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September 16, 2014 0

From The Archives: Violence Against Women Act 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago, on Sep­tem­ber 13, 1994, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton signed the Vio­lence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law which reflects a core part of ADL’s mis­sion: the pre­ven­tion of bias-motivated crim­i­nal behav­ior. VAWA autho­rized gov­ern­ment action to improve crim­i­nal jus­tice and com­mu­nity responses to domes­tic and sex­ual vio­lence and pro­vided fund­ing for the estab­lish­ment of the National Domes­tic Vio­lence Hot­line. ADL’s sup­port for the law, which aimed to pro­tect women from vio­lence directed against them because of their gen­der, was a nat­ural exten­sion of its work on hate crimes. pres-clinton-bill-signing-1994-09-13

In 1996, two years after VAWA’s enact­ment, ADL added gen­der to its model hate crimes leg­is­la­tion, cit­ing the fact that gender-based hate crimes could not be eas­ily dis­tin­guished from other forms of hate-motivated vio­lence. In response to legal chal­lenges to VAWA fol­low­ing its enact­ment, ADL joined sev­eral ami­cus (friend of the court) briefs in sup­port of the Act. In 2000, in U.S. v. Mor­ri­son, ADL, along with a num­ber of other civil rights orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing Peo­ple for the Amer­i­can Way, the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Con­gress, and Hadas­sah, filed an ami­cus brief sup­port­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of VAWA’s civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, which allowed sur­vivors of gender-motivated vio­lence to sue their attack­ers in fed­eral court.

Fol­low­ing the Court’s deci­sion to strike down the civil rem­edy pro­vi­sion, ADL con­tin­ued its sup­port for leg­is­la­tion that coun­ters dis­crim­i­na­tion and bias crimes—including on the basis of gen­der or gen­der iden­tity. In 2009, Con­gress enacted the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act crim­i­nal­iz­ing hate crimes tar­get­ing vic­tims because of race, color, reli­gion, national ori­gin, gen­der, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity or dis­abil­ity.  ADL spear­headed coali­tion efforts to pass the bill for more than a decade.

After fail­ing to reau­tho­rize an update to VAWA in 2012, Con­gress enacted new leg­is­la­tion in 2013, which included addi­tional pro­grams specif­i­cally designed to address domes­tic vio­lence against women of color, Native Amer­i­cans, new cam­pus hate crime require­ments, and inti­mate part­ner vio­lence involv­ing mem­bers of the LGBT community.

On this impor­tant anniver­sary, ADL reaf­firms its long-standing com­mit­ment to advo­cat­ing for legally-sound statutes at the fed­eral and state level that counter dis­crim­i­na­tion, bias crimes, and vio­lence against women.

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August 6, 2014 0

From the Archives: A Brief History of “The Protocols” in the U.S.

This week marks the 50th anniver­sary of a report by the Inter­nal Secu­rity Sub­com­mit­tee of the Sen­ate Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee repu­di­at­ing The Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion,a piece of para­noid, racist lit­er­a­ture long used by anti-Semites as sup­posed proof of a Jew­ish con­spir­acy to take over the world.

The Sen­ate report offered a his­tory and analy­sis of The Pro­to­cols, not­ing that it con­tin­ued to be “cir­cu­lated by the unscrupu­lous and accepted by the unthink­ing” despite being “repeat­edly and author­i­ta­tively exposed as a vicious hoax.”

The report described The Pro­to­cols as “one of a num­ber of fraud­u­lent doc­u­ments that ped­dle the myth of an ‘inter­na­tional Jew­ish con­spir­acy,’” adding that it had been among the most mali­cious (indeed, Adolf Hitler linked the nefar­i­ous plot of The Pro­to­cols with Germany’s post-war eco­nomic hard­ships). It fur­ther declared: “it is impos­si­ble for a fair minded per­son of any com­mon­sense not to see that the ‘Pro­to­cols’ are the fic­tional prod­uct of a warped mind and that for years they have been and still are the chief sta­ple of the anti-Jewish pamphleteer.”dearborn-independent-international-jew

At the time of its release, the Sen­ate sub­com­mit­tee requested pub­li­ca­tion of the report “in order to lay to rest any hon­est ques­tion con­cern­ing the nature, ori­gin, and sig­nif­i­cance of this ancient canard.” The Judi­ciary Committee’s report came 44 years after the intro­duc­tion of The Pro­to­cols to an Amer­i­can audi­ence and the ADL’s first cam­paign against it.

On May 22, 1920, Henry Ford’s news­pa­per, The Dear­born Inde­pen­dent, pub­lished the first install­ment of The Pro­to­cols under a ban­ner head­line: The Inter­na­tional Jew: The World’s Prob­lem. Rewrit­ten and “Amer­i­can­ized” for a US audi­ence, the Inde­pen­dent’s ver­sion of The Pro­to­cols appeared in issue after issue, pam­phlet, and book form. Mil­lions of copies were spread through­out the United States by Ford deal­ers, who were required to make copies avail­able to cus­tomers, and mem­bers of the KKK and other hate groups.

The fol­low­ing month, ADL sent “a dig­ni­fied let­ter ask­ing for a con­fer­ence” to Ford. When no response was received, an ADL inves­ti­ga­tion dis­closed “that the anti-Semitic cam­paign of The Dear­born Inde­pen­dent was delib­er­ately planned and a suf­fi­cient amount of evi­dence was secured to prove that the pub­lisher had the will­ing coop­er­a­tion not merely of for­eign anti-Jewish orga­ni­za­tions but of many groups in America.”

In Sep­tem­ber 1920, a spe­cial con­fer­ence of Jew­ish lead­ers con­vened and tasked ADL with spear­head­ing the response. ADL cir­cu­lated two pam­phlets out­lin­ing the his­tory and fab­ri­ca­tion of the Pro­to­cols: The Pro­to­cols – A Spu­ri­ous Doc­u­ment and The Poi­son Pen: Fur­ther rev­e­la­tions con­cern­ing Anti-Semitic Pro­pa­ganda in the United States. ADL again reached out to Ford and this time came to an agree­ment, but it was soon broken.the-truth-about-the-protocols-cover

On Jan­u­ary 16, 1921 author John Spargo released a let­ter of protest against anti-Semitic pro­pa­ganda signed by 119 dis­tin­guished non-Jewish Amer­i­cans, includ­ing Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son and for­mer Pres­i­dents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roo­sevelt. ADL reprinted and dis­sem­i­nated Spargo’s let­ter and an arti­cle on anti-Semitism by for­mer Pres­i­dent Taft.

By 1927, Ford had pub­licly repu­di­ated the Inter­na­tional Jew and issued a pub­lic apol­ogy, and decades later, after The Pro­to­cols had become a sta­ple of Nazi pro­pa­ganda, Ford again expressed his con­cern about the cir­cu­la­tion of The Inter­na­tional Jew.

In a 1942 let­ter to ADL, Ford wrote, “I do not sub­scribe to or sup­port, directly or indi­rectly, any agi­ta­tion which would pro­mote antag­o­nism against my Jew­ish fel­low cit­i­zens.” Despite his apolo­gies, hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple around the world have been encour­aged by his ini­tial endorse­ment to accept the Pro­to­cols as gen­uine. Many today remain skep­ti­cal of Ford’s apology.

Since A Spu­ri­ous Doc­u­ment and The Poi­son Pen, instances of resur­gent use of The Pro­to­cols has spurred addi­tional ADL pub­li­ca­tions refut­ing The Pro­to­cols, includ­ing The Truth About the Pro­to­cols of the Wise Men of Zion (1939–1945), The Pro­to­cols and the Purge Trial (1952), and The Pro­to­cols: Myth and His­tory (1981).

Today, ADL mon­i­tors and reports on the con­tin­ued use of The Pro­to­cols by extrem­ists and anti-Semites around the globe. ADL has long asked book­sellers who stock The Pro­to­cols to label and cat­e­go­rize it appro­pri­ately. This prac­tice extends to online book sell­ers; both Ama­zon and Barnes & Noble place promi­nently on their list­ings of The Pro­to­cols an ADL state­ment that it is an anti-Semitic pla­gia­rized forgery, in addi­tion to lan­guage that makes clear the book­sellers do not endorse the con­tent.  

For more about The Pro­to­cols, see ADL’s The ‘Pro­to­cols’ at 100: A Hoax of Hate Lives On, A Hoax of Hate: The Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and The Inter­na­tional Jew: 1920s Anti-Semitism Revived Online.

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July 3, 2014 0

From the Archives: ADL & the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Part 3

On June 10, 1964, a year after Pres­i­dent Kennedy first intro­duced the Civil Rights Act to the nation in a tele­vised address, a coali­tion of 44 Democ­rats and 27 Repub­li­cans voted for clo­ture, which lim­ited fur­ther debate and ended the 57-day fil­i­buster of the bill.

ADL had lob­bied for the bill in the months prior, includ­ing orga­niz­ing a meet­ing of 100 Jew­ish busi­ness, pro­fes­sional, and civic lead­ers from all over the United States, who met in Wash­ing­ton, DC, and urged their home-state Sen­a­tors to take action towards pas­sage of the bill.

In a press release react­ing to the Senate’s vote for clo­ture, ADL National Chair­man Dore Schary stated:

The vote on the clo­ture rule which now assures pas­sage of the Civil Rights Act is a vic­tory for all who love jus­tice and love an Amer­ica con­ceived in lib­erty. It is a defeat for no one except those who would pre­vent Amer­ica from achiev­ing its ulti­mate dream… For the thou­sands of civil rights lead­ers and for the coun­try as a whole, the final pas­sage of the Civil Rights Bill will pro­vide new oppor­tu­ni­ties, which they dare not squan­der, to help our Negro cit­i­zens achieve a full mea­sure of their rights as Americans.

The Civil Rights Act passed the Sen­ate with a vote of 73–27 on June 19.

On June 21, the same day on which three civil rights work­ers were kid­napped and mur­dered in Mis­sis­sippi, the Illi­nois Rally for Civil Rights was held at Chicago’s Sol­dier Field. The Anti-Defamation League was among the spon­sors of the rally, which fea­tured the Rev­erend Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. The rally was planned to urge pas­sage by the Sen­ate, but was ulti­mately anti-climactic, as pas­sage by the House was the immi­nent. ADL’s Mid­west Direc­tor A. Abott Rosen described the day:

There was no ques­tion of Jew­ish par­tic­i­pa­tion, there were no sus­pi­cions on the parts of blacks of Jews or other whites on this glo­ri­ous day. We didn’t take a head count of the num­ber of blacks and the num­ber of wSigning_of_Civil_Rights_Acthites present in Sol­diers Field that day, but to my eye, I would sug­gest that the group was almost equally divided.

On July 2, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted by more than a two-thirds mar­gin (289–126) to adopt the Senate-passed ver­sion of the Civil Rights Act. That day, Pres­i­dent John­son signed the bill in a nation­ally broad­cast ceremony.

ADL’s National Pro­gram Direc­tor Oscar Cohen later recalled:

The ques­tion arose in ADL cir­cles fre­quently as to why ADL was so totally involved with the strug­gle for equal rights for blacks … First, we claimed, that no minor­ity was safe unless all minori­ties were and prej­u­dice and dis­crim­i­na­tion could not be cured in our soci­ety unless the cure related to all minori­ties … if civil rights laws were passed, such as fair employ­ment and fair hous­ing laws, they would at one stroke elim­i­nate dis­crim­i­na­tion against all groups, includ­ing Jews.

Today, ADL is help­ing to lead a very large coali­tion work­ing to fight dis­crim­i­na­tion, pro­mote equal­ity, and pro­tect the same vot­ing rights for which civil rights work­ers Michael Schw­erner, Andrew Good­man, and James Chaney gave their lives. The League is urg­ing broad sup­port for the Vot­ing Rights Amend­ment Act of 2014 (VRAA), which would cre­ate a new for­mula for pre-clearing vot­ing rights changes.

Fifty years later, ADL com­mem­o­rates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a para­mount step towards our core value “to secure jus­tice and fair treat­ment for all” and reaf­firms our ded­i­ca­tion to con­tinue the fight in the ongo­ing strug­gle for equality.

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