On October 24, 2022 IRmep received a trove of FBI files requested in 2019 under the Freedom of Information Act. One of the files was an internal report on the Anti-Defamation League’s Omaha chapter 2017 “Civil Rights Threat” complaint against the white nationalist Vanguard America which also included Friends of Sabeel and American Muslim Alliance.
IRmep has been filing periodic FOIA requests with the FBI for such documents ever since uncovering an ADL effort since the 1940s to liaise with the FBI by offering ADL investigators as informants, offering to exchange files to “avoid duplication of investigation” and attempts by the ADL to “train” FBI and law enforcement personnel. (see the Israel Lobby Archive)
In the late 1960s ADL undercover operatives infiltrated Arab student organizations with the aim of disrupting and disbanding them. In the 1990s the ADL was caught running an undercover operation to infiltrate and shut down pro-Palestinian and anti-Apartheid groups active in California. (See the Israel Lobby Archive) Attorney General Janet Reno later terminated a criminal investigation into the ADL’s possession of sensitive information following pressure from Israeli Justice Minister David Libai.
When the Anti-Defamation League filed its 2017 “Civil Rights Threat” with the FBI on Vanguard America, Friends of Sabeel North America and the American Muslim Alliance, if focused on an Instagram post of white males holding a banner on an overpass on Interstate 80 between Omaha and Lincoln promoting the website of the white nationalist group Vanguard America on August 5, 2017.
The FBI seems to have disregarded the threat incident. “As there were no threats, the information was recorded for informational purposes only and the social media photos are attached a 1A should any additional reporting occur.”
The ADL appears to have invented “Civil Rights Threat” reports as a category tailored to trigger the FBI’s obligation to investigate potential violations of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 249. The law is also called the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” The statute makes it “unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”
The ADL provided little compelling justification for including Friends of Sabeel and the American Muslim Alliance as hate crime threats. Friends of Sabeel is a Colorado based non-profit Christian ecumenical charity “seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education.” It supports Palestinians “who seek a just peace as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions.” The ADL states that it opposes the organization for their promotion of Palestinian liberation theology and support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The ADL’s report to the FBI included the American Muslim alliance for providing a guest speaker, Iowa State Representative from the 35th District and Democrat Ako Abdul Samad, to a Friends of Sabeel conference. The ADL noted, “Samad is also working to move the headquarters of the American Muslim Alliance to Des Moines, Iowa.” The organization referred to was apparently a tax exempt charity raising less than $50,000 per year based in Wellington, Florida.
To its credit, the FBI dismissed the conflation, writing “The ADL has an ideological disagreement with Friends of Sabeel and there is no threat reporting.”
However, the FBI has its own troubled history in its treatment of a wide range of American civil rights activists and organizations. Under the leadership of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI spied on activists, campaigned to discredit black leaders during the Civil Rights Movement, and planted news stories while surveilling and disrupting protected First Amendment activities through its COINTELPRO program.
Nevertheless, Hoover for many years resisted formal liaisons between FBI field offices and the ADL’s regional offices, resenting the ADL’s private investigations, attempts to develop cases against Arab organizations that later fell apart, and attempts to jointly “train” law enforcement all the while requesting access to FBI files.
The FBI’s “arm’s length” treatment of the ADL collapsed under its constant pressure in 1968 when FBI Director Hoover finally relented, ordering all FBI field offices to establish liaisons with ADL regional offices. He justified it by claiming “this organization, like the Bureau, is opposed to groups and individuals espousing bigotry, prejudice and extremism.” The ADL used its preferential access to flood the FBI with a stream of reports on the Palestine Liberation Organization and African American civil rights initiatives, filing reports on “sympathizers of the Nation of Islam” and reports such as “Anti-Semitism of Black Demagogues and Extremists.“
In 1968 the ADL immediately used its liaison channel to warn the FBI about the Jewish civil rights activist and University of Minnesota professor Mathew Stark’s “involvement with the ‘Negro integration movement in the Twin Cities area'” and that “Stark may have certain political aspirations in view of his recently avowed discontent with the policies and action of Mayor Naftalin and Calvin Hawkinson, Chief of Police, Minneapolis.”
It is unclear whether the FBI ever acted on the ADL’s urgent warning about Stark.
Perusing the entire 2022 FOIA release of ADL FBI liaisons reveals an unending series of meetings under the auspices of the ADL “Law Enforcement Advisory Committee” program or LEAC. While many communications appear to contain legitimate complaints of antisemitic incidents and potential hate crimes, other communications cast doubts upon other, undeclared ADL motives.
For example, the ADL hosted FBI special agents at one LEAC meeting held under the auspices of “hate crimes and domestic terrorism” liaisons contact development and public safety. It featured the exhibit “Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann” at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. This type of “education” certainly glamorizes and gives an unbalanced, positive portrayal of the now deceased Israeli intelligence operative Rafael Eitan, without delving into the massive harm Eitan inflicted on America.
Attending FBI special agents likely did not know that the leader of the Adolf Eichmann snatch and grab operation in Argentina, Rafael Eitan, later participated in the illegal diversion of weapons grade uranium from the NUMEC processing facility in Apollo, Pennsylvania. An eyewitness told the FBI he saw the plant president Zalman Shapiro, also a prominent leader of the Zionist Organization of America, supervising the loading of cannisters of U.S. government owned highly enriched uranium into equipment for immediate shipment to Israel. The operation, which the CIA characterized as a smuggling front “since the beginning” left behind a toxic waste cleanup site what will yet cost Americans half a billion dollars to rectify.
Artist rendering of FBI special agents at an ADL sponsored event honoring Israeli spy Rafael Eitan.
Eitan later ran Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard who worked at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Pollard’s theft of mountains of extremely sensitive U.S. classified information during the “year of the spy” even caused the FBI to reopen a dormant case involving the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Israeli Minister of Economic’s theft of U.S. industry data used to obtain passage of America’s worst bilateral trade agreement.
Until its production was shut down by California Senator Diane Feinstein, an annual National Counterintelligence Center report of economic espionage against the United States listed Israel as a top three offender. Israel fields more embassy officials with undeclared responsibilities (suspected spies) than almost any other foreign country. Many are posted to top universities and sensitive corporations in regions such as Silicon Valley. With so many FBI personnel now dedicated to constant ADL liaisons, it begs the question of whether the FBI has any leftover time (or motivation) available to address endemic Israeli espionage targeting the U.S., spying once described by top espionage analyst Jeff Stein as “our constant companion.”