To stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.
The Jewish community in the United States faces rampant antisemitism and overt discrimination. Newspapers, books and plays frequently depict Jews with crude stereotypes.
Against this backdrop of bigotry and intolerance, Chicago attorney Sigmund Livingston puts forward a bold idea — to create an organization with a mission "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all..." ADL is founded with the clear understanding that the fight against one form of prejudice cannot succeed without battling prejudice in all forms.
Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman, is convicted of the rape and murder of a 13-year-old female employee, after a trial defined by antisemitism. When the Governor reduces his death sentence to life in prison, a hate-filled mob — including many influential community leaders — drags Frank from his prison cell and lynches him.
As World War I breaks out, negative stereotypes about Jews abound. In one of its first anti-bias actions, ADL distributes a memo signed by the publisher of The New York Times to his media peers, discouraging "objectionable and vulgar" media references to Jews.
Even a U.S. Army training manual advises that Jews are "more apt to malinger than the native born." Following ADL protests, the manual is promptly destroyed on orders of President Woodrow Wilson.
ADL objects to political cartoons in the U.S. that portray Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries with Jewish stereotypes. After ADL's intervention, The Associated Press promises "not to bring racial or religious prejudice into our reports."
Exposing extremist groups, ADL counters Ku Klux Klan-inspired violence against Jewish-owned businesses and religious institutions.
Industrialist Henry Ford becomes a force for promoting antisemitism through his newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, and is exposed for circulating The International Jew, based on the antisemitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
ADL challenges Ford's antisemitic propaganda by publishing informational pamphlets of its own, including "The Poison Pen" and "The Protocols-A Spurious Document."
The cloud of Fascism spreads across Europe, inspiring sympathetic homegrown movements in America. In educating Americans about the dangers these movements pose to democracy, ADL singles out the antisemitic, pro-Nazi agitation of the German-American Bund.
ADL speaks out against Father Charles Coughlin and his radio broadcasts that spew antisemitic diatribes and pro-German propaganda.
As antisemitic fervor and scapegoating of Jews for the Great Depression grows, ADL institutes the first independent fact-finding on extremist individuals and organizations.
As the U.S. joins the war against the Axis powers, ADL bolsters support by promoting unity among Americans of all backgrounds in the fight to defeat totalitarianism.
In an important sign of ADL's growing effectiveness and stature, Henry Ford, who previously promoted antisemitic propaganda, sends a letter in January 1942 to ADL National Chair Sigmund Livingston expressing a belief "that the hate-mongering prevalent for some time in this country against the Jews, is a distinct disservice to our country, and to the peace and welfare of humanity."
ADL launches massive research operations to uncover Nazi supporters and hate groups in the U.S., making its findings available to government agencies in Washington, D.C. and to the press. Increasingly, the FBI and the media turn to ADL for its expertise.
ADL files its first amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in 1947. In Shelley v. Kraemer, the High Court supports ADL's view that restrictive housing covenants are unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.
The following year, ADL files a brief in McCollum v. Board of Education, a church-state separation case, opposing the constitutionality of released time to allow students to attend religious instruction in public school classrooms.
ADL publishes the 1952 exposé, The Troublemakers, documenting how Arab propaganda in the U.S. explicitly sought to foment anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments.
As anti-Communist fervor and conspiracy sweep the country, ADL is a premier opponent of character assassinations, culminating in President Dwight Eisenhower's historic 1953 televised speech, during ADL's 40th Anniversary celebration, denouncing Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Presaging the agency's activist support for legislation to end racial discrimination, ADL files an amicus brief in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation case.
ADL intensifies the fight against anti-Jewish discrimination in employment, housing and accommodation, and mounts a "Crack the Quota" campaign to eliminate barriers to college and university admissions for Jews.
Six southern states and 50 communities enact laws that ban the wearing of masks during public demonstrations, as championed by ADL. By impeding the KKK's efforts to terrorize minorities anonymously, the laws result in a dramatic decrease in Klan membership.
ADL embarks on a campaign to produce educational and cultural media promoting religious and racial acceptance. In December 1959, in conjunction with ADL's 46th annual meeting, the CBS television network broadcasts "A Salute to the American Theatre," featuring excerpts from Broadway productions on the theme of diversity.
Following John F. Kennedy's assassination, ADL republishes A Nation of Immigrants, which he wrote to mark ADL's 45th anniversary while he was still a U.S. Senator.
ADL helps mobilize support for civil rights and voting rights legislation, culminating in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Worldwide attention to the capture, trial and execution of Nazi henchman Adolf Eichmann prompts renewed focus on the Holocaust and catalyzes ADL activities to educate about the Holocaust and counter those who deny or diminish it.
In response to the findings of the first volume of the study Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism, which documents a strong link between religious teachings and antisemitism, ADL's Interfaith Department works with Vatican officials to help develop the document that ultimately became Nostra Aetate, the Vatican's historic 1965 statement repudiating Jewish guilt in the death of Jesus and denouncing "hatred, persecutions, displays of antisemitism directed against Jews." The statement's adoption at the Second Vatican Council launched a new era of positive relations between Catholics and Jews after many centuries of strain.
The 1967 Six Day War serves as a catalyst for "Dateline Israel," a series of periodic radio reports designed to enhance Americans' understanding of Israeli life. ADL creates study missions to Israel for U.S. lawmakers and other governmental officials.
The Yom Kippur War in 1973 intensifies ADL's campaign to counter anti-Israel propaganda. The agency exposes and takes the lead in combating the Arab boycott of companies that do business with Israel, leading to the passage of the 1977 and 1978 laws that prohibit American companies from participating in the blacklist.
Using all media at its disposal, ADL exposes Palestinian Liberation Organization and Arab links to terrorism and highlights the hypocrisy of a United Nations General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism.
The counteraction leads to the publication of ADL’s The New Anti-Semitism, a book documenting worldwide insensitivity and indifference to a campaign that denies Israel its legitimacy as the Jewish national homeland. ADL expands its work outside the U.S. as it establishes an office in Israel and a regional presence in Europe.
ADL files amicus briefs challenging race-based quotas and preferential treatment as a means for hiring, promotion and college admissions. Concurrently, it collaborates with the U.S. Department of Labor to devise guidelines that are adopted by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance to ensure equality in the hiring of employees and contractors.
In 1977, ADL establishes the International Center for Holocaust Studies (now known as the Braun Holocaust Institute-Glick Center for Holocaust Studies) which becomes one of the nation's first formal Holocaust Education programs - pioneering materials for students and educators to understand the Holocaust and apply its lessons to contemporary issues of prejudice and hate.
ADL helps secure the posthumous pardon of Leo Frank — who was convicted in a trial marked by antisemitism and was lynched by an angry mob in 1915 — based on the State of Georgia's failure to protect him while he was held in prison.
ADL participates in the movement on behalf of Soviet Jewry, exposing violations of human rights and mounting a media campaign to secure the right for emigration; by the end of the decade, the collapse of the Soviet regime spurs a massive exodus of Jews to Israel and America.
Committed to pursuing freedom for Soviet Jews, ADL compiles a list of 11,000 Soviet "refuseniks." The list, sent to U.S. congressional leaders and published in The New York Times, helps the U.S. State Department's diplomatic efforts with the Soviets. Years later, Jews are permitted to leave.
The 1982 conflict in Southern Lebanon prompts ADL to counteract inaccurate and biased media coverage and coordinate on-the-scene briefings for influential U.S. opinion leaders.
ADL begins publishing what becomes an annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, which serves as a benchmark tool to spot and report trends in domestic vandalism, harassment and violence directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
Responding to an increase in antisemitic incidents, ADL blazes a trail with its pioneering model hate crimes statute, proposing enhanced penalties for bias-motivated criminal conduct. In the following years, a new field of criminal law emerges, and as of the present day 46 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws based on or similar to ADL's model. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upholds the penalty-enhancement approach, patterned after ADL's model statute, in Wisconsin v. Mitchell, a landmark 1993 decision pertaining to a Wisconsin law against hate crimes. ADL advocacy at the federal level leads to the passage of the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, signed into law in 1990.
ADL steps up its religious freedom advocacy, filing amicus briefs in cases dealing with Christmas observances in public schools, publicly sponsored sectarian displays and federal aid to parochial schools.
ADL works closely with the Japanese and Asian Pacific American communities to promote Congressional approval of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a formal American apology for forced Japanese relocation and incarceration in Internment Camps during World War II. ADL's Education Department prepares a curriculum guide to teach these lessons of discrimination.
The fight to expose and counteract all forms of domestic extremism is reignited with the ascendancy of David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan who pursues elective office in Louisiana, and the emergence of Louis Farrakhan, the antisemitic firebrand leader of the Nation of Islam.
ADL publishes Computerized Networks of Hate, a prescient 1985 report raising concern about the spread of hate on new technology platforms, including how computer bulletin boards serve as a communications tool for white supremacists.
Following the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer aboard the Achille Lauro cruise ship by Palestinian terrorists, the Klinghoffer family establishes a foundation, under the auspices of ADL, bearing their name and dedicated to fighting terrorism through legislation, education and advocacy.
ADL's New England Regional Office launches an innovative educational platform in partnership with WCVB-TV. A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® soon emerges as a platform for ADL's anti-bias training programs nationwide, customized for community, workplace and educational settings.
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® becomes a formally structured institute providing ongoing anti-bias training and resources in the U.S. and overseas. In response to riots in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, Institute staff work with students to create a standardized A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute Peer Training program.
Following a wave of extremist violence across Germany in 1992, German officials and educators invite ADL to bring its A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute to Germany to train students, teachers, social workers and law enforcement professionals. The Institute goes global in the years that follow; A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® programs are now implemented in more than ten countries around the world.
After successfully working with others in the Jewish community to enable Jews to leave Ethiopia and settle in Israel, ADL launches "Children of the Dream," bringing Israeli youths of Ethiopian origins to meet with American peers.
With the help of ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, 1,600 Holocaust survivors from 28 countries gather in 1991 in New York City at the First International Gathering of Children Hidden during World War II. After the gathering, the Hidden Child Foundation joins ADL's Braun Holocaust Institute.
In the wake of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, ADL condemns the scapegoating of, and discrimination against, Arabs and Muslims. ADL also launches an advocacy effort to close broad gaps in U.S. counterterrorism law. ADL works closely with lawmakers on landmark federal antiterrorism legislation. Passed in 1996, the law establishes a ban on fundraising and material support for foreign terrorist organizations and bars their leaders from the U.S.
ADL staunchly supports Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the Oslo Accords, and speaks out against incendiary rhetoric in Israel and the U.S. by critics of the Oslo Accords.
ADL launches Law Enforcement and Society, an innovative training program conducted in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
ADL takes a lead role in exposing extremists' use of the internet with extensive reports like "The Web of Hate: Extremists Exploit the Internet" and "Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online."
With public awareness about the impact of hate violence on the rise, ADL plays a central role in the first-ever White House Conference on Hate Crime in 1997, sparking enhanced community partnerships with law enforcement authorities to address the issue.
In 1999, the No Place for Hate® initiative is launched to counteract hate violence such as the Columbine High School shootings, the attack on the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center by white supremacist Buford Furrow, and the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.
The World Conference Against Racism, a U.N.-sanctioned conference held in Durban, South Africa in 2001, turns into an anti-Israel and antisemitic hate fest. ADL convinces the U.S. government and others to withdraw in protest.
ADL takes action in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001. A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute produces "Empowering Children in the Aftermath of Hate," a guide distributed by The New York Times. ADL's guide to security awareness becomes an invaluable resource for Jewish institutions and organizations worldwide. After 9/11, ADL launches new programs for law enforcement leaders, to help them and their agencies combat extremist and terrorist threats. ADL works with Congress and the Bush Administration to provide new tools for law enforcement officials to help prevent terrorist acts, while adhering to constitutional safeguards concerning the proper balance between national security and individual rights.
In October 2002, ADL convenes the Conference on Global Antisemitism, a gathering of world Jewish leaders, diplomats and U.N.officials in New York City to develop strategies to combat the rising global antisemitism that led to attacks on Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere.
ADL continues to counteract anti-Israel activity on college campuses, where it often turns into expressions of antisemitism against Jewish students and faculty.
In response to documented religious harassment and proselytizing, ADL prepares resources and lesson plans for use in the curriculum of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Every cadet is now required to participate in this training.
With the rise in bias-driven bullying and online bullying, ADL develops new resources and programming on cyberbullying, including a toolkit for counteraction and model legislation to require schools to address the issue.
ADL files amicus briefs in federal courts throughout the country in support of victims of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation.
ADL files amicus briefs in court cases in states that have imposed draconian anti-immigration laws.
ADL helps lead the opposition to proselytizing and discriminatory aspects of the Bush Administration's Faith Based Initiative provisions, which would allow government funds to flow directly to religious organizations.
The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge in Boston is named in memory of longtime ADL New England Regional Director, Lenny Zakim. It stands as a symbol of Zakim's and ADL's work to build bridges of understanding among diverse groups of people.
ADL takes a lead role in exposing the virulent anti-Latino/a and anti-immigrant rhetoric surrounding the national debate over immigration and facilitates Latino/a-Jewish roundtables around the country.
ADL exposes the inherent antisemitism in Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's published accusations that an "Israel lobby" is forcing the U.S. government to adopt policies that are counter to American interests. ADL further renounces similar accusations in former President Jimmy Carter's book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid.
ADL educates Americans on the security challenges confronting Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the conflicts in Gaza in 2008 and 2012, and provides background about the participants in the 2010 "Free Gaza" Flotilla incident and their associations with extremist and terrorist organizations, including Hamas.
ADL advocates for strong international sanctions to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program, exposes European business dealings with Iran and launches the "Stop Nuclear Iran" information campaign.
In an effort to help address antisemitic and anti-Israel intimidation in schools and on campus, ADL lobbies for the Department of Education to include antisemitism and campus anti-Zionism within its ongoing civil rights enforcement authority.
ADL leads a coalition of religious and civil rights groups to support the passage of the most important update of national hate crimes laws in 40 years, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which is signed into law in 2009 after more than a decade of ADL advocacy.
ADL develops a program dedicated to monitoring, documenting and analyzing the prevalence of antisemitic, anti-Israel and extremist narratives in Arabic and Farsi language sources around the world.
In response to an intensified level of anti-Muslim bigotry and conspiracy theories about the infiltration of Sharia law, ADL exposes campaigns aimed at marginalizing Muslims and defends Muslims' religious freedom rights in the courts and state legislatures.
ADL convenes the national Interfaith Coalition on Mosques (ICOM), comprised of prominent individuals and organizations from different faith traditions, to assist Muslim communities who are confronting opposition to the legal building, expansion or relocation of their mosques.
ADL adopts policies publicly supporting equal access to civil marriage for same-sex couples and files several amicus briefs opposing the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a statute which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman and denies a wide range of federal benefits to same-sex couples.
As antisemitism resurges in Western Europe, ADL conducts six public opinion surveys of key European countries to assess attitudes toward Jews. ADL shares the findings with government leaders in these countries and urges those whose populations hold strong antisemitic views to publicly condemn anti-Jewish sentiments and enact educational and other measure to counteract these trends.
ADL begins working with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to address the growing threat of antisemitism and hate crime in countries across Europe and the former Soviet Union. ADL presents resources and recommendations to the OSCE on such topics as best practices to confront antisemitism, anti-bias education, hate crime data collection, combating youth violence, hate on the Internet and Holocaust education.
ADL testifies numerous times before Congress calling for strong U.S. engagement in the fight against global antisemitism. ADL recommendations contribute to the establishment of a Special Envoy for Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department, with a mandate to gather information on antisemitic incidents worldwide. ADL promotes U.S. engagement in fighting antisemitism in Europe through the OSCE.
ADL joins with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education and Yad Vashem to launch Echoes and Reflections, a comprehensive multimedia program for teaching about the Holocaust in U.S. schools.
Concerned with a sharp resurgence of antisemitism, ADL convenes in 2016 the inaugural “Never Is Now,” a first-of-its-kind summit focused on contemporary antisemitism and innovative strategies to address it. It is now the world’s largest annual summit on antisemitism and hate.
In August 2017, hundreds of white nationalists and their supporters converge in Charlottesville, VA, for the Unite the Right rally, the largest public gathering of white supremacists in a decade. Following the event, Heather Heyer is killed when a white supremacist drives his car into a group of counter protesters, and multiple people are injured. In the days leading up to Unite the Right, the ADL Center on Extremism provides intelligence to law enforcement about extremists’ plans to attend, and monitors events at the rally and throughout its deadly aftermath.
In October 2017, ADL provides expertise and financial support for the federal lawsuit on behalf of nine individuals injured in the Unite the Right rally. In 2021, the Sines v. Kessler plaintiffs win verdicts totaling more than $26 million against the white supremacist defendants.
CEO Jonathan Greenblatt announces in 2017 the founding of the ADL Center for Technology & Society to combat the growing threat posed by hate online. It is established to monitor, track, analyze and mitigate hate speech and harassment in online spaces.
ADL forms the Sports Leadership Council with professional athletes and sports industry leaders to promote positive social change and combat hate, bullying and discrimination. Initial members of the council include NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and sports icon Billie Jean King.
ADL hosts its inaugural Social Cohesion Summit in 2018 in Tel Aviv, aimed at bringing together representatives from all segments of Israeli life to envision the society they want to see in 30 years. The annual summit is an extension of our decades-long work to bring together diverse Israeli communities.
In October 2018, an antisemitic mass shooter opens fire during Shabbat morning services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA, killing eleven worshippers and wounding six in the deadliest attack ever on the Jewish community in the U.S. ADL mobilizes a national response, including partnering with other organizations to create #SolidarityShabbat and advocating in Congress for passage of the Domestic Terrorist Prevention Act.
ADL launches Backspace Hate, a national initiative supporting victims and targets of online hate and harassment. ADL advocacy results in the introduction (and ultimate passage) of several bipartisan bills that address severe online harassment and create accountability for online actions.
In August 2019, a white supremacist motivated by anti-immigrant hate opens fire at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people and wounding dozens more, one of the deadliest hate crimes in U.S. history. In the aftermath, ADL joins in coalition with national Hispanic organizations and local community groups to call on social media companies to do more to respond to anti-immigrant hate and conspiracy theories on their platforms.
In April 2019, a white supremacist opens fire at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, California, killing one worshipper. After a string of shocking antisemitic attacks in New York later that year — including a stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home during a Hannukah party in Monsey, NY, and a shooting that left four dead at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City — ADL co-sponsors the No Hate No Fear march in New York City. An estimated 25,000 people come together in an inter-religious show of solidarity against antisemitism.
After reviewing the history and consulting with other leading experts, ADL adopts the spelling “antisemitism” instead of “anti-Semitism” to better clarify understanding of this age-old hatred toward Jews, both today and historically.
As the coronavirus sweeps across the U.S., there is a sharp rise in reports of hate crimes and bias incidents targeting members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Throughout the pandemic, ADL catalogs these incidents and shines a light on anti-immigrant and antisemitic conspiracy theories connected to the pandemic.
ADL releases Antisemitism Uncovered: A Guide to Old Myths in a New Era, a comprehensive online resource that addresses the historical roots of antisemitism and deconstructs persistent antisemitic myths. Built in a modular format, it includes contemporary examples and calls-to-action for addressing this hate.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, the latest tragic example of systemic racism in policing, ADL joins in solidarity with the Black community and amplifies calls for an end to injustice and inequality. ADL supports a number of criminal justice legislative reforms both in Congress and in state legislatures and calls for swift investigation of militarized federal responses to racial justice protests in a number of cities.
ADL joins a coalition of organizations to launch in July 2020 the Stop Hate for Profit campaign aimed at holding social media companies accountable for allowing a proliferation of hate on their platform. The campaign raises public pressure on Facebook through a coordinated advertising pause and other efforts.
ADL advocates for free and fair elections and against voter suppression, offering tools for voters to make their voices heard in the midterm elections, serving as a plaintiff in litigation in Texas challenging that state’s restrictive laws.
On January 6, 2021, rising hate and extremism culminate in a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In the aftermath, ADL tracks and identifies extremist connections, serves as co-counsel representing the District of Columbia in a civil lawsuit against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, announces the PROTECT Plan to address domestic extremism while preserving civil liberties, and advocates for the passage of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act. ADL then also launches the REPAIR plan to address issues of bias and hate arising on online platforms.
In May 2021, amid an escalation of conflict between Hamas militants and Israel, ADL tracks and monitors a rise in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. and around the world, providing resources to report these incidents and statements supporting a peaceful resolution to the hostilities. In partnership with other organizations, ADL spearheads a rally to #ActAgainstAntisemitism, which attracts 25,000 virtual attendees.
ADL continues working with Jewish communal groups and civil society organizations, while forging a number of new partnerships to integrate collective experience and amplify voices to raise awareness and advocate together in the fight against antisemitism and hate.
ADL condemns the U.S. Senate for its failure to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The ADL Center for Antisemitism Research is founded to focus on applied research and evaluation to test, measure and identify impact in the fight against this hatred. It aims to answer questions about how to quantify, understand and prevent antisemitism.