ADL (Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith)

American-based civil rights organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitic propaganda. The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 by Chicago lawyer Sigmund Livingston (1872—1946) under the auspices the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith. Livingston defined its mission as follows:”To stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people … to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike . . . put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” Early campaigns included a mass mailing to all American newspaper editors urging them not to use anti-Semitic language. Livingston himself wrote pamphlets denouncing the notorious anti-Semitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The ADL was involved in general antiracist and civil rights work and played an important role in the 1950s and 1960s. On occasion the ADL has been involved in propaganda within the United States relating to international issues affecting Jews. In the late 1960s the ADL sought to combat anti-Israeli/pro-Arab propaganda with a radio program called “Dateline Israel” to present ordinary life in the country. In the 1980s the ADL championed the cause of the so-called Refuseniks—Jewish Russians unable to leave the Soviet Union; this became one of the most visible anti-Soviet propaganda campaigns on the “home front” in Ronald Reagan’s so called Second Cold War. The ADL’s current campaigns include ensuring the continued separation of church and state and contesting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism at the extremes of both black and white American politics. The ADL has been particularly effective at exposing anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet.

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