Our theory of change to achieve these objectives is through both reactive and proactive efforts:
- We investigate and research: ADL tracks extremism of all kinds and releases original research on trends in hate both offline and online – from the role of misogyny in white supremacy to the potential for artificial intelligence to identify hateful comments. Some examples:
- ADL’s research is a critical tool for law enforcement agencies to better understand, investigate and prevent hate crimes.
- ADL’s Center on Extremism’s research was critical in the identification and arrest of a white supremacist in Monroe, Washington in December 2018.
- The Online Hate Index (OHI) is a joint initiative of ADL’s Center for Technology and Society and UC Berkeley’s D-Lab. The OHI utilizes machine learning and AI to learn and identify hate speech online and turn it into a scalable tool that can be deployed across the internet to discover the scope and reduce the spread of online hate speech.
- We educate and train: ADL is one of the largest providers in the U.S. of anti-bias and bullying prevention, Holocaust education and anti-Semitism awareness programs in schools, with our trainers and curriculum reaching 2.8 million school children annually. We are also the largest trainer of law enforcement in the U.S. on hate crimes and bias, training an estimated 15,000 officers every year, including all first-year FBI agents and NYPD officers. Some additional examples include programs such as:
- No Place For Hate, in its 20th year, is a self-directed program for schools that helps students, educators and family members identify and learn about tools to combat bias and bullying.
- Words To Action is an interactive education program for middle, high school and college students that empowers and equips them with constructive and effective responses to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias on campuses.
- In 2018 and 2019, CTS' anti-bias game design resources- designed by our Belfer Fellow Dr. Karen Schrier- were used to build games in over 30 countries, producing nearly 80 games exploring issues of bias, empathy and identity.
- We advocate and assist: ADL works with elected officials and policy makers at the federal, state and local levels to ensure they protect the civil rights of all Americans. We have spearheaded victories including the creation of hate crime laws in 45 states and filed legal briefs in some of the nation’s most important civil rights cases. We also work with social media platforms to advocate for changes that reduce cyberhate. Finally, we engage diverse coalitions, companies and individuals to amplify our message and join others in the fight against hate and bias. Two recent examples:
- Charleston, SC City Council passed the first reading of a hate crime ordinance – the hate intimidation ordinance - in November, 2018 that would punish people for bias motivated crimes. This is a major step for a state without hate crimes laws.
- In 2018, CTS consulted on issues of tech policy with three international governments considering legislation regulating tech companies, along with numerous policy consultations with leading technology companies in Silicon Valley, whose policies govern the front lines of fighting hate online.
We focus our work in four areas (across several departments) in the service of ending or mitigating: Anti-Semitism; Extremism; Bias, Bigotry and Discrimination; and Cyberhate:
In 1913 we stepped forward and spoke out against widespread attacks against Jews in the media, in the courts and in society. Today, we continue our unyielding support of Jews worldwide. We speak out and stand up against anti-Semitism in classrooms, online and on the streets. Our vigilance knows no bounds.
We fight extremism and abject hate with extensive reach and resources. We vigilantly monitor and investigate individuals and organizations that actively promote hate-filled ideological beliefs and a need for action. We are a global authority on extremism and our efforts are unrelenting.
Bias, Bigotry and Discrimination
We confront hate in all its forms to keep it from escalating. We deliver on this issue with authority and discipline—for example, we helped craft the first model hate crime legislation in the United States. We will work to stand up for those who are vulnerable in order to help create a world free from hate.
Hate lives out in the open and hides in the far corners of the web. And so, we search, investigate, monitor and analyze its online presence around the clock. We work with companies whose platforms may disseminate hate speech to prevent that hate from coming to life. From bullying to religious discrimination to civil rights abuses, we root out and remove hatred from screens everywhere.
ADL accomplishes this work through a network of 25 regional offices and through programs and advocacy in the U.S., Europe and Israel. ADL staff is focused on building intergroup and interfaith coalitions; engaging elected officials and local authorities; and working in schools, workplaces and anywhere that hate appears.
ADL Recent Developments
In recent years, ADL has been focused on transforming its programs and modernizing its operations under the leadership of new CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt. A former White House aide who also had success in the business world as a serial entrepreneur and corporate executive, Jonathan has prioritized innovation, technology and partnerships as strategies to move ADL forward. Since coming on board in mid-2015, Jonathan has revamped the organizational structure, recruited a new leadership team, strengthened ADL’s financial position, overhauled its corporate governance and re-established ADL as one of the leading anti-hate organizations fighting for the rights of all people.
Jonathan has re-positioned the organization by speaking out against rising anti-Semitism and also by taking bold positions on controversial issues such as fighting the Muslim ban, protecting immigrants’ rights and combatting extremism in all forms. In addition, he has brought ADL to the forefront of fighting cyberhate and online harassment, opening the Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley, establishing active partnerships with leading tech companies and launching new tools like the Online Hate Index, an application that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify intolerance on social media. In the past several years, ADL has conducted breakthrough research exposing the Alt-Right, identified the links between global right-wing extremist networks and revealed troubling patterns of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in certain left-wing circles of influence.
Such work matters more than ever because bigotry is on the rise. The ADL Center on Extremism recorded a 57 percent spike in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017. This represents the largest year-over-year increase that ADL has seen since it started to monitor such incidents in 1979 and followed a 34 percent increase in the previous year. The 2017 increase included an unprecedented 94 percent increase in bias incidents at K-12 schools and a nearly 90 percent increase in colleges and universities. This is happening against a broader backdrop of increasing intolerance. (On November 13, 2018) The FBI reported that hate crimes were up 17% in 2017 with a 37% spike in crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions. Additionally, there was an 18% increase in race-based crimes and a 24% increase in crimes against Latinos.
Today, ADL Education is inspiring a generation to challenge bias in themselves, others and society in order to create more inclusive communities. ADL is achieving this goal through education programs such as: A World of Difference® Institute, No Place for Hate®, and Words to ActionTM. We also engage in Holocaust awareness and education through the Braun Holocaust Institute and Echoes and Reflections.
ADL Civil Rights
ADL has been leading the way on civil rights since its founding. With a multi-pronged approach to advocacy, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and discrimination, defending democratic ideals and civil rights for all. We are a leading voice on religious freedom issues, combatting hate crimes and bullying, advocating for immigration reform and refugee rights, advancing LGBTQ rights, safeguarding the right to vote and promoting racial justice. We also use cutting-edge data, science, technology and techniques to analyze hate crime data and to educate communities across the country on notable trends.
ADL’s Core Civil Rights Equities
- Hate Crimes
- Cyberhate / Online Harassment
- Extremism / Alt-Right / Terrorism
2. Bigotry and Discrimination
- By race, religion, sexual orientation
- In courts, voting, workplace
3. Religious Freedom / Church-State Separation
4. Immigration / Refugees
ADL Law Enforcement
ADL is a powerful force against hate, and a stalwart of our nation’s at-risk communities, in large part due to our strong relationships with law enforcement agencies and our unique ability to provide them with critical resources, information and training. We offer a variety of trainings, which include managing implicit bias, core values, extremism, counter-terrorism and hate crimes, providing law enforcement with the tools they need to strengthen their relationships with the communities they serve and with the latest information about extremist groups and trends.
ADL Center on Extremism
Center on Extremism (COE) is a foremost authority on extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate. The COE investigates and disrupts emerging threats online and on the ground—work that is bolstered by ADL’s civil rights history, our unparalleled partnerships with law enforcement and our commitment to combating anti-Semitism and any type of bigotry.
ADL Center for Technology & Society
As our society increasingly moves online, our fight has moved online, as well. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the Center for Technology & Society (CTS) works in partnership with industry, government, academia and non-profit groups to develop smart strategies and practical solutions to address today’s cyber challenges. CTS aims to be a resource to tech platforms, helping them tackle cyberhate and online harassment, and pushing them to develop proactive solutions.
ADL International Affairs
ADL’s International Affairs (IA) pursues ADL’s mission around the globe, fighting anti-Semitism and hate, supporting the security of Jewish communities worldwide and working for a safe and democratic State of Israel at peace with her neighbors. ADL places a special emphasis on Europe, Latin America and Israel, but advocates for Jewish communities around the world facing anti-Semitism. With a full-time staff in Israel, IA promotes social cohesion in Israel as a means of strengthening the Jewish and democratic character of the State, while opposing efforts to delegitimize it.
The IA staff helps raise these international issues with the U.S. and foreign governments and works with partners around the world to provide research and analysis, programs and resources to fight anti-Semitism, extremism, hate crimes and cyberhate. With a seasoned staff of international affairs experts, ADL’s IA division is one of the world’s foremost authorities in combatting all forms of hate, globally.
"Principles, Priorities and Precedent"
Principles; our core mission, “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” We should never take these timeless words for granted. This is the reason we weigh in on civil rights issues, because we are an anti-hate organization founded in part to fight for the rights of all people as Sigmund Livingston contemplated when he wrote our charter in 1913.
Priorities; the issues that animate us in this moment. In terms of civil rights, we have four core principles: anti-Semitism; bigotry and discrimination; church-state separation and religious freedom; and immigration and refugees. By no means are these the span of civil rights issues, but these are the areas where we are focused. These priorities were established during our strategic planning (ADL Rising) process in 2016. They remain just as relevant today. We always should endeavor to tie our output to these priorities.
Precedent; this is ADL’s heritage and how we operate. With regard to candidate nominations, we have been preparing questions for committees on Supreme Court nominees since 1987 when we offered questions related to the nomination of Robert Bork. And we have been doing it ever since, laying out questions to those nominated by Democratic and Republican presidents. But we do ourselves a disservice by not explicitly reminding the public and the pundits of this long-standing precedent.
Charlottesville and Pittsburgh
ADL’s work preparing for and responding to the August 2017 incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia is a testament to the breadth and depth of our work. The white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally featured shocking and violent expressions of anti-Semitism and racism, including the display of swastika flags, chants of “Jews will not replace us!” and other overt anti-Semitic acts. Even before the rally was a national news story, ADL’s Center on Extremism research team had written the definitive reports on the Alt-Right and their ilk. We published an analysis just before the rally, predicting its size and hostility. ADL worked with the Charlottesville mayor and local law enforcement authorities to help them prepare, and we had staff from the DC/VA office there on the ground during the rally to assist and observe. An hour after suspected murderer James Alex Fields was named, ADL analysts identified him as a member of Vanguard America, which we have been tracking since its founding last year and through previous rallies in Houston and upstate New York. After the rally, ADL was reporting to the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC on the proper response by the White House. Since the rally, we created lesson plans for teachers on how to talk about racism and anti-Semitism after Charlottesville, which we distributed in partnership with a wide range of teachers’ organizations. In addition, we launched a new bipartisan partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, signed by over 300 mayors, including almost all of the U.S.’s largest cities and dozens of smaller communities. The Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry is designed to promote the fundamental principles of justice and equality that define America. The goal is achieved through a series of summits about the public sector and the private sector’s roles entitled “Communities Overcoming Extremism” where we collectively help cities prepare proactively for future extremist marches, even as they take other measures to strengthen the pluralism of their communities. ADL continued to work with local and federal law enforcement on the many other neo-Nazi and white supremacy rallies planned for the months after Charlottesville, and actively kept the average citizen informed on these groups and their intents through additional blog posts and reports issued by the Center on Extremism. Following the unconscionable act of violence that interrupted Shabbat and claimed 11 lives at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh in October, ADL immediately mobilized to bring comfort to those who were grieving, to provide perspective to the public through the media (both traditional and social) and to again stress the escalation and dangers of white supremacy and extremism in this country. Citing data and analysis from our own 2017 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, which reported “a historic increase in both anti-Semitic incidents and anti-Semitic online harassment,” ADL urged leaders from all sectors to lead in the fight against anti-Semitism and hate. To serve and inform our partners in law enforcement across the country, ADL’s Center on Extremism published a backgrounder on the alleged killer, Robert Bowers, just hours after the shooting occurred. Our analysts also tracked reactions to the synagogue shooting on social media sites popular with white supremacists like Bowers, and published reports to expose their celebration of this tragedy. These resources and other intelligence gathered by the Center on Extremism were shared with over 500 law enforcement personnel around the country through a conference call ADL co-led with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In addition, we developed, updated and shared resources, including a guide to talking with children about the Pittsburgh shooting and a Table Talk about gun violence and mass shootings, that reached over 500,000 K-12 educators. ADL’s advocacy team emailed every House and Senate office with these resources and encouraged Congress to speak out, and we redoubled our efforts to improve Hate Crimes prevention and enforcement by promoting the federal NO HATE Act. To console and stand with the Jewish community, ADL staff members from our 25 regional offices initiated, co-sponsored or participated in over 200 rallies and vigils. We co-led a communal security briefing with SCN, which was attended by more than 1,300 Jewish community representatives via webinar. ADL partnered with OneTable to create #SolidarityShabbat in Pittsburgh with the support of other groups including Repair the World and HIAS, and provided materials for over 95 Solidarity Shabbat dinners hosted by young people across the country. On the Friday after the shooting, ADL also asked its social community to take 11 minutes of action to honor the 11 victims. We also sent a guide to over 10,000 Jewish educators on how to help Jewish students deal with hate and anti-Semitism in the aftermath of Pittsburgh. In Israel, ADL organized a commemoration and solidarity ceremony with the Jewish community in partnership with the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot.
Building Blocks That Define Our Work
Principled, Not Political
“Principled” = we won’t take a position due to any proclivity or political motivation. We support universal values; we’re a uniting force for all. “Not political” = neither left nor right (in fact, at times they both disagree with us). We’re timeless and timely – we’re here for the long-term, but we’re making positive impact daily.
A Voice for the Vulnerable
In 1913 the Jewish people were more vulnerable and didn’t have the success and the social capital they have today. And with current circumstances, there are many groups that are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years – including Jews. We provide a supporting voice through our teaching, educating, and training, and through our investigation, research, and advocacy.
Teach One, Reach All
One interaction with one individual life can change the relationships we all have with each other – e.g. change the relationship between citizen and police; neighbor and neighbor; student and student, and model that behavior for others. We do it through education – it’s what we do. From the Talmud – “Whoever saves a single life [in Israel] is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world”
Part of the Civic Fabric
“Civic” = a necessary presence in the community. We’re geographically ubiquitous. “Fabric” = integration into the democracy and the culture. Woven into communities – government, schools, law enforcement. As a result, ADL can be instantly “on”. An action today can have an impact today. It also inspires volunteers to participate. This is the opposite of a centralized ivory tower.
ADL fights against hate in all its forms. ADL is always monitoring, always watching, always on. ADL is passionate and relentless. ADL will never back down.
We were pioneers in 1913. We’ve pursued new thinking, pushed new boundaries, and explored new territories since our beginning – in terms of who we fight for (all), and how we fight (regional outreach). And today, we continue to innovative and take risks with examples like a Center for Technology and Society applying our mission to the 21st century; a Sports Leadership Council that leverages sports leaders to combat hate; premier events like Never is Now that bring the issue of hate to a global stage.
A core differentiator – because the Jewish people have experienced so much hate, we have a lot to teach the world, and a tremendous amount of empathy for other groups who experience it today. Our history, and this foundation impact everything that we do. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?” Generally interpreted as meaning “we must care for ourselves, so that we can move out into the world of others to reveal our greater [individual and societal] selves”.