For African Americans, Islam is the first faith that we were able to choose for ourselves, absent white supremacy. This small fact is lost among Immigrant Muslims and their families who came to America seeking a nearness to white America and all it had to offer. So, when we see Muslims attach themselves to organizations that worked for and continue to work for the oppression of Black people around the world, it makes us feel some type of way and we have to respond. Such is the case with the announcement May 3rd, 2018, by the Anti-Defamation League(ADL) that Muslim Attorneys Rabia Chaudry and Wajahat Ali would be speaking at their National Leadership Summit.
Maybe they don’t know the horrid history the ADL has with Black people.
What Should Black Muslims Think When Immigrant Muslims Choose Whiteness?
In the Unspoken Alliance: Israel Secret Relationship with Apartheid, South Africa, Sasha Polakow-Suransky writes that, “As the anti-apartheid campaign turned its attention to Israeli links with South Africa, the ADL entered the propaganda frat, publically attacking Nelson Mandela’s ANC with arguments that mirrored those of hardline security officials in Pretoria.”
In 1986, the then national director of the ADL, co-authored an article defending the apartheid regime and South Africa’s President P.W. Botha while denouncing Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress as, “totalitarian, anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israel and anti-American.” The ADL even dispatched spies throughout the United States to monitor groups working to end apartheid in South Africa.
Smearing Nelson Mandela was not enough for the ADL. Maybe Nelson Mandela and his sacrifices are no longer relevant to them.
Most recently, the ADL launched a vicious smear campaign against Black activist Tamika Mallory. They complained “Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of the Women’s March, who got a special shout-out from Farrakhan and who regularly posts laudatory pictures of him on her Instagram account — as does Carmen Perez, another leader of the March.”
While the ADL is concerned about Ms. Mallory taking selfies with Minister Farrakhan, they refused to denounce their own former director, Abe Foxman who has appeared in several photographs smiling with Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, a man who offered to sell apartheid, South Africa, nuclear warheads and a long range missile called the burglar.
A CIA memo titled, Israel’s relationship with Apartheid, South Africa, revealed that Israel under Shimon Peres’ leadership provided apartheid, South Africa with piloted reconnaissance drones, gail assault rifles, 155m howizers, kits and the Israeli defense force provided technical assistance to modernize apartheid South Africa’s mirage 3 fighter aircraft. Israel also provided riot control equipment including gas masks and tear gas training program to apartheid South Africa.
Lekgau Mathabane, the head of Soweto’s Committee of Ten, which as an anti-apartheid civil rights organization, proclaimed, “Israel also supplies arms to South Africa and South Africa uses those arms for killing Black people and even children three years old.”
Yet, due to the ADL’s campaigns, Ms. Mallory’s decision to take a selfie with Minister Farrakhan resulted in an national uproar with Ms. Mallory being subjected to widespread attacks whilst ADL’s director Abe Foxman’s decision to take a photo with an Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres who actually facilitated the killings of Black children, has hardly received any attention or condemnation.
The ADL’s decision to help the apartheid regime of South Africa is a clear indication that it is in fact an anti-Black hate group. It’s clear that the ADL does not believe Black lives matter and Chaudry’s and Ali decision to join forces with the ADL is an affront to the entire black community.
The Boycott of the ADL
The ADL has been challenged recently for their relationship with the Black community. After a Philadelphia Starbucks manager wrongfully called the police on two Black men sitting in the store without making a purchase as so many people do, Starbucks added insult to injury by hiring the ADL to conduct anti-bias training. Ms. Mallory immediately responded, “ADL is CONSTANTLY attacking black and brown people. This is a sign that they [Starbucks] are tone deaf and not committed to addressing the concerns of black folk.” Ms. Mallory also correctly pointed out that “The ADL sends US police to Israel to learn their military practices.”
Indeed, in an era in which Black Americans are en-mass protesting the militarization of police forces, the ADL has facilitated American police training under Israeli soldiers. As Black revolutionary, Angela Davis articulated in Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, the same brand of tear gas which was utilized against Black protesters in Ferguson was utilized against Palestinians in occupied Palestine. Ferguson’s former Police Chief Timothy Fitch who oversaw the militaristic response to Black protesters in Ferguson, participated in the ADL’s training programs in the Israeli apartheid regime. In another act of racism, the ADL has attacked Black Lives Matter activists who have stood in solidarity with Palestine.
When Muslims Join Forces with an Anti-Black Hate Group
So again, maybe they don’t know the horrid history the ADL has with Black people. But what they should know is that Muslims have a duty to stand with the oppressed and marginalized. While the ADL masquerades as a civil rights organization, it is really a proxy organization for the Israeli apartheid regime.
Black activists recognize this and have initiated the hashtag #dumptheADL. Due to the Starbucks decision to enlist the ADL in their anti-bias training, Ms. Mallory boldly declared “Starbucks is NOT serious about doing right by BLACK PEOPLE!” If Rabia O’Chaudry and Wajahat Ali desire to do right by Black people, like Starbucks, they too must sever their relationship with the ADL. They must also stop seeking proximity and closeness with whiteness.
And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allâh, and for those weak, illtreated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help.” 4:075: Quran