New York, NY, April 21, 2016 ... Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), today issued the following statement on the If Not Now protest that took place outside of ADL's national office in New York City on April 20, 2016.
Yesterday, a group of protesters from “IfNotNow” (INN) was arrested by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in the lobby of the building in which ADL rents space.
The young men and women of INN are part of our community, and that is why I feel it’s very important to make clear what happened.
First, ADL had no role whatsoever in the arrest of the protesters. The protesters trespassed in the lobby of a private office building in which ADL happens to be one of dozens of tenants. Building management engaged NYPD to deal with the situation. Any claim by INN that ADL ‘had activists arrested’ is simply incorrect.
Second, INN never attempted to contact us about their intended visit or to engage us in any meaningful dialogue. In fact, ADL immediately extended an invitation to meet, which INN rejected.
Third, if INN took us up on the offer to talk, they would have learned that while ADL and INN may differ on how we attain it, the two organizations share the same goal: a two-state solution that provides for the safety and security of Israel and a viable Palestinian state. They also would have learned about the work ADL does speaking out for human rights worldwide and in Israel for all its citizens.
Under my leadership, we at ADL believe in a big tent in which we engage in conversation, and yes, debate across different viewpoints to grapple with difficult issues involving the Jewish community, Jewish values, and the Jewish state. It is unfortunate that INN seems to be more interested in spectacles and ultimatums than in discussion and dialogue grappling with the difficult issues involved in achieving peace. Nevertheless, our doors are open, and our invitation to speak with INN still stands.