The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League – Commentary

Posted By on April 27, 2019

The burgeoning hate aimed at Jewish immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century was the driving force behind the 1913 formation of the Anti-Defamation League. According to its original charteras laid out by its sponsoring organization, Bnai Brith, the largest Jewish communal group in the United Statesthe ADLs immediate object was to stop, by appeals to reason and conscience, and if necessary, by appeals to law, the defamation of the Jewish people. Its ultimate purpose is to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike and to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against, and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.

Countering organized hate movements was, practically from the start, at the center of the ADLs mission. The seminal case was that of Mary Phagan, a teenaged factory laborer in Atlanta, who was found murdered in 1913. Leo Frank, the factorys Jewish superintendent, was framed in what became Americas blood-libel story for budding white supremacists. Frank was abducted from prison in 1915 and lynched. Before he was killed, Franks sentence was commuted by Georgias governor due in large measure to the argumentation and lobbying of the ADL and associated civil-rights organizations. The horror of Franks demise did not vitiate the lesson that organizing and solidarity with other minority groups were the key to political success in protecting Jews.


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The Shame of the Anti-Defamation League - Commentary

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