Behind the Mask of Respectability:
The truth about the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai
5 - Service of a Foreign Government?
While posing as a community oriented group of American Jews working to
combat bigotry, the ADL has been alleged to have used its spy network to
illegally provide the government of Israel with information.
In an article entitled "Spies for Zion," in the San Francisco Weekly for
28th April, 1993, police officials exposed an illegal spy ring working for
Israel: "For decades the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith has gathered
secret files on critics of Israel. As the San Francisco District Attorney
prepares criminal charges against the group, will pressure from prominent
Jewish leaders derail the prosecution?"
The San Francisco Weekly described how the ADL spy network passed
information to the Israeli government about a professor who made a negative
remark about Israel in his class:
"Professor Dwight Simpson and the consul general of Israel stood in a corner
at the Fairmont Hotel discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid a
bright tinkling of glasses and soft murmuring of voices. Halfway through the
conversation at the cocktail party, the Israeli diplomat, Harry Kney-Tal,
said: 'By the way, that was a very funny joke you told your class the other
"The San Francisco State University international relations professor didn't
think much of the comment at first. But later that night, he asked himself:
'How in the hell does the Israeli consul general know the jokes I tell in my
"As a critic of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Simpson
had been targeted by Jewish students in the past. They picketed his class on
several occasions, handing out leaflets charging that he's anti-Semitic and
opposes a Jewish homeland.
"So the professor didn't have to wrestle with the consul general's statement
for long. He quickly surmised that Kney-Tal got his information from the
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith [or ADL for short] by way of Jewish
students who do political surveillance work on campus for them. 'It's always
confused me why they have to spy on me,' Simpson said, 'My work isn't
secret. My whole life is an open book.'
"After a heated demonstration in 1989 that disrupted Simpson's class, the
Jewish Student Action committee was expelled from campus for violating
academic freedom. 'This is a serious problem in academia,' Simpson added.
'Whenever you have monitoring and surveillance, it stifles the free
discussion of ideas...'
"Simpson is just one of thousands of people whose lives have been affected
by the far-ranging spy activities of the ADL. An 80-year-old nonprofit,
whose professed mission is to fight anti-Semitism, the ADL uses a less
controversial term - 'fact-finding' - for its spying..."
The article expressed concern that the ADL was above the law:
"Mark my words, this is going to be obfuscated, obliterated, and
desecrated,' said one veteran police inspector. 'It's going to be a classic
study in how things get covered up. You don't do Jewish people in San
Francisco. It's not PC. Especially when you have two U.S. Senators who are
Jewish (Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein) and the city's chief of protocol
is Dick Goldman (a prominent fundraiser in the Jewish community)."
Did Jewish interest work to protect the ADL? The San Francisco Weekly
"Last week, Goldman called Police Chief Tony Ribera about the police
department's own internal investigation. After the call, the police decided
to exclude the ADL and Bullock from the probe...
"In a Village Voice article by Robert Friedman of 11th May, 1993, the
ADL's top 'fact-finder' in Washington and granddaughter of notorious Jewish
mafia boss Meyer Lansky, Mira Lansky Boland, arranged a trip to Israel for
Mr. Tom Gerard, the same man in who's briefcase was found information on
death squads, a black hood, used in interrogations, and photos of
blindfolded and chained men.
"According to this same article Boland admitted at a 1990 criminal trial
that she had, in typical ADL Newspeak, "shared information" with members of
the CIA at an invitation-only ADL conference."
The same article pointed to an ADL connection to the Jonathan Pollard spy
"In 1987, the ADL came under FBI scrutiny in the wake of the Pollard spy
scandal. While assigned to the Navy's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center, where he
had access to the most closely-guarded U.S. secrets, Jonathan Pollard stole
thousands of pages of classified documents for Israel, which, according to
Federal prosecutors, 'could fill a room the size of a large closet ... ten
feet by six feet by six feet.' Pollard's handler was Avi Sella, an Israeli
air force colonel whose wife worked for the New York ADL as a lawyer.
Pollard later wrote to friends that a prominent ADL leader was deeply
involved in the Israeli spy operation."
Additional evidence of ADL cooperation with Israeli intelligence comes from a letter written by then National Director of the
ADL Benjamin Epstein on July 7, 1961. Epstein was writing to Saul Joftes who was at the time the
Executive Secretary of the International Council of B'nai B'rith, the ADL's
parent organization, requesting additional funds:
"Our information", wrote Epstein, "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 that we are the source."