In 1993, the District of Attorney of San Francisco
released 700 pages of documents implicating the Anti-Defamation
League, an organization that claims to be a defender of civil
rights, in a vast spying operation directed against American
citizens who were opposed to Israel’s policies in the Occupied
West Bank and Gaza and to the apartheid policies of the government
of South Africa and passing on information to both governments.
Under great political pressure, Smith
later dropped the charges. One wonders what would have happened
had an Arab-American or Muslim organization been caught spying
with the names of 10,000 people and 600 organizations in their
Not only were critics of Israel under
ADL’s surveillance,including thousands of Arab-Americans, but
labor organizations such as the San Francisco Labor Council,
ILWU Local 10, and the Oakland Educational Association, and
civil rights groups such as the NAACP, Irish Northern Aid,
International Indian Treaty Council and the Asian Law Caucus
were also found in the “pinko” files of ADL’s undercover
operative, Roy Bullock.
Moreover, Bullock, who had worked, off
the books, for the ADL for more than 25 years, admitted that
he had been reporting on the activities of black South African
exiles and American anti- apartheid activists for South African
Bullock, pretending to be sympathetic
to the Palestinian cause, came to the founding meeting of the
Labor Committee of the Middle in 1987 at the home of plaintiff
Steve Zeltzer, having met Zeltzer at meetings of the Free Moses
Committee, a South African labor solidarity
committee in which he also infiltrated under false pretenses.
Having been responsible for exposing
Bullock as an ADL agent to the media, we joined together with
other Bay Area activists in filing a suit against the ADL for
violation of our privacy rights as provided in California law.
Almost a decade later the suit has been
settled with a significant cash payment by the ADL and, we wish
to emphasize, without our signing any agreement for confidentiality
which the ADL had previously demanded. Our efforts to expose
the organization’s work in defending the policies of the Israeli
government and stifling its opponents will continue, using new
information gained in the pursuance of the suit.
The ADL spent millions of dollars preventing
this case from coming to trial through costly appeals and exploiting
the judicial process but, at the end, it had to give up..
During the course of the suit we learned
Bullock, the ADL’s top “fact finder”
had sold confidential information to a South African intelligence
agent in San Francisco for $15,000.
Ten days before he was assassinated in
South Africa, Chris Hani, the man who would have succeeded Nelson
Mandela as the country’s president, was trailed by Bullock on
a trip through California who reported on it to the South African
ADL agent Roy Bullock was discovered
to have a floor plan of murdered Los Angeles Arab American leader
Alex Odeh and a key to his office.
The ADL supplied confidential information
to foreign governments that it obtained from police and federal
agencies in the US,
Having infiltrated the American-Arab
Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the ADL’s “fact finder”
performed a COINTEL-type operation at the convention of the
Holocaust-denying Journal of Historical Review when he put
ADC’s literature on convention tables as a way of smearing the
committee for “working with anti- Semites.”
The ADL has organized to silence and
eliminate all critical voices of Israel from academia and the
media and has targeted professors , particularly those who are
African American, and who are critical of Israel.
That at least 51% of the activities of
its San Francisco office were devoted to defending Israel.
The ADL provided secret files to police
agencies when these police agencies were prevented by law from
collecting the files themselves,
Many questions must still be answered
about the activities of the ADL and it’s non-profit status as
an “education organization”. The settlement offered
by the ADL is recognition on its part that it could not afford
to go to a trial in front of a jury and face the likelihood
that more of its dirty secrets would be revealed.
We call on all people to make sure that
these practices on the part of the ADL are not allowed to continue
and that the double standard that presently dominates this country
on issues dealing with Israel be eliminated.
Finally, we wish to thank our attorney,
former congressman Pete McCloskey, himself a victim of the ADL
and the Israel Lobby, for his years of work on our behalf and
his steadfast commitment to the pursuit of justice.
Jeffrey Blankfort can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on this case read
CounterPunch’s story, ADL
Snoops: Were the Spies “Journalists”?