In 2005 the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in collaboration with the Missouri Holocaust Museum in St. Louis, launched a pilot program “Law Enforcement and Society: Lessons of the Holocaust (LEAS)” partnering with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to “provide law enforcement professionals with a deeper understanding of the relationship between police and the people they serve.” As events on the streets of Ferguson represent the fruition of this 10 year partnership, St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace makes an urgent call:
St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace calls on all who oppose white supremacy to cut ties with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as it prepares to honor the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department — a police force whose racist shooting spree targeting black youth continues, most recently in the shooting of 16-year-old Brandon Claxton in the face last weekend even as witnesses say he posed no threat.
We are disgusted by the ADL’s grotesque invocation of the Nazi Holocaust — in which countless members of our families perished — both as a tool to give the ADL and St. Louis police cover as protectors of civil rights, and to frame racism in the U.S. solely within the context of anti-Semitism. As white Jewish activists, we know that white Jews, like other white Americans, are part and parcel of U.S. white supremacist systems that serve to destroy black and brown communities.
We have cringed as the ADL positions itself locally as a champion of racial profiling legislation while sending U.S. police — including former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch — to train on population control in Israel, an apartheid police state with more than 60 years of sophisticated expertise in racial profiling, mass incarceration, settler colonialism, and ethnic cleansing targeting the non-Jewish indigenous Palestinian people.
We see the way mainstream Jewish organizations in St. Louis like the ADL, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and the Jewish Federation exercise white privilege in an attempt to silence communities of color and undermine black and brown solidarity. We are appalled when Jewish leaders who speak the language of justice are overtly racist toward Palestinians. Zionism — itself a form of white supremacy that oppresses Palestinians, Jews of color, and other marginalized groups — has no place in any antiracist movement.
We call on the ADL to cancel this ceremony and all ongoing activities that uphold white supremacy in the U.S. and Palestine. If they don’t cancel, we will be there July 31 at 11:30am at Chase Park. We urge St. Louis Jewish leaders and organizations, especially those who have been active in Ferguson, to stop playing both sides — chanting “Black Lives Matter” in the streets while working closely with racist Jewish organizations. We invite them and others in the St. Louis Jewish community to join us in working together for justice from Ferguson to Palestine and beyond.