By Robert I. Friedman 
          The Village Voice, May 11, 1993, Vol. XXXVIII No. 19

     How The Anti-Defamation League Turned the Notion of Human 
     Rights on Its Head, Spying on Progressives and Funneling 
     Information to Law Enforcement 

ROY BULLOCK wanted to be a spy since he was a teenager in Indiana
and read "I Led Three Lives," Herbert Philbrick's Cold War saga of
penetrating the Communist Party for the FBI. Philbrick had become
an American folk hero in the 1950s for building dossiers on
unsuspecting colleagues. It was a time when Hollywood produced more
than 30 films portraying the informer as the quintessential
American patriot. In Boston, where Philbrick led three lives as an
FBI informant, Communist Party member, and private citizen, the
mayor even proclaimed a Herbert Philbrick Day and presented the spy
with a plaque.

For Bullock, a shy young man who was coming to terms with his
homosexuality in the straight-arrow '50s, the life of a double
agent was the perfect way to hide his lifestyle while fighting the
Communist menace.

"I was fascinated with Herbert Philbrick," Bullock recently told
federal investigators, "and so I thought I would try to infiltrate
the Communist Part. In 1957, I went to the Sixth World Youth and
Student Festival in Moscow with the American delegation. I gave
them [the FBI a full report on it when I returned, along with some
photos I took of some Soviet military vehicles."

Bullock was hooked. For the next two years, he worked as an unpaid
informant for the FBI. But he found his true calling when he became
a paid spy for the Anti-Defamation League in 1960. Now his
activities are at the center of the biggest domestic spy scandal in
recent American history -- a scandal that may end with the ADL's
criminal indictment in San Francisco.

Over a 30-year period, he compiled computer files for the ADL on
9876 individuals and more than 950 groups of all political stripes,
including the NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition, ACLU, the American
Indian Movement, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Pacifica,
ACT UP, Palestinian and Arab groups, Sandinista solidarity groups,
Americans for Peace Now, and anti-apartheid organizations. Bullock,
who even spied on the recently slain South African nationalist
Chris Hani when he visited the Bay Area in April 1991, sold many of
his ADL files on anti-apartheid activists to South African
intelligence. Meanwhile, between 1985 and 1993, the ADL paid him
nearly $170,000, using a prominent Beverly Hills attorney as a
conduit in order to conceal its financial relationship with

Last month, police raided ADL offices in Los Angeles and San
Francisco, as well as Bullock's home, confiscating computer files
and boxes of documents. According to court records, Bullock's files
contained the driver's license and vehicle registration
information, in addition to criminal histories on individuals --
much of which was allegedly stolen from the FBI and police
computers. Bullock, 58, told the FBI that copies of virtually
everything in his computer data base had been given to the San
Francisco ADL office. "Based on the evidence," says Inspector Ron
Roth, in a police affidavit, "I believe that Roy Bullock and ADL
had numerous peace officers supplying them with confidential
criminal and DMV information."

What's more, the San Francisco D.A. is investigating Bullock for
tapping phones, accessing answering machines, and assuming false
identities to infiltrate organizations. Documents seized from
Bullock's home also contained evidence of his forays into Bay Area
trash cans: He had the names and phone numbers of employees at the
Christic Institute in San Francisco, as well as telephone message
slips to staff members (including names and phone numbers of
callers), office correspondence listing the names and return
addresses of the senders, and inter-office memos. He also had
receipts from Christic Institute's bank accounts at Wells Fargo and
Eureka Federal Savings, as well as itemized canceled checks with
the names of the payees, the dates, and amounts. Bullock even knew
the balance in the Christic Institute's checking account.

Investigations by the FBI and police in San Francisco have revealed
that the ADL has shared at least some of its spy gathering material
with Israeli government officials. What's more, Israel apparently
used tips from the ADL to detain Palestinian Americans who
travelled there.

              *   *   *

The ADL was established in New York City in 1913 to defend Jews,
and later other minority groups, from discrimination. It led the
fight against racist and fascist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and
the American Nazi Party, and in the 1960s championed the civil
rights movement.

But there was also a darker side. In the late 1940s, the ADL spied
on leftists and Communists, and shared investigative files with the
House Committee on Un-American Activities and the FBI. The ADL
swung sharply to the right during the Reagan administration,
becoming a bastion of neoconservatism. To Irwin Suall, a repentant
Trotskyite who heads the ADL's powerful Fact Finding Department,
the real danger to Jews is posed not by the right -- but by a
coalition of leftists, blacks, and Arabs, who in his view threaten
the fabric of democracy in America, as well as the state of Israel.
In the tradition of his ideological soulmate William Casey, Suall
directed the ADL's vast network of informants, who were given code
names like "Scumbag," "Ironside," and -- for a spy reportedly
posing as a priest in Atlanta -- "Flipper."

For years, journalists and liberal members of the Jewish community
knew the ADL spied on right-wing hate groups. As long as the
targets were anti-Semitic organizations like the Liberty Lobby and
Lyndon Larouche, no one seemed to be particularly troubled. But the
Bullock case reveals that the ADL also spied on groups that have a
nonviolent, and progressive orientation. This apparent massive
violation of civil liberties may end with the ADL's criminal
indictment in San Francisco, where the investigation began. The
human rights group faces possible criminal prosecution on as many
as 48 felony counts, including an indictment for gaining illegal
access to police computers. Says one source close to the West Coast
investigation, "It is 99 per cent certain that the ADL will be

In the wake of the San Francisco investigation, police probes of
ADL spying are spreading to other parts of the country. "We have
received numerous complaints about ADL [spying]," says Sam Adams,
a spokesperson for the mayor's office in Portland, Oregon.

On April 16, the Harlem-based Black United Fund of New York, and
African American self-help group that Bullock allegedly spied on,
wrote District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, requesting "an immediate
investigation" of the ADL. "The ADL's actions cause great concern,
as it is a direct and flagrant violation -- at minimum -- of our
civil rights....We call upon you to join with the District Attorney
of San Francisco to...bring and end to this latest form of

Gerald McKelvey, a spokesperson for Morgenthau's office, says, "We
have no evidence before us that warrants any sort of
investigation." McKelvey adds that Morgenthau offered to assist the
FBI and the San Francisco D.A.'s office on their pending
investigation. "They have not, so far, asked for our assistance."

The ADL acknowledges sharing information on violence-prone groups
with law enforcement officials. It also admits to maintaining
extensive files on a wide variety of organizations, but says, in a
two-page press release, "The vast majority of ADL's files are
composed of news clips, magazine articles, books, journals, and
other documents...."

"ADL has made it clear that it does not and will not countenance
violations of the law on the part of anyone connected with the
agency, and the process by which the League gathers information is
presently under review to insure that no laws are being violated."

That's what the ADL says for public consumption. But morale is so
low that its employees complain of sleepless nights and crying
fits. And even as other Jewish groups circle the wagons around the
ADL in a show of solidarity, many do so holding their noses. More
than a few Jewish officials privately say the ADL has to decide
whether it is a human rights group or a secret police agency.

"The ADL is regarded both inside the Jewish community and outside
the Jewish community as the definitive source of information on
anti- Semitism and extremist groups," says Daniel Levitas, the
former executive director of the Center for Democratic Renewal, an
Atlanta- based group that monitors anti-Semitism, racism, and hate
groups. "One of the things this scandal has done is that it has
completely tainted the ADL's credibility and reputation with regard
to its objectivity. This scandal is going to be a devastating blow
to the Jewish community at large because people regard the ADL as
synonymous with American Jewry."

              *   *   *

Bullock's talents as a snoop and his extreme conservatism meshed
well with the ADL's Cold War worldview. In 1960, he moved to
Southern California where he became an ADL spy for $75.00 a week.
Bullock almost always used his real name when snooping, although he
once called himself Elmer Fink when corresponding with supporters
of Alabama governor George Wallace. Bullock provided the ADL's
office in Los Angeles with written reports, which were transmitted
to Fact Finding Department head Irwin Suall, according to court
records. Under Suall's stewardship, Fact Finding Department had
become the ADL's heart and soul. Located at ADL national
headquarters across from the United Nations, the department had
assembled a vast library on "hate groups," culling material from
publications, speeches, and informants reports.

Bullock was more than adept at leading a double life. Not long
after moving to California, he ingratiated himself with a woman in
the John Birch Society who helped him gain access to the group's
Boston office. There, he found a file the right-wingers were
keeping on the ADL. The discovery gave rise to speculation in the
ADL New York office that they had somehow been penetrated by the

Bullock focused almost exclusively on right-wing extremist groups
until the early 1970s when ADL L.A. head Milton Sinn was replaced
by Harvey Schechter, who encouraged him to target the left as well.
A few years later, Bullock moved to the Castro District in San
Francisco where he posed as an art dealer. And ADL fact finder who
had infiltrated the local Arab community had just been exposed.
When the ensuing scandal died down, Bullock was ordered by the ADL
to penetrate the Arabs.

The ADL was especially concerned about the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee, founded by the former South Dakota
senator James Abourezk to combat Arab-bashing. In a page out of the
CIA's dirty tricks handbook on penetration and destabilization,
Bullock joined the ADC, and then recruited Nazis into the group,
apparently trying to discredit it, according to published reports.

In 1987, the ADL sent Bullock to attend the National Association of
Arab Americans annual congress in Washington. According to court
documents, Bullock was told to find the source of the group's
funds. Bullock was unable to "follow the money." But he did such a
good job at ingratiating himself that he was appointed to head a
NAAA delegation that visited Congress member Nancy Pelosi.
It's not surprising that the ADL penetrated Arab organizations. But
only acute paranoia explains their interest in groups like ACT UP.
As far as Bullock was concerned, gay groups in San Francisco were
heavily infiltrated by what he called "gay left revolutionaries,"
prompting him to write about their activities for the ADL.

Bullock soon expanded his horizons, moving into the shadowy realm
of foreign espionage after Richard Hirschhaut, the head of ADL's
San Francisco office, introduced him to Thomas Gerard in 1986.
Gerard was then a detective with the San Francisco Police
Department's Intelligence Unit. Gerard had worked as a demolitions
expert for the CIA in El Salvador in the early 1980s, where he
apparently had more than a passing interest in right-wing death
squads. (Police searching Gerard's briefcase found extensive CIA
literature about torture and interrogation, photos of blindfolded
and chained men, as well as passports made out to Gerard in 10
different names, including Thomas Clouseau. From a remote jungle
island redoubt in the Philippines where he fled last November,
Gerard told the Los Angeles Times that he will blow the lid off the
CIA's involvement with Latin American death squads if he is
indicted in the ADL spy case.)

After their very first encounter in the ADL office, Gerard and
Bullock had lunch at McDonald's, "I liked Tom right off," Bullock
later told a San Francisco police investigator whose report of the
interrogation was obtained by the _Voice_. "Tom is a very charming,
roguish character, with a great deal of integrity. Let me say here,
I consider Tom Gerard one of the finest policemen I've ever worked
with, absolutely. Honest, capable, intelligent and 100 percent

Before long, Bullock was providing Gerard with confidential ADL
reports on various groups and individuals. In turn, Gerard gave
Bullock classified police intelligence files on local Arab
Americans, skinheads, and others. Bullock told the FBI that
Gerard's material ended up in his ADL reports. "I would say 99
percent of the data that I got was name, address, and sometimes
physical description. Criminal history, very rarely," Bullock told
investigators. Gerard also gave Bullock a chart that outlined a
vast network of Bay Area Arab American businessmen and
organizations that allegedly has ties to Middle East terror groups,
as well as surveillance photos of Arab Americans receiving weapons
training overseas. Bullock claims that U.S. Customs in New York
gave Gerard the photos. "It was understood that Bullock would be
very careful with what he did with the information Gerard gave him,
and that Bullock would not release it except to the ADL or other
law enforcement officers," says an FBI report.

There was nothing unusual about Bullock's cozy relationship with
law enforcement. By the mid-1980s, the ADL was swapping files with
hundreds of "official friends," the organization's euphemism for
U.S. law enforcement and intelligence sources. The ADL's
relationship with the FBI's counterterrorism office was so close
that ADL's reports on Arab American group's covert ties to Middle
East terrorists were "must reading."

It's no accident that police found a 1986 classified FBI report
entitled "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)--New
York Area" while searching the ADL's San Francisco office. In 1987,
ADL spooks investigated seven Palestinians and a Kenyan studying in
California universities on student visas. When the ADL discovered
they were disseminating PFLP literature, it informed the FBI, which
in turn took the case to the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. After the INS ordered the students deported as
subversives, ADL regional director David Lehrer gloated in the _Los
Angeles Times_ about his office's cooperation with law enforcement,
although he's backpedaling now. The "Los Angeles 8" deportation is
still under appeal.

              *   *   *

While the ADL worked quietly with America's top cops, it enjoyed
similar ties with Israel's spy agencies -- a charge that ADL
leaders vehemently deny. But as early as July 7, 1961, ADL director
Benjamin Epstein wrote to B'nai B'rith executive secretary Saul
Joftes, requesting $25,000 for his investigators. "Our
information," he boasted to Joftes, "in addition to being essential
for our own operations, has been of great value and service to both
the United States Department and the Israeli Government. All data
have been made available to both countries with full knowledge to
each that we are the source."

In 1987, the ADL came under FBI scrutiny in the wake of the Pollard
spy scandal. While assigned to the Navy's Anti-Terrorist Alert
Center, where he had access to the most closely guarded U.S.
secrets, Jonathan Pollard stole thousands of pages of classified
documents for Israel, which, according to federal prosecutors,
"could fill a room the size of a large closet...ten feet by six
feet by six feet." Pollard's handler was Avi Sella, an Israeli air
force colonel whose wife worked for the New York ADL as a lawyer.
Pollard later wrote to friends that a prominent ADL leader was
deeply involved in the Israeli spy operation.

While there is no proof that anyone connected with the ADL was
involved with Pollard, there is evidence that the ADL freely passes
information to Israeli intelligence. In March 1993, the FBI
interrogated David Gurvitz, an ADL fact finder in Los Angeles until
1992 when he was fired by Suall for illegally obtaining police
information to use against a rival at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The FBI pointedly asked Gurvitz if he had ever transmitted
information to Israel. Gurvitz admitted that in 1992 he had learned
from a law enforcement contact that Michael Elias, allegedly a
member of a radical PLO faction, was scheduled to travel from San
Francisco International Airport en route to Haifa. Gurvitz phoned
the deputy Israeli consul general in L.A. with the information.
"Later the same day," according to a 15-page FBI interview of
Gurvitz obtained by the _Voice_, "Gurvitz was called back by
another man, who said he was from the Israeli Consulate, and who
asked Gurvitz to repeat the information about Elias. Gurvitz did
not get this man's name, but their conversation was in Hebrew so
Gurvitz felt confident the man was actually an Israeli Consulate

Among the 12,000 names of private citizens that police found in ADL
files in San Francisco was Mohammed Jarad, a 36-year-old Chicago
resident who was arrested in Israel on January 25, for allegedly
distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hamas, the large
Islamic fundamentalist movement in the Occupied Territories. The
Chicago ADL office runs at least three undercover informants who
work with "official friends" in local law enforcement, according to
documents released by the San Francisco D.A. and sources close to
the ADL. Given these facts, Arab American groups surmise that the
ADL has passed information on Jarad to Israeli intelligence.

One technique used by the ADL to monitor the large Arab American
community in the Midwest was to scan the local Arab press for
funeral notices. According to sources familiar with the practice,
ADL investigators in unmarked vans videotaped the Palestinian
funerals, which sometimes turned into PLO rallies. Palestinians
have been detained at Ben-Gurion Airport simply on the basis of
having been filmed attending a funeral in Chicago, according to
Suhail Miari, the executive director of the United Holy Land Fund,
whose cousin was an Arab member of Israel's Knesset.

Shortly after Jarad was arrested, the Israeli government announced
that Hamas was being run from America with money and operational
instructions relayed by courier or fax. Israel's charges were
played up on the front page of _The New York Times_. According to
well- placed sources, Yehudit Barsky, an ADL fact finder in New
York, worked closely with Israeli officials on this campaign of
vilification, introducing "friendly" reporters to "official
friends" in Chicago law enforcement.

Barsky, who is fluent in Arabic, prepared an ADL report about how
Hamas is funded in America. She identified the Dallas-based Islamic
association for Palestine in North America as the front
organization for Hamas in the U.S.A. "Its infrastructure functions
as an interlocking network of organizations, small businesses, and
individual activists," says the February 1993 ADL report, which
outlines the organization's development, its activities on U.S.
college campuses, and its "metamorphosis" during the Gulf War. It
also traces Hamas fundraising through a plethora of alleged front-
groups from Plainfield, Indiana, to Culver City, California. It is
doubtful that Barsky could have compiled such sophisticated data
without the help of "official friends" and ADL spies.

Barsky refused to comment. But she used to talk to Greg Slabodkin
as many as three times a week when he was an opposition researcher
for AIPAC, whose spy operation was disclosed last summer in the
_Voice_. "The level of cooperation was very close," Slabodkin said
during a recent phone conservation from Israel where he is in
graduate school. "If we felt our files were lacking, we contacted
the ADL."

When Sha'wan Jabarin, a 30-year-old Palestinian human rights worker
in the Occupied Territories won a $25,000 Reebok Human Rights Award
in 1990, Slabodkin recalls that Barsky faxed AIPAC the man's entire
police file, which she had obtained from the Israeli embassy.
Jabarin had been arrested numerous times in Israel, and once
confessed to being a member of the PLO after having been severely
tortured. Jabarin, who received a short jail term, became an
Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience. Of course, to AIPAC
and the ADL, Jabarin was a terrorist. Slabodkin, who was ordered to
keep tabs on him when he was in the U.S. to receive his award,
called a representative of Al Haq, the Palestinian human rights
group that employed Jabarin, to obtain his itinerary. AIPAC even
opened a file on musician Jackson Browne, who presented Jabarin
with the Reebok award.

While the ADL may be able to rationalize its close monitoring of
Arabs, and even left-wing gay revolutionaries, it has a far harder
time explaining its obsession with spying on anti-apartheid
activists. David Gurvitz told the FBI that when he started working
as a fact finder for the ADL in L.A. in March 1989, ADL files
already bulged with information about the Israel-South African
connection and anti- apartheid groups. "Gurvitz confirmed that the
ADL did routinely collect information on persons engaged in
anti-apartheid activities in the United States," says the FBI
report. While Gurvitz said there were files in the L.A. ADL office
dating to the 1930s, he estimated the oldest material on
anti-apartheid activities dates back to the late 1970s, paralleling
Begin's rise to power in Israel and a deepening of ties between the
Jewish state and South Africa. "In about August, 1992," says the
report of the FBI's March 3, 1993, interview with Gurvitz, "an
anti-apartheid demonstration was held at the South African
Consulate in Los Angeles. Participating in the demonstration were
the Los Angeles Student Coalition and the Socialist Workers Party.
Gurvitz went to two demonstration planning sessions, and a
subsequent demonstration. He wrote a report for the ADL on each of
the planning sessions and on the demonstration. Copies of the
reports were disseminated to Bullock, among others, in care of the
San Francisco ADL office."

In 1986 Bullock learned that the consul general of the South
African Consulate in Los Angeles would be speaking in Las Vegas at
a meeting organized by Willis Carto, the head of the anti-Semitic
Liberty Lobby. "Suspecting that the Consul General did not know who
Willis Carto is," says the FBI report, "Bullock suggested to Gerard
that they might want to warn the South Africans. Gerard agreed and
informed the Consul General, who canceled his appearance."

A few months later, Gerard phoned Bullock and told him a South
African intelligence officer wanted to meet them. During a
rendezvous in a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf, the South African
said he was interested in acquiring information on American
anti-apartheid activists. The South African, who called himself Mr.
Humphries, also asked for information about groups that were
advocating divestments. "Gerard, who was present throughout the
meeting," says the FBI report, "told Humphries that he [Gerard] had
been employed by the CIA....Humphries offered to pay Bullock
$150.00 per month in exchange for information. Bullock noted that
much of the information Humphries said he wanted was already in the
possession of Bullock and the ADL."

Between 1987 and 1991, Bullock sold information to South African
intelligence, receiving steady raises, which he split evenly with
Gerard. "Bullock said it was his impression, though Gerard never
explicitly told him so, (and Bullock never asked) that Gerard may
have been telling the CIA about his and Bullock's contacts with the
South Africans," says the FBI report. "Gerard had said he knew the
CIA 'resident agent' in San Francisco....Once, after Gerard dropped
Bullock off at Bullock's residence following a meeting with Louie
[who replaced Humphries as their handler], Gerard said he was going
to go to the San Francisco CIA office."

Al the while, Gerard may have been "tasking" Bullock for the CIA.
"Bullock recalled that once, after he had met Gerard, Bullock went
to Chicago, Illinois to conduct an investigation on behalf of the
ADL," says the FBI report. "The target of the investigation was a
group called the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. Bullock learned
that a woman [name deleted] was transporting money between the PLO
or the PFLP, and the United States. Bullock told this to Gerard.
Gerard later told Bullock that Gerard's 'guy at the CIA' would like
to know more. Gerard asked Bullock if Bullock would go back to
Chicago to gather more information on the Palestine Human Rights
Campaign. Bullock, however, never did go back."

Gerard also seems to have had a close relationship with Mossad,
which may have started in 1991 when he went on an ADL junket to
Israel. The ADL frequently sponsors trips for American law
enforcement officials to Israel, where they are wined and dined and
meet their counterparts in various intelligence agencies. According
to an affidavit by San Francisco police inspector Roth, the
"all-expense paid trip [to Israel] was more or less a thank-you
gift and a liaison gesture by the ADL to continue the close
relationships it has with specific law enforcement officers from
the United States."

Gerard may have liked what he saw in Israel. A short time after
travelling there, he went to Addis Ababa where he helped with
Mossad's rescue of Ethiopian Jews.

As Gerard's relationship with South Africa deepened, he talked more
openly about his exploits in the CIA. "Bullock recalled Gerard
mentioning that he had been in Algeria on CIA business, and that
Gerard discussed the PLO and 'safehouses,'" says the FBI report,
"To this Louie once responded that Israeli intelligence had
determined that the PLO and the African National Congress were
cooperating. Gerard also spoke of having travelled with the CIA to
Afghanistan.... Louie also [told Gerard and Bullock] about his
adventures inside South Africa as an intelligence officer. Both
Gerard and Louie traded 'war stories' and regaled each other and
Bullock with tales of 'narrow scrapes.'"

Although there is still much mystery about what triggered law
enforcement's investigation of the ADL, it was probably the theft
of a classified FBI report on the Nation of Islam from the FBI's
San Francisco office. Police armed with search warrants recovered
the report in the ADL San Francisco office. Gurvitz says he had
sent a copy of it to Mira Boland, the director of the ADL's fact
finding division in Washington, D.C. Boland was preparing an op-ed
piece for _The Washington Times_, in which she argued that the
Nation of Islam should not receive federal funds for the
reconstruction of L.A. because the group is anti-Semitic and
violence-prone. (Boland, who had arranged the ADL police junket to
Israel attended by Gerard, testified in a 1990 criminal trial in
Roanoke, Virginia, that she had worked for the CIA for 14 months
and later was a subcontractor for the Defense Department before
joining the ADL. During the trial, Boland admitted to sharing
information with a CIA official at an invitation- only ADL

After he was questioned by the FBI last fall, Gerard fled to the
Philippines, which has no extradition treaty with America. Gerard
is believed to have supplied information from police computers not
only to the ADL, but to Israel and South Africa as well. The _San
Francisco Examiner_ reported that Gerard may be charged with
violating federal espionage laws.

Although Bullock worked for the ADL for 30 years, and Irwin Suall
praised him in a July 1992 memo as "our number one investigator,"
the ADL now argues that he was a rogue agent. In its own defense,
the ADL also asserts that its fact finders operate no differently
than journalists. After all, ask ADL officials, don't journalists
keep files?

But the difference between the practice of journalism and the ADL's
method of gathering information couldn't be more striking.
Journalists place information in the public domain where they are
held accountable for falsehoods, distortions, and libel. And for
the most part, journalists don't share their investigative files
with foreign and domestic police agencies. The ADL has no such
inhibition. Because many of its files are not open to public
scrutiny, false information collected by ideologically biased
researchers cannot be corrected. Once a proud human rights group,
the ADL has become the Jewish thought police.

"The ADL says it's a human rights group not just for Jews but for
everyone," says Chip Berlet, a highly respected researcher at the
Massachusetts-based Political Research Associates, which monitors
right-wing extremist groups. "That's fine but it can't do that and
spy on Palestinians. It's blatantly unethical and frankly immoral."

"My argument to people is that the ADL wears four hats. Each of the
hats independently is appropriate. It is a broad-based human rights
group that looks at the broad issues of prejudice and
discrimination. It is a group that defends Jews against defamation.
Entirely noble. Nothing wrong with that hat. It is a group, whose
leaders, at least, consistently defend the actions of Israel
against its critics, which again is entirely appropriate. And it is
a group that maintains an information-sharing arrangement with law
enforcement. Again, there is nothing wrong for a group to do that."

"But you can't do all four. It is impossible to do all four and not
violate the bounds of ethics. There's a built-in conflict of
interest if you wear all four hats."

ADL national director Abraham Foxman apparently sees no such
conflict. In a September 1, 1992, letter to the _Voice_, Foxman
complained: "ADL has a proud 80-year record of fighting bigotry and
promoting civil rights and constitutional freedoms. Any imputation
of an effort or motive on our part to smear or stifle the free
speech of anyone is false and baseless"

"Throughout his pieces [on AIPAC's spying], Friedman describes the
dissemination of information as if it were slander, and the
existence of files as a token of McCarthyite inclination. The
depiction is misleading in several ways. Virtually every
journalist, academic, politician and organization keeps files on
subjects they deem relevant; tracing the logic of Friedman's
reckless charges, the Library of Congress is tantamount to the KGB.
Moreover, disseminating the public record of a public figure is
neither defamation nor McCarthyism."

But many believe the ADL is increasingly in the defamation
business. Ask Jesse Jackson, James Abourezk, or the leaders of the
New Jewish Agenda -- all past targets of ADL smears. (At the same
time, the ADL exonerated the fascist World Anti-Communist League,
which assisted Ronald Reagan's covert war against Nicaragua, a
policy endorsed by ADL leaders.)

In the early 1980s, researchers Russ Bellant and Berlet asked to
meet fact finding head Irwin Suall, to discuss their work on
anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche. "Our view then of Irwin Suall was that
he was this really terrific investigator," says Berlet. "So we
introduce ourselves, say what we are up to and Suall leans back in
his chair and basically runs down a dossier on each of us: about
what our political activities are, who we work with, what
organizations we belong to. Obviously, he was just trying to blow
us away and he succeeds admirably. We were just sitting there with
our mouths open feeling very uncomfortable."

"And then he leans forward and says, 'The right-wing isn't the
problem. The left-wing is the problem. The Soviet Union is the
biggest problem in the world for Jews. It's the American left that
is the biggest threat to American Jews. You're on the wrong track.
You're part of the problem.' We were stunned. I was virtually in
tears. This is not how I perceived myself. We basically stumbled
out of there in a daze."


        Letters (response to Friedman's article)

     The Village Voice, May 18, 1993, Vol. XXXVIII No. 20


Robert I. Friedman's assault on the Anti-Defamation League [The
Anti- Defamation League Is Spying On You." May 11] demonstrates
that he has an axe to grind and his own prejudiced and biased
agenda to promote. It also demonstrates that concern for accurate
reporting is far down on his list. The story is replete with
inaccuracies, innuendos, and outright falsehoods, and conveys a
picture of ADL so divorced from reality as to be farcical. Friedman
is even wrong on such basic, easily determined facts as where ADL
was founded (Chicago, not New York) and the building in which ADL'S
San Francisco office is located (not the Jewish Community
Federation building pictured).

ADL has done the work of fighting haters for 80 years, without
"spying" on organizations or individuals and with profound respect
for the law. Our mission is to monitor and expose those who are
anti- Jewish, racist, anti-democratic, and violence-prone, and we
monitor them primarily by reading publications and attending public
meetings. Through the years, we have published scores of reports on
anti- Semitism emanating from both the left and the right. In fact,
although Friedman's bias leads him to assume the contrary, ADL's
primary concern is still the far right.

Because extremist organizations are highly secretive, sometimes ADL
can learn of their activities only by using undercover sources.
Friedman's hyperbole notwithstanding, these sources function in a
manner directly analogous to investigative journalists. Some have
performed great service to the American people -- for example, by
uncovering the existence of right-wing extremist paramilitary
training camps -- with no recognition and at considerable personal
risk. The information ADL obtains is placed in the public domain,
and through the years ADL has established a reputation for accurate

Friedman's article, by contrast, contains so much misinformation
that it would take an article equally as long to set the record
straight. A few examples: He states that an "ADL leader was deeply
involved in the [Jonathan Pollard] Israeli spy operation," and that
Pollard's handler's wife "worked for the New York ADL as a lawyer."
Not true. Friedman also states: "ADL investigators in unmarked vans
videotaped Palestinian funerals." Not true. Elsewhere, he asserts
that ADL was obsessed "with spying on anti-apartheid activists."
Again, not true. We could go on and on -- and, of course, Friedman
does not reveal *his* sources.
The distortion games Friedman plays when he mentions numbers
further reveal his lack of objectivity. When it comes to how much
ADL paid Roy Bullock a week -- as an independent contractor, not an
employee (an important distinction Friedman also fails to make) --
he includes the zeros ($75.00, $150.00), inviting the reader to see
a large number. By contrast, when he observes that ADL paid Bullock
"nearly $170,000" between 1985 and 1993, he chooses not to point
out that amounts to little more than $20,000 a year -- hardly an
excessive sum.

What is accurate about Friedman's story is Chip Berlet's
description of ADL's four hats. Yes, ADL looks at broad issues of
prejudice and discrimination. Yes, ADL defends Israel against
critics. And yes, ADL maintains an information-sharing relationship
with law enforcement regarding extremist activities and hate
crimes. We see no conflict in these four activities, and we believe
most _Voice_ readers won't either.

ABRAHAM FOXMAN National Director Anti-Defamation League Manhattan



For the ADL to compare itself to investigative journalists is
absurd. Journalists don't spy on Arabs and anti-apartheid activists
and then freely pass their files to South African and Israeli
intelligence. But according to police the confessions of two paid
ADL investigators, buttressed by 700 pages of court documents and
interviews, the ADL does. Indeed, the ADL spies on groups that are
neither anti-Semitic nor violent. Police confiscated ADL files on
hundreds of mainstream groups ranging from ACT UP to Peace Now.
Respected intellectuals and Middle East scholars who disagree with
the ADL's political views have ended up on ADL blacklists, their
reputations smeared. "Private organizations have no business paying
operatives inside police departments or having spies," says an
April 17 editorial in the _St. Louis Post-Dispatch_, condemning ADL
spying. On April 10, police armed with search warrants raided ADL
offices in San Francisco and L.A. after concluding that "ADL
employees were apparently less than truthful" in voluntarily
turning over documents during an earlier search, according to San
Francisco police inspector Ron Roth's sworn affidavit. Roth also
asserts that Bullock was a "paid employee for the ADL." If so, by
failing to pay taxes on $170,000 of income paid to Bullock, the ADL
could face a total of 48 felony counts, according to court papers.
The ADL may also face felony charges for illegally obtaining
confidential information from police computers. As for errors: The
ADL was founded in Chicago, and moved to New York in 1947. But it
was an original tenant in the San Francisco building shown in the
_Voice_ photo, moving out a few months ago. I never wrote that an
"ADL leader was deeply involved in the [Pollard] Israeli spy
operation." I reported that Pollard himself made the charge. And in
court papers, Pollard's own lawyer said that the wife of Pollard's
handler worked for the ADL. If I have a bias, it is on the side of
the First and Fourth Amendments.