schwartz
Harold Schwartz
Deb Shalom
Michael Sheetz
Bonnie Shelkrot
Debra Silberstein
Steven Spear
Josh Stavis
Charles Steinberg
Robyn Steinberg
David Strassler
Robert Strassler
Barbara Wallace Grossman
Barbara Freedman Wand
Mike Weilheimer
Erica Weinstein
Eric Wolkoff
Rabbi Elaine Zecher
Alice Zimelman
40 Court St, Boston, MA 02108

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