The Anti-Defamation League (ADL; formerly known as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith) is an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency,” the ADL states that it “fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all”, doing so through “information, education, legislation, and advocacy.”
Founded in October 1913 by the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith, a Jewish service organization in the United States, its original mission statement 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.” The ADL has 29 offices in the United States and three offices in other countries, with its headquarters located in New York City. Abraham Foxman had been the national director since 1987. In November 2014, it was announced that Jonathan Greenblatt would succeed Foxman as national director in July 2015. The national chair is Barry Curtiss-Lusher.
The Anti-Defamation League has drawn both criticism and controversy over its priorities. Noam Chomsky accuses them of “having lost entirely its focus on civil rights issues in order to become solely an advocate for Israeli policy”. Journalist Mark Arax has criticized the organization’s failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Washington Post has noted that the ADL has repeatedly accused Israeli policy critic Norman Finkelstein of being a “Holocaust denier” and that “these charges have proved baseless.”