How ADL got caught in Apartheid spy case

America's well-known Jewish "anti-defamation" body was caught using moonlighting cops in a murky spying operation that had little to do with protecting Jews and even targeted some of them. We don't know what lessons were learned from this episode by the ADL, or by some of its opponents.

From Jewish Socialist no.46, Spring 2002,

ADL settles apartheid spy case

America’s leading Jewish ‘defence’ organisation, the Anti- Defamation League (ADL), has settled a long legal battle over spying in collusion with the South African apartheid regime against left-wing activists, Arabs and Jewish dissidents. The league had to pay $178,000 to the last three plaintiffs in a case brought by 19 activists in 1993.

Founded 90 years ago to oppose antisemitism, the ADL, an offshoot of the mainstream B’nai Brith, has increasingly turned towards defending Israeli policies. Well-resourced and professionally staffed, the league had the ears of politicians and the press. Then, in December 1992, police raided its San Francisco and Los Angeles headquarters. A league investigator and a former San Francisco police officer had been seen talking to South African agents.

The police seized 12,000 files containing information on a wide range of organisations and individuals. The ADL claimed to be only monitoring ‘hate groups’, and denied passing information to Israel or South Africa. But the files ranged over Arab-American community organisations, trade unions, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, Anti-Apartheid, Women in Black and the International Jewish Peace Union. Only a relative handful of files dealt with the far right.

League spook Roy Bullock, who used his cover as an art dealer to attend meetings in US cities, admitted to moonlighting for the South Africans. Former police inspector Tom Gerard later pleaded no contest to charges of illegally accessing police files for information supplied to Bullock.

The ADL’s claims to be merely acting like a journalist, gathering information for publication while protecting sources, looked thin. It was revealed that Bullock noted car numbers at Arab community events and Gerard supplied addresses for them. Jeffrey Blankfort, of the American Labor Middle East Committee, wondered why people interested in his politics needed his social security number.

Bullock had passed himself off as sympathetic to the Arab cause, helping steward meetings of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and tried to join the Labour Committee when it was launched in 1987. Blankfort and co-worker Steve Zeltzer discovered he had also attended gatherings of the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial outfit.

Blankfort says: ‘The reason Bullock gave us for attending the IIIR conferences was to distribute ADC literature and recruit some new members for the Arab-American organization. We found it both strange and suspicious that it had not occurred to him that the last type of individual that the ADC would want as a member would be someone with obviously anti-Jewish and perhaps even pro-Nazi sentiments. A link between neo- Nazis and Arab-Americans is, however, a connection that the ADL would like to make. Convinced that Bullock was indeed an ADL agent, we let the Arab-American community know of our conclusions.’

Worrying information emerged about ex-inspector Gerard’s past links with the CIA and ties to Latin American death squads. Gerard had also taken part in a ‘law enforcement’ trip to Israel arranged by the ADL. Among the spy files was a report on African National Congress deputy leader Chris Hani’s visit to California a week before he was assassinated on his return home. ADL director Abraham Foxman told the Northern California Jewish Bulletin that spying on the ANC and the left was justified as they were violent, antisemitic, pro- PLO and anti-Israel.

The case has discredited the ADL by showing how right-wing Zionism led it from anti-racism into collaborating with racists, leaving the USA’s Jewish community without a respected voice to combat antisemitism. The National Lawyers' Guild was listed in the ADL’s files. Its attorney, Marc Van der Hout, a Jew, said the contents of the files showred the league had lost touch wdth reality on groups that are engaged in antisemitic activity.  

 Charlie   Pottins

PS  Sad to say, Jeffrey Blankfort, who deserves credit for exposing this business, seems to have lost sight of one of its lessons, in the smoke of ongoing Middle East propaganda. battles. 
As Blankfort wrote about the ADL's hired agent:

We found it both strange and suspicious that it had not occurred to him that the last type of individual that the ADC would want as a member would be someone with obviously anti-Jewish and perhaps even pro-Nazi sentiments.

Yet more recently when we drew Jeffrey Blankfort's attention to the unsavoury facts about some writers featured in his magazine Counterpunch, he appeared to dismiss this as uimportant for a supposdly left-wing magazine.

As for the ADL we're not sure whether it has learned anything from getting its fingers burnt.


Posted: 20 July 2014