(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. – 7/14/2020) — A coalition of New Jersey civil rights organizations today condemned the New York / New Jersey chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for attempting to smear a local Muslim leader who expressed solidarity between Black and Palestinian communities against similar and connected forms of racist police brutality.
During a protest against Israel’s plan to illegally annex Palestinian land, CAIR-New Jersey Executive Director Selaedin Maksut noted the similarities and connections between chokeholds and other acts of police brutality commonly perpetrated against people of color by American and Israeli law enforcement, which often engage in joint training together.
In response, the ADL New York/New Jersey (ADL-NY/NJ) publicly accused Maksut of furthering “anti-Semitic” conspiracies.
In a joint statement today, Black Lives Matter (BLM) of Paterson, NJ, American Muslims for Palestine New Jersey (AMP-NJ), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) North Jersey, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Central Jersey, Make The Road New Jersey (MTR-NJ), Black Men United (BMU) of Jersey City, Palestinian American Community Center of New Jersey (PACC), Jews for Palestinian Right of Return (JFPROR), and the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) said:
“We condemn the Anti-Defamation League’s latest attempt to smear and silence activists who dare to advocate for solidarity between Black and Palestinian communities.
“The ADL has a long history of trying to smear and silence those who criticize the Israeli government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians, from Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress to Jimmy Carter to Rashida Tlaib to Ilhan Omar to Jewish anti-occupation activists. The ADL even targeted anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s, when Israel maintained close ties with South Africa’s racist government.
“Additionally, the ADL’s efforts to arrange for New Jersey and New York police officers to learn dehumanizing and dangerous enforcement tactics from human rights violators in the Israeli government further entrenches systemic racism in America, putting the Black community at greater risk.
“The ADL can either be a civil rights organization dedicated to countering racism, or a lobbyist group dedicated to defending a racist foreign government. It cannot be both.”
• Black Lives Matter (BLM) of Paterson, NJ
• American Muslims for Palestine New Jersey (AMP-NJ)
• Jewish Voice for Peace North Jersey (JVP-NNJ)
• Jewish Voice for Peace Central Jersey (JVP-CJ)
• Make The Road, New Jersey (MTR-NJ)
• Black Men United (BMU) of Jersey City
• Palestinian American Community Center of New Jersey (PACC)
• Jews for Palestinian Right of Return (JFPROR)
• Council on American Islamic Relations – New Jersey (CAIR-NJ)
On June 26th, Jewish Currents reported on a leaked draft ADL memorandum that detailed how the organization planned to defend the Israeli government from facing condemnation and consequences over annexation. The memo also revealed that the ADL was particularly concerned about the prospect that the organization itself could face a backlash for publicly attacking prominent people of color who criticize annexation.
In a statement, Black Lives Matter Paterson, New Jersey chapter’s Zellie Thomas said:
“Enough is enough. The ADL must stop undermining civil rights activists, stop defending apartheid overseas, and stop endangering people of color here at home through its U.S.-Israel police training program.”
In a statement, AMP-NJ Government Relations Coordinator Wassim Kanaan said:
“CAIR-NJ ED Selaedin Maksut is a leader committed to advocating for justice for all, and AMP-NJ thanks him for that principled advocacy.
“The ADL’s attempt to propagate itself as an advocate of social justice in the US is easily exposed by its organizing of US police force training by Zionist forces and its continued attacks on advocates for Palestine. The ADL complicit in the loss of Black life in America through its support of US law enforcement deadly tactic training by those Zionist forces.”
In a statement, JVP-Central NJ said:
“As diverse organizations dedicated to pursuing justice for all, we recognize the clear parallels between police brutality against African-Americans and other people of color in the United States, and police brutality against Palestinians, Ethiopian Jews, and other people of color in Israel.
“We also recognize that far too many American police departments learn dangerous tactics from the Israeli government and other human rights violators overseas, endangering communities here at home. In fact, the ADL itself has arranged for such foreign police training.”
In a statement, JVP-Northern NJ said:
“There is a close connection between the racist government in the United States and the racist government in Israel, and that the two governments provide support to one another, is evident to all who care to see. To accuse CAIR’s executive director of engaging in “hateful” rhetoric for pointing this out at a demonstration is simply an unacceptable smear.”
In a statement, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return’s (JFPROR) David Letwin said:
“Jews for Palestinian Right of Return condemns the Anti-Defamation League’s transparent attempt to smear CAIR New Jersey Executive Director Selaedin Maksut with false allegations of anti-Semitism. Moreover, we fully support Maksut’s denunciation of Zionism as racism, and the connection he drew between white supremacist oppression in this county and Zionist oppression in Palestine.”
In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:
“New Jersey police officers must stop training with the Israeli government and any other foreign nation that engages in racist acts of police brutality. Chokeholds and other violent tactics used against both African-Americans and Palestinians must end. Police officers must serve and protect, not occupy and oppress.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, 862-264-9414, firstname.lastname@example.org