by LouAnn Villani, secretary, MECC
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the CT Jewish Federation sponsored a film praising a particularly violent Israeli Prime Minister of the 1980s, Menachem Begin. Upon hearing about it, the Middle East Crisis Committee held an online panel on December 11 to spread the truth about Begin and about the ADL itself. Our Executive Director Stanley Heller talked about Begin’s career using terrorism in the 1940s, the role his Irgun played in the infamous Deir Yassin massacre of 1948 and his war in Lebanon in 1982 which killed an estimated 17,000 people.
Dr. Emmaia Gelman, who wrote her doctorate at NYU about the ADL spoke about both that organization and Jewish Federations as a whole. She explained that both groups were formed about a hundred years ago to support Jewish civil rights, but also to maintain the hold of the Jewish upper class on the Jewish community. Both the ADL and the federations became Zionist decades ago. The ADL claims itself as the go-to organization after acts of bigotry, but that’s pretty odd since its basically all-white and supports an apartheid state enthusiastically.
Shelly Altman of Jewish Voice for Peace talked about a program JVP has sponsored for a number of years to counter an ADL program. The ADL brings Israeli police to the US and US police to Israel for training. JVP believes they learn the worst practices of both forces from each other. US police learn to treat all minorities as potential terrorists. The JVP calls this program the “Deadly Exchange” and has worked to combat the program. Several years ago it picketed the ADL office in Hamden over this issue.
Parts of the program can be seen on TheStruggleVideo.org.